What Is Process Art and Why Does It Matter?

Whenever I put something on the art table, I keep my fingers crossed that the children will love it.

I hope that they will think that it’s super fun and stick with it for more than 30 seconds. And to be fully transparent, I secretly hope that the results will be beautiful.

Why do I keep my fingers crossed? Because I am talking about three, four, and five-year-olds! Just when I am certain they will love an idea, the children look at me and ask, “Do we have to do this?”

And to make matters worse, I have to make a decision right there on the spot. “Do they have to do it or not?” Talk about pressure.

So many thoughts go through my mind. I don’t want to ruin my students’ attitudes about art, but I really want them to give it a try. I find myself feeling confused and maybe just a little frustrated too.

This brings me to Process Art and why it matters.

What is Process Art?

I think we all understand what a process is but let’s review. A process can be defined as the “actions taken” to accomplish something. The words “actions taken” summarize the intention of process art.

Process Art puts the emphasis on the “act” of creating…
…rather than on the “results” of creating.

Why Does It Matter?

The quick answer is: Young children are active learners and Process Art is all about inviting children to actively explore a creative process.

But there is so much more.

Process Art will get you and your students EXCITED about art and through Process Art…

  • Your students will want to come to the art table and stick with it longer.
  • Your art experiences will be more inspired, intentional, authentic, and creative.
  • Planning and preparing will be easier and quicker.
  • Young children will build new skills, confidence, and competence.

There are so many benefits to be gained through the exploration of process art for you and your students. This series of articles will address questions we all have when it comes to creative art in the early childhood classroom. And each of these articles will prepare you for the exciting event coming up soon! So stay tuned for my next post.

Experience the Inspiration of Process Art

January 23rd, 2019

Be sure to mark your calendar!

Want to keep up with this series? Subscribe today for my Discover Conference newsletter and you will never miss a thing!


About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Sue December 16, 2018 at 7:42 am - Reply

    Looking forward to learning more process work ideas!

  2. Margaret Welwood December 16, 2018 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    I’m really interested in this! I’m especially interested in knowing if you have any process art that involves “picking.” Ellie loves to pick–paint off walls 🙁 bits off the floor . . . Just as I give her paper to rip, I’d love to be able to give her something she’s ALLOWED to pick!

    • Deborah Stewart December 17, 2018 at 2:29 am - Reply

      Just as a quick idea, print out letters or numbers or her name or other on a piece of plastic (like a jug) or on a laminated surface of some sort. Then cover the letters with sticker dots or tape. She can remove the dots or tape to see what might be underneath or just because she likes removing them!

      • Cecile Tousignant December 17, 2018 at 8:41 pm

        Put different craft materials (cotton balls, cut-up straws,etc. on the sticky side of wide tape or contact paper. Let her pick and re-stick.

  3. Lesley Karen December 18, 2018 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    Someone who likes to “pick” might enjoy peeling crayons. This is a calming activity for many children that encourages focus and builds fine motor skills. Also, how about pulling masking or painter’s tape off the floor?

  4. Monica December 20, 2018 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    Can’t wait to
    Read all about your stories and great ideas

  5. Mikaere Nixon December 23, 2018 at 10:18 am - Reply

    My best art teacher taught like this and it gave me so much more confidence than results oriented art. Looking forward to the conference if it’s an online one. If not enjoy.

    • Deborah Stewart December 27, 2018 at 3:01 pm - Reply

      The conference is online!

  6. Tin Mar Khaing December 25, 2018 at 5:14 am - Reply

    Looking forward to learning great ideas.

  7. Ilana Friedman December 27, 2018 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    Stick masking tape strips every which way on cardboard. Paint over it all. Peel off the tape to reveal the finished piece.

  8. Cathy January 5, 2019 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    Will you have any tips for toddler teachers? How can I get the interest form in English?

    • Deborah Stewart January 6, 2019 at 9:30 pm - Reply

      I don’t know WHY that form keeps showing up in Spanish! We will get that fixed but the follow up emails are all in English. So Sorry about that!

  9. Karen Soliman January 6, 2019 at 12:46 pm - Reply

    Where will the conference be held? Thank you!!

    • Deborah Stewart January 6, 2019 at 9:29 pm - Reply

      It is a virtual conference which means you can access right from home!

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