Open-ended art is defined as art activity where children are free to use their imagination as they explore a variety of materials without a planned outcome. When teachers embrace open-ended art, they emphasize the process of creating and observe the developmental growth being experienced by the children. Open-ended art provides children an important opportunity to think about, feel, and express ideas. It allows teachers to slow down the pace of the day and appreciate the beauty that comes from simple experimentation with art materials.
There are many books available to educators that include art ideas and projects, but Open-Ended Art for Young Children goes beyond the basics to highlight why the field of early childhood education advocates for open-ended art and explains how to adapt to new ways of thinking about art. Authors Dr. Tracy Galuski and Dr. Mary Ellen Bardsley present, chapter by chapter, the challenges teachers encounter when faced with best practices and expectations related art process and product. Each chapter begins with a classroom vignette that describes the challenge, followed by a plethora of solutions grounded in research and illustrated through practical examples. Each chapter includes full-color pictures and photos and ends with an activity or investigation for reflection.