Monday, September 27, 2010

Drawing Them In

Before children begin making art with pencils, crayons, and the like, they are creating artwork: A swipe of pudding on the high chair, a pudgy hand raking the sand, a stick scraping through the dirt, it all says, "I can make something appear out of nowhere."

Drawing can be fun. It's sometimes silly how we have preconceived notions on what a good or a bad drawing is. I believe that children should be allowed to use art as a form of expression. But for kids who want to learn how to make specific figures already; you have to show them that drawing is made up of several parts joined together. “I don’t know how to draw!” is what you will often here from pre-schoolers, so I'm a big believer in that we as the teachers/parents/carers can change that you ask? I think all children and adults can draw, remembering that drawing is a person's perspective on how they see the world. Encourage children to draw what they see and see what THEY see! PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE! Each year that I teach I use drawing for many different purposes within the classroom setting: Quiet time, conflict resolution, grief therapy, fine motor skill practice, just to name a few. During this time I always sit and draw too, modelling this behaviour is so important for little ones, they see their teacher as someone who can draw = they see themselves as someone who can draw. As a child I wasn't encouraged to draw and was often told that I wasn't very good at it, although I enjoyed it. So for me drawing has become a daily part of my routine with my own children and they confidently see themselves as little people who can draw even at this young age. There are a few easy ways that you can show your pre-schooler to draw:

Younger children can start off by drawing stick figures. In the above drawings, you can draw a lollipop by adding lines or circles. I see a man running. But what about the second man? What is he doing? Why are his arms wide open? You can make lots of stick figures. You can draw girl stick figures too by adding clothes. Or you can draw stick figures with hair or make them raise their hands, bend their body and more.

You can use basic shapes like circle, triangle, square, rectangle to come up with simple drawings. The above illustration shows a Missy the Cat facing you and the other is Mister Rabbit with his back to you.
The Cat: Draw a circle. Add a smaller circle inside the big circle. Make sure the inside circle is placed near the bottom of the circle. Then you can add the ears, eyes, nose, whiskers and don't forget a tiny tail. Meow...Missy says "Be quiet. She wants to sleep."
The Rabbit: Draw a circle. Put inside a small circle near the bottom and part of a circle on top. Add the ears making sure it’s pointed and long with whiskers. You’ve got a rabbit about to hop away. Run after him!!!!


Random Scribbles, 12 to 30 months

As soon as they learn to hold a pen and make marks on paper, kids are likely to experience "kinesthetic enjoyment," the pleasure of moving around and making marks. Their marks are typically random and disordered, made with the whole hand and arm, and are likely to extend off the paper. Or off the wall.

Controlled Scribbles, 30 months to 3 years
Now a child begins to use wrist motions, control her marks, make them smaller, and keep them mostly on the paper. Or on the wall.

Named Scribbles, 3 to 4 1/2 years
Kids start to hold crayons with their fingers rather than their fists, make a variety of lines and shapes, and tell you what they are. Kids are also apt to "narrate," announcing as they draw that, say, a squiggle is actually Aunt Kate dancing with Uncle Al. It's a step toward connecting pictures and things.

Preschematic, 4 1/2 to 7 years
Squiggles, circles, and spirals start to develop into symbols that represent things, as well as self-portraits. These new figures, resembling tadpoles and such, may not be in proportion or even strike you as actual objects, but kids are learning that their pictures say something to others, and to value their product.

Schematic, 7 to 9 years
Those symbols start to appear within a larger framework, or schema. Kids might now draw themselves and their family on a baseline, and include the sky. Their colours get more realistic, but still don't expect to be able to recognise who's Aunt Kate and who's Uncle Al.