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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Part 2: MIR Pays Tribute to Pioneers of Early Art Education

Our society’s attitudes concerning art education for young children determine, in a sense, our future artists and the preservation and fruitful development of our culture at large; indeed, “The Child is the father of the Man” (Wordsworth). Let us pay homage to a few individuals who aided in the development of art education for young children.

The Froebelian Kindergarten

The first kindergartens mirrored 19th century art studios/classrooms, and, in turn, influenced contemporary art instruction. In terms of the evolution of art education, Froebel’s “gifts”—artful educational materials—fixed the educational focus to the life of the senses, symbolization and play/self-activity. Frank Lloyd Wright credits his early play with the “gifts”—foundational inspirations for his future designs: he wrote, "The maple wood blocks . . . are in my fingers to this day.”

"These primary forms and figures were the secret of all effects . . . which were ever got into the architecture of the world." In terms of psycho-spiritual development, interaction with the environment spurs intellectual growth “as the outgrowth of the incessant creativeness of the divine.” The child as doer/creator is the focus of art education.

Maria Montessori’s Children’s House

Art is a practice which permeates all areas of the Montessori classroom; in terms of the social art within the framework of lessons in grace and courtesy, to the art of self-mastery necessary in the “game” of silence. The directress’ artful preparation of the environment leads to the cultivation of aesthetic sensibilities within the child. The beauty of the classroom materials speaks to the active beauty of refinement through work with the Montessori materials.

Rudolf Steiner and Waldorf Education

Rudolf Steiner, founder of Waldorf education, viewed creative activity as a spiritual endeavor, and felt that knowledge and spirituality dovetail through artistic expression. He held that the cultivation of an artistic mental landscape was an act of devotion—we are “raised to a higher consciousness.” Steiner believed that artistic practice is preparation for writing, and that, “Science itself must become art before it can approach the secrets of a human being.”

Franz Cizek’s School of Applied Arts

Artist Erika Giovanna Klien attended the School of Applied Arts.

Considered to be the “father of creative art teaching,” Cizek’s school of Applied Arts, Kunstgewerbeschule, broke from the dogmatic, authoritarian education typical of the early 20th century. Finding harmony with the intellectual, practical, and spiritual attributes of the Montessori Children’s House, Cizek articulated his approach: “I have extracted children from school in order to make a home for them, where they may really be children. I was the first person to talk about ‘unschooling the school’; School is only good when it… transforms itself into active life.” Cizek addressed the child as one artist to another, and encouraged “sich auszusprechen,” or self-expression. Associated with the Secessionists, Cizek sought the essential in art, and defined his educational approach as “taking off the lid.” Cizek intended his classes to be “training ground for the public”—to help the public gain aesthetic appreciation.

Loris Malaguzzi and Reggio Emilia

The Reggio Emilia program, founded by Loris Malguzzi in 1946, encourages children’s creative and scientific inquiry. Children’s pursuance of explications for various phenomena within the environment (including the activity within a broader social community) fosters an exchange and dialogue between fellow student scientist-artists and teachers. Children’s further self-guided exploration through hypothesis and analysis incorporates “expressive, communicative, and cognitive languages.” So-called “art work” is heralded as a “graphic language.” As the Atelierista Vea Vechi expounds, “Creativity is part of the makeup of every individual…and the reading of reality is a subjective and cooperative production, and this is a creative act.” The transformation from graphic to verbal language heralds new discoveries. The symbols in every language are the “bearers of culture.”

Our Commitment to Art Education

The professionals at MIR Appraisal Services, Inc., are thoroughly committed to educating our clients concerning the analysis, conservation, and preservation of their most treasured works of art; this is evident in our work with private clients, and in our work with academic and cultural institutions, such as Dominican University and the Oregon Public Library. To speak with a certified appraiser concerning your collection, or to schedule an appointment to view works from the online gallery, please call (312) 814-8510 or email

Written and researched by Jessica Savitz

MIR Appraisal Services, Inc.

Principal Appraiser & Director: Farhad Radfar, ISA, AM

307 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 308

Chicago, IL 60601

Phone: (312) 814-8510

Works Cited:

Edwards, Carolyn, ed. The Hundred Languages of Children. Greenwich: Ablex Publishing, 1998.

Macdonald, Stewart. The History and Philosophy of Art Education. New York: American Elsevier Publishing Company, 1970.

Steiner, Rudolf. Modern Art of Education. Great Barrington: Anthroposophic Press, 1961.

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    Chicago, Illinois, United States
    Welcome to our blog site! MIR Appraisal Services, Inc. is a fine art and personal property appraisal company dedicated to serving clients throughout the United States and abroad since our incorporation in Chicago in 1994. We specialize in the multi-faceted field of appraising fine art, jewelry, antiques, and decorative items. We also provide professional fine art restoration and conservation treatment for various media, including but not limited to, artworks on canvas, board, masonite, and paper. We offer professional and precise appraisal services carried out by our team of accredited appraisers for the purposes of insurance coverage and claims, charitable donations, estate planning and probate, equitable distribution and fair-market value. We started our art commentary blog site as a venue for colleagues and fellow art enthusiasts to share their experiences within the art community.