Montessori Easel Painting


The beginning of the year is a good time to introduce the children to easel painting.

Many children will have painted at an easel before however it is always helpful to remind children how to use the equipment in a Montessori environment. Start off the new year as we mean to go on!

If children are sharing the paint pots this entails a degree of social responsibility…they need to remember to keep the paint colours clean!

Set up:

Easel with paper at the right height for the children. Attach the paper securely with 4 pegs at each corner.Like this freestanding Ikea easel or this table top easel from Windsor and Newton.

Aprons the children can put on (possibly with the help of other children) and  then wipe down when they have finished.

Good quality paper (doesn’t tear when they are painting) of different sizes. You can hang it landscape or portrait depending on the easel.

Paint in pots with lids that fit and colour coded paint brush handles. (For example it may help to put your pots inside another empty pot to raise them out of the paint stand otherwise the lids come loose.)

Empty pot for water

Cloths for cleaning up



  1. Start off with just one colour so the children are learning just the techniques of holding the paint brush, wiping any extra paint off the brush, letting just the tip of the brush touch the paper and making marks on the paper.
  2. When you add another colour also add a container of water to wash the brush between colours. Only put a small amount of colour in the pots so if they are accidently mixed it’s not a big problem. Remind the children to check the brush before they put it back in the pot for more of the same colour incase they have mixed colours on the paper.
  3. The children can wash the lids and the brushes after each session so the pots are inviting again the next day.

Talking to the child about technique may provoke them to experiment with their mark making.

img_9015-2 img_9014-2

Like dots……….




or swishes!


Other children like to paint in one spot, layering the paint.


and others spread out to use lots of the available space.

The children can wipe down the aprons, the easel and the paint tray one last time and helped to pack it away. The paint brushes, lids and some empty pots can be put in a bucket to soak. The clean up cloths wrung out and hung up to dry.

Encourage your child to name their work.

This is a beautiful book, The painter who loved chickens by ) Olivier Dunrea. The book introduces the idea that artists paint as their work. There are beautiful paintings and many points for discussion in this book. We love it!



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