Child Development

Stages of Children’s Art Development: Check your Misconceptions

  1. At what age do children begin to draw their first symbolic art work (the ‘Ghostly’ person)?

The ‘ghostly’ person is almost universally the first symbolic drawing children do around the world and on average at around 4 years. This means of course that some will be younger and some will be older.

  1. Are all Kindergarten children past the scribbling stage of art?

No. Kindergarten teachers should observe this phenomena closely regarding readiness for pre-reading activities

  1. At what age does the average child first create full story-drawings?

Around 6-7 – this coincides with the strong narrative push that we capitalize on to teach children to read.

  1. Is art work an accurate indicator of intelligence in children?

No, however, it may indicate both readiness and learning style

  1. Is it good educational practice to have children colour adult drawings? Why or why not?

Educational research has revealed several problems with colouring adult drawings: first primarily visual learners who enjoy a beautiful surface will enjoy this activity while others will not. Secondly, it has been shown that children often do not even know what some of the adult images are so there is not a lot of thinking going on as opposed to the children’s own drawings influenced by experience, observation and discussion. Thirdly, it really singles out students with poor fine motor skills as opposed to doing their won drawings that are more under their own control.

  1. How does drawing style relate to learning style?

In many ways: different learners will take to different materials – e.g. visual learners may hate finger painting as they think it is ‘yucky’ where tactual learners will glory in the sensuality of the experience. It will also affect speed of working as Kinesthetic learners will often work very quickly while tactual learners must get a feeling before they can even start.

  1. What developmental drawing age are most North American Adults? Why?

According to Betty Edwards in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, the average N.A. adult is at about a grade 4 level in art. The reason she states is lack of focus and interest in art on the part of our educational system.  

  1. What are the advantages of exploring Stage theories? What are the disadvantages?

Advantages: help make sure teacher expectations are not unfair or unrealistic.

Disadvantages: each child needs to be seen where they are at right now regardless of the stage. Some teachers may use stages as a way of discriminating against slower developers or ignoring quicker developers.

To go with # 7: Draw the following stages (Viktor Lowenfeld)

Scribbling Stage (Ages 2-4) – looks like circles or up and down lines then crossed in the middle

Pre-schematic Stage (Ages 4-6) – looks like circles with eyes and legs

Schematic Stage (Ages 6 – 9) – looks like story pictures with many narrative details

Gang Age (Ages 9-12) – looks like group drawings of space wars, etc.

Dawning Realism (Ages 12 – 14) – looks like realistic drawings


Here is my messy completed handout 🙂