Why are art programs being cut from so many schools? As the owner of The Montessori Garden School, a local Montessori School in the Miami area, I believe that art is so important for so many skills that small children need. I am very lucky to have K.E. Art for Kids teach art at our school. As a Montessori teacher herself, Mrs. Karen teaches children from ages 2 to 6 the beauty of art.
The art program is offered as an extra-curricular activity that the children have a choice in participating in. At the Montessori Garden, we have some toddlers that participate in the art class, but our whole class of primary children ages 3-6 participates. They enjoy not only making art, but everything else that they get from it. I have seen that the children’s self-confidence and self-esteem increases with the art class. They choose not just to scribble and paint whatever they want. During art class they choose to follow directions and are taught the steps of creating a masterpiece.
Parents always wonder if the kids will enjoy art class, because on art day the children do not have outside playtime. It turns out that the children excitedly wait for art day and constantly ask when art class is. When Mrs. Karen arrives, the children light up with excitement. Mrs. Karen first teaches the children about the artist they are studying. Then, they get to recreate the art of famous artists, learning the steps it takes and do this process in a certain order, because art is considered a process. This not only teaches the children patience, but it increases concentration, fine motor skills, independence, creativity, self-expression, and seeing the beauty in everything around us. Anything can be art; it is the way people express themselves.
This summer we had the pleasure of having a local artist, Victor Garcia from VGA World, visit our summer camp art program. The children had recreated his “Flower Nose” art piece. He brought the children stickers of his art pieces. He also spoke about art and drew an original piece right there with the children. What an incredible experience! Thank you so much to VGA and K.E. Art for Kids for sharing their passion for art with our young children.
This is what Mrs. Karen Rivera had to say, “During art camp this summer, I introduced the art campers to various artwork by local artists. Among those was Vic Garcia, better known as VGA. VGA is a Miami native cartoonist artist whose work is largely inspired by and for children. Through social media he became aware of what we were doing in our camp and contacted me to ask if he can visit the students who had created the artwork inspired by his. He came on the last day of camp and shared a very special moment with the children. He gave out stickers from his collection and doodled alongside the children. He also chatted with them and answered questions about what it means to be an artist. He even shared in our pizza Friday lunch! I also want to thank Evelyn Grace Photography for capturing some beautiful pictures of our experience.”
Can young children participate in art classes? Definitely. Do they get anything out of it? Absolutely. In the Montessori classroom famous artworks and artists hang at the children’s eye level. It is part of appreciating and learning about arts and cultures. It is not always about the final product the children produce, but about their personal self. The way they develop their creativity, coordination, concentration, motor skills, and self-esteem, is more important than the actual art piece. The love and passion they develop for art is something they will keep in their lives forever. In the words of Maria Montessori, “Imagination does not become great until human beings, given the courage and the strength, use it to create.”
Danierys Hernandez has been a teacher for 27 years in Miami-Dade County. She taught in the elementary and middle school levels. She is certified in the areas of special education, Math 6-10 grade, ESOL, Elementary education and she has her Montessori Certificate in Early Childhood. On November 2011, she opened up The Montessori Garden School, which is located on Bird Road and 82nd Avenue, also she opened a second campus located on Coral Way and 79th Avenue. Art has always been an important part of her life and now she’s very glad that they have such a great art program now available at the campuses.