The Clanmore Voice

September 22, 2021

Archive for Montessori Casa Program

On Metal Insets, Control of the Hand, Design and Creativity (and Anne Frank too)

posted in Montessori Education
11/07/2018  |  Comments Off on On Metal Insets, Control of the Hand, Design and Creativity (and Anne Frank too)

“To confer the gift of drawing, we must create an eye that sees, a hand that obeys, a soul that feels; and in this task, the whole life must cooperate. In this sense, life itself is the only preparation for drawing. Once we have lived, the inner spark of vision does the rest.”
Maria Montessori

Photo collection of the Anne Frank House, Amsterdam

Photo collection of the Anne Frank House, Amsterdam

Anne Frank, the Montessori child, who created this beautiful metal inset design in 1941, clearly possessed “the inner spark of vision” of which Maria Montessori spoke. But to back up a little, where would a work like this truly begin?

Extensive indirect preparation for handwriting, art and design begins with practical life and sensorial materials. These exercises support the development of gross and fine motor control, as well as the fingers used in handling a pencil or brush. They foster hand-eye coordination, concentration, pattern recognition, discrimination of shapes, colours, sizes, and textures and memory recall. The children learn to reflect upon their work and self-correct when necessary.

The metal insets, a key sensorial material, function specifically to prepare the hand for writing as art and design work begin to flourish. These materials – ten geometric shapes that each fit into corresponding frames are comprised of a square, triangle, rectangle, pentagon, trapezium, circle, oval, ellipse, curvilinear triangle, and quatrefoil.  The straight and curved line figures brilliantly correspond to the curves and angles found in the letters of the alphabet, thus preparing the hand in advance for the writing to come.

In their work with the metal insets, the children’s ability to create straight and fluid serpentine lines is refined. Lightness of touch, evenness of pressure and the motor and mental control to support this are developed. A left to right, top to bottom orientation is reinforced and proper posture emphasized. A movement towards exactitude is inherent in the exercises.

In this way…children perfect themselves in writing without actually writing.”
Maria Montessori

“Montessori points out that the ability to stay within the lines and control the pencil leads to mastery in writing the letters that have been learned by tracing the Sandpaper Letters with their fingers. These physical and mental connections pave the way to what Montessori called an “explosion into writing”.”

 

We’ll leave the final thought to Anne Frank:

“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”

top of the page

Art Through The Years At Clanmore

posted in Montessori Education
03/10/2017  |  Comments Off on Art Through The Years At Clanmore

Paint- Art Studio

Art in the Toddler Environment is a big component of the curriculum.  Expression is always available with chalk, tempera paint & water colours, coloured pencils & markers, stickers, glueing shapes on paper, stamping & dabbing.  It is through this work that allows the child freedom of expression, repetition and reflection of their work.  It is a beautiful process that incorporates mind and body with large movements aided by repetition that refines those large movements into developing control and dexterity.

 

Blackboard - Toddler Room

“At the Toddler level, it is the beginning of using the tools.”  Elaine Kerr-Morgan

 

Art - Toddler Room

 

Art Tower - Casa

Casa children are introduced to the elements of design such as line, colour, texture, shape and space with the Montessori materials.  There is an art tower that Elaine Kerr-Morgan our Art Specialist created alongside the casa directresses. It is a fixed material within the casa classroom.

 

arttower2 arttower3 DSC_0210 (2)

“Casa children are refining their hand, eye coordination.”  Elaine Kerr-Morgan

DSC_0213 casastorywriting

 

In the Lower Elementary community, children begin to explore using the medium of art within the classroom as they transform clay into a sculpture in a diorama in support of a project or make a mask as a visual display of culture interlaced within history. Studio time in the art room allows for this to happen throughout the week.   It becomes a tool when exploring timelines as a freedom expression.

 

DSC_0175 (1) Copy of Lowerinclass DSC_0182

The Lower Elementary children now leave the classroom for art instruction in the Clanmore art studio.  They also experience trips out to galleries and libraries to explore artists nationally and internationally.  They immerse themselves in the language and unique style of a particular artist and are exposed to the different disciplines of art. In the studio, they explore their own unique style and make their own creations.

 

Lower

“Lower Elementary is about refining and exploring the elements of design so they are more developed in their minds.”  Elaine Kerr- Morgan

 

storytellinghistorylower

At the Upper Elementary level, children continue to develop their own style with design elements and principles.  They come to understand the different uses of expression within mixed media.   In and out of the classroom art intertwines with their work as they become more aware that as a society we are indeed surrounded by art and expression everywhere we go.  Principles learned like space, rhythm, balance, variety, emphasis, repetition and unity give light to understanding from a distinct perspective.  Perhaps this perspective is their own or perhaps it is a glimpse into the artist’s point of view or period of time in which the piece was created.
This is a time “where the children continue to refine their skill with different media, where they begin to understand the use of elements in cooperation with the principles of design.”  Elaine Kerr-Morgan

 

Upper

In Middle School expression of one’s individuality is front row for the adolescent. Art is a great outlet for this.

