Blog

Process Driven Art


Process driven art may be an abstract term you have heard, but here is a description of what it is and how you can use it to do creative, engaging, age-appropriate art activities with young children.

What is process driven art? How does it differ from product driven art? How can you use process driven art to increase vocabulary, strengthen the parent-child relationship, and foster children’s social-emotional development?

First let’s talk a little bit about process- vs product-driven art. These terms can be confusing when both types of art can produce a product. When we talk about process driven art the focus is on process not the end result or a “product”. When a child is experiencing a new art tool like crayons, markers, glue, or scissors, they are learning how to use the tool not how to produce art. If the expectation is that the child will fill in a coloring page correctly or draw a picture of a flower, the child will fail and it will be a frustrating experience. When the expectation focuses on the exploration of the tools in an environment without pressure, the child will learn important school readiness skills such as self-regulation while building the fine motor control needed to learn how to write.

We have all used these tools for so long that it is hard to imagine not knowing how they work, but put yourself in the place of a child for just one moment. Think of an activity that you have never done before such as playing a musical instrument. Would you pick up a flute and be able to play a recognizable song without lessons and practice? Probably not. The same holds true for children when they are trying something for the first time. They need to explore the tool or medium, they need to practice with it and later they will reach the point where they will draw something that you recognize

Product driven art is art where the expected outcome is for the artist to produce a recognizable product like a drawing of a house or a painting of a cat. Product driven art is successful with older children who are already past the point of exploration and are ready to be challenged.

One of the great aspects of process driven art is that with a little help from a home visitor and/or a parent, the child can have fun learning about the process while still producing a product that everyone recognizes. Process driven art can be used as an extension activity for a book in the PCHP curriculum or as a stand-alone art activity.

 
 

Here is a wonderful extension activity to accompany the book “Cows Can’t Jump”.


 

 

This book is a great way to get children up and moving! There are many types of animals and examples of the ways they move such as “slither”, “wallow” and “pounce”. As an extension activity for this book, you can make a snake using a paper plate process driven art project. Paper plates (plain, white plate with no waxy coating) are perfect for process driven art as they are perfect for paint, dot markers, crayons, glue, and many other art mediums.


 

As you can see in this picture, the child is decorating the plate using markers and bits of paper he has cut himself. It does not matter how he applies the pieces of paper or how he draws with the marker. If he is engaged, he can work longer; and if he becomes tired of working on the project, it can end at any time.

The home visitor and/or the parent can narrate what the child is doing and ask questions about what the child is doing, for example:

  • I like that green square you cut out, where are you going to put it?
  • Are you going to put it next to the pink piece of paper? Oh, I see you are going to put it above the blue line that you drew.

If a home visitor and parent are working with the child together, the home visitor can encourage parent engagement by asking questions:

  • Would you like to hold the markers? He can ask you what color he would like to use next.
  • He has a lot of purple squares on the plate, can you help him count them?

While the child is creating and learning how to use these tools he will be hearing new vocabulary as well as hearing words he already knows.


 

When the child has completed the decoration to their satisfaction, the parent or home visitor can help cut the plate in a spiral and the child can glue on eyes and the tongue. The end result is a “slithering” snake that the child recognizes and is proud of.

When a child is learning in this environment, it can strengthen the parent-child relationship as they work together to complete a project. The parent can take on the role of the “helper” which can help build the self-esteem of the child who is normally the one in need of help. When a child completes a project like this, he/she learns what it is like to achieve a goal and complete a task successfully. If the project becomes frustrating, the child learns to regulate their emotions and to communicate their needs, which is key to social-emotional development.

If a mistake is made during process driven art, it is rarely important and a child can learn that in order to learn mistakes will be made and that they are part of the process and not something that should deter you from continuing to try. Success requires effort.

With a basic art kit of markers, glue, scissors, colored paper, and household items like paper plates, egg cartons, or paper tubes, families can easily provide children wonderful opportunities to create, explore pre-writing skills, and become confident and self-assured learners.

 
 

Here are a couple more examples of book-related activities you can make using process driven art.


