Crafts are Missing the Mark: Product versus Process Learning

Pretty soon school hallways and bulletin boards will be filled with crafts like my fish example. Travel over to Pinterest for a minute and you will see tons of examples under “preschool art” 😢

What do I have against this sad little paper plate fish?

It is focused on a product. The fish I make and the fish you make should look similar in the end. We want the finished product to look like the teacher example. 

This leaves very little room for process learning....the messy middle.

The place where we actually study fish in the water. 

The place where we try to draw what they look like moving along the rocks at the bottom. The place where I’m allowed to talk about my knowledge of fish in the creek versus fish in the pond versus fish in my friend’s tank. The place where I try to decide what materials to use to show you what a fish looks like: does this color seem right? Does marker work best? Or should I use clay?

Be honest. Which of the two examples do you have hanging on your fridge? Which type of learning did your child experience?

Open-ended projects allow for children to explore the process of learning without a clear cut, teacher determined end in mind.  Children always accomplish more than what teachers could imagine when we just trust them.  Do you want to try a Reggio-inspired project with your child?  Are you just not sure how?  I would love to help you! 

Sign up for Atelier @ Home!  It is a one-month at a time parent coaching group.  You can find out more here.

If you want to hear me on my soap box about craptivities, you can give this video a listen:

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