Who doesn't remember painting as a child? I remember the excitement of being able to use watercolors during the summer, at home with my mother. Back then, we had “magic” books where you painted the pages with water, and they became colored as the ink was released. In school, there was such wonder and joy when we saw our teacher bring out the paint bottles. We knew that any time the paint was out it was a special day, indeed!
Painting in the Montessori classroom is a fun, yet serious experience. To the Montessori teacher, painting for self-expression is the secondary goal. The first goal of painting is practical in nature. For the 3 to 6 year old child, painting is a way to strengthen muscles and refine motor skills. It improves concentration and coordination. The process of setting up and cleaning up is also a way to promote independence. Like all works in a Montessori classroom, painting is broken down into a series of procedures, as well as levels.
A Guide to Painting in the Montessori 3-6 Preschool/Kindergarten Classroom
Procedures for Painting
- The child puts on apron or paint smock.
- The child hangs paper on the easel with clips or magnets.
- Using one large paintbrush, one color of paint, and a jar of water, the child paints until he is satisfied and “done”.
- The child removes the paper from the easel and carefully carries it over to the drying rack.
- The child, using clothespins, hangs the picture to dry.
- The child returns to the easel to prepare it for the next child. The easel is cleaned with a damp sponge, the floor is cleaned, and the dirty water is poured out.
- The child removes the apron and puts it away neatly.
Levels of PaintingToo many choices can be overwhelming to young children. There are so many lessons that can be incorporated into painting. Lessons may include colors and color mixing, (primary, secondary, and tertiary colors), brush strokes, and various techniques such as finger and splatter painting. Different types of paints may be incorporated as well as different types, weights, and textures of paper.
Painting allows children to explore and express themselves artistically.They learn to develop an appreciation of what is involved in painting, and this in turn leads to a larger appreciation of the artistic works of others. NAMC's Montessori 3–6 Classroom Guide discusses setting up different accessory spaces in the classroom, such as a painting and art area.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Sunday, February 10, 2008.