Written by Michelle Dickson-Feeney, Art Enrichment Guide
Art is an essential component of learning in Montessori classrooms. In each classroom there are dedicated art shelves ensuring students always have access to art materials for creative expression. We are focused on providing our students with the skills, materials, and exposure to art that they need in order to express their creativity at their own pace and level. From Toddlers to Adolescents, you will see students naturally turning to art in response to what they are learning and studying in other lessons. For example, a student in Children’s House learning about the parts of a plant may want to make a painting about it, while a Lower Elementary student studying France may spend weeks in Open Studio building an intricate model of the Palace of Versailles.
In the Toddler and Children’s House classrooms, art plays an important role in developing fine motor skills, hand strength, and coordination. Cutting, gluing, modeling, crayoning, and painting are five foundational skills that prepare students for the next phase in their creative journeys. Once students master basic lessons in these areas they move on to activities which involve more steps, colors, and materials.
Supporting your child’s creative process
In these lessons, the process is about the focus, not the product. Toddlers and younger Children’s House students often won’t even want to keep their artwork. For them it is entirely about the process—the act of cutting, gluing, or painting. It’s our job as guides and parents to respect this and not force our feelings onto the child. Of course we’re proud of their accomplishments and want to say, “Good job!” but this creates a cycle where the child begins to make art to elicit that “approval” reaction from us, instead of satisfying herself.
A more appropriate guideline to go by is to match the child’s response to her work. If a toddler has made a painting and abandoned it on the table, resist the urge to bring it to her and praise it. That doesn’t mean you have to throw it away—you can keep it for yourself! Remember, we are working towards reflecting children’s feelings about their art, not our own. Click to read article in full.
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