The drawing has been and is for the human being a way of expressing his thoughts. Furthermore, as an artistic manifestation, it helps the balance between reason and emotion, and is a means for the transmission of knowledge.
When they draw, children use their experiences to create elements that help them communicate and understand the world around them.
It is common to see children of a younger age spend time and enthusiasm in free drawing or adult-guided drawing, either in the classroom or at home. At this time, children open their minds and imagination, work on motor skills, especially fine motor skills, and also manage to capture their thoughts, ideas, illusions, fears, etc.
The stages of drawing
Between the ages of two and four, boys and girls begin to scribble, in which there is motor work that links the hand, elbow and shoulder and from which unintentional strokes are obtained that evolve over time. time. Around the age of four, the figures they draw begin to be recognizable and that is where the intentionality begins.
The scribbling stage is very important, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Children must be allowed to draw without interrupting, especially if we see that they are enjoying themselves. It is a first step so that it ends up being a pleasant activity in the future.
Adults tend to seek perfection: when we participate in this moment with our children we want to help them make sense of the result. However, it is not a need of the minor but of the adult.
In the first moments the child tries to enjoy the stroke, without eye-hand coordination, and little by little this stroke is defined and the relationship between hand and gaze is coordinated.
Schematic stage and spatial relationship
From four to seven years old, children already represent in their drawings ideas and elements that they observe with more definition . From the age of approximately seven, children pass to a more schematic stage. For example, they already draw details of the human body and little by little these details are perfected, as are the strokes, which increase the realism of the drawing.
At this stage, the child realizes that there are spatial relationships between objects and that they are not isolated. Subsequently, temporal relationships are also included in the same role, represented by an order of succession of events.
From the age of seven, many boys and girls enter a stage of less interest in drawing. To encourage them to continue practicing this activity, we need to create an optimal space for it. Within this space, time is required and avoid prejudices. An active participation of the family and school environment also contributes.
From secondary school: too rigid?
When boys and girls go to Compulsory Secondary Education, the subjects related to art require greater precision, technique and following instructions, an environment very different from that of pre-school or primary education.
On the other hand, the family tends to abandon support for this type of activity, especially in cases in which mothers and fathers do not dedicate part of their free time to artistic subjects. This makes students spend more time supporting the subjects considered more difficult to acquire.
An indispensable contribution
Drawing, as part of plastic expression, brings so many benefits to children’s education that it should become indispensable . When a minor draws, they are working on graphomotor skills, creativity, writing, confidence and also their way of expressing themselves , something that implies emotional maturity.
Imagination is critical to achieving greater problem-solving ability in adulthood . Drawing encourages imagination and also the relationship with the environment and with the adult world .
Arts or sciences?
In the current educational system, the artistic branch and the branch of science are separated from adolescence. Therefore, from the beginning we are telling minors that plastic expression and scientific study have no relationship.
But drawing is also a way of understanding the environment and transmitting scientific information . Drawing is not only fundamental in science: it is also fundamental in languages and social relations, etc.
The use of drawing in a more transversal way would help children to understand a large part of the concepts seen in other theoretical fields and to internalize that artistic expression is a common point of knowledge and not a full stop.
Why do children stop drawing?
Although there is no single and precise reason, we can get an idea of why, as children grow older, they give up drawing and no longer enjoy drawing. On the one hand, younger children need ways of non-verbal communication, in which they can express themselves and one of these tools is drawing. Little by little, boys and girls learn to speak, write and read, and therefore to communicate with the world in general in other ways.
To this we add the fact that the organization of the educational system separates areas abruptly and more so as age advances. Thus we are left, on the one hand, with adolescents who do not like to draw, feel that they are not good at it, or simply have other interests. And on the other hand, we find adolescents who like it, have fun and have never stopped doing it.
Between both extremes we could find a relaxed drawing practice without excessive rules. In educational centers and especially by families, time, support and compliments can be dedicated when required.
Knowing the benefits of drawing in the life of the child and the adult, as well as other artistic expressions such as music , help families and schools to understand the importance of these practices. The alternatives of extracurricular activities or free time can become an immersion option towards this activity.
Encouraging drawing, like any other form of artistic expression, is synonymous with providing tools for boys and girls to express themselves and understand the world, no matter how old they are.
Author Bio: Ana Isabel Agusti Lopez is the Coordinator of the Master in Teacher Training at the International University of Valencia