Art and creativity in early childhood – Handprints

In our Preschool room we try to engage the children in art experiences that are open-ended and meaningful. We avoid using templates or stencils to colour in as we believe that templates stifle children’s imaginations. Alternatively, we provide children with an array of resources and let them explore the materials themselves to think of and come up with ideas of how to turn materials into creations. All ideas come from children and it allows them to practice problem-solving, decision-making and creativity. Open-ended art experiences foster children’s learning dispositions – the skills that they will need to solve problems and find solutions to challenges later in life. Wentworth Point Preschool

For parents who wish to encourage their children to do art at home, I’d like to offer some basic principles and suggestions.

  1. Parents should be aware that art is not about achieving craftlike results; that the emphasis should be on the creative process.
  2. The way in which adults respond to children’s artwork is the key to helping your child’s artistic development. Instead of quickly declaring, “Oh, that’s beautiful,” pay attention to what your child is actually doing, then describe one particular thing you observe. For example, you might say, “I see you used three red patterned papers for your collage.”
  3. Always place your emphasis on a positive aspect of the work and avoid being critical, such as stating, “Well, this is not such a good part.’ That can be defeating to a child who is involved with another aspect of the work or is experimenting with materials. Wentworth Point Childcare
  4. If you want to work alongside the child, this would be in the same spirit of playfulness that most children express, which is to investigate and explore the materials, rather than taking after their artwork and making art instead of the children.

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