No seriously, I am one crafty mammajamma. But crafts are for school and adult-type people.
Process art allows for exploration, experimentation, and provides an environment that is conducive to peer-to-peer learning.
So what's the difference?
A craft is a project with a specific end goal in mind.
Process art is a project that focuses on the making (or process) rather than the end product.
We frequently hear that libraries are about fostering life-long learning. I ask you: are you likely to continue with an activity that is not fun? One that has a narrowly defined version of success? Or are you interested in spending your time doing something that is fun, open-ended, with a wide variety of outcomes?
What does that look like in a library setting?
If you take a look at the way preschool is being taught right now, you may have an idea. A better concept comes from schools that have a Reggio Emilia based curriculum. The thing I like best about Reggio Emilia is that you show the kids how a thing works, and then get out of their way. You put before them tools, tell them this is the time for them to explore the tools and watch what happens. If they get bored, you can ask: what would happen if you added water? Or what would happen if you combined two of these things?
It's really hard to let go of the idea that everyone leaves your program with something pretty to take home. I know. And more often than not, what kids create is (to the casual observer) a mess.
But what they are actually getting out of the time spent with you is so much more than a craft that will ultimately find it's way to the recycle bin.
Process Art Benefits
- Builds confidence
- Encourages creative thinking
- Enhances vocabulary (use those fabulous art-words like form and composition!)
- Stimulates curiosity
- Strengthens children's ability to predict, plan, and problem solve
My Favorite Resources
If you want to read more about Process Art and what that looks like, go to the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Meri Cherry in L.A. spent several years as a K-2 teacher, before leaving to pursue running art workshops fpor families and kids.
TinkerLab is a great resource for art and science for young people.
ArtBar Blog is a favorite out of Connecticut--and her Instagram feed is a delight. (@artbarblog)
These are just a few places that I go to for inspiration. If you have a favorite resource, I'd love to know what it is!