Art lessons in a Montessori class are presented in the same way all other lessons are. A demonstration is given to show the child the proper use of materials. Set up and cleanup is involved as well. Emphasize is always placed on the process rather than the final result.
According to Renilde Montessori (1929-2012), [Maria Montessori’s youngest grandchild], ‘Art is an end result of coordinated and skillful movement dictated by intelligent purpose of the mind.’
Practical Life and Sensorial lessons prepare the child to develop the visual motor (eye-hand) coordination, control of movement and coordination skills necessary for art exercises.
In addition, art is extended to all areas of the Montessori prepared environment. For example the decorating and illustrating of the child’s work when he is doing math operations with the Stamp Game for instance, or illustrating a story he has written to further enhance his work.
One can observe a child’s artistic development following a series of gradual steps according to a child’s age:
- At 18 to 20 months the child is scribbling and efforts are disorganized without a determined pattern.
- At 2 to 4 years the child scribbles from the top to the bottom of the page using straight lines.
- At 3 to 3.5 years a changes occurs in scribbling from purely motor to making connections to familiar objects in the environment.
- At 4 to 6 years the child is able to control a writing instrument to create representational figures (i.e. circle represents the sun).
Each week in the Cypress Room we have one or two art trays with different mediums. Children have the opportunity to do open-ended art. Types of arts trays in the classroom may vary from painting (watercolor), pastels, collage or sewing. By working with the material the child is able to develop concentration, control of movement and independence.
A child’s experience in art should be a balance between artistic activity and artistic appreciation. Parents are encouraged to take your children to museums, art galleries and other artistic experiences outside the classroom to spark an interest and appreciation for art. Keep their imagination alive by giving them material to express themselves creatively through art activities.
The finished product of a child’s work is a true expression of the child and should not be judged by its appearance as it is a unique combination of the materials, the child’s individual exploration & process, and the child’s own spirit and creativity.