With my daycare, I do "direct" specific projects. Most parents reprimand me if the project is not "perfect". Drives me nuts to be found lacking simply because I allow freedom, exploration, & creativity.
I am not kidding you: I have been reprimanded for the star not being on the top of the tree! I was actually asked "where were you? Didn't you direct him?" !! LOL
That said, I do allow freedom with art supplies.....after the specific project is completed. Both examples are sent home....& very few parents applaud the child's efforts. So sad. In fact, just this week, one of the girls painted a color-by-number project...& then went to town with extra paint paper. She used a lot of brown, black, & orange.....& her mom was grossed out by her efforts. Again, so sad. I know that explosion of color went straight to the trashcan. :( & it was actually pretty danged good!
Oh, & one more thought: I do see an importance in directing the child. It teaches/reinforces listening skills & the ability to follow directions!