Nature Play On Vancouver Island

Nature Kindergarten On Vancouver Island

Process Art at Christmas in Kindergarten

Photo courtesy of  Childhood 101 Transient Art

This year I am continuing to work on my goal as an Reggio Inspired educator to celebrate the 100 languages of children by encouraging a classroom culture of process and transient art. I have intentionally included art in all areas of my kindergarten program including during Story Play, Math Play, Literacy Play, Exploration and Quiet Play. I believe that these repeated opportunities provide children with the confidence and mastery of art skills which can be applied to print, water colour, pastel, paint, collage and of course loose parts play.

Christmas trees loose parts play

However, it can be tempting to abandon process art for teacher directed art at Christmas so that the children bring home beautiful, perfect pieces to share with their families. 

I believe that it is even more important for the children to have time to create their own personal pieces to share with families using child-directed or guided art activities. This makes the art personal and reflects the child's personality and style. 

Some differences between process art and product art is that there are fewer rules, children work at their own pace, they choose to do the art, they explore and experiment with the art materials and I often find it calming and joyful for the children. 

With product art the children all do the same art, it is teacher directed, the teacher creates a sample for the children to follow and finally there is a right and wrong way to do the project which will lead to frustration and disappointment with some of the children.

Rachelle at Tinkerlab writes

Process Art is art that is child-directed, choice-driven, and celebrates the experience of discovery. In process art, the final product is always unique and the focus lies in the creation of the work, not the outcome. 

If you are introducing new materials for a family gift then I would recommend the Guided Release Model. Working with a small group of children you introduce and model the new process.  (I often plan this during quiet play in the afternoon as the children are used to working quietly at a learning centre). I don't make a sample. Together the children practice with minimal guidance, as needed. Next, I add the resource to the classroom art studio for easy access and ensure that materials are in stock. Now the children are able to access the art materials to explore and use for enjoyment.

A recent example of using the guided release approach is the use of sharpies on thick card stock which was recycled from a framing store. We practiced together using thick paper larger than the drawing paper. They lay it underneath so that the table is protected. 

Once they were working independently we gradually increased the number of sharpies available to ensure that the caps were being put on tight and this week the large basket of sharpies were put on the art shelf. They now regularly access this art materials with no teacher support. A benefit of process art is children exploring and combining materials like sharpies and water colour or more recently water colour and printing using cardboard tubes.

I use this same teaching sequence for all new art resources. In the fall the children enjoyed Muffin Painting from the book, Art Workshop by Barbara Rucci. This process taught them how to use the paint brush and to use one brush for each colour of paint. Her book has many excellent ideas for process art in the early years. If you are new to process art you will want to spend some time at her site Art Bar

This month I have set up a independent Christmas art centre for the children to create beautiful art for their families. This week the materials were paper, water colour paints, pine cones, pom poms and lots of glue. They have access to this centre during exploration and quiet play and have filled the room with their creations.

Week Two

The new art focus this month  has been exploring printing using found and food materials. They have been using vegetables, fruit, bubble wrap, cardboard and nature materials like rosemary, beets and calendula from the garden.

Here is a different example of transient art that they are enjoying using sticks and leaves as well as another using sticks and beads from our loose parts shelves..

Thanks for stopping by,


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