This week in class: What is best?

Sometimes our practice is challenged. Someone may question why we have chosen to do something a certain way or questions a choice we’ve made. How do you react?

I encourage you to stop and reflect next time you find yourself in that position. Ask yourself two simple questions:

  • What is the better option?

  • Which documents support the better option? (e.g. National Quality Standards, Early Years Learning Framework)

This week in class, we have been challenged by the ‘debate’ between free art and educator-focused craft.

Students were instructed to make a boat and were guided step by step through the process to ensure that each person created an exact replica of mine. I had carefully prepared everything prior to class so students didn’t really have much to do.

The second activity presented was for each student to create anything they wanted……collage, drawing, writing etc. and they were given a range of papers, glue, tape, collage bits and pieces to create with. I was not involved other than to wander and chat with each student.

When each activity was finished we displayed and discussed:

Which activity was more enjoyable? Which activity was more creative? Which activity allowed for individual thought?

It was unanimous that activity 2 was the better of the two.

What is best?

Now think about the children in your care. How often are they able to construct, role play, design, create and use their own imagination without educator input?

So much of a child’s day is educator-led,

so we concluded that children should really be allowed to have freedom in their own art and creative processes.

Children’s creativity is connected to all five Learning Outcomes in the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) (DEEWR, 2009). Outcome 4 highlights creativity as an important learning disposition that impacts on learning throughout life.

What are your thoughts on free art and directed craft? Which do you think is ‘best?’

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