In Part 1 of our “All Day Montessori: Enrichment Studios” series, we provided an overview of our All Day Montessori programs and the role of Enrichment Studios within those programs.
In Part 2, we reviewed the individual Studio Enrichment Programs that are part of the curriculum at the Montessori School of Silicon Valley: Art, Cooking & Gardening.
In Part 3, we will focus on the Studio Opening event where the children are able to showcase their projects for their family and friends.
After every 12-week session, the children prepare for the “Opening”. When speaking with the children, it takes very little time to understand that this is THE event of the school year.
As active participants in the Opening, children take great pride in their work and in turn gain a high sense of accomplishment. The results are all theirs and they love the opportunity to show everyone just how much this is the case!
During the 12-week session, the Studio Guide will focus on 4-5 different projects that will be on display for the parents during the Opening.
In the Cooking Studio for example, the children will re-create 7-8 cooking dishes that they had prepared during the 12-week Studio session. All food prepared in the cooking studio is healthy and has changed how so many children view trying new foods.
This is the most popular Studio, as ALL the children can’t wait to lead their parents to the Cooking Studio for a delicious snack. They find it very exciting to show off their new skills!
In the Gardening Studio, the Guide will present a photo collage of the children working in the garden and working indoors with gardening activities as well. For example, the children will grow herbs in glass jars.
You might already be thinking: “…I wonder if the children from the Cooking Studio cook with the harvested herbs, vegetables and fruits grown in the garden…?”. Yes, they do. This is a wonderful way to build community in the school, which helps to build a solid foundation for community building later in life as adults.
Below are three Art Enrichment Studio examples to provide a little more insight as to the thought behind the themes that we choose for each session.
After being introduced to Georgia O’Keeffe and her flower painting, the children were invited to observe a flower of their choice and create a flower painting of their own.
They were encouraged to make their drawings as large as they could. Drawing on a macro scale was an opportunity for the children to leave their comfort zones and take on a different perspective. The children then painted their flowers with watercolor.
This lesson was helpful in building mental connections in the children as they were able to learn about art history and the namesake of their classroom (which in this case happened to be “O’Keeffe”).
This activity was designed to encourage the children to work on their observational skills; developing their capacity to describe and record their observations through art.
In addition, the exercise allowed the children to explore spatial relationships, perspective and proportion as they considered the distance, position and direction of one petal in relation to the rest of the flower.
The children were introduced to books and pictures of cave painting. The Studio Guide led them in a discussion on how these paintings are some of the oldest forms of art to be found and can be found on the walls of caves around the world.
We talked about how these painting typically took on animals as subjects and were painted in earth-tone colors. The children were then invited to create their own drawings of animals using chalk pastels. Some children chose to cut out animal shapes and use them as stencils.
This activity was intended to give the children an opportunity to understand and appreciate the power of art to tell stories and communicate ideas. Much of what we understand of what life was like for our ancestors is deduced from the stories these drawings tell.
The children were also given a chance to construct their own narrative through art. Our friend Andrew described his drawing as “a volcano” and our friend Reyansh described his as “a camel and a goat”.
The children painted cardboard tubes and then used their hands to bend and fold the tubes into any shape or form they wanted to make cardboard sculptures.
Giving children the opportunity to paint freely supports the children’s positive sense of self. It helps them to gain skills, understand their artistic preferences and develop confidence and pride in their work.
Painting can also be a soothing sensory experience, providing children with a way to process their emotions.
This activity also promoted an understanding of spatial concepts such as color, line, shape, size and direction.
As the children explored the many possibilities that could arise from bending and molding such a simple material they were gaining spatial awareness.
This was also a lesson on repurposing household waste. Here the children took an item that would otherwise be discarded and transformed into their own original art piece.
I hope you have enjoyed our Studio Enrichment Series.