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Why Promote Process Over Product? - Why Process Emphasis Supports Learning

by Sally Cartwright
March/April 2001
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/why-promote-process-over-product-why-process-emphasis-supports-learning/5013868/

We may hear the phrase process over product without fully realizing its importance to young children. Here process refers to the child's actual work of learning, whether it be dramatic play in which Ted, as a dad, tries to bake a pretend pie while minding his obstreperous children; or block play in which Meg joins her peers to build a working community like our fishing village; or simply Nan painting at the easel. Product, on the other hand, means the material result: Ted's pie, Meg's building, Nan's picture. I would like to discuss how and why we child care professionals and teachers should emphasize process over product.* Take, for example, the process and product of painting a picture.


Process in painting may include the child's way of deciding to paint, perhaps choosing a painting partner, selecting and maybe mixing colors, putting brush to paper, experimenting, freeing inner feelings, sorting one's thoughts, all that goes into making the picture. Product refers to the picture itself. Process over product in painting suggests we should give our attention mainly to the child's experience rather than to the picture.

Using painting as an example, here are eight good reasons why teachers and caregivers should emphasize process and ...

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