How process-focused arts can help your toddler?

by Julie.k@turtletot.com.au Fri Dec 4

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I am an artist! 

Every kid has an amazingly different imagination, it is very important to provide them with a channel to express that, and often times arts can be that channel. It has been seen that kids who are able to express their creativity through arts tend to become more expressive and clear in their thinking when they grow older.

The value of process-focused art experiences for toddlers

Friedrich Froebel, the original creator of the kindergarten, believed that young children should be encouraged to become involved in creating their own art. For very young children, making art is a sensory exploration activity. They enjoy the feeling of a crayon moving across the paper and seeing a blob of coloured paint grow larger. Art is an activity that naturally supports children’s curiosity and their desire to explore, observe and imitate. The freedom to manipulate different materials in an organic and unstructured way allows for exploration and experimentation.

These theories extend throughout a child's life and there is much research now to show that children that have been encouraged to be artistic and creative when they are young, continue to use the process later in life and it helps with many aspects of adulthood!

Art in early childhood is not only beneficial to children’s fine-motor-skill development but is fundamental to their social-emotional development.

By encouraging children to participate in individualised art experiences that allow them to express themselves the way they choose (process-focused art), their ability to make connections with the world around them is promoted. It further enables them to consider multiple perspectives (Momentum Early Learning, 2016). Process-focused art involves encouraging children’s creativity through developmentally appropriate art experiences. It is not product-focused and the end-result is therefore not the point of the activity. Rather, it is focused on the experience and on the exploration of techniques, tools, and materials. Three key characteristics of process-focused art are:

1. There are no step-by-step instructions;

2. There is no sample for children to follow; and

3. There is no right or wrong way to explore and create

Product-focused art experiences on the other hand, involve:

a) Having a finished product in mind;

b) Showing children a sample of the artwork they are supposed to create; and

c)Having a right and a wrong way of creating their art.

When children have the freedom of self-expression while participating in an art project, you will see them more relaxed and focused. You are giving them the chance to predict, plan, and problem solve as they create their piece of art. They will feel successful every time because there is no wrong way to express themselves. Children will also be more willing to discuss their art with you and get excited to share because no one else made something like it.

4 tips in planning process-focused art experiences

  1. Approach art like open-ended play. Provide a variety of materials and encourage children to lead their own art experience
  2. Do not restrict children’s creativity or self-expression
  3. Provide plenty of time for children to carry out their plans and explorations
  4. Remember that it’s the children’s art, not yours

Do you want to read more on child development and how activities at home can keep kids busy? Click here