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developmental stages - As a result of the child study...

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A s a result of the child study movement in the early 1900s, it is now generally recognized that children progress through certain stages of development in their art making. Each stage may be identified by certain characterisitics which show up repeatedly in their art work. These stages have been linked to chronological age (particularly from 18 months to 6 years). However, a number of factors (both internal and external) may affect a child's artistic development. Thus, to expect that children at a certain age should be at a certain stage of development is inappropriate. A number of developmental models have been offered over the years to explain what occurs with respect to children's artistic development. While these models sometimes vary (e.g., in the number of proposed stages), they all propose a similar pattern of development--one of progressing from scribbling to realistic representation. Other generalizations that may be made with some certainty include: Socioeconomic factors seem to have little influence on early stages. Moreover, girls and boys tend to draw alike at the early ages. Children's drawings typically show greater development than paintings because crayons, markers, and pencils are easier to control than paint and a brush. Considerable overlap exists between stages. Two stages may be represented in one work and a child may regress before advancing to the next stage. It is unlikely that a child will reach the later stages without instruction or cultural intervention. (Development in art is not universal) The following account suggests that there are four stages of children's artistic development. It is based on the popular view that the desired "end state" of this progression is graphical realism. However, this should not be taken to mean that the drawings that children typically do in earlier stages are inferior or less desirable. On the contrary, as will be shown, some of the more aesthetically pleasing works often are produced by children just beginning to discover the joys of mark-making. It is hoped that this resource will prove useful to those interested in learning more about child art. Each section includes several examples of child art intended to illustrate points made in the text. Some of these works may be examined closer by clicking on them. Readers are encouraged to also visit our gallery where additional examples of child art are on display. For those interested in learning more about child art, a listing of related books and websites are offered in the links section. Comments and questions should be sent to Craig Roland .
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scribbling A ll young children take great pleasure in moving a crayon or pencil across a surface and leaving a mark. This form of mark-making or "scribbling" represents children's first self-initiated encounters with art.
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