For preschool aged children, art is often a key learning tool and can be used in a variety of ways. Three central approaches to art include: product-based art, process-based art, and arting based art.

Each of these approaches has a unique process involved and contributes to learning in different ways.

Product-Based Art

  • Adults present a model to students of artwork (whether it is something the teacher made, or work from famous artists the children can learn about)
  • Children are instructed to make their own artwork like the model
  • They are limited in the resources they can use and must strive to match the adult prototype
  • The teacher will ask children what are you making and the children should be able to respond
  • The goal is for children to become more skilled at the artistic tasks and techniques and become caught up in the end products they are creating

Process-Based Art

  • Process based art is much more open-ended and free spirited than product based
  • The goal of process based art is for children to engage in the process of making their own artwork
  • Supplies are given to students by the teacher based on the teacher’s assessment of what materials the children will enjoy working with
  • Little instruction and no model is given to children and they are allowed to make pieces as they please which provides greater opportunities for creative thinking and problem solving

Arting-Based Art

  • Arting based art is unique in that it is just art for the sake of art
  • There are no expected outcomes of children, they are simply given the opportunity to express themselves creatively in whatever way the see fit
  • They are not required to finish their work as the goal of the activity is a low pressure low stakes environment in which children can simply engage with their natural creativity


Source: Art and Creative Development for Young Children by: Robert Schirmacher


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