Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Painting Technique for All Levels

Besides being a Montessori Primary Directress, I am also a trained Yoga Instructor for Children. I have taught yoga to children, ages 3 -12, for ten years. This is my summer occupation. I am always interested in ways to help children understand their breath, to see it as a force and to be able to expand and develop that force. In yoga it is called Pranayama breathing.

In addition, as many of us know, more and more children have asthma. I have three children with asthma in my classroom. So, I bring into the classroom yoga materials and games that might allow all the children to understand how to "grow" their lungs.

My most recent fusion of yoga and Montessori came in the form of a simple art lesson - using a straw to paint. The materials include a small bowl or glass which is filled 3/4 with water. This little bowl of water is where a child places the eye dropper to be rinsed after its use and until it is used again. I keep the eye dropper in a special box on the tray. This highlights its importance. After the child uses the eyedropper (I have preliminary work on how to use an eye dropper in the Practical Life area) to leave a few drops of color on the paper, he puts it into the water in the small bowl. Next, he takes a straw and blows on the drops. Children are instructed not to share straws and to throw theirs away after the work is done. This work is so easy and so fun.

It is a color mixing material, too. As a child blows the paint from one droplet over another the combination of colors creates new ones.

What is also interesting about this work, is discovering that not all children can immediately do it. Some children just don't know how to blow through a straw. Also, some children just can't blow hard enough, at first. This work allows the adults to observe a child's abilities in these areas and to note them, just as they would do with the sound boxes or color tablets.

We are still having fun with the work. P.S For straws I used coffee stir sticks. Also, I used regular copy paper instead of heavier or watercolor paper because it is less absorbent. Here are a few photos:

The head of our school was observing this work one day and said, "Miss Dyer, your training them to be glass blowers." I answered, "And to play the flute or the trumpet, so many things..."


Montessori Mama said...

Thank you for this!
As always, I adore your posts.

MontanaMontessorian said...

Susan, this is the third or fourth time I've been very envious of your paints. Do you remember where you got that bottle-holding stand and are those liquid watercolors? Again do you have a good source for them?

Susan Y. Dyer said...

I will check the name tomorrow. The colors come condensed in individual bottles and we put them in these containers that are provided and add water. They are wonderful. I will write a note to myself to remember to write the name down. I also have to remember to write down the name of the clay I use. I am on it!!

Susan Dyer
The Moveable Alphabet

Fairion said...

I love this idea. I need to try this with my preschooler. We do not do enough real art around here