There’s no question that children possess an abundance of creativity, and the Montessori experience intends to promote this creativity instead of suffocating it. However, one look at the neutral colours and clean aesthetic of a typical Montessori classroom, and you may come to the conclusion that it’s not the best environment to foster a child’s sense of creativity.
Thankfully, this couldn’t be further from the truth. According to Dr. Maria Montessori, creativity forms an intrinsic part of a child’s development. She believed that creativity was not developed through concentrating on its stimulation, but rather through a child’s reality and knowledge of the real. The “prepared environment” within Montessori has become the foundation for ensuring children develop into well-rounded individuals.
Why Creativity is Crucial in Children?
Creative expression provides young children with the opportunity to explore new ideas and develop problem-solving skills through creative experimentation. It also allows young children to express themselves and their emotions in different ways other than verbal communication. By simply encouraging their imagination, it provides them with a chance to see the world through a unique lens.
The Montessori experience is all about giving young children the freedom to explore their natural curiosities – a vital component for creative problem solving. Here are a few ways the Montessori method encourages creativity in children:
The Montessori Classroom
A familiar term in Montessori is the “prepared environment.” This is the foundation for the Montessori method and provides a classroom and home environment which is spacious, inviting, organised, and clean – perfect for learning and creative exploration. Every aspect of a Montessori classroom caters to the unique needs of a child, helping to cultivate a sense of independence. The design of the classroom mirrors this principle, ensuring young children can easily see and access the materials they would like to work with and provides them with the choice to choose activities that suit their interests. This level of freedom boosts the potential for inspiration, which leads to creativity.
The Montessori Materials
Montessori materials are rife with creative opportunities. They are designed to provide children with the chance to gain hands-on experience that allows them to engage with it on their own terms. What makes these materials even more unique is that it’s designed with a control of error, allowing children to easily see and correct their own mistakes without adult interference. This enables them to develop their problem-solving skills in creative ways.
An Abundance of Social Interaction
One of the benefits that come with cultivating creativity is the opportunity to sharpen leadership skills. Through the Montessori mixed age group structure, older children are offered the chance to help and work with younger children, collaborating to come up with creative solutions to issues that may arise throughout the day. Montessori teachers act as a guide, ensuring that children are provided with the chance to navigate the classroom and learn activities on their own. This level of freedom requires quite a bit of creative thinking.
Montessori and the Freedom of Creative Expression
Whether it’s choosing their own materials or discovering solutions to problems on their own, the key to cultivating creativity within Montessori is freedom. This includes the freedom from judgement which is a fundamental reason many young children lose their creative impulses.
The Montessori experience encourages creativity within children through a sensory education that provides a realistic approach to how the world works. This enables children to develop the necessary creative functions such as finding creative solutions, problem-solving and much more.
As Dr. Maria Montessori so eloquently stated: “The sensory education which prepares for the accurate perception of all the differential details in the qualities of things, is therefore the foundation of the observation of things… it helps us to collect from the external world the material for the imagination.”