The Royal Road to Reading - Beauty Does It
Hungry For Beauty
In her book, Montessori Children, Carolyn Sherwin Bailey tells of a “beauty hungry” little boy named Raffaelo in turn-of-the-century Italy. Raffaelo came from a family of poor artists who struggled in the “hard, grey streets of the city” and languished in the “ugliness of the dull walls” in their home. She describes how this “hunger of the spirit” was common for many families of the time, becoming “more destructive than a hunger for bread.”
But when little Raffaelo trudged over to the local Montessori preschool, he blossomed in the happy, busy classroom, attractively arranged with colorful lessons. Raffaelo is transformed into an animated and happy student when surrounded by the beauty his little spirit had so craved.
“Every child is color hungry,” Bailey writes. A century later, Montessorians the world over know this is still true.
Which is why when it comes to designing optimum educational environments and materials for young children, Montessori experts take great care to find only the very best in aesthetically designed, colorful learning materials for our youngest minds.
Maria Montessori wrote, “The child should love everything he learns. Whatever is presented to him must be made beautiful and clear. Once this love has been kindled, all problems confronting the educationalist will disappear.”
The Royal Road to Reading
It’s been a busy month in the offices of Age of Montessori as we proudly launch our new language cards designed with research-based strategies to help children master key skills that build bridges to confident reading. A team of employees and volunteers have cycled through our doors helping organize and package hundreds of sets of eye-catching cards illustrated with clear photographs in vivid, true to life colors. Our ace graphic artist, Holliday Hooks, has spared no effort in the design work, analyzing each color tint to ensure that just the right hue represented in each photograph will engage a young child’s interest. The illustrations are set against a clean, white background, helping the subject really pop for young eyes, enhanced with a color-coded outline corresponding to each progressive skill level.
I’ve noticed that as people examine the matching cards for the first time, they have been impressed by the sheer beauty of the product in hand. As an experienced early childhood teacher, I know that quality materials with this level of excellence in the imagery and design are hard to find. Sure, there are lots of different matching pictures with words sets out there, but nothing of this caliber.
The Importance of Beauty
For Montessorians, beauty matters. Beauty is a reflection of the natural world that first inspired and shaped Montessori's educational theories. Beauty is also a form of respect for the importance of our work and its impact on the child’s critical first years. It’s a way of showing that we believe young children deserve the best we have to offer when it comes to their education. We’ve seen beauty act as a catalyst, sparking a child’s interest in a new area of learning. In this way, beauty becomes an open door, beckoning the child to courageously venture into a new skill area. Beauty offers a sense of comfort and well-being that seems to smooth any jagged edges that may have presented themselves in a child’s busy day. Beauty even grows to become a form of our love for the little hands and hearts that our work will touch. Indeed, beauty becomes a value in itself because it is that powerful.
We hope you experience this as you explore our website, watch our webinars or pick up a stack of our language cards. Because when it comes to learning, beauty does it.