May 11, 2014
Waterlily in bloom on our pond.
Beauty is an integral part of a child’s EAC experience from the moment s/he first sets foot through our doors. Dr. Montessori’s method is predicated upon the notion that it is through the interaction with the physical environment that children develop; Dr. Montessori coined this development as “self-construction”. Furthermore, in order for optimum self-construction to occur, the child’s environment should be a prepared one, consciously created by the educator to reflect the specific needs of the child at each developmental stage.
The prepared environment is the structure within which children process the information given to them by their senses.
A well designed environment has many components, one of which is beauty.
Environments should be simple, ordered, bright and appeal to the innate sense of aesthetic that lies latent in every human.
Included in the environment should be beautiful objects and/or art work that reflects the particular cultures children are born into.
EAC founder Andrea Riddle was committed to creating beautiful environments for our community both inside an out. Visitors to our campus often remark about the sense of aesthetic they experience here. The Ithaca community has also taken note: in recognition of the beauty that is our Field of Dreams, we are the 2014 recipient of Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services’ Florence Hoard Beautification Award.
Avenues for artistic expression are integrated into the Montessori curriculum from a child’s first moments until s/he graduates at the end of Middle School. In all subject areas students are given opportunities to respond to curriculum in artistic ways.
Art instruction begins as a part of the Practical Life area in the Primary classroom. This includes materials for cutting, coloring, painting, gluing, etc. It also includes materials designed for art appreciation.
Van Gogh painting.
The third year in our Primary cycle is when children first experience formal art classes with an art teacher.
Students continue to work weekly with an art teacher in one of our art rooms during their remaining years at EAC.
Local artists, parents and teachers also provide students with a rich variety of art offerings at the end of every year during mini-courses .
In contrast with the arts education cuts in the public sphere, we are looking at innovative ways to use our facilities and grow our art program; we plan to step into the digital arts over time. We are especially excited by the bounty our new art space allows us and hope to open these rooms to weekend classes in the future.