   
 
 
Butterflies can be made with coffee filters, markers, and water (or rain!) and a pipe cleaner.

           
 
 
 
This guest blog was written by PCHP Coordinator Lynne Creed, of PCHP’s site at Encompass in North Bend Washington.

SHARE

Related Resources

April 5, 2022

ParentChild+ North Carolina Sites Awarded Over $1 Million in ARPA Funds...

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA, MARCH 31, 2022 – ParentChild+ is proud to announce that ParentChild+ North Carolina, in partnership with its three local partner agencies, has been awarded over a million dollars in American Rescue Plan funds. Mecklenburg County has awarded funding to two ParentChild+ local implementation sites. Charlotte…

March 7, 2022

NCIT Open Letter to the Nation...

The National Collaborative for Infants and Toddlers, along with nearly 1,500 organizations, including ParentChild+, have joined together to highlight the critical importance of  support for prenatal to age three children and their families. To read the full letter, please click here.

October 27, 2021

How We Run Podcast, Episode ‘An Unexpected Leap to Virtual Programs’ Featuring ...

ParentChild+ CEO, Sarah Walzer discusses the pivot to virtual visits on the How We Run podcast episode ‘An Unexpected Leap to Virtual Programs’ hosted by Trent Stamp and Julie Lacouture. Click here for the full episode.

September 27, 2021

ParentChild+ featured in Family Connection of Easton’s 2021 Fall Newsletter...

See ParentChild+’s Family Connection of Easton site during their 6-week Summer Book and Play Club by clicking here. ParentChild+ featured in Family Connection of Easton’s 2021 Fall Newsletter Checkout ParentChild+ as they are featured in Family Connection of Easton site’s 2020-2021 annual report, click here to read the…

August 31, 2021

Introducing Vidya Ragoo as ParentChild+’s New National Director, Family Child Care Initiative...

MINEOLA, NY, September 1, 2021 – We are proud to announce Vidya Ragoo as the new Family Child Care Initiative Director. Vidya will join ParentChild+ with over 20 years of experience in early care and education. She worked for the NY Early Childhood Professional Development Institute as a…

August 9, 2021

When An Educator Is More Than A Teacher...

Read here as ParentChild+ is featured in our Jericho Road Community Health Center site’s summer newsletter.  

July 20, 2021

ParentChild+ Supporting Families in Peabody and Salem – Itemlive.com, July 2020...

The Peabody and Salem sites have been featured in itemlive.com powered by The Daily Item for the work that they have been recently doing. Click here for the full article.

June 30, 2021

Chronicle of Philanthropy article highlights ParentChild+ Virtual Home Visiting...

By Jim Rendon   ParentChild+ helps prepare young children for prekindergarten. Before Covid, the visits between early-learning specialists and families, like this one in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, were all in person.   ParentChild+ is not the kind of nonprofit that should have done well during the pandemic. It…

March 8, 2021

Dr. Chrishana M. Lloyd Joins the ParentChild+ Board of Directors...

ParentChild+ is pleased to announce the election of Dr. Chrishana M. Lloyd, a nationally recognized Early Childhood researcher, to its Board of Directors.  Tai Chang Terry, President of the ParentChild+ Board welcomed Dr. Lloyd to the Board noting, “She is an expert in the field of early childhood,…

August 27, 2020

ParentChild+ MA Virtual Site Visits...

Take look at what ParentChild+ Massachusetts has been doing during these unprecedented times to keep connected with the families they work with:

August 4, 2020

Read’s Initiative 2019-20...

The Reads Initiative has been helping to make significant impacts for families in South Jamaica, Queens and East New York, Brooklyn since 2014. Reads helps to serve the literacy needs of children and families in targeted low-income neighborhoods and ParentChild+ is honored to be a partner. Below you…

July 29, 2020

ParentChild+ featured in The Junior League of Charlotte presents The CRIER Spring/Summer 2020 ...

PARENTCHILD+ by Tammy Stanard ParentChild+ uses education to break the cycle of poverty for low-income families. The organization engages early in life and helps toddlers, their parents, and their family child care providers access a path to possibility. For families living in underserved communities, ParentChild+ is a first…