Preschool art should be about the process not the end results. In fact, the National Association of Young Children warns parents that one sign of a preschool that is not developmentally appropriate is art that comes out looking correct. Who wants art that their child didn't really create? Many people also confuse crafts with art in the preschool world. That is one reason it is important to have a staff that is trained on preschool aged children.
Process art allows children to simply create. Children are given several different mediums and opportunities to just create. Crafts in preschool are not a bad thing, as long as they are accompanied by process art and the teachers are not correcting the child’s work.
Here are some of the characteristics of process art:
- There is no right or wrong way, it is about creating
- There are no step-by step instructions
- The end product is entirely the child’s creation, so there are no samples or patterns to follow
- You can’t find ideas online
- The entire experience is the child’s choice
- There is usually a sample that children are instructed to copy
- There is a right or wrong way which eliminates creativity
- All finished work will look similar
- There is a finished product in mind which again eliminates creativity
- Teachers usually correct or ‘help’ the child which can lead to poor self-esteem and loss of initiative
- Children are more relaxed because they cannot make a mistake. This allows them to focus and feel more confident. As a result, they feel successful and can express their feelings. This helps to build confidence, self-esteem and initiative.
- Children often want to discuss their art which leads to better language and literacy skills. This also empowers children and sends the message that their opinions and feelings are important.
- Process art helps children learn how to plan and think about what they are trying to create or express.
- It also helps children learn how to problem solve by creating opportunities for them to figure out how to accomplish their intentions on their own.
- Process art helps children gain concepts of special awareness and self-expression
- It helps develop motor skills and eye- hand coordination.