How the organization of the studio, the equipment, and the school day promotes art in the classroom
The Environment I designed 12 Montessori art studios over the 33 years that I practiced as a Montessori art specialist teaching 5 -12 year olds at Sands Montessori for the Cincinnati Public Schools. I found that one studio could service preprimary and primary students, switching back and forth with modifications, but 9 -12 children needed a larger environment that only serviced them. For the first 3-4 years of our school’s existence we serviced children 5-9 years of age. There were Kindergarten only classrooms. The kindergarten teachers, in one year, prepared our students to seamlessly enter into the lower primary classes serving 6-9 year olds. After 4 or 5 years, the 9-12 environment was opened. Even later, 3-6 environments were established, but only kindergarten students came to the art studio. The maximum number of students in the school ranged from 550 to 700. During most of my teaching career, I taught in three environments called studios, with an assistant teacher. For the last five years, I worked by myself because of budget restraints. Without an assistant, it was a 7 AM to 7 PM job on weekdays, and required at least six to eight hours at school every weekend. There were several important, positive features of each of the spaces that became studios. There was at least one sink, room for an open space to accommodate 24 people for group lessons, storage spaces, north light, enough electrical outlets, and lastly, a place for a kiln that was safe for the children and safe for the kiln.