Thursday, May 3, 2012

Again we see the importance of the process...

Art in early childhood education plays a critical role in the development of creativity. The way we present art to a preschooler will indeed have a direct effect on how that child explores and develops creatively. We must be certain that we offer children the freedom of creative expression and exploration. We can do this several ways; we can offer children a variety of art mediums, we can be diligent about keeping directions to a bare minimum, and most importantly we need to foster artistic expression without judgment or criticism.

As teachers we should be asking ourselves the following questions; what am I really teaching my students through this activity? Does this project inspire them to think creatively and express themselves uniquely? Are the children being offered the opportunity to explore and discover the materials set before them? The answers to these questions should help you ascertain whether you have planned the “product” or if you are embracing the process.

The experiential process of art is far more important that the finished product, especially in early education. Process based art focuses on the experience and celebrates any outcome. Keep in mind that having an outcome or an objective does not necessarily mean that an activity does not involve a process. There can be a product that will result. However the child is still encouraged to explore the art process in their own unique way. There are certainly occasions where a product is appropriate. Examples of this include theme focused projects, holiday gifts or cards, and group/class collaborative art activities.
To further demonstrate the difference between a child-led, process based activity and a product centered project  I did my own little experiment with Biscuit….

This morning we made tissue paper flowers on posterboard. For the first run I told Biscuit we were going to make the flowers and gave her a good amount of direction. Such as where to place the “stems” and how to form the “petals.”  Here is what happened…..

The next time around I simply laid out the supplies and told her that she was going to make her own flower. I stood back and did not say a word. Here is how her flower turned out…..

Let’s compare the outcomes…
Mommy/Teacher- directed


Happy Playing & Exploring!!


  1. Question: You often talk about a defined work space. Is that important? Sometimes I give my boys one (generally if we are working inside), but often I let them make a giant mess as part of sensory play. I'm curious your thoughts. (BTW-since this is all via type, and you can't hear tone I thought I'd mention that I'm 100% genuinely asking, without a strong opinion if there is a right or wrong. Just curious.) :)

  2. Hi Allison!!!!! I believe in a defined work space a great deal. However only when related to certain projects and activities. I think allowing your boys room for a mess in the name of sensory play is wonderful. I will write a post regarding defined work space, there are some really great points behind it! Thanks for asking such great questions! xoxo

  3. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer Morgan! I look forward to reading your post. This is something I need to start doing with Jett. We often use butcher paper on their table in the play room, but lately he is having trouble not messing up his brother's area. When I do set up a defined space he is good about sticking to it (even if he paints the entire area without leaving a single white space, LOL.)