Sensory experience has long been a deliberate and vital element of the curriculum of early learning environments. Now, local goverments are experimenting with the deliberate addition of sensory elements into the public open space of communities.
But what is sensory play, and why is it important?
Sensory integration can be broken down into three main systems; tactile, vestibular and proprioceptive. The tactile system refers to the information processed in the brain from under our skin, such as temperature and pressure. The vestibular system refers to the brain’s ability to understand the position and angle of the head even when the eyes are closed. Proprioception is the ability of the body to work with the physical environment around us, and relates to motor skill ability.
Children learn naturally when engrossed in play, and play environments are well-placed to provide stimulating sensory opportunities. This is particularly important to children where one of these systems does not work optimally, and the child perceives things differently to others.