At Foothills Fine Arts Academy Preschool, the focus is on process-centered art. This is art that is child-centered and child-directed. In our classrooms, there are no right or wrong ways for a child to create art. The focus is not on what the finished product will look like, as this often creates anxiety in young children. Instead the focus is on the child’s experience and voice while making the art, which allows children to feel empowered, to take risks, and to enjoy the process of being an artist.
The benefits of this type of art are immeasurable for young children: it helps children to relax, focus, and feel successful while expressing their feelings; it helps children develop fine-motor skills; it increases cognitive functions as children plan and problem-solve their way through their project; it’s fun, and brings joy as children create something that is completely their own.
In our preschool classes, you may see a tree branch that is wrapped in yarn. You may see a collage of leaves, pom-poms, and feathers that has been gleefully glued onto a piece of construction paper. You may see a watercolor painting that has been transformed into a 3-D piece of art by the addition of play-dough and sticks. We can guarantee that no two pieces of art will look the same in our classrooms, but what will be the same is a bounty of creativity, color, and contrast in our students’ art.
One of the biggest benefits of our arts program is that it helps students develop language skills as they describe their art to their teachers and peers. Developing language skills is one of the top goals for our preschool program, and teachers ensure that their students develop the language needed for discussing art, science, reading, and math. In fact, our preschool program has partnered with our kindergarten teachers for a piloted arts integration math program called Moving Through Math that helps preschool students develop the language of math via the use of bodily kinesthetic and visual imagery. Our students become prepared for mathematical discourse when they leave preschool and become kindergarten students at Foothills. This type of integration helps develop crucial learning foundations for our youngest students so that they will be ready for academic success in kindergarten, and beyond.