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How do I start fostering process art in my classroom?

The advantages of process art are endless!


-Your activities will always be age appropriate as long as the materials you provide are appropriate and safe. Every child will be able to participate no matter their ability.

-When creating, there is no right or wrong way. We should not expect children to recreate art that adults have modeled for them. Modeling product art sets up a child to fall short. Process art sets them up for success as there is no end goal or finish line. Children are empowered by the process of creating.

-Product art also promotes comparison. Process art promotes independence and places value on individuality.

-Mistakes are allowed, actually they don’t even exist, in process art. When lines are drawn too dark, paint smears differently than anticipated, when glue puddles up unexpectedly, the creator can adjust their plans because there is no planned or prescribed outcome. Estimation, judgement, and decision making all exercise the ability to problem solve.

-Process art can lead to stronger independent play, greater concentration, and more risk taking. The creative process will be child-led and they will rely less on teacher direction. The child is likely to be more engaged in the creative process if they have ownership of the work. Experimenting with materials is a form of risk taking. Risk taking aids in learning new things, like reading.

-The creative process will be more rewarding and enjoyable. The outcome will be more satisfying. An authentic love of art will be fostered.     

-Last, but certainly not least, children use art as a form of self-expression. Through art, you can communicate emotions and feelings. When art has a focus on process, it can be an appropriate form of decompressing.

Through process art, children are valued as individuals with their own thoughts and ideas, respected for their efforts and contributions, and can freely create and express themselves.

-Observe your class and look for what’s grabbing their interest.

-Find joy in planning the materials they will explore instead of focusing on the end product they will create.

-Avoid modeling. If we draw a tree, dragon, firefighter, or helicopter for a child, we are taking away their opportunity to feel empowered to create it on their own.

-Remove the rules. Trees can have purple leaves.

- Focus on the experience. Remove all forms of “good job” from your vocabulary. Describe what they’ve done. Compliment their efforts. “you worked really hard on that!” “You are really concentrating and taking your time.” “Tell me about what you created.”

-Post the final product on the child’s level so that they can appreciate their work!

-Have fun!

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