Some of you may know that my day job is within the early years education sector. It is something I am massively passionate about and I am always striving to keep my knowledge current. It was through this research that I discovered a wonderful innitiative called “The Curiosity Approach”. If you haven’t heard of it, I advise you look it up. Their settings are absolutely stunning and offer an array of inspiration. However, recently they posted this somewhat controversial post on their Facebook page about so-called “Craptivities” in the run up to Christmas. I turned to fellow bloggers, professionals and parents for their opinions on the idea of process vs. product.
Jaymee of The Mum Diaries says: “As a qualified nursery nurse I kind of agree. Too much adult help and it is no longer really their work. However, as a mum sometimes it is useful. The amount of squiggles and weird stuff that gets sent home. With a little adult guidance at least I will know what it is meant to be!”
Sarah of Arthurwears says: “I am an EYFS primary teacher and I do agree that things that are too directed and changed/led too much by the adult are pointless and don’t teach the child much – but I don’t think it should be completely the opposite either. Children need to be inspired and the best way to go about it is to let them watch you making a few different ones and then leave ALL of the resources (along with the ones you’ve made) out for them to make their own independently. They need to be shown how first and if they copy then that’s fine too. Just don’t do it for them.”
Catherine of Shipley Mums says: “I’m an early years practioner and parent. Looking around primary schools this week for my daughter I was horrified by the rows and rows of identical artwork adorning all the walls. I also think that by focusing on a product you’re setting children up to fail. If my 3 year old knows what something is ‘supposed’ to look like, if she can’t achieve that she’s devastated. Process over product every time.”
Alex of Actual Ar says: “I agree too but as a former primary/nursery teacher I do think that there’s a place for process when it comes to these things too, especially for children who may need more support with concentration or fine motor skills etc. I think whatever they bring home is going to be something they’re proud of anyway, so really it’s kind of a strangely worded stance in my opinion 🤔 as long as they’re making and they’re happy, who’s arsed?”
Natasha of Mummy and Moose says: “I see why the projects are guided. Some of the stuff my son “creates” at home is a solid 2/10 but that’s the point. It doesn’t matter because he has the space and time given to him at home to allow him to make the thing he wants to make (even if I have no idea wth it is) so I don’t mind the guided work happening at school if that’s what the teachers have time to do with him.”
Emma of Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs says: “I agree in principle as I’ve witnessed the joy my son gets from getting stuck in by himself BUT I have fallen fowl of the ‘guess what it is Mummy’ scenario. A little help from an adult gives me a sporting chance.”
Hayley of Devon Mama says: “It’s hard because this year we’re giving Christmas cards that are literally one sticker and a felt tip wiggle across the page. Last year they made (super cute) footprint reindeers that clearly had a lot of help – even if ours looked drunk! In that instance part of the loveliness was having his footprint to treasure and see how small he was and I can guarantee he wouldn’t have managed that alone! Do I love the random sticker and squiggle as much? Yes, but in a different way. So for me there’s a place for both types – the ‘well done but what is it?’ bits and the ‘thank god someone helped with that’ pieces.”
Becca of Pears and Chocolate Sauce says: “I’m a primary teacher and I agree. Much better to put out a range of materials and say – ‘lets make a reindeer’ than to have a prescribed activity where they all come out looking the same. In the pictures above, for example, an early years child won’t do much more than glue on the eyes and ears. That’s not to say you can’t give them any guidance. But the guidance should be guiding them in thinking about and planning their creation rather than step-by-step ‘how to’ instructions. But so much more to be gained from it if they have some autonomy and much more interesting creations! (And potentially less likely to end up in the recycling bin!)”
There you have it a mix of opinions but basically upon the same gist. For me personally, I believe the process is important for the child but the product is more important to the adult. The thing that needs to be remembered by adults (specifically those working in early years) is that the children are the learners and they need freedom to explore to learn!
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!