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The Importance of Process Art in Early Childhood Education

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Kelli Wynne

on 11 November 2015

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Transcript of The Importance of Process Art in Early Childhood Education

Process art is a contemporary artistic movement as well as a creative sentiment where the end product of art is not the principal focus.

What is Process Art?
Why is Process Art Important?
Process Art Activities Can Promote and Increase:
Self -
Math + Science
Art History

Crafts vs. Process Art
Hold onto Your Hats Ladies and Gents!
Process Art:
The Museum of
Contemporary Art
points out that “in process
art, the means count for
more than the ends.”
Children learn through play and open-ended activities. It allows them the chance to explore the world around them, ask questions, and see how things work.

Staying sane while they work their brain:

Baby wipes!
Consider something to protect the children’s clothing (a smock), if needed
Don’t forget about keeping the mess off of the floor if that’s a cause for concern (use a tarp, towel, or tablecloth)
Having a place to dry artwork is also important (a drying rack or level shelf)

There are no step-by-step instructions
There is no sample for children to follow
There is no right or wrong way to explore and create
The art is focused on the experience and on exploration of techniques, tools, and materials
The art is unique and original
The experience is relaxing or calming
The art is entirely the children’s own
The art experience is a child’s choice
Ideas are not readily available online

Children have instructions to follow
The teacher created a sample for children to copy
There’s a right and a wrong way to proceed
There’s a finished product in mind
The children’s finished art all looks the same
The children experience frustration
The teacher might “fix mistakes”
The whole class took part in an art project at the same time
Patterns and examples are readily available online

Process Art:
Open-Ended Art Ideas:
Painting with unusual tools
Collage Work
Apple Activity:
Scenario Activity :
Teaching Objectives
Teaching Art or Teaching to Think like an Artist?
Presenter: Cindy Foley
Bongiorno, L. (2015). How process art experiences support preschoolers.
Young Children. Volume 7,
No. 3. Retrieved from: http://www.naeyc.org/tyc/article/

Englebright, J. & Schirrmacher, R. (2012). Art and creative development for young
children. Cengage Learning.

Foley, C. (2014, December 2). Teaching art or teaching to think like an artist? TedxTalks.
Retrieved from: http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Teaching-art-or-teaching-to-thi

Mary Katherine (2014, March 26). What is Process Art for Kids & Why is It Important?
Retrieved from: http://fun-a-day.com/process-art-for-kids/

Murphy, L. ( 2015, July 20). Art is not a receipt for childcare! Retrieved from: https://

Art activities provide a number of opportunities to practice existing vocabulary and introduce new words.

At the most concrete level, children can talk about the sensory aspects of the process, including the sights, textures, smells, and even sounds.

They can also expand and practice using verbs by describing their actions.
Process Art:
If an a project includes a multi-step process, a great way to encourage connected speech is to have the children retell the steps of the experience after they are done. If a teacher takes pictures of the project, those pictures could be used in a sequencing task.
Process Art: Symbolic Representation
Process Art: Problem Solving + Reasoning
Once children begin to make art that represents a real-life object or concept, you can engage them in problem solving and reasoning exercises. Children can discuss and negotiate what materials or mediums might be best for a particular project, what supplies they need to gather, and what techniques they might want to try.
Process Art:
Art activities are a great opportunity for children to practice pragmatic language skills. At the earliest level, setting up the environment so that children have to request items from an adult (only giving them small pinches of clay at a time, keeping supplies just out of reach, etc.) is a great way to practice functional communication.
The Guggenheim states
“process art emphasizes
the ‘process’
of making art”.
Children as young as two years may be able to take advantage of the symbolic nature of art and begin to label real-life objects that their art may represent to them. Symbolic representation is the foundation for language development!
If you are working with a group of children who are preschool-aged or above, you can engineer the activity so that children have to ask each other for items - set out a variety of different tools instead of the exact same thing for each child so that they have to ask each other for desired items and negotiate if necessary.
Social Growth
Building Vocabulary
Story-Telling + Sequencing
Jacy Armenti and Kelli Wynne
Gorse Children's Center

The Importance of
Process Art in
Early Childhood Education

While crafts have their own benefits, process art fits in with how children learn because it allows them room to be themselves and make their own decisions.
Teachers and parents who respect children's ideas help them to learn, think, and solve problems for themselves. Children who feel free to make mistakes and to explore will also feel free to invent, create, and find new ways to do things.
Art Smart Area:
Fine + Gross
Motor Skills
Language Skills
Art techniques
Problem Solving
Sesame Street - Kids' Plan Playground
Working With Your Co-Teacher:
make a plan before the art begins

be flexible!

know each others strengths and weaknesses

Building Strengths in Different Age Groups:
Product Art:

provides sensory experiences rather
than purposeful creation of art

strengthens motor skills

allows for social/emotional play

supports recall and language
Process Art:

provides sensory experiences and develops a sense of purposeful art

allow for familiarity with basic art materials and different ways to use them

promotes language, motor skills, coordination, and early planning skills

begins to support toddlers in creating representative art and early literacy
Process Art:

provides self-directed sensory experiences and representational art

allows for experiences with basic and more unusual art materials

promotes motor skills and social-emotional play

group projects with a teacher's help can be planned

supports early math and literacy skills
Process Art:

representational art, self-directed sensory experiences using mixed media when available

sophisticated use of language to describe their art and art process

ability and knowledge to use a variety of art materials without teacher's help

skilled fine and gross motor ability

use of art in dramatic play and beginning to plan art activities
School Age:
Process Art:

representational art showing multiple scenes and events

integrating written words when needed or desired

integrating artwork in their dramatic play

self-directed sensory experiences using multiple media and self-directing art projects

Tessa, a 3 1/2 year old comes to school everyday in clothes that "cannot get messy." Even when she is wearing a smock, Tessa still gets paint on her clothes. Tessa loves art and uses all the materials in the art area in her preschool classroom without a thought about her clothes. Last week, her mother asks you (her teacher) to restrict her from using that area or doing art activities if she continues to get her clothes dirty.

How do you solve this?
Your co-teacher is creating a documentation panel with art work done by the children over the past month. You notice she is fixing and changing many of the art pieces. When you ask her why she is changing the art, she says, "I need it to look pretty for the board." What would your response be?
You are the director of this center. A father complains that his toddler is not doing any artwork in the classroom. When you investigate, the teachers explain that since they do mostly process art, the end results are often discarded or considered cooperative efforts.

How would you, as the director, explain process art to the parent? How could the teachers make the artwork they do more visible in the classroom?
There an art activity with glue in class. Some children have used a lot of glue and almost rip their papers, while others barely use any glue. At nap time, you and your co-teacher discuss how the activity went and what changes could be made next time.

What are some ways that you as a teacher could support the class?
(toddler, ps, pre-k, school age)
Evan, a 12 month old, attends his daycare center 5 days a week. He has a motor delay and has just only started to crawl.

As his teacher, what are some ways you could use process art experiences to encourage him to move?
don't leave your co-teacher with a big mess they don't expect

have team meetings

have high expectations for you and your co-teacher

(It's about to get messy)
Symbolic Representation:
Multi-Step Process Art:
Full transcript