Painting with Eric Violette and a preschooler

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on July 19, 2011

in Creative Art, Developmentally Appropriate Practices, Squeeze Painting, The Value of Play

I had a few special guests stay at my house this past week. Eric Violette, the guy from the free credit report . com commercials, and his fellow band members were in town to perform and while staying in my home, I asked Eric if he would like to join Wy and I to do a little painting…

Eric was a really good sport to paint with us and being that he has no experience with early childhood education, it was a good opportunity for me to make a few observations about adults versus children when it comes to creativity…

I started by having both Eric and Wy sign their names on their canvases. When I handed Eric the marker and told him that I would like him to begin by writing his name on the board, he asked where he should write it and how big or small. I explained that it was his artwork and he can write his name anywhere he wants and any size he wants. I then handed Wy the marker and he made his “name” too…

I placed a set of squeeze bottles and a set of spray bottles filled with paint next to Eric and told him that he could create anything he wanted using the bottles. I could see his hesitation and he asked me what I wanted him to make. I redirected him to the paint and said “it’s your painting, you can do anything you want”…

Eric chose to begin with the spray bottle and Wy chose the squeeze bottle. They both began their work…

They traded materials and worked side by side on their paintings…

There were two distinct approaches taking place that I thought was interesting. Wy was focused on exploring and squeezing the paint out of the bottles – he was not focused on the end result – he was only focused on the process…

Eric was focused on creating something more distinctive. He used the paints to work towards an end result even though he did not know what that end result would actually be as he went along…

I noticed that as adults, we do tend to think in terms of finished products. We go into our work expecting to produce something specific. Unlike adults, young children go into their work without these expectations. Their desire is to explore the materials and see what happens…

As adults, we model different forms of creativity. When Eric chose to paint with his fingers, Wy decided to try it too…

 

I am not sure exactly at what point in their development children begin focusing their attention on the end product but I do know that young children need the freedom to explore the materials without having to worry about adult expectations. When it comes to the young child, we need to realize that it is what they get to do that keeps them engaged in the creative process not what they get to make.

In the end, I had two beautiful paintings to save for my wall. Each painting was unique and each represented the artist that painted them. One was a result of exploration and the other was a result of imagination…

Thank you to Eric for painting with us and allowing me to observe and write about the process…

Learn more about product versus process from Educational Creativity!

“The opposite of play isn’t work, it is rote. ~Dr. Edward Hallowell” This quote was shared by Teacher Tom. Read more about how exploration and play can make a difference in the future of a young child…

This article is being shared with you by Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool - Sharing the wonders of early learning in action!

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