What is Montessori Preschool? Part Ten

Montessori Learning Materials, Part 6— Art & Music: Integrated in the Montessori Environment

In the Montessori setting the arts are not considered to be a separate subject distinct from other types of learning. Rather, art and music are considered an integral part of personal expression and as such, complement and increase children’s desire to explore and learn, including such things as enriching their vocabulary with terms that describe the color, shape and texture of the physical world. Art and music materials are integrated into the everyday activities that children undertake.

Different materials such as crayons, chalk, pencils, paint, fabric and a large of variety of papers are used in the classroom as are the materials for singing, dancing, and playing some musical instruments. As with other Montessori materials, art and music are explored through stimulation of the senses for instance, by exposure to paintings by great artists hung on the walls at the children’s eye-level, or by listening to music by great composers as they do their other work. More generally the Montessori classroom environments are designed to be aesthetically pleasing with attention to color, proportions and layout to create a tangible sense of harmony.

Music and art are also explored in a cultural way though ties to history and geography lessons. Coloring a flag or dancing to the melody of a certain place are part of the exploration of a country’s cultural heritage. Classrooms contain art folders with photos of art work classified according to the time period, style or thematic content. Children also listen to music which demonstrate the styles of different musical composers.

As in the real world, art and music are found all around us, not just in their own separate spaces. So it is with the arts in Montessori education, which allows children to see the arts as a natural part of their environment.

Stay tuned for the next installment about Montessori Materials—“Working Outside: Expanding the Boundaries of the Montessori Environment.”

To see a Montessori preschool in operation, come visit Otoch Paal Community Center in Akumal Pueblo
. Otoch Paal welcomes visitors who are interested in seeing how a Montessori center operates. Classes are in session from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday. Visitors are asked to come between 9 and 10:30 a.m.

How you can help. As a non-profit community-based learning center, Otoch Paal does not generate sufficient funds to pay for all necessary school improvements. Monetary donations and donations in kind are always welcome. Donations can be made directly at the school. Or more information can be found at: http://montessoriaroundtheworld.org/otoch.html/

The Rotary Club of Fort Collins, Colorado has already raised money for one new roof but they are still working on raising funds for the second (and last) grass roof that needs to be replaced at Otoch Paal (for more information, read the Sac Be newsletter from April 09). If you are interested in donating to the roof project, please contact Ron Rockvam at the email address below. Are you part of a Rotary Club that wants to get involved? Contact Ron Rockvam of the Foothills Rotary Club at: dvantage@msn.com

Are you associated with a Montessori school that could donate used learning materials for the preschool/kindergarten classroom? Contact Eleonor Bermudez Ferrer, of Otoch Paal, at: leocancun@hotmail.com or Ellie Zucker, parent, at: elzucker@aol.com

Directions to Otoch Paal
: The school is located near the back of Akumal Pueblo, on the Northern edge of the town. It can be reached by following the Pueblo’s main street (avenida) to the fourth block on the right hand side of the street. After passing the secondary and kindergarten schools (which are on the main street), turn right at the corner where the kindergarten is located and continue to the next corner. Otoch Paal is next to the kindergarten and the entrance is at the far corner, near the town’s edge.

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