March is “National Youth Art Month”.
According to Demetri Martin, “Earth without art is just ‘eh’ “.
Art is a form of self-expression for children and is a very important component of a Montessori classroom.
Yes, art is messy and requires more effort from the guide to setup and maintain on a daily basis. But, the benefits for the children outweigh the efforts required by the teacher. Most importantly ‘art’ helps develop and refine motor skills in a child.
Children in the 1st plane of development, the 3-6 year olds in the Primary classroom are more “process oriented” than “product oriented”.
What does this mean?
They may paint the whole paper leaving no space behind or just put a small line on it & be done. Research has proved that the end result doesn’t guide or motivate them, they enjoy the process of making their “masterpiece”.
A 3-year old wanting to paint at the easel needs to do the following :
- put on the apron
- make a choice about which color paper to choose
- clip chosen paper to easel
- open the paint container
- pour some paint out into painting tray
- close the paint container
- pick up the brush
- dip the brush in the paint
- begin painting
- take paper to drying rack when done
- wash the brush
- dry brush
- wash and dry painting tray
- clean easel with towel
- take off apron
For an adult, the above steps may not look like a lot, but its a lot of work for a young child.
When a child is done, they look at their finished product and feel extremely proud/accomplished to have created a lovely masterpiece, something they did on their own , all by themselves – building strong decision making skills, sense of order and independence in them.
This is true for any art project children do in the primary classroom.
I feel that a basic setup for a self-expression/art shelf in a primary classroom should include the following at the least:
- Child safe scissors
- cutting paper strips
- straight line/zig -zag line/wavy line cutting papers
- play doh
- pin pricking tray, pins, outline of shapes to pin prick
- 5 1/2 X 5 1/2 construction paper(for children to glue their cutting strips)
- water color painting
- easel – papers, paint, painting tray
- Sketch pad: http://www.michaels.com/strathmore-300-series-sketch-pad/M10014390.html#q=sketch+pad&start=2
“The hand is an organ of expression, and in the area of artistic creation it has practically occupied the first place” – Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child.
For “National Youth Art Month”, We display our primary children’s art works in the school hallway for the entire month for parents to see and children are always super excited to show them their lovely masterpieces. Stay tuned for pictures.
Would love to hear your thoughts on art & how you incorporate art in your classroom …..