Preschoolers are learning when they do art. The work they do in creating their art is the process and the final result is their product. While we love the work that they do, sometimes we get caught up in the product of the art as opposed to the process, which can be problematic with preschool learning.
Preschool Art Up Close
Preschool art with young children is an excellent way to develop fine motor skills, explore mediums of art and enhance creativity. Much of what you see with preschool art may include things like crayons, paint, play dough and more. It may seem like it’s “just art time,” but truthfully, there is A LOT more going on with our preschoolers than we realize.
The process of preschool art is about solidifying the learning foundation that they will build on as they progress throughout their grade school career. Essentially, focusing on the process leads to progress! Each step from using their hands to correctly hold a marker for drawing to figuring out where to glue construction paper are all important parts of the learning process. Children use this time to think through their work and practice skills that they will be able to use as they grow older.
In focusing on the product, we place attention on the outcome; what the art looks like. Preschool creativity embodies a wide range of abstraction. That’s what makes preschool art so unique! But when we place too much attention on the end result being “right” or “wrong,” not only are we stifling the young artists’ creativity, we also tend to set unrealistic expectations for such young children. It’s important to be better at facilitating their creation process.
How Can You Better Facilitate Preschool Art?
Ask questions about how they created/are creating their art. Challenge them with new materials to add to their work. Allow ample time for art making as well as multiple opportunities at different times to add on to their work. And lastly, celebrate the product (no matter what it looks like) by supporting how they process their art!
Byline: Ashley Jefferson, the early childhood enthusiast and play advocate