From the start of our Montessori journey, I knew I wanted to give my children a strong foundation in art. The problem was that I had little experience in classic art principles and art appreciation which left me feeling inadequate to approach it holistically. There is no shortage of ideas online, but most are product-driven and often focus heavily on crafts. The Montessori art is process-driven, meaning it focuses on how the art is created. It is generally open-ended with no preconceived idea on what the end result should be.
Fortunately, I stumbled upon a fantastic Montessori-based art program written by Julie Karlonos, who is both a trained Montessori teacher and highly experienced art instructor. Her products meet a variety of needs, including instruction books, language of art cards, and an art appreciation program. There are offerings geared towards both the primary and the elementary planes of development. We have invested in a number of products and have been pleased with each one. However I want to focus on Book I: Sharing Art With Children in the Montessori Way: An Introduction to Materials. I will talk about the other aspects in future posts.
Book I is geared towards primary students (typically age 3-6), but it can be used by elementary children as well. My older children still enjoy the activities because they are open-ended, and they can work where they are. The book includes 62 lessons that are divided into five sections: Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Collage, and Three-Dimensional Work. The lessons allow children to explore various techniques through a variety of mediums. I love the range of materials introduced - many of which I never would have considered for my children on my own. The lessons in each area build upon each other well and offer a range of techniques. My children have yet to find a lesson that they weren't eager to try. If you'd like to see a sample lesson and the full table of contents, samples are available here.
|I can't look sideways at our art supplies without my oldest taking over.|
It turned into a MLP homage, but she explored different techniques with each one.
As a novice, I have never felt intimated, and that says a lot. Lessons are laid out in a typical Montessori style. Each has a preparation, materials needed, tips and tricks, vocabulary, variations/extension, points of interest, direct/indirect aim, and corresponding artist recommendations. It's exceptionally well put together. As a visual person, I appreciate that each lesson includes a full color example and photo of the tray setup. The sections also include a detailed supply list. There is a master list of all materials used in the appendix that covers each one in great detail. It has been extremely helpful in understanding how to choose quality supplies.
|This tray is set up for soft pastels and water.|
The introduction of the book covers how to prepare the environment and ourselves as teachers. There is an appendix in the back that offers photos of sample art areas for both primary and elementary ages. That alone has been invaluable and has greatly influenced our art area. The author has taken great care to include as much art history as possible with full, historical explanations at the start of each section. There are so many tips and tricks for incorporating art in many areas of the classroom, such as science and geometry.
|My middle son isn't drawn to art the way my oldest is, but he still eagerly asks to try the lessons.|
I hope I have piqued your interest about our favorite art program. It has been one of the best investments I have made for our homeschool, which is why I knew I had to talk about it for our Fine Art topic. We will be moving to Book II shortly, and I will share once we do. If you are interested in purchasing the complete package for both primary and elementary, shipping is currently free. I also suggest signing up for the newsletter to get notified about upcoming specials.
You can visit the website here.
|The author encourages the teacher to explore with the materials as well in preparation. Here is my work.|
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This post is part of the 12 Months on Montessori Series. I am truly humbled to be part of this endeavor. I encourage you to visit all of the participating blogs to learn more about Fine Arts.