Supporting Your Little Picasso - The Montessori Approach to Art - The Montessori Room

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by Laura Berthiaume August 17, 2021 2 min read

Throw out your colouring books! There’s no room for those in a Montessori home.

Just kidding :)

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know I believe there’s no one way to Montessori.

The core of Montessori is about respecting the child... so the whole philosophy doesn’t have to go out the window because you bought a Paw Patrol colouring book.

But it is true, Montessori classrooms don’t offer colouring books or any other structured art materials.

Montessori approaches art as a way to foster creativity and imagination. It’s completely open-ended, offering children a blank canvas to do anything they like with.
Montessori approach to art, toddler art

The Montessori Approach to Art

There’s a couple guidelines that teacher’s follow for art exploration that you can easily do at home:

1. Start with just a few colours

For toddlers, choose just 1-3 colours of markers, paint, or crayons.

A big box of crayons or a huge palette of paint can feel overwhelming to young children.

2. Avoid praise or interruption

Once the child has begun, avoid interrupting to comment or praise what they’re doing. This will not only distract the child, but also encourage them to create for us, the parents or teachers, rather than for themselves.

If your child shows you their work, try to use matter of fact language like, "you worked really hard on that" or ask questions like "tell me what part you like the most?"

3. Make demonstration simple and something they can follow

A child just starting out with art materials will not be able to replicate the heart or butterfly you’re drawing.

When demonstrating how to use paint or crayons, simply scribble on the paper so that your child can follow along.

4. Choose high quality materials

Higher quality materials are just easier to work with. We like Filia oil crayons or Stockmar paints or because they both offer good colour pay off.

5. Process not product

When it comes to art, it is the process, not the product, that is most important to the toddler.

Avoid putting pressure on your child to "finish" a piece of art or craft project. A child enjoys creating but does not care about the finished product the way we do.

Allow their creativity to freely blossom without the pressure of making or doing anything specific.

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