Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Open-Ended Art

It has been important to me that the art activities and lessons available to our students remain as open-ended as possible to foster creativity and understanding of differences.  In the past, I have always spent a great amount of time preparing individual art lessons for the Art Shelves in our classroom.  With the majority of our students being so new to the classroom this year, I wanted to leave the art activities as open-ended as possible.  To that end, we have dedicated the entire bottom portion of our Art area for open-ended activities:

Open-ended art supplies:  assortment of a papers; collage materials; tray with crayons, colored pencils, markers; tray in back with scissors, glue stick, glue sponge, and glue bottle.  Barely seen in the far right are two trays which can be used for collecting various materials.
I envision this space to be constantly changing based on the needs and interests of the children.  In the past, I have noticed that a challenge arises for children if they have an idea to pin push the shapes of a botany puzzle, or wish to trace and color the cubes of the Pink Tower - we did not necessarily have the materials on the shelves and the children would then have to ask an adult for any needed materials.  Having these readily available on the Art Shelf will eliminate this problem and enhance the children's independence by allowing them to carry out their ideas without much help from an adult.  

For those of you who may be wondering, the top shelf of the Art activities include the following:  play dough, kinetic sand, clay, paper cutting, and pin pushing.  Also, I do still plan to periodically introduce seasonal, process-oriented projects but wanted to have these open ended materials available to the students at any time.  I look forward to seeing the creations and watching them create extensions with the Montessori materials.  


  1. I am currently finishing my training (doing my student teaching now), and I just wanted to let you know what an amazing resource you have created in this blog.

    My favorite trainer/professor also did her training at St.Kate's! :)

    1. That is wonderful to hear, thank you so much. Congratulations on finishing your training - I hope your internship is going well. I'm sure it will be an unforgettable experience which will serve you well in the years to come. Best of luck to you!

  2. BEAUTIFUL re-imagining of your art shelves, Sasha!

    So far this year, with my 2's, I have borrowed your Peace Dove collaborative art project (rather than names and thumb print "signatures", I painted the word Peace below the dove. I hope to end up with a tryptic by years end of canvases) and took your theme of bead stairs for the year and created an art tray (an outlined numeral one, a red do-a-dot, the children fill in).

    As Caitlin pointed out above, you are an amazing resource and proxy mentor! So grateful for you!

    1. Thank you, Heather. I love how the art truly become the child's own by setting up the materials in the manner… Your peace art project sounds lovely and I'm so glad you can use the bead stair idea! :-)