In pretty much any preschool, you will probably find an easel with paints, paintbrushes, and paper ready for artistic expression. In the Montessori primary classroom, the finished painting is secondary to the experience of painting. The acts of holding a paintbrush, dipping into the selected color, bringing the brush to the paper, and the motions needed to create the desired painting all take fine motor skills, coordination, and concentration that we adults tend to take for granted.
A lot of the painting process, in particular, the cleaning up that occurs afterwards, is also good at reinforcing sequences. The finished painting must be untaped, clipped up to dry or placed on a drying rack, and then the easel as well as the area around the easel must be cleaned (which is what the green bucket, sponge, and towel pictured above are for). The apron must be removed, sometimes hands need to be rinsed off. It is an involved process for little minds to remember!
As with many things young children do, the process itself is as important, if not more important, than the finished product. The process of painting can bring a child much satisfaction. They practice, practice, practice, while living in the moment, then tend to move on. Many times the child may not even recognize his or her own work later on! This does not detract from the joy a child feels while engaging in the art.
“The human hand allows the mind to reveal itself.” – Dr. Maria Montessori