Artfully Montessori: The Importance of Circles And Movement!


4 yr old creating a circular mixed media collage

All photos in this post are by Carolyn @ Magical Movement Company

In the very beginning, the children in the Montessori environment practice moving on "The Line." They walk on a line and march on a line and even tiptoe, glide, and gallop on a line. And, they practice cutting and tracing and drawing lines. Straight lines, diagonal lines, curvilinear and zig-zag lines...these are all offered to the Montessori child at an early age to explore through movement... as well as art. (see more about Montessori movement on the line by clicking here and here)

Then, they find a place to sit at "The Circle" and they listen and they speak and they pass interesting things around and they may even hold hands and dance in a circle.The circle brings a spirit of community and learning and of course the moving through events that we call living. The "circle of life" is a moving and dynamic phenomenon. And little children are an amazing part of it.

The circle in art is where the element of shape occurs. There are so many shapes in the world, both natural shapes and manufactured shapes, but the circle is one of the favorites of children. It's often the first shape a toddler names. And, circles are a wonderfully versatile way to make art. (read more about the elements of art by clicking here and here!)

The 5 yr old boy in the photo below spent several days writing and illustrating a book that he created with round pages made of the large paper circles in the art area!

After the first two weeks of school,(when the children are busy learning the procedures of the classroom) it is traditional in the Montessori classroom to begin introducing the cultural studies lessons. I like to begin with The Universe and our wonderful Solar System, and circles are an important part of this! 

Little children love singing songs about the solar system and we have often made up a drama play in which children hold little plastic models of the planets with the child holding the sun standing in the middle of the group. The "planets" circle around the sun in their "orbits" that have been drawn with chalk on the floor, and once again the children are moving "on the line." 

It's at this time that I like to put out large circles in the art area for the children to explore in a variety of ways. Lots of the exploration is geared to the idea of planets in our solar system, which seems to always fascinate children! 

Moving a marble covered with paint in a circular tray is a beautiful way to explore circles, lines, and paint:

Children in the Montessori room have been exploring "shape" in sensorial ways since they were toddlers. Many of these explorations involve circular shapes. There is even a puzzle tray in the Geometric Cabinet that features different sized circles. And the wonderful Geometric Solids invite a child to hold, feel and even roll a "sphere" which is the shape of the circle in solid form...perfect for demonstrating the shape & form of the sun and its planets.

One time, when we put out black paper and smaller circles, the children asked for white chalk, cotton balls and water colors, and of course it was a beautiful outcome! 

Paper plates bring out many creative ideas in children's environments. This 4 yr old boy decided to make his own version of a mixed media mask, using the hole punch,yarn,  tape, markers, glue and bits of paper:

There are the classic circles of the Montessori continents puzzle map that children love to reproduce! Here's a four year old displaying his fine circles of the world!

Some of the children actually made circles that were representations of our Universe and Solar System. That's what the circles were for!

Even in the Outdoor Classroom, you can see evidence of children creating circle art with "log pancakes!"

There are always children who create the most unique art pieces and these circular "glasses" made of construction paper, tape and staples are just too adorable!

Just plain fun!

I am delighted to have you visiting my blog and I hope you found something that you can use with your own group. I love to hear your ideas so please feel free to leave a comment in the section below!

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