The art program at Princeton Montessori School is off to a great start this year! Students of all ages are exploring their creativity within the curriculum framework known as TAB (Teaching for Artistic Behavior). The TAB art classroom is an open studio in which these three concepts guide learning:
- What do artists do?
- The child is the artist.
- The classroom is the child’s studio.
In a TAB art classroom, you’ll see autonomy and choice. Children follow their creative thoughts to natural conclusions, which involves: persistence, collaboration, problem-solving, and lots of fun.
At the Toddler and Primary levels, Mrs. McElheny is leading a program called Art Atelier. During this time, children are invited to explore open-ended art materials in an outdoor setting. This allows the children a hands-on introduction to the elements of art in a naturalistic and intuitive way.
A milestone for third-year Primary students is coming to the Imaginarium for art class with Mrs. McElheny. During their time in the Imaginarium, students are introduced to creating art in the TAB environment; choosing their materials, and learning about artists, materials, and techniques.
Elementary and Middle School students are also choosing what they’d like to create, within this year’s art program theme of “Peace Through Art.” Throughout the year, children are asked to create art that responds to the ideas of peace in the world, peace with others, and peace with self. Stations featuring different types of art materials are gradually introduced, along with lessons about artists and techniques, and students can decide what to use and make in order to respond to the theme. Elementary students create what are called WOW (Wonderful, Original, Works of Art) works, which are pieces that have been worked on for at least three class sessions, critiqued by a peer, and accompanied by an artist statement. These works are displayed in the hallways of the school as they are completed.
Working with Ms. Stolzer, Middle School students go a bit deeper with the yearly theme as part of the International Baccalaureate arts curriculum. They are currently creating two pieces of artwork, plus researching an artist and critiquing a work by that artist, as a summative assessment for a unit called Peace in Our World. While the students are free to choose the content and media for their artworks, they are asked to respond to the guiding Statement of Inquiry,
“Stewardship of the world can be achieved through innovative creative expression.” This invites them to think about how art is a tool for taking care of the world and for creating peace.