As some of you are aware I am currently studying the Playful Learning Spaces e-course. In the first two weeks I have worked on creating an outdoor art area. This obviously isn't a traditional Montessori space but I will call it Montessori inspired.
Ideas from the course that I have attempted to incorporate into this area include:
- Independence - ensure the child is able to independently access and put away materials of their choosing.
- Less is best - the child need not be overwhelmed by choice and must be able to maintain the area.
- Put all the materials the child needs for the one activity in the one basket.
- For pre-readers use labels with pictures.
- Ensure the materials represent a balance between the child's and your own preferences.
- Strike a balance between the child's favourite materials and exposing them to new ones.
- Observe the child - if the materials are a developmental match they will capture and hold the child's attention.
We chose this area for our art because it is outdoors but sheltered and under cover, I can also see/supervise this area from the kitchen. First I painted the table, we purchased it second hand and it was poorly stained. I installed a new shelf on the shelving unit and repainted. We put out our favourite art supplies and added a few new ones. We have heaps more paint and art supplies inside that we can rotate or change in the future. I also pulled our art easel out of storage and installed a new hanging wire.
I left this area for about five days and observed how Caspar used it and the materials, then made a few adjustments. Now it makes a perfect, creative, art area.