There is a myriad of information to consider when selecting an early childhood program. An indication of a program’s philosophy is their approach to art. The easiest way to discern this is by paying close attention to the display of art projects. While art is often displayed on bulletin boards to present an inviting classroom, it is essential that art is also displayed at children’s eye level to allow them to view it and reflect on the art throughout the day.
What exactly is the difference between process art and product art? Process art is open-ended; the focus of the lesson is to use the various mediums and create art for the purpose of expression. Product art is a project that has a set of instructions and requires the end product to replicate a given example. This was known in times past as “cookie cutter” art-meaning that each and every project looked exactly the same. Product art serves in an execution of directions completed in a particular order without regard to individuality.
Art is to serve as an expression and stimulate creativity and imagination. Art should be part of every day in a well-executed early childhood program. While you may not receive “projects” daily, you should be receiving photos and/or videos of your child engaged in creative processes.
In the words of MaryAnn F. Kohl, “Art is as natural as sunshine, and as vital as nourishment.” Allow children to make choices and create; the end product will be well worth it!