When young children are creating art, it's important for child care providers to remember to praise effort instead of product. Praising the product is very tempting. It's easy to say, "I love your beautiful painting!" without really thinking about the words. Unfortunately, there are several ways that your well-meaning praise can go wrong.
Child care providers may praise children's artwork to help increase their self-esteem. Unfortunately, children sometimes misinterpret teachers' praise. Here are some common misunderstandings.
Here's a simple example. Guess what happened when a teacher said, "Oh, look how pretty Karen’s painting of a house turned out?" Not surprisingly, many other children tried to copy Karen’s idea and style to win the teacher’s praise instead of using their own creativity.
The best way to give children feedback is to praise effort instead of the product. Help children recognize how hard they worked and encourage them to be proud of their accomplishments.
You might say something like:
Changing how you talk with children about their artwork takes thought and practice. But teachers who intentionally praise children’s effort and involvement rather than the product of their artwork are helping support and encourage the children's creativity, thinking skills and sense of self-worth.