Art comes in many everyday forms. It reveals elements in such things as moving and speaking, the interior design of a home or school, and even in selecting toys and books. However, art in its many forms shares a common passion: the production of work that inspires, evokes the senses and, in general, makes life better or more pleasing.
In a Montessori Tides classroom, art is essential in the environment of the child. In fact, it plays a large part of the elementary studies. But we must be aware, an adult cannot “teach” a child to be an artist, an adult can only help a child to develop. As expressed in the words of Maria Montessori: “An eye that sees; a hand that obeys; a soul that feels.”
Montessori education understands art is in every lesson and should never be defined by one subject; it is a way of approaching life and is integrated in all of life. We must not separate art from every other element of life. Throughout the course of Montessori education, children learn art in all forms and are discovering their own personal art to contribute to the world.
A Mile in Hugh’s Shoes
A few weeks ago I observed Hugh Long (4th grader) contribute his own personal art at Montessori Tides Parent Ed Class. He graced the audience with an outstanding presentation of a Florida Geography assignment assigned by Nancy Hatton, Lead Montessori Tides Elementary Directress.
For many people, Hugh’s presentation cultivated an image of how he spends his day in a Montessori classroom engaged in work that he finds fascinating, challenging, and deeply satisfying. In his mind, a vision of life is taking shape – a world of tightly woven experiences. He is beginning to understand cause and effect at a universal level. The knowledge he is gaining will help him become aware of consequences and will encourage conscientious decision-making. Above all, Hugh’s experiences (lessons) are a form of creative expression displaying how art is integrated in our daily life.
My take, after traveling a mile in Hugh’s shoes left an impression, “surely he may be a public speaker one day”. But in that moment I realized the limitation placed on him with such an assumption. The truth is our carnal minds cannot even fathom in this moment the creative contribution Hugh or any other Tides student will have to the world.
“Above all, it is to be noted that the child has a passionate love for order and work, and possesses intellectual qualities superior by far to what might have been expected.” ~ Dr. Maria Montessori