• Cut some pieces up to make note cards, thank-
you cards, invitations, calendars, diaries or
journals, or cookbook covers.
• Give them as special gifts (laminated or
framed); add a photo and a drawing or mes-
sage to make it personal.
• Archive the artwork in binders. If the art is too
big to fit in the binder, photograph it and place
the photo in the binder instead. Also, photo-
graph all the artwork, and use your computer
to create a digital portfolio or gallery.
Writing on Children’s
Artwork Writing on children’s artwork is a topic that can
generate mixed feelings. Writing a child’s name on
her artwork is something we all just do in a hurry
throughout our busy day. Until about five years ago,
I did not think about it too much. One day I sent
a piece of artwork home with a child. The child’s
mother asked to speak with me the next morning.
She asked if I could please stop writing on the front
of her artwork, as she felt her daughter’s work to be
so lovely that she wanted to frame some pieces.
From that moment on, I began to rethink my
practice of writing on the front of children’s art-
work. I began to really consider it on a bigger level.
Yes, her work was amazing, just as every other piece
the children in the group made was amazing. And
when we mark on the paper in any way, we alter
their work, even in the slightest way. “How might I
feel if someone wrote on my work,” I wondered? In
addition, I began to look at all of the artwork cur-
rently in the classroom. Several pieces had names
written sloppily. On one piece, the child’s name
was spelled wrong and scribbled over the top. What
does this say about the value of the child’s work?
Does it suggest it is not worthy of neat, tidy, well-
thought-out marking? I now carefully put the name
of the child and the date the piece was created on
creative and authentic art 69
the back of the artwork so I don’t disrupt the child’s
work. If I am in a hurry, I attach a sticky note with
the information I do not have time to dictate in that
moment. Marking the date a piece was created is very im-
portant. It allows you to chart the child’s develop-
ment throughout the year, as well as to know and to
understand where that child is developmentally at
any given time. Children go through a tremendous
developmental and emotional growth period when
they are two and three. Observing their develop-
ment is crucial!
Final Thoughts on Art
Art is an important element in a twos-and-threes
program. It is critical to provide well-thought-out
projects. When planning and facilitating projects,
adults need to operate at their comfort level, but
eventually all art projects being offered to children
should be child led and process oriented. Because
big messes are a concern of many adults, finding
a balance is important to make the most of the
experience. We offer and explain art projects during our
gathering circles. While the project typically starts
as my idea, the children add their thoughts, and of-
ten the project changes and goes in a new direction
because of their creative input. Sometimes we try
ideas that just don’t go very well. But they are great
teachable moments and lead to further discovery.
Having a camera and pencil and paper or sticky
notes handy is very important; recording chil-
dren’s language and input goes best when you are
prepared. I always jot down the communication,
creative ideas, and problem solving that emerges
at the art center.
When we are mindful of our offering of process,
observations, and documentation, as well as the
language we use with them, our self-reflection, and
our presentation of their creative endeavors, we
show children respect. Be flexible and allow chil-
dren the freedom to explore and be spontaneous.