I started drawing with my 2-year-old granddaughter when she was just 12 months old. Now that she can talk she says “draw” with excitement, and when she draws she watches her line unfolding with such joy.
I notice she is forming a special connection through her scribbles and the things she encounters during the day. This is helping her make sense of the world. Talking about the marks she is making reveals a deep connection. What love and feeling goes into the execution of a little scribbled circle that represents “mummy”!
Dr. Montessori described how the hand is an instrument of the brain in “The Secret Of Childhood”.
“The human hand, so delicate and complicated, not only allows the mind to reveal itself, but it enables the whole being to enter into special relationships with its environment.” – Dr Maria Montessori.
All you need is a soft pencil, 2B or 3B, and a sheet of paper. The soft pencil yields a distinct line and requires little pressure to make the line clear.
By cherishing the marks that the child makes, she will view the world as an artist. She is also a scientist, and Montessori education fosters this interest in the child. For education as a whole this is a significant thing to consider.
Surely it is recognised by all that art is as important in providing a rounded education as science, maths and language. The crossover of the disciplines is seen clearly in early learning, where the observation of a scientist and the interpretation of an artist are the germ of invention.
Through drawing, the child can experience the change from merely being occupied to being fascinated. It is a shame not to capture this spark of brilliance that is present in all children. It is destroyed through the trivialising of this potential. Unfortunately, this happens on a regular basis in our traditional kindergartens and schools. The respect for the individual’s expression is shunted aside.
Everyone is familiar with the typical preschool products sent home on a regular basis. Is it the parents wanting proof that the child was occupied during the day? Or are the teachers afraid that they will be judged for not making enough effort?
The child is proud of her product and “Where is the harm?” She is taking it home and her parents are pleased with it.
The harm is in the missed opportunity.
The traditional role of the teacher of the young is a filter through which pass all praise, all blame, and all motivation.
Can both teacher and parent come to an understanding for the sake of the child? In my mind it is urgent that a change is made generally to redefine the role of the teacher. Teachers need to respect the personal style of their pupils and not impress their style on them by constant encouragement and suggestion.
The role of the teacher is the transforming element in Montessori’s educational approach. It would be great to revisit her insights on the role of the teacher, as they need to be implemented for the sake of the child.
Kindergarten teachers kindly help children ‘“draw” and make products, but the whole process does not allow the natural creativity of the child to flower. We can do better, and for those who are really interested in education, it has to begin with the understanding of the need to free the child to actively learn through her own efforts.
With this change in the teacher’s role, real “art” in early education could be included and enjoyed by all. It is so beneficial for the child to be actively involved in self-expression.
Let your children draw, as it seems to complete the circle of children’s contact with the world.
I reject seeing a teacher helping a passive child produce something acceptable. I’d rather see an active child bringing something new to the world. That something new is “herself” the new person.
From her early experience she is able to be emotionally involved with her work. She can bring insights from all areas of life together, and integrate what her whole education has given her. The future depends on it.