While growing up I was often reminded by my teachers and my parents NOT to draw on my school work because it looked messy. To this day I can remember the sense of frustration and confusion this reminder caused because I was proud of my finished work and wanted to make it look more attractive.

Fast forward to our recent parent/student/teacher conferences where, much to my delight, I observed page after page of cheerfully decorated finished work. All of the grammar box symbols were carefully filled in over the appropriate words, the chart work showed much attention to detail , the stories were extensively illustrated – even the math pages were beautifully decorated. It was an absolute joy to behold.

You see, in our Casa classes, young students are often invited to decorate their work.  This allows them to take a mental break, if they want it, without having to leave their work. It also allows a child to express his or her pride in their accomplishments by making their work as beautiful as possible. As they move through the Metal Inset exercises, young children hone their pencil skills. As they work with the colour tablets, their learn to appreciate all the colours in their environment. These skills spill over onto all of their written work. More importantly, there is no teacher telling them not to draw or colour on their work.

By the time these same students reach the elementary classrooms, their skills have vastly progressed. Now their work is embellished with enthusiasm.  Here are just a few examples of illustrated work from the elementary classrooms.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of the grammar work so I’ve borrowed an image from Caboolture Montessori School in Brisbane, Australia.  (Hopefully they won’t mind.  This really is a beautiful example of what I’m trying to show. Thank you, Luca.)

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Sometimes, a students doesn’t even need coloured pencils to decorate the work.  Here one can clearly see how this student let his creative side go a little crazy.

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