Drawing development in children

Children love to draw. As teachers and parents, we encourage our children to express their feelings through aesthetic engagement like drawing. While children are enjoying themselves, adults may feel a bit lost. We may ask ourselves, "Should I draw with them and show them how they should draw a star properly?" "My daughter is 3 years old already, should she be able to draw a portrait?" "At 6 years old, what kind of art classes are most age-appropriate to my child?"

Viktor Lowenfeld (1903-1960) was a prominent professor in art education. His book Creative and Mental Growth (1947) has been an influential resource for primary art teacher education. Lowenfeld believed that children's art work is a vivid reflection of their physical and emotional growth.

Lowenfeld also developed the theory of artistic development based on his research. This theory consists of six artistic stages that children go through.

1) Scribble (2 years old)

2) Preschematic (3-5 years old)

3) Schematic (6-7 years old)

4) Drawing Realism (8-11 years old)

5) Pseudorealism (12-13 years old)

6) Period of decision/crisis (14-16 years old)

For the more detailed description of each stage, please visit Drawing Development in Children.

In the above website, you can also find the stages of artistic development devised by American art teacher and author, Betty Edwards. She, on the other hand, based her arguements on brain research; hence, the way she organizes her system has to do with the different functions of the two hemisphere of our brains. Her publication Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (1979) has become one of the major reference for the study of art education. You may visit the website http://www.drawright.com/ to see a bit of the background of her theory.

Hopefully, by having a bit of background in our children's artistic development, educators and parents can set realistic expectations and provide appropriate responses while our children take pleasure in drawing!