Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Montessori East Students, Teachers Contribute to Cheekwood Botanical Gardens "Scarecrows!" Exhibit

Cheekwood’s Scarecrows Mean More Than Harvest: Children from Montessori East Construct a Scarecrow and Build On Learning

Nashville, Tenn. -- Each year as summer turns to fall, scarecrows are placed throughout the gardens of Cheekwood Mansion as part of the Harvest celebration that lasts from late September until October 31. Scarecrows are familiar symbols of autumn and harvest for many cultures, but on the Cheekwood grounds they also become part of the popular seasonal art exhibit “Scarecrows!”.

These scarecrows dot the landscape of Cheekwood botanical gardens and museum, scary and silly, friendly and funny, propped up along garden paths instead of in cornfields. Each is designed, built and decorated by a different group or individual, starting from a simple frame provided by Cheekwood and made with a vast range of unique materials and creative thinking.

One of these lucky creative groups is the Montessori East community of children and teachers. Their bespoke scarecrow represents the notion of reuse, with a milk jug head and a beautiful ribbon braid to complement her maiden form. Reusing and repurposing materials is a significant theme in Montessori East classrooms, where most objects of learning are made of organic materials like wood, or they are donated items of everyday use that can be repurposed for educational activities. The children--well-equipped with imagination, reuse experience, and empowerment to make design decisions--finished their scarecrow with pride. Ruby Harris, 6, was most excited about painting the face after removing a beard made by one of the boys. When asked whether their project would scare crows, Ruby emphatically replied “Yes, because it looks scary; it has one eye and crows would be scared of it!” She looks forward to seeing the other groups scarecrows because she wants to be scared, too.

Montessori East directress and founding teacher, Anna Marie Reno, explains the significance of participating in events like these: "It is essential for the children here to feel connected to their classroom community, yet equally as important for them to have a sense of contribution to the broader community, as many of their parents do.”


Contact at Montessori East: Alice Smith 615-226-4588
Contact/byline: Ashley Dowsley 615-582-4455
Montessori East