A Blank Canvas

Pablo Picasso said, “Every child is an artist”.  A process-based art experience ensures that every child has the opportunity to express themselves in unrestricted ways.  Process based art focuses on the process of creating art rather than the product. LPP Education Director Jamie Tiller writes, “Process art allows children to be free.  In a world with so many rules, process art gives children freedom to express their thoughts, ideas and emotions without fear of being right or wrong. It allows them to be true and honest, which brings out brilliant confidence and creativity.”

Creativity focuses on the process of forming original ideas through exploration and discovery.  In children, creativity develops from their experiences with the process, rather than concern for the finished product. Creativity is about reasoning, exploring, discovering, and visualizing. For all children, at all ability levels, artistic expression is a central role in cognitive, motor, language, and social-emotional development. The arts motivate and engage children in learning, stimulate memory and facilitate understanding, enhance symbolic communication, promote relationships, and provide an avenue for building competence.

Young children are naturally creative. Child development specialists note that play is the business of young children; play is the way children promote and enhance their development. Art exploration is a most natural vehicle for play. Children who feel free to invent, create, and find new ways to do things are willing to take risks and make mistakes. Through arts education, very young children can experience nontraditional modes of learning that develop social, spatial, kinesthetic, and logic abilities, as well as traditional modes of learning that develop mathematical and linguistic abilities. Because children learn in multiple ways, activities should reflect these multiple ways of knowing and doing. (http://www.artsdel.org/ArtsEducation/YoungChildren)  Two year old preschool teacher Rachel Heinzman writes, “As a teacher at the end of an art project, instead of 16 identical bats hanging from the ceiling, I have information on students’ thought processes, problem solving ability, development of fine motor skills, and their unique style and preferences.”

NAEYC guidelines for process-focused art experiences:  

  • There are no step-by-step instructions
  • There is no sample 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 child’s own
  • The art experience is a child’s choice