|Sample from other work I've seen|
Borders around the page or around sections/problems
Separators between sections
Just to fill in some space
Ok, so we don't say that. We DO say, "Embellish!"
We want the children to cherish their work, so we allow them the opportunity to personalize it, fulfilling the fundamental human needs towards vanitas: to embellish oneself and one's environment.
All Montessori parents and teachers reading this, raise your hand if you have NEVER been tempted to embellish the children's environment on some level or another - to the point of being TOO much?
Not ONE hand should be raised! ;)
We want the children to learn balance, so we allow embellishment from the beginning, integrating art and daily work, even when the subject matter is not necessarily art.
But isn't it all art? Math is art, language is art, music is art, history is full of art and those timelines are works of art, geometry is pure art in my mind, geography is an art --- all these things have grace, beauty, boundaries, creativity ---- ART.
So why isn't this information available online anywhere, on all those Montessori blogs and all those Montessori albums that provide samples!? I don't know! It's a bit frustrating, because it is so basic to Montessori, especially elementary Montessori. But it starts in primary with the stamp game in particular - embellishing the row between two problems.
My son has always done embellishment of some kind and he LOVES it. The work means something to him and he's perfecting his art skills.
I will show you an example of one I'm not proud of because he rushed it. It was not meaningful and he even said so. We discussed the reality that if he doesn't WANT to embellish, he doesn't have to.
And we discussed the reality that markers and writing pencils and colored pencils don't mix well. The aesthetics are lost.
Therefore, all is not lost, because this experience prompted discussion on balance, necessity and art media usage.
What about work plans and work contracts? Well, these should generally not be embellished - perhaps very lightly (instead of a checkmark, a creative child could use another symbol) - now the work journal could be a place for art, if you use one for the child to document his or work! The work journal can be embellished in any way the situation allows. While it is not the place for the child to store finished work (only a place to record time spent and what was done; perhaps answer a follow-up question), many children prefer to draw their work into these journals or separate entries with fancy designs.