 

MS.InstructionJPG

Over two years they explore photography, optical illusion, two point perspective, balance with symmetry, asymmetry, bilateral and radial along with installation art: visual and sound art. They study art history with a focus on historical and contemporary art with gallery visits.  Within the micro-economy program they make items for their spring and winter markets like jewellery and when studying drama they dive into set design.  Art is layered throughout the middle school years as in life; the children now begin to see it everywhere they go.

 

MS

“This is preparation for high school. Solidifying the understanding principles of design and using these principles to evaluate a piece of artwork.”  Elaine Kerr-Morgan

 

MS (1)

top of the page

The Transition from Toddler to Casa: Part 2

posted in Montessori Education
06/02/2015  |  Comments Off on The Transition from Toddler to Casa: Part 2

Our first blog post in this series focused on independence and the child’s work in constructing him/herself in order to become a contributing member of the Casa community. We will now delve a little deeper into the areas of language and the importance of what Montessori termed practical life.

Toddler Language

Read More

Language

The Toddler child acquires language by taking in that which his/her surrounding environment provides. Upon this foundation, the Casa child explodes into the spoken, and then written word. Vocabulary previously taken in is now used, and used with a greater understanding of both meaning and context. Vocabulary becomes notably more precise as a consequence of a more refined awareness of the world. The desire to acquire new and more expansive vocabulary is insatiable.

Casa Curiosity

Casa children become consciously aware that language is a tool to express not just concrete objects but also emotions and thoughts. It has grammatical structure and the same word used in a different context or placement can take on a completely different meaning. Language for this child becomes something more than just an ability to name his/her world. It is something to play with, to explore and to take great delight in.

Casa Snack Table

Practical Life

Casa Dusting

The Practical Life activities, those activities performed in daily living, help to foster independence. In the preschool environment they are very much an extension of the home. Practical Life activities, at both the Toddler and Casa levels aid the children in adapting to the environment with ease, while the role modeling of the adults furthers the children in their physical and social independence. The Casa child then is able to take these tools to further him/herself personally (fix one’s shoes when they don’t feel quite right, pour a drink when thirsty), and also ultimately contribute to the community for the benefit of the group (set the table for lunch for example). Independence allowing for interdependence.

Casa Dressing Frame

It is interesting to note that recent neuroscience research strongly supports the importance of practical life activities in executive brain function. Brain development, as we know, is experienced based, and executive functions are the processes within the brain responsible for mental control and self-regulation.1

 

“The seeds of self-control begin in learning to control one’s own body.  … Practical Life is the first step for each child in building a foundation for a better brain, in the Montessori environment and beyond.” Dr. Steve Hughes, PhD, LP, ABPdN   For a fascinating look at Montessori and brain development we highly recommend:  http://www.goodatdoingthings.com  and http://www.BuildingBetterBrains.com (https://vimeo.com/stevehughes)

 

 

 

 

top of the page

The Transition from Toddler to Casa: Part 1

posted in Montessori Education
05/25/2015  |  Comments Off on The Transition from Toddler to Casa: Part 1

Who is the Casa child?

Casa children are working towards becoming even more independent. One of their tasks is to gain social independence among peers and ultimately become a contributing member of their community. They observe and imitate to construct themselves in order to transition from being an individual within the community towards being an integral part of that community. With this comes a fulfilled sense of belonging and purpose.

Toddler to Casa 1

Read More

Like the Toddler child, they are still in a sensitive period for order (internalizing patterns and connections from the impressions of their environment). Having now entered the second half of what Montessori coined the first plane of development (0-6 years of age), they are moving from being the observer who takes in all impressions from the environment indiscriminately, to the child who can direct his/her attention towards specific interests and aspects of the environment.

Toddler to Casa 2

They take in patterns of language and mathematical concepts, refine the impressions their senses receive (colour may now be perceived in shades for example), note how human beings conduct themselves socially and absorb many other components of their world. A child of this age is constantly striving towards mastery of his/her environment. This is an extension and further development of their will.

Toddler to Casa 3

There are more materials in the Casa classroom in response to developmental necessity. Their senses are becoming more refined, new psychological characteristics emerge, they become more mindful and like their toddler peers are capable of great developmental work.

top of the page