Do your kids enjoy art class? If your kids are like ours, your most recent memory of this time is your child running around the room with finger paint, smearing it all over the place.
However, as parents, & teachers we are generally pretty happy when kids are making progress & having fun altogether — we just wish it was done in a more controlled environment.
That is why we are so excited to tell you about how to create an art space for a preschool or kindergarten Montessori classroom. What is even better is that it can work at home too!
Whether you are looking to create your own art space or are looking for a way to keep the art "mess" from happening at Montessori lessons, we hope you find the information on this page useful.
1. Start with a table or desk made of wood:
First things first: you need a table or desk for your art supplies. A large 36 inch Montessori desk can really come in handy for this. If you do not have a large classroom table or desk you can use a regular table — just make sure it's made of wood. Since most wooden tables and desks may have grooves or a pattern on the top surface, it may cause trouble when we are trying to make drawings or paintings. So ensure that any table and desk you choose is plain or smooth. Alternatively, you can use a large piece of smooth carpet to make a smooth cover.
2. Cover the floor surface off:
In order to keep your art supplies from being muddy, you need to cover the floor surface off. You can use just a large piece of smooth carpet instead — this will be sufficient to cover off the entire floor area. I've seen many classrooms have the carpeted floor surface covered off with a large rug to protect the area underneath. Some schools even cover the entire floor with a thick, soft carpet.
3. Set up an art center supply shelf:
Now that you have the table & floor clean & covered up, you need to set up an art center supply shelf. You can use a medium shelf unit to store all your art supplies on. Place it near the table or desk — this will make it easier for your kids to access the crayons & other necessities when drawing, painting and more.
Remember to divide the different types of art supplies into different boxes or bins. That way, the learners can easily pick out the appropriate materials without thinking hard. For example, you can put the crayons in one end of the shelf and the markers in another end. The goal is to make it easy for them to locate the materials.
4 . Containers in art center supplies:
We talked about crayons to be placed on the shelf in the previous section. But plastic containers are also needed. For example, we can replace crayons in the boxes with containers and put them in the same area of the shelf. When we are drawing or painting, children can pick up a container & start drawing immediately. Later on, you can use different containers for different art materials (scissors, rubber, pencils, crayons) and check them out regularly to keep things fresh for the children.
5. Set up a tray/ trash can:
You can also set up a tray/ trash can near the shelf. This will come in handy when we need to throw away any waste paper or other materials. A tray on the other hand, can be more useful during painting. For example, the child can put the paint brushes in one end of the tray, and have the crayons and colored pencils in another end. The big advantage of a tray is that children can put any disposable in it when they are done. Once it is full, you can remove the tray and throw away all of the materials on it right away.
6. Put on some music in the background :
The last thing to consider is to have some background music playing in the art room.
Music can help keep your children from being too distracted, and it can also help set a positive mood. You can either put on some recorded music, or you can choose to have a live musician playing music in the room. In my classroom, I use songs on YouTube to play in the background.
Bottomline: Remember that we don't need to make the art space more complicated than it really is. So long as you have a good table, some clean floor coverings, and all of your art centers, your kids will be able to help themselves and create some amazing, colorful artwork for you without too much mess.