Do you agree that hand and footprint art should be banned in the early years
Some are arguing that hand and footprint art has no benefits for the child and although examples of lovely art pieces can be seen on many early years sites and plans that they really have no place in the early years.
All early years practitioners will have seen examples of hand print art and footprint art and some wonderful pictures can be created by practitioners using these prints for almost any topic or occasion however is there really any benefit to the child? Should children be pulled away from meaningful and engaging play experiences to have their hands covered in paint and made to make perfect handprints so that practitioners can turn these into pictures? Some are arguing that this must stop as it only has benefits for the practitioners and for the parents and that the child is fact gains very little from these experiences. Some would say they are even causing harm by interrupting a child’s play to complete this adult led, adult motivated exercise.
What the EYFS suggests
The Early Years Foundation Stage tells us that children learn through playing and exploring, active learning, and creating and critically thinking and during handprint art there is limited opportunity for this to happen. This is because during handprint art there is a set picture or goal in mind leaving little opportunity for children to fully explore the paint and the effects it has. There is little room for active learning or creating or critically thinking as the practitioner has done all of this by having a set end product in mind for the hand or footprint.
Many would argue that children would benefit from being able to freely explore the paint with their hands and feet and make any pictures, movements and marks they desire. Allowing them to critically and creatively think about what happens when they move in certain ways or mix particular colours. Finger painting, whole body painting, painting with tools, cars, balls and natural objects all allow children to have control over what they want to create and how they want to explore making the creations truly their own. It gives children more motivation and pride to know they have achieved a final product that looks just how they wanted it to rather than how the practitioner envisioned it should look. Younger children gain from the sensory experience and physical skills involved in using their bodies and exploring the paints how they chose and older children may begin to give meanings to their marks and often this can be lost through precise hand and footprint art.
For these reason many are choosing to ban hand and footprint art within their settings opting to create different art pieces with the children. However some decide to still us hand and footprint art as they make lovely keepsakes for special occasions and they also argue that some sensory experiences and bodily awareness are gained by the children having their hands and feet printed.