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4 Benefits of Art in the Montessori Classrooms

Since 1907. when Dr Maria Montessor, Italy's first female doctor formed a school and began to teach in her unique, child-centred manner designed Montessori education has flourished throughout the world, and at present, there are over 50,000 Montessori schools worldwide, with the goal of assisting students in helping educate themselves into a holistic manner. Here is an example of a holistic environment school in Hat Yai, Thailand called Wonder Valley.

And one of the principal teaching methodologies is the addition of art in the classroom.

1. Developing fundamental skills through art

One of the reasons that Montessori emphasizes art so much, is that through art, children learn fundamental skills.

The goal is not so much the end process of art, ie, to be able to paint or sculpt a masterpiece but to learn important and fundamental skills that art develops.

Learning to use scissors, being able to tack things down with a glue stick, and learning the use of and the proper care of a paintbrush translates into other life skills down the line.

At the same time, these budding young artists, in their early years, learn to appreciate and work with color, which develops their appreciation for the world around them.

2. Developing themselves through the process

Another major factor of the use of art in Montessori schools is that children learn a sense of self-fulfilment through their art.

Each art project that children entertain helps them learn and enjoy the process of being in the moment, which is something that many children and adults are missing.

Therefore, it's not uncommon for the child to give away or even throw their art in the wastebasket after engaging in an art project because they are anxious to move on to the next stage of exploration.

So the art they pursue is not an end product, but rather an internal one, which has great value in itself. Van Goh for example only sold one painting in his entire life. Yet he kept working at it because he found great satisfaction in the process.

3. Think like an artist

Artists often think entirely differently than ordinary people, and thus as children get older and remain in the Montessori process, they learn to think out of the box, and the same thing goes for Montessori teachers.

Examples of this include talking about Michaelangelo and the Sistine Chapel and then having children paint on their backs to gain a new perspective of the world.

Another way of helping children gain new perspectives of themselves, and hopefully deeper and making deeper and more complex frames of mind is setting up a series of mirrors and having them draw self-portraits of themselves.

Self-portraits allow a child to explore their inner world through paint or charcoal.

Another technique Montessori teachers often use is to show various famous artworks to their students and ask them what they think inspired the artist to paint a particular painting. This simple guessing game opens up new avenues of expression and internal exploration.

4. Combining art with literature

Quite naturally, stories and literature are a significant part of any Montessori classroom. But watch how stories take on a new and expanded light when teachers have the students illustrate whatever story is being read with a project to illustrate a book or a poem on their own.

It's even common in Montessori schools to have children doodle artwork on the borders of textbooks, to provide a spirit of ownership of the material, whether it be a math book, a science book or an English book.

Yes indeed. Art plays a great part in Waldorf Montessori schools.

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