Montessori moms can often read, "This is Practical Life Exercise Area (PLA) material" or "Now your child is working hard in the Sensory Area. What does this mean? How exactly the environment has to be divided into Learning Areas and to which Learning Area does each material belong?
Montessori pedagogy distinguishes the following Learn Areas in Groups:
- practical life exercises;
- work with sensory materials;
- native language;
- formation of ideas about the world around us.
What kind of materials does each Learning Area include?
PLE (Practical Life Exercises) Learning Area
Usually children from 2 to 4 years of age spend the greatest amount of time in this Montessori Learning Area. The child, who is in the sensory period of precise movement development at this time, satisfies his or her needs by working with materials of practical life.
Most of the materials come from daily household activities and gradually allow the child to apply complex movements in activities at home, in the family, in the social group: to prepare breakfast, to dress and undress independently, etc.
Materials of the are of practical life exercises, in its turn, are divided into exercises:
- in self-care (cooking, cleaning, dressing);
- in taking care of the environment (cleaning, taking care of plants and animals);
- in special forms of movement (walking on the line, exercises in silence, ability to move smoothly and silently);
- in social skills (greetings, manners, communication).
Sensory Development Learning Area
Sensory materials develop the child's senses. Since each material highlights only one feature, the materials teach the child to concentrate on it, isolating the other senses (e.g., closing their eyes while listening to music). The materials develop fine motor skills and prepare the child for learning math and many other subjects: music, drawing, botany, geography.
Materials of the sensory area:
- for sizing (blocks of cylinders, pink tower, brown ladder, red rods);
- to distinguish colors (colored plates);
- to develop the tactile sense (rough plates, fabrics);
- to develop hearing (noise cylinders, bells);
- to develop the stereognostic sense (geometric bodies, a magic bag, sorting);
- for development of sense of smell;
- for development of taste.
Math Learning Area
The mathematics materials are constructed in close connection with the materials of the sensory zone and take into account the sensory-motor needs of the child. This means that most of the materials (especially at the beginning stage) involve working with concrete (and not, as usual, abstract) material. This makes it very easy for a child to understand math and allows even young children to solve fairly complex problems.
Math Area Materials:
- for counting within 10 (bars, spindles, chips);
- for getting to know the decimal system ("gold" material);
- for counting up to 100 (beads, Segan boards, colored chains);
- for acquaintance with arithmetic operations (stamps, dots game, tables of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division);
- for acquaintance with fractions;
- to introduce the basics of geometry (geometric dresser, constructive triangles).
Native Language Learning Area
The native language area is also built on tactile materials. Being able to touch the materials helps your child get ready to learn to write and read faster and easier.
The native language area includes materials:
- for expanding vocabulary (boxes and cards depicting objects);
- for learning to write (frames for shading, rough letters, movable alphabet);
- for learning to read (boxes with figures for the first intuitive reading, signatures to the objects of the environment, simple books).
Space Education Learning Area
Space education in Montessori pedagogy is a section containing knowledge about the world around us. All activities are built from the concrete to the abstract. Usually children are given an objective demonstration of some phenomenon and are encouraged to draw a conclusion themselves. Work is carried out both in the group on circles and by the child himself or herself with various materials or literature.
The Learning Area of space education includes:
- representation of geography (continents, landscapes, natural zones, solar system);
- idea of zoology (classification of animals, habitats);
- botany (classification, habitat of plants);
- understanding of history (time lines, calendars);
- understanding of science (four elements, experiments).
Introducing your child in a Montessori environment is a great way to ensure that they receive a fully rounded education focusing on real-world skills and progressive knowledge acquisition. For more information on the Montessori method in practice, contact our Online Store and we will try our best to make the development of your child as easy as possible!