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Process Not Product!

Date: December 18, 2018 Author: hpelc Categories: Educators Blogs, Reflection Blogs

Process Not Product!

Encouraging children’s creativity

Written by Jane Klopfer

Art and creative experiences for children are a major contributor to early learning development in the early years. Many children by the age of seven years old feel they are not capable of creating art, or feel their art does not measure up to their idea of what is a successful or “good enough” art creation or art piece.


Research shows that art activities develop brain capacity in early childhood. Art engages children’s senses in open-ended play and supports the development of cognitive, social-emotional and multisensory skills. As children progress into primary school and beyond, art continues to provide opportunities for brain development, mastery, self-esteem and creativity. For these very reasons, educators and parents alike must not dampen children’s spirit to be creative, but rather encourage and provide quality opportunities and support for children’s creative passions.


Where art is concerned, it is the process of creating, exploring, discovering and experimenting that has the greatest value for young children. The process is what’s most important, not the product or object they create. Learning takes place even when children do not make a finished product to take home at the end of the day. Sometimes when children are asked to focus on an end result, or to finish something, it can limit the type of learning that can take place. Through self-expression and creativity, children’s skills will develop naturally.


The following are some characteristics of promoting Processed-Focused art.

Processed-Focused Art:

  1. There are no step by step instructions.
  2. There is no sample for children to follow.
  3. There is no right or wrong way to explore and create.
  4. The art is focused on the experience and on the exploration of techniques, tools and materials.
  5. The art is unique and original.
  6. The experience should be relaxing or calming, not stressful or competitive.
  7. The art is entirely the children’s own.
  8. The art experience is a child’s choice.
  9. Ideas are not readily available online.


Leading Processed – Focused Art should be like an open-ended play. Provide children with a variety of materials and see what happens as the child leads the experience. Make art a joyful experience. Let children use more paint, more colours and make more art work. Provide plenty of time for children to carry out their plans and explorations. Art does not have to have a beginning and end time, a child may want to continue with their project over a day, week, month or even a year in some cases. Let children come and go from art at will. Place materials at their level for easy access whenever they choose. Say yes to children’s ideas. Offer new and interesting materials. Play music in the background as they create. Take art materials outside in the natural light. Display children’s books full of illustrations. Let children choose whether their art goes home or stays in the classroom.


Fostering creativity will help children develop mentally, socially and emotionally. Creating art may boost young children’s ability to analyse and problem solve in a myriad of ways. According to MaryAnn F. Kohl author of Primary Art author of Primary Art. “It’s the process not the product” As children manipulate a paintbrush, their fine motor skills improve. By counting pieces and colours children are learning the basics of math. When children experiment with materials, they dabble in science. Most importantly perhaps, when children feel valued and supported while creating art, self confidence emerges in themselves and their abilities. Children who feel able to experiment and make mistakes feel free to invent new ways of thinking, which extends way beyond the classroom.


Art in its truest form, is an expression of our feelings, ideas and emotions. Therefore, art is unique to the individual. Art is beautiful, Art is unique and special. Make sure the activities you plan for children invite them to be free to express their ideas, thoughts and emotions in any way they desire.


Expression and creativity even the definition of “Art” goes way beyond pencils and paper. Creativity can extend to blocks and construction, dramatic play experiences, gardening and natural experiences, even a sandcastle that has been built in the sand. The possibilities for creativity and expressive art forms are endless without limitations.


“ Art is either a revolution or plagiarism” Paul Gauguin