Art often is woven into the very work children do in language arts, science, geography or history. Lower elementary children make maps—and paint them with watercolors, or shade their elevations carefully with colored pencils. They draw prehistoric animals on timelines of life. They paint the sabre-tooth tiger they are researching on large-scale paper, after they write down their research on the animal in their best cursive handwriting. Depending on the children’s interest, and their teachers’ own inclinations, you may see them knitting or crocheting while a teacher reads a story to a group of children. By Upper Elementary, children also get introduced to more structured art lessons. Teachers use a structured art program, developed specifically for the Montessori classroom, to introduce students to a wide variety of art styles and design principles.
Music in Lower Elementary is often centered around singing. Teachers may teach a variety of songs, or may even work with their class to put on short musical performances. The Montessori Tone Bar materials take the work begun in Montessori Primary with the Bells further: children can learn about scales and musical notations. By learning about rhythmic and melodic notation on a variety of instruments, interested students can learn to compose their own songs, and may even put on performances in small ensembles. Being able to not just play existing music, but create their own plays to the interests and strength of the nine- to twelve-year-old child, is a good addition to any instrument or voice lesson he or she may have outside of class.