“Imagination does not become great until a person, given the courage and strength, uses it to create.”
—Dr. Maria Montessori
The Montessori educational practices are founded on the premise that learning occurs when children interact with their environment. Exploration and discovery are at the heart of each curriculum area in the Montessori classroom, where children are encouraged to experience, create and discover—which in essence helps them to construct the very person that they are becoming.
Art is essential in the environment of the child and also plays a special role in the classroom. Art is one of the many ways that children can express themselves. Art helps children to communicate their feelings, develop their fine motor skills and of course, explore and use their creativity.
Usually, as with most things in the Montessori classroom, art is integrated with another area of study for the children. For instance, after planting and watching a seed grow, the art area might feature materials to inspire a watercolor or pastel rendition of a plant, leaf rubbings, or sculptures. The classroom may embark on a study of renowned artists whose landscapes and natural sceneries inspire the artistic process. And it is through this process that children derive satisfaction, confidence and inner joy.
Here are three great reasons to incorporate art into the everyday experience in the classroom and beyond:
(1) Art is beautiful and inspirational: Children can explore something new without a fear of “not doing it right”; each creation opens the door to new possibilities.
(2) Art is good for you! Art benefits the right brain and the whole brain; it can increase focus and concentration, develop hand-eye coordination, and can encourage different ways of thinking.
(3) Art makes you feel good: Children can explore their feelings and moods through the art they create; the act of creation can engender joy and satisfaction.
Because of the feelings that both art and music** can evoke—joy, inspiration, curiosity, wonder, happiness, awe—they are integral and indispensable to life and work in the classroom and in effect, to human existence.
**see next week’s blog for more on music
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