What’s in a Crayon?


“Recently I had the pleasure of hanging with a few primary students in the after school program. These children had just concluded a busy day filled with lessons and their work cycle. Love that work cycle-a uniquely Montessori staple.


Kids need to decompress after a school day, so our eyes drifted towards a large tub of crayons. Kids were freely dipping into the pile to pull out their favorite color and apply it to their coloring subject. What we discovered is that these crayons have really cool names. Red is not red. It is fuchsia. Blue is not blue. Blue is cornflower or periwinkle. Orange is outrageous. We spent a wonderful time reading these names, guessing why the color was named such, creating their own names for the color. I was fascinated by the creativity of the children and their willingness to take a simple idea and extend it, add layers, develop new names, and have fun with a simple idea and design a cerebral moment.


This is the essence of a Montessori education. Children are “taught” to be creative. They are creatively curious. They see objects on multiple levels. They experience ideas not as one dimensional, but rather from many angles. They often take an idea and manipulate it, and begin to formulate new directions.


So while for most of us a crayon is a tool to color, to a Riverbend student it is a metaphor for creativity. A crayon is not just a crayon.”


-Whitney Slade (H.O.S.)

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