Ms. Stephanie and Montessori Tides Upper-Elementary class are singing wordlessly and without pause a message of hope to all the patients at Shands Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida.
Montessori Tides recently brought in Art Therapist, Madaline Wagnor, from Shands Hospital, and she along with our students made feather ornaments out of clay to hang on the hospital Christmas tree. “The idea behind this,” said Wagnor, “is to send back to the hospital hope from the children to help patients feel better, through an artistic and meaningful experience.”
Wagnor cultivated this art project through Emily Dickinson and her inspiring poem, “Hope” is the thing with feathers.
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chilliest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
Wagnor has found this poem to be a perfect expression of the tune hope sings in our heart and recognizes a child’s heart to be the most powerful force that can keep us alive, move us forward, despite the circumstance. Dickinson could just come right out and say hope is a bird, but it just sounds so much better phrasing it the way she did- hope is the thing with feathers. Doesn’t that sound like the way a child would say it?
Next time I find a fragile bird feather lying on the ground, I will remember these beautiful art pieces and think, hope never disappoints us. Hope is the confident expectation of something sure. Yet, hope is not only the bird itself but with great emphasis on its feathers. We can lose a few feathers without losing hope. To quote Maria Montessori, “the child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.” Feathers are on the way!
Children were given a total of 4 balls of clay (2 for Shands and 2 for themselves). First they squished the clay into a smooth pebble shape. The children really had to focus on their shape, if the clay was formed too thin, they would have to start all over with a new piece of clay.
Once clay was smooth and in the right form, children picked out a linocut mold. A feather impression made by Ms. Madeline.
Ms. Madeline rolled a roller in silver ink, and then rolled the ink over the feather impression until completely covered.
Children impressed the feather into the clay.
This one is drying. A hole will be placed at the top for a ribbon to be tied on the finished ornament.