In each Montessori school we have attended there have been areas that I feel have been lacking. In Canberra I felt the children could do more cooking, baking and food preparation. Here in Brisbane I feel they could do more art. Our Canberra school had a specialist art teacher and regular art evenings. I know (and understand) the theory behind not having specialist teachers in Montessori classrooms however having a specialist teacher draws attention, focus and perhaps resources to a specific area.
However as I have absolutely adored both schools and all of our teachers I simply compensate for these areas at home. We can cook and bake at home and we can create art at home. I cannot make up for not having access to an experienced art teacher but I can ensure my children are exposed to various art materials and we can learn techniques together. The key is to make it a focus at home and not let it get lost in the busyness of life. Over the next couple of weeks I am revamping our art area. We really have all the materials we need (although the boys used the last of the clay today) I just need to find a way of making it more accessible, more child friendly, more attractive. Perhaps having a focus of (but not limited to) one medium per fortnight or per month might work.
I have seen collage, paint, markers and pencils in Montessori 3-6 and 6-9 classrooms. The collage materials have always been severely limited and the pencils and markers lack variety and often lack quality. I have not seen other materials readily available to the children. At school my children have not/do not have everyday access to clay, modelling beeswax, pastels, charcoal, mosaics, they have not tried marbling, handmade stamps, stencilling or any kind of printing or dyeing. Surely these are all appropriate materials for children at some point within the ages of three to nine. Art is not a part of their everyday school life.
I don't want Montessori schools to push out cookie cutter crafts but I expect and wish for exposure to high quality and various art materials - even in the 3-6 and 6-9 classrooms.
My question - is there enough art in Montessori schools? If not - why not, what is the barrier?