Thursday, October 30, 2008
To Display or Not The Children's Art
Last year the Montessori by Hand yahoo group discussed at length via many emails whether or not children's art should be displayed in the classroom. No one idea was settled upon. Instead, a variety of thoughts and ways of displaying art or not was simply exchanged.
I have had heads of school tell me not to display the children's work as it may encourage competition or may inappropriately highlight the adult's perception of "good" or "beautiful" art and therefore wound the child/s whose art is never chosen for display.
At one school I worked at, the policy was that art done by children who had either graduated from Primary or had moved on to another school could be displayed. However, art by current students could not. I really do not have a strong opinion for displaying or not. I did like one post made during the Montessori by Hands discussion on this topic. The writer said that she displayed her children's art work in her home on the walls and on the refrigeratior. Since she saw the classroom as the chidren's home away from home, she felt that it was important that their work be displayed in their second "home".
One day last week, several older children were working with the metal insets. They were making some wonderful drawings.
Half way through the morning, I noticed a couple of these children standing in the library area with tape in their hands. (I was wondering why they had come to me earlier asking where the tape was.) These children were taping their metal inset work on the wall beside the collection of portraits that hang there.
I asked them what they were doing and they stated very simply, "We are hanging up our work so everyone can see it." No need for a discussion with a dozen or so experienced Montessori directresses via a yahoo group. I responded, "Okay, but don't put too much tape on the wall because it can peel off the paint." They said they wouldn't and I walked away.
A few minutes later, I spoke to Patti about their dispayed art. She said that her children's Montessori school displays the children's art for a week and then changes it. I added that it was of particular interest to me where our students had chosen to hang their art. They did not just put it here and there throughout the classroom. Instead, they placed their work next to other hung images. Makes sense to me.