Sense Perception in Preschool Child


Sense Perception in Preschool Child


The original equipment of the child includes sense organs, nerve connections  and brain centers,  the  stimulation and functioning of which give rise to  the  simple mental  state of sense perception. At birth the mechanism is  quite  imperfected,  but  through development  from within the  sense organs  and the  connections are  completed so  far as original nature intended they  should be.Experience  and such factors  as  development  in interest,  attention and discrimination contribute  to  the distinctness  of perception.

At  birth the  sense organs  of touch,  taste and smell are  ready to  function,  though imperfectly. A slight touch upon the nostrils  brings grimaces  of displeasure, while taste and smell are  aroused only by strong flavors  and odors.

The  eye  and ear are quite  imperfect  as  sense organs,  but  begin within a few days to receive  some impression from strong stimuli. During the  first  two  or three years  inner growth perfects  the  sense  organs  so that development  in perception during later years  is  due  to  other factors.

Sense Perception in Preschool Child

Sense Perception in Preschool Child

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At  first  the undifferentiated flood of sensations  sweep  into consciousness  so unlocalized and meaningless that  there results  only the general  feelings  of satisfaction or annoyance. Sounds  are mere noises,  loud or faint; vision is  light,  dim or brilliant;  discrimination in tone,  shape,  size or color comes much  later.

Through experience with objects  and acquaintance with the  different sensations  of vision,  touch,  sound,  taste  and smell, which these objects  can arouse  simultaneously,  there results  in consciousness perceptions  of things.

To the  extent  that wide experience  in sensory acquaintance is afforded is the development  of sense perception possible.

Other factors  contributing to the perfection of sense perception are  attention and the ability to discriminate.   With fleeting attention there is  also  inaccurate,  indefinite and incomplete  impression. Only when attention can be  caught  and held can the  sense perceptions  be  clear and definite.

Lack of discrimination,the inability to discover likenesses and differences,  retards development  in sense perception.

To  encourage a child in practice in such discrimination is to help him accumulate a wealth of mental content essential to  intellectual growth. Not  only are  children’s  sense perceptions limited, indefinite and incomplete,  but  it  is  observed that the  stimulus necessary to give  rise  to  a precept must be more  intense  than in the  case  of the  adult.


For the  child to recognize a familiar  object, he mast  see,  feel,  and hear it  and in the  same way as he  formerly knew  it to be. Because  of what  is children to  get  them to  observe purpose Fully and to provide  for their experiencing sensory stimulation in as many fields  as  is possible  in order to develop habits  of observation and a fund of perceptions.

Not  only must children be  exposed to an environment  of this  sort,  but conversation must  be utilized to  insure  rich,  definite and detailed perceptions.termed “mental  set”  or the tendency  of a state  of mind to  continue  for at least  a limited period of time,  sense perceptions  of children are  likely to be  colored by their passing mental states.Thus  inaccuracies  in perceptions result which may be the underlying causes  of fears and exaggerations  or lies.

What may be  called a type  of  illusion is  also  common with children due  to  the strength  of the  influence  of mental  set upon sense perceptions.

A child becomes  desperately hungry in the midst  of his play and his mind turns to
dinner and circumstances  surrounding it until  finally he  is positive that he
hears his  mother announce the  anticipated meal.

He  rushes  into the  house  only to  find that  it  is but  ten o’clock and mother is  on the  front porch chatting. The  specific  development  of perception is  difficult to trace,  and different  investigations  emphasize different phases, but  there are  some  facts now given general acceptance.

With the  development  of discrimination the perfection of vision continues up to  sixteen years  of age and beyond,  though brightness  and differences  in some primary  colors  are  perceived during the first  six months.

Space perception begins  at  about  three months  and  continues to  develop  for eight  or nine years. The  sensitivity of the  skin is more pronounced  in childhood than later unless practice necessitated by blindness or some  other factor contributes  greatly to  its perfection.

Sound perception varies  so  greatly with individuals that  it  is difficult to  find facts  of general application except that the  development  during the  early years  of childhood is marked,  and that  age and practice contribute to discrimination. 

While  individual  differences  determine  somewhat the development of sense perception, it is the duty and opportunity of the educator of preschool.


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