Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

The Montessori Holiday Guide

December 1, 2014 Leave a comment

Montessori holiday guideNow that we’re in the holiday season, it’s time to start thinking about ways to enjoy this special– but challenging– time with your children.

While most of the holiday commercialism runs counter to many of our families’ principles, it can seem nearly impossible to shield our children from the excesses of the season.


I wish you all the best in the weeks ahead and encourage you to keep in mind the insights we’ve learned from Montessori– chiefly these: children crave authentic, child-scaled activities including hands-on work like puzzles, cooking and crafts; they love creative play and movement; children hunger for books rich with language and images;  they live for making music and quiet moments, routine, family and togetherness most of all.


Enjoy this special time with your family!

Regards, John DeMarchi


Summer Bulletin Board

Our teachers are so creative! Have a great summer…


Summer Bulletin Board

Summer Bulletin Board



May Peace Prevail on Earth

Peace Pole

Our new Peace Pole elevates our Play Garden.

Play, Naturally

January 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Evergreen Tree House



Here’s our new play structure– The Tree House– being installed.  It is about as natural and organic as anything you would find in an Appalachian forest. As an Evergreen parent wrote… “How COOL is that!”

This 18-foot tall play sculpture  was custom-designed by Bill Hutchens and is being installed by Marcus Sims and Allan Hill.  The Tree House consists of  four platforms, rope ladders and a slide. It is made of black locust trunks and Osage Orange branches and pressure treated decking lumber.  

When I told some children that we were going to call it The Tree House, they corrected me:  “It’s a fortress.” “It’s a tower.” “No, its a pirate ship.”  It’s as mutable and whimsical as  imagination itself.

We say at Evergreen, outdoor play is essential.  You can read more about our philosophy here.  I will post a photo gallery when the Tree House is complete.

Play On!

Thanksgiving Card Art II

November 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Card Art

Our new Thanksgiving cards went into the mail yesterday.  The cards were designed by Ms. Nina Mahboubi and her nest class.  After creating a wash of vibrant fall color, students blew a river of India ink across the paper’s surface to create a barren winter tree silhouette.  Who needs another picture of a turkey or a cornucopia anyway?

Some viewers see flames in the background and others recall a warm fire on a cold winter night. What ever feelings our card evokes, we say there is much to be thankful for this year– children’s art especially.

Here is a link to last year’s design, too

What is going on in this picture?

November 24, 2013 Leave a comment

Visual Thinking Strategies

If you answered the question “what is going on in this picture?” you used visual thinking strategies (VTS).  What is VTS? In a classroom, by using a series of guided questions, you (the viewer) would be led by a teacher to a deeper understanding of the image. You would  link vocabulary and language-based thinking with visual stimulation.  Some of the questions you’d be asked: What kind of people are in the picture?   Where are they?  What are they doing? Do they look interested? ARE THEY THINKING? Are they learning?

You have deduced: these children on a school field trip; they are in an important museum setting (yes, that is a Picasso in the background); there is serious reflecting done in notebooks; this is a well-organized and successful program for learning.

Evergreen School has initiated a new program in VTS this year.  Here we are on a field trip at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. We are so happy to be working with an art historian and arts program designer from the Glenstone Museum to teach Evergreen teachers in VTS techniques.  I look forward to learning more about VTS and sharing here on my blog.

My Skrammellegeplad

freedom to playIt has been a while since I posted to my blog, but not because I haven’t been writing.  I just completed two courses at Montgomery College, and both required long term papers based on very specific content requirements.  My creative energy was sapped.

But when I came across an article in the New York Times on the Carnegie Museum’s Playground Project on the history of playground design, I began to feel free enough to write again.

The article traces the roots of the Evergreen Garden and Playground concept to the Danish landscape architect in the 1930’s named  Carl Theodor Sorensen.  According to the Times,  Sorensen,  “advanced the radical notion that children were happiest when playing with junk.”  Toward the end of World War II, he began designing playgrounds that encouraged children to build, dig and create with natural and man-made materials including bricks and building debris.   He called these new spaces skrammellegeplads or “junk playgrounds.”

Whether writing, building, cooking, making music or any other creative pursuit, we all need a skrammellegeplad… a safe place to play and try things out.

Learning and playing are acts of freedom.  It is great to be free.

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