Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Art + Crafts: The Fundamentals Part 1
Creative expression is essential in a child's early years and beyond. Often we use “arts and crafts” as a description for creative expression with a variety of materials. So, what is the difference between them?
Art is an open ended expression of creativity using a variety of materials. Options could include; paints, paper, found objects, sculpting dough or clay, crayons, pencils, markers, beads, feathers, etc. It’s important to offer the opportunity for children to explore all types of materials completely without any expectations of any specific outcome. There can be parameters set on the activity in terms of the materials available, the time frame for the activity and the location.
Art is about the experience and process of creating rather than an expectation of the outcome. Children are free to express their feelings, illustrate experiences or simply open themselves up to the moment. The final product may not have as much significance to the child as the experience itself.
Crafts may also include a variety of materials offered but with a specific outcome expected or desired. Typically there are several steps involved in the process from beginning to the end product. This could include assembling components or working through a step-by-step instructions to arrive at the completed project. Crafts have more structure and can be an asset in developing concepts of planning, implementation and completion. There are lots of kits
and books with developmentally appropriate projects which include list of materials needed to complete the craft. Although the outcome of a craft is an identifiable and defined project, its goal is the process which uses step-by-step instructions and specific materials.