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What Process Art looks like in Out Of School Care

I know what you are thinking - Process art is for preschoolers and babies. Most people see process art as the messy paint experiences or or sponge painting that our little people love so much. It can be that. But that is not all it is.

"The 'process' in process art refers to the process of the formation of art: the gathering, sorting, collating, associating, patterning, and moreover the initiation of actions and proceedings. ... Therefore, art is viewed as a creative journey or process, rather than as a deliverable or end product." (definitions . net)

When considering process art experiences for Out Of School Care children the concept is the same. It is about the creative process and journey in a project. The difference between preschool and OSC process art is that the educator may act as more of a facilitator in the project. They may suggest a theme, demonstrate new ways to use the mediums before you start, and they may keep a bigger distance from themselves and the artists as the creation takes place than may be necessary with younger children. The art itself may look a little different. The idea that process art must be messy art is not accurate. If we follow the concept that it is the creative journey that matters then even orderly creative journeys are important. The child who methodically completes and ink art or zentangle (C) drawing is still engaging in the process, for example. The mess is gone but the creativity is there.

Take for example this OSC activity of creating animal habitats. The educator acted as a facilitator to start by providing the theme and materials and providing information about what a habitat is. The group talked about how you need many things in a habitat like places to sleep and eat and play. Then the materials were set out for the children.

The materials were varied and plentiful. There was no instruction on how to use the items except that the children could cut, manipulate, change and use the items how they desired. The educator again acted as facilitator as the children asked, "how can I get this to stay here?" or "What else can I use for this?". The response were usually questions to lead the child through a thought process - is one thing heavier than the other? Would a different type of glue help? Did one of your friends use this item and can advise you?

The results were the children created fantastic animal habitats. They were given small toy animals to build the habitat for. The resulting creation were about the process. They were about the children exploring ideas and testing theories and wondering what could go in their "mini world".

The results of the process art activity were creative and amazing and the children played with them for a long time. Some may not think of it as process art but if we go back to the definition "the gathering, sorting, collating, associating, patterning, and moreover the initiation of actions and proceedings. " the animal habitat activity definitely falls into the category of process art. For Out Of School care children the preamble or initial set up of the activity may have more steps but when it comes to the activity the children take the lead and create freely. This is what process art is about.

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