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.


Beverly said...

I would never have imagined debating this. My kids' art covers all my kitchen cabinets. That would be my permanent collection, I guess. The refrigerator is where the traveling exhibits go. Framed work is on the walls in my bedroom, the hallway, their rooms, the living room. They know that some pictures are better than others. It hasn't seemed like a problem. I assume in a classroom, you'd put up everyone's work, keep track a little to make sure everyone gets a turn. Not so in some classes?

Susan Y. Dyer said...

Bev - hi...many AMI schools absolutely do not have children's art displayed. I think the children in my class followed their own inclinations and I let them lead.

Getting cold in MN?

Children's House said...

Hi Susan...this is a comment in response to an older post (don't know if you'll see it, but I'm interested in your thoughts). When children elaborate their metal inset work with fanciful details (space alien apendages, faces)...what is your response to this? Obviously, in the initial presentation they observed the teacher filling in the space with a continuous flowing line....

Cody Sanantonio said...

At Metamorphosis Montessori we make no big deal about this. Sometimes a child will go and tape something up herself, but we always display a few pieces that change . Younger children in particular are inspired by older children's work. The walls should not be cluttered but without some of the children's work I think it would look institutional. We mat nicely and display. It's a children's house--display their work.