Guidelines for Open-ended Art

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Guidelines for Open-ended Art

- Never alter or ‘fix’ a child’s work
- Provide a wide variety of interesting materials and choices
- Add new materials weekly, incorporating your theme if possible
- Never tell a child what to create


- Emphasize the process, not the end product
- Don’t ask “What is it?”; Say “Tell me about it”
- Ask the child if and where he/she would like his name put
- Let children explore materials
- Let children come up with their own ideas and use materials creatively
- Provide materials for 3-D and on-going artwork projects
- Encourage, do not force participation
- Do not do models or samples for the children
- Throw away any colorbooks or dittos in the room
- All materials should be at the children’s level, and accessible
- Playdough and the art easel should be open the majority of each day
- Encourage children to express feelings and personal experiences through art
- Display art in a variety of ways – it should not all ‘match’
- Talk about texture, color, smell, shape, etc and the experience
- Let the children be as independent as possible, and encourage self-help skills and responsibility in cleaning up art
- Educate parents as to the value and learning in open-ended art
- Teach and model appropriate use and respect of materials
- Allow ample time for children to create and explore
- Incorporate books on fine art in your classroom
- Children should be doing their own cutting – it’s okay if a circle doesn’t remotely resemble a circle yet. This is how they develop these fine muscles – and makes it ‘their’ work and experience.
- There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way, or end product.
- The art area should have lots and lots of a variety of different collage materials, and always be an open, available choice for children

Cathy Abraham

childcarediva@aol.com

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