Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Bit of Art

Happy Summer 2012!  

I have been so busy with new roles in my career but that hasn't stopped me from taking numerous pictures throughout the year...nor my intentions of recording the work that takes place in this environment!  I can't wait to share them with you - FINALLY!  AND...thank you for being patient!  This year I humbly serve as a Head Directress of a preprimary room, a faculty member, and a board member of a Montessori society...exciting roles indeed!  In addition, I have been trying to live that well-balanced life that Dr. Montessori stresses so much in her teachings of being a "spiritually-prepared" directress.   This means, practicing yoga and meditation everyday, eating more fresh whole foods, and my new love....Zumba!  

What do you do to stay balanced in your life?

{  The Water Table }

Every environment needs a water table.  It is usually the first work I direct a child towards if he seems to be unfocused, agitated, or feeling out of sorts (i.e. tearful morning arrival).  It is especially appealing if you tell the child that you have something "oh so special for the water table today."  Then, go into your secret stash in your cabinet and get out that bowl of floating fish, pretty shells, boats, a water pump, novel sponges, etc. (you get the drift - pardon the pun)!  The water table will be an oasis of peace and purposeful work.  To "follow the child" is to give him works that will help him develop the fundamental skill of concentration.  Watch the tranquility unfold.

We did not have a "real" water table during my first year in this environment.  
However, a clear storage container worked perfectly!  The water table manipulatives were kept in a bucket underneath the table.

{ ART }

I present an Artist of the Month by introducing the artist through a story and a few framed pictures of the artist's works and of the artist.  The children love to learn abut the artist and to hear facts from his /her childhood.  On the other hand, you could just have one large beautiful work on the wall.  You'll know what will appeal to your children.  Artists range from Charley Harper, to Paul Klee, Kandisnsky, Mondrian, and so forth...

{ The Art Shelf }

{  From L to R:  Playdoh Color Mixing, Sugar cube Color Mixing, Paul Klee-inspired work;
Playdoh cutting, Paper Strip cutting, Paul Klee puzzle;  
Geometric Shapes Collage (glued to black paper), Stamping with Paint }

  The children used the black pencil to draw a self-portrait then placed squares of tissue paper on top.  After "painting" water on top of the tissue paper, the tissue squares are removed and the color remains!

 This Art Shelf is an everyday fixture in the environment.   There are two trays (in the bottom drawer which is not pictured).  Thus, only two students at a time are able to use materials from the Art Shelf.  This teaches patience and turn-taking.  When a child chooses this work, he takes a tray and the materials that he needs for his independent art project.

{ On the Shelf:  Children can take up to five pieces of colorful paper, a Paul Klee print, writing pencils, scissors, gluesticks, a pencil sharpener, Outlines of doves for the Poke and Punch activity, regular white paper, two boxes of colored pencils)

{  Community Project:  Planet Earth Mache }

I'm so fortunate to have just my kindergartners with me in the afternoons.  It's a very special time of community building and enrichment activities.  Last year, we made a Paper Mache Globe.  We used a large styrofoam sphere (from Michael's), paper mache mix (we just had to add water), and tempura paint.  After two days of letting the globe dry, it was time to paint.  Each kindergartner poked out a continent to be used as a stencil.   I used the stencils to make the outlines of each continent and the children painted the globe with sponge brushes.  This globe now greets visitors into our school lobby with a small beautiful sign that says, 

"Our Home, Planet Earth
Made by the Kindergartners"

Happy Independence Day!
May all beings live in love and freedom!

More art to follow!