Simple to complex drawing, painting, origami etc.
Each art form is defined by characteristics which create possibilities as well as limitations. They are further defined by the materials used to make them. There is a structure to each form that can always be creatively elaborated upon. New and non-traditional materials, technologies, and philosophies enlarge the possibilities for artistic ideas. This, in turn, creates new art forms and enlivens the traditional ones. Alexander Calder, for example, invented the mobile by extending the possibilities of sculpture into actual physical movement and balance to create an art form that had been static for centuries. All works of art start with an idea. Driven by the mind and the heart, the desire to communicate and express oneself starts very young. The three year old and the 33 year old artist both must make creative decisions when faced with a blank surface, paint, and brushes. Think of creativity as having three different processes all giving rise to the new. They are invention, discovery, and selection. These terms can be applied to children’s art as well as to adult art. The processes can be woven into lessons and used when speaking to children about their art. It is helpful, when a child thinks they have made a mistake, to let them know that they have discovered a variation. These terms apply to all creative activities. If you are vigilant, you will discover how to apply them to all your endeavors. You are creative when you select the Montessori materials and activities that compose the environment at any one time. When demonstrating how to make an art form, give only a classic lesson. It is tempting to share simple variations your students can use. When doing so, you rob the child of the joy of discovering them. As a teacher, you could give the same lesson over and over for several years and still make discoveries yourself. Enjoy! Refrain from suggesting how to rework a piece of finished work; that is the child’s decision. Remember, the child is free to repeat the same art form. We can suggest, teach a lesson again, ask questions, or make statements, which may assist the person the next time they choose the work (Point of Interest). Remember, sometimes we create from pure intuition and arrive at its meaning only after it is finished. The process of self discovery takes time. Children will come to you for help. If the problem is not the discovery of a variation, discuss with them options for solving their dilemma and let them choose. They can use their “mistake” creatively, which may force them to change their idea, which is one of the delights of “making it up.” They could be given instructions on how to erase a mistake, if that is possible, or they can start over, or even choose new work! Watch for children who start over often. They need support and instruction with each phase of their work. Note: Most, but not all lessons are group presentations. All the equipment and materials need to be on a teaching mat or low table when the group meets. Everything is replaced in the environment as part of the lesson. You are free to choose how you will give any of these lessons. Note: How to help children create their own ideas is addressed in Generating Personal Ideas.