Process and Product

As adults, we are concerned with the outcomes or the product of our efforts. We want the report to look nice, the cookies to taste great, or the hedges to be perfectly straight. We participate in few activities just for the fun of doing them.

In part this is because we are not still learning how to do most of these activities. But do you remember when you learned how to play tennis or golf? Or use a new computer program? In the beginning you needed a certain amount of time for “messing around” – exploring what happens if you did this or that.

That is the way it is with your child. Kids are learning new things all the time, and they need the freedom to try things out without worrying about the product.

Luckily, young children tend to be more involved with the process or the doing than they are with the end product or results. That is why your child may draw all afternoon yet still not be able to tell you what he drew. And why one child can pour rice back and forth between pitchers all day long, and another will string and unstring beads every day for a week.

It is hard for us adults to look beyond the product of an activity and see what the child is learning from the process. Perhaps he’s learning coordination or beginning writing skills or making discoveries about triangles or gravity. He’s certainly finding out that doing for one’s self is very satisfying – and that builds confidence.

Be patient. Allow your child the time to grow and learn through various processes that are part of the task. Enjoy watching his or her involvement. Later, we all can be proud of the product.

Family Friendly Communication for Early Childhood Programs
National Education for the Education of Young Children
Deborah Diffily and Kathy Morrison, editors; 1996; pg. 8.

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