Art Is Smart! But Why?

Welcome to a process-based art experience! Children have daily opportunities to explore the form and function of art while using critical thinking to express themselves and problem-solve with creativity.
When guiding children’s art activities, I2C-ladonna.jpgthe “process” takes precedence over the “end product.” This year, Experience Curriculum art is divided into “Invitations to Create” and “Make & Plays.” Here are examples of how other educators are implementing the Invitation to Create art. Below find a helpful Parent Letter to help share the benefits of process-based art.

A Special Note to Send to Your Parents and Families

(cut & paste below or download the pdf version here)

Art Is Smart

Welcome to an exciting year of hands-on learning with your child! This year, your child will participate in a special art program called “Invitation to Create” through Experience curriculum.  This is a research-based approach that embraces a constructivist approach to teaching.

Screen_Shot_2016-09-30_at_12.19.30_PM.pngWe are thrilled to let you know that Invitation to Create supports the highest standards of early learning research. Quite simply, this approach encourages children to learn and construct knowledge by actively investigating and problem-solving. In fact, because of the significant data supporting the positive impacts,  the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and state education departments are now requiring licensed programs to implement this model of teaching in order to qualify for the highest quality ratings. (1)

When your child brings home her art, you might see a messy collage of materials covered in globs of paint and flower petals! But behind this abstract masterpiece, look closely and you will see the complex problem-solving and deep learning that happened during the process of creating this art. This process is key to your child’s development of what scientists are calling the most critical 21st century skills, including:

  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Creativity and imagination
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving
  • Creative and innovative practice

Here are a few questions to ask your child or teacher for evidence of the learning that happens while your child creates:

  • Can you tell me more about this [used supply]? Why did you put that on your design?
  • How did you make this artwork?
    • What did you do first? Did you cut, paint or glue first?
    • What happened when you dipped the paintbrush in more than one color, squeezed the eye dropper, etc.?
  • What did you see or learn today that made you want to create this?
    • Did you look at a photo when you made this? What was interesting about the photo? How did you include this detail in your work?
    • What else did you do during the day about [name the topic of the photo such as rabbits, frogs, flowers]?
  • How did you feel when you created your art?
    • What is your favorite part of your art? Why?
    • Who else was making art next to you? What did you talk about while you both created?

An Invitation to Create is an invitation for your child to communicate her ideas visually. By asking questions, you help your child build her communication skills. This conversation also helps her know that you see the value and beauty in her work.

Your children‘s brains develop rapidly and she may not yet have the words to fully express the complexity of what she understands and thinks. But art is a window into the mind. Use the art she brings home as a way to understand how she is making meaning and gaining knowledge from all the sights and sounds she experiences in a day.


Want to learn more?

Read more about NAEYC position statement on quality early learning programs.

Read more about Constructivist Approaches.


More Invitation to Create Ideas