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The Learning Environment Part 3: The Manipulatives Area

One of the favorite areas in a progressive classroom is the place for Manipulatives. The learning materials in this area are wooden blocks of different colors and sizes, block accessories like people, animals and vehicles,  table puzzles and construction toys. For Infants and Toddlers, there may be push-pull toys, nesting toys or soft blocks. For Primary School age children, accessories can be diversified and math and science materials can be added.

This area is considered a “noisy” area therefore it should not be beside a “quiet” area like the Reading Area. It should be spacious for children for pretend play.

A lot of schools regard this area as unimportant. However, teachers in a progressive school highly regard this space because it is a venue for children’s creativity (block towers), for children’s cognitive abilities to strengthen (puzzles) and most specially, it’s a chance for interactive play between the children. The learning materials in this area can also be matched with the class’ curriculum. For example, if the class is talking about animals, animal toys can be used as counters or for block pretend play.

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