Advice Column, Early Learning, Parenting, Toddler, Toptots

Process Art and Early Childhood Development

  • Toptots Head Office
  • Category Advice Column, Early Learning, Parenting, Toddler, Toptots

Process art is all about the experience children have when they are creating.  We encourage it at Toptots to enable the child to explore and be exposed to different mediums.  Process art needs to be open ended and the child should be left alone to explore and create without any adult interference.  Children learn through play and open-ended activities – this gives them the chance to explore and ask questions and see how things work.  Process art is all about the actual process and not the end product.

What learning does the child experience during process art activities?

Creativity and self-expression

Fine Motor skill development

Gross Motor skill development

Coordination skills

Sensory exploration

Language development

Art techniques

Spatial reasoning

Social-emotional development

Process art versus Product art

Two different categories are used in early childhood development – process art and product art.

Product focused art: –

  • There are step by step instructions to follow to complete the art.
  • A sample is available for the children to copy from.
  • There is a right way and a wrong way to do the art.
  • There is a finished product in mind.
  • All the end products look the same.
  • The teacher or parent may be prone to fix any “mistakes”

Product focused art is not necessarily a bad thing as it does teach the child how to follow directions and works on fine motor skills such as

cutting.  However, it doesn’t encourage the child to be creative in their own individual way.

Process focused art: –

  • There are no step by step instructions.
  • There is no sample to copy from.
  • There is no right or wrong way to complete the art.
  • Art is focused more on exploring the different techniques and materials on hand.
  • The final product is original.

Process focused art has a calming and relaxing effect on the child.  You will notice that they are focused when participating in these activities. Process art enables the child to predict, plan and problem solve as they create, no matter what their age.

Tips for successful process focused art

  • Make it open ended with a variety of materials.
  • Use every day items.
  • Leave the child to decide what he wants to use to create.
  • Use things from nature to inspire.
  • Do not intervene – let them get on with it alone.
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