Teaching artistic concepts using the Montessori sensorial equipment

Montessori Sensorial Materials present the child with a plethora of learning and creative opportunities. It was the sensorial materials that captured my imagination when first seeing a Montessori environment. For me, they embodied art concepts. I had to learn their math and language implications. You can teach for thirty years and still find new lessons in them.

The following lessons are given after the classic ones are presented. They are each extensions that demystify an art concept. Most are 5-7 years of age appropriate, but are equally appropriate for younger children when simplified. If elaborated upon or extended, they are appropriate for older elementary students.

Since all art concepts are to be presented sensorially first, the traditional materials act as models or prototypes for art extensions. Often, practical life activities give rise to art extensions.

During my interview with Hilda Rothschild for the graduate Montessori Education Program at Xavier University, although I had never seen the Montessori sensorial materials – the pink tower, the second cylinder block, and the rough and smooth boards – I used them to demonstrate to her how they could be used for teaching art.