Art at Montclare

06 Dec Art at Montclare

At Montclare we are proud to offer a “balanced” preschool curriculum bringing together scaffolded, teacher-guided learning and more open-ended, center-based learning. One of the best ways to demonstrate what that looks like is through our children’s art projects.

Artwork created in the individual classroom typically reflects a particular learning experience or curricular theme. More often than not, artwork displayed outside of our classrooms is created for the purpose of reinforcing various lessons spanning from math and science units to author studies or seasonal themes. While our teachers provide scaffolded learning opportunities which often include arts and crafts in the classroom, our Art Specialists provide a center-based, process-oriented creative experience. 

Our two Art Specialists, Julia Zak and Janae Ramirez took a moment to describe what art looks like for each age-group in Montclare’s Art Studio!

Time in the art studio is exploratory in nature. We give each age group multiple opportunities to experiment with a variety of materials during each class. Our Art Studio also features a thoughtfully curated Art Book Corner where children are encouraged to explore and students have access to a large, magnetic, dry-erase board where they can use magnetic manipulatives, dry erase markers and crayons.

2’s – With our youngest students, the fall is all about exploring the room, learning about all the different art centers and spaces, and experimenting with different sensory experiences. We finger-paint, paint on our window with very special art room paint (the outdoor light adds another dimension), and play with our sensory bin which is alternately filled with various soft, fuzzy, feathery, shiny, and smooth items. A big hit is always the light table where we explore color mixing, building, and sorting. As the students become more confident, we will introduce more painting, collage, and building projects.

3’s – With a new school year, come new skills! The 3’s have been working on exploring color mixing through a variety of techniques including painting, collage, and drawing. We start out by mixing black and white to make various shades of grey. We then explore making secondary colors; orange, green, and purple. After reading the book A Line Can Be, by Laura Ljungkvist, we talked about all the different types of lines we can draw. Our 3’s continue to develop their creative confidence through open-ended exploration and experimentation.

4’s – With our most experienced students, we begin artist studies. We started off learning about Mondrian. We explored his use of primary colors, red, blue, and yellow, and shapes, the square, rectangles, and lines. We then moved on to Kandinsky, exploring his use of all colors, circles, and lines. We use these artists to inspire our various art projects, creating primary color collages with tape, cardboard 3-dimensional artworks, circle stamping, and a group bottle cap collage. Again, our 4s have the opportunity to work with various materials throughout their classroom time.

Lastly, our 2s, 3s, and 4s enjoy working on collaborative building projects throughout the year!

We are very proud of our beautiful Art Studio space and the creativity that flows from our students.

“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” – Henry David Thoreau


Julia Zak, Art Specialist at Montclare Children’s School

Julia Zak was not only born and raised in New York City but grew up on the Upper West Side, only a few blocks away from Montclare! (Her grandparents had an account with the bank where Montclare now resides!) After a brief stint in event planning, volunteer managing, and fundraising, Julia decided to change careers to become an Art Teacher. In her spare time, Julia considers herself a traveler, museum-goer, and photographer.


Janae Ramirez, Art Specialist at Montclare Children’s School

Originally from Long Island, Janae came to NYC to study at Pratt Institute. After college, Janae worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She joined Montclare in 2003 and loved being a teacher – and sent her now 8-year-old son here. Janae now resides in Brooklyn, with her husband and their cat Dex. In her spare time, she enjoys painting murals and making jewelry.