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What is perception?

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Children learn through their senses. Perception refers to the way we make sense of the world through our sensory system that is our eyes, ears, nose, mouth and sense of touch. We do not merely see, smell, hear, taste or feel something – we must interpret the various stimuli and give it meaning in order for it to guide action. Most easily put the senses send info to the brain, which processes the information and sends out the relevant response.

There are numerous perceptual skills related to each of the 5 senses. These perceptual abilities are learnt through play, first-hand experience, interaction with others and exploration – they cannot be taught in the conventional sense.

Children move through three phases of learning namely concrete, semi-concrete and abstract. From birth right up to age 12 children need concrete real life experiences to make sense of their world. Within this time frame children may move through all the phases of learning to a greater and lesser degree, but each phase needs to be completely developed in order to ensure success in the later phases. Repetition becomes essential within each phase of development. The basic perceptual skills learnt in the early years will form the basis of all further learning and will have a definite influence on later functioning

Perception underlies all the important school tasks including reading, writing, math, memory and spelling. It is vital for the acquisition of both language and knowledge. Without perception learning cannot take place. Encouraging your child to enhance their perception through appropriate games and activities will be beneficial to their schooling.

All physical abilities rely on perception, without the appropriate perceptive skills we would be unable to walk, brush our teeth, climb or pick up a ball off the ground. Perceptive skills are also important in terms of socialization, emotional response and in the development of a personal identity.

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