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April Newsletter!

Process vs. Product


At the Little School we often talk about the importance of process vs. product. Nowhere is the difference between these two things clearer than in the Red Room.  Here, children take at least as much pleasure in knocking down a tower of cardboard blocks as they do in building it.  While one child may fastidiously glue colored strips onto a piece of paper, another may simply watch glue drip from a brush and form a puddle on the paper.  And even the child who spends a long time filling a page with paint, may have little interest in the painting once it’s finished.  Children in the Red Room learn from each experience whether they produce a product or not.  They learn about the impact they have on a material and the impact they have on the small world of the classroom as they knock over a building, wield a paintbrush, pour water or glue or cut up fruit.

Each year of development brings a richer connection to process and some greater interest in product.  In the Blue Room children build structures that stay up.  They decide to fill the page with color or they may label a painting after it is finished.  They have a greater interest in taking home their work.  In the Yellow and Purple Rooms many children are still experimenting with materials. Children mix colors on their painting trays that may never make it to the page.  Clay can be rolled and flattened and rolled again just for the simple enjoyment of the process.  But through this repeated practice, children are also gaining mastery over materials in a new and exciting way.  Children can draw people and animals, illustrate their own stories and they can sew pillows or bags or dolls. Here the industry of each child, the carefully honed process of working with early childhood materials, pays off with a product each child is fully responsible for and proud of in a way that can easily be shared at home.

Red Room:



Blue Room:



Yellow Room:



Purple Room:


 

Tips for parents on talking about process: 

Describe what you see instead of evaluating it!  It is your acknowledgement of the process, the effort and concentration of your child at work that encourages and motivates your child.  

 

What could you say about this painting?

- I can see there's a lot of red!
- I wonder how you made orange?
- You covered the whole page!
- Look how bright that little bit of yellow looks on the bottom! 
Etc...


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