Max's Dragon: A Montessori Child's Creative Adventure Through Art and Language!


As well, the child is allowed to repeat the activities as many times as s/he likes! Often, the creative juices are activated and a child creates a piece of work with a poetry all its own! 

All photos by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

Once upon a time....

Not so long ago, there was a 4 yr old in my Montessori Preschool classroom who didn't talk much, and definitely didn't ever shout at anyone, never breathed fire, yet there was a sort of "dragon" inside this boy!


Max's mom worked at home at her profession as a children's book illustrator. So, Max watched his mom at her drawing table each day and of course he had lots of experience with art materials. 

The first weeks of school, Max explored every curriculum area of our Montessori environment. He thoroughly enjoyed exercising his senses in the sensorial section of the classroom, he meticulously counted out the spindles and lined up the golden beads in the math section, and he greatly enjoyed tracing letters and numbers in the Montessori sand tray. Max spent a whole lot of time in the book corner and his favorite book was the National Geographic Encyclopedia of Animals. 

This book is available on Amazon: Nat Geo Animal Encyclopedia. 

He even had a favorite page in this book...the page with the various lizards, especially the Komodo Dragon. Every teacher sat and read to Max (and other children nearby!) all about the Komodo Dragons of the world over and over and over. 

Many of the children in the classroom loved that Animal Encyclopedia just as much as Max did. One day, a four yr old boy got the idea that he wanted to trace an animal from the book and he took his paper, pencil, and the heavy encyclopedia over to the light table and before long, he had an accurate tracing of an animal from the book. The children had been making tracings of animal X-rays for months and so they were becoming very skilled at tracing carefully at the light table.

Before long, Max discovered the fun of tracing animals at the light table and of course he traced the Komodo dragon from the animal encyclopedia...over and over and over again!

One morning, Max went straight to the Art section of the room, collected up some supplies in his little art bucket,  settled himself at a table, and opened his favorite book to his favorite page. 

Within a few minutes, Max had drawn, cut out and taped together his rendition of a dragon. Everyone in the class immediately fell in love with this creation and came to call it "Max's dragon"!

For a time, Max was requested to make dragons for one child after another, which he politely did...and quickly became the most sought after illustrator in the class! 

After a few weeks, Max came to me and said he was ready to make a dragon book. He had already drawn the first dragon on the first page and he asked me to write the word "dragon". And I did.

As soon as I did that, Max proceeded to draw the same style of dragon ("Max's style") on the next page for his book. This time, he dictated this sentence to go on that page: 
"Never go near the dragon."

Our morning went on like this until Max had completed six  pages of his book, including the last page, which of course read: "The End."

Max was fairly new to Montessori at the age of four and he had not yet created one of the little Montessori-style "Parts of..." booklets. However, he had carefully observed other children who had created these little booklets, and he confidently went to the shelf where the book making supplies were kept and he put his little book together in no time at all!

Then, he found me again and asked me to write the title of his book on the front cover: "Max's Dragon Book." And I did.

Within a few months, Max had developed the skills to write many of the words himself in the collection of beautifully illustrated animal books that he created during his first year in our Montessori preschool classroom. 

In fact, only a few months later, Max's mom told me that she and her son had collaborated on her most recent children's book, that in fact she had written, and she had invited Max to illustrate.  And he did!

Once again, the lovely occurrences that happen in the Montessori early childhood environment! The genius of Montessori just never ceases to amaze me.

In 1949, Maria Montessori wrote about this idea that she termed "from unconscious creator to conscious worker":
Children of this age are urged by the laws of their nature to find active experiences in the world around them. For this they use their hands, and not only for practical purposes, but also for acquiring knowledge. If we leave children free in this new kind of environment that we have provided, they give us quite an unexpected impression of their nature and abilities. They seem to be happier, and they have such deep interests that they can work for long periods of time without fatigue. As a result, their minds seem to open out and they become eager for knowledge. The Absorbent Mind, p. 171.
I am so happy to have you visit my blog and I hope you enjoyed the reading! 

This post is part of a wonderful Link-up. You can find lots more articles from Montessori bloggers all over the world at this link up: Living Montessori Now Montessori Monday Link up. 

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