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Do you remember your artwork being displayed by your proud parents or an art teacher at school? If you do, you may have realised that art takes time to develop and that no two children develop the same way. Babies begin to learn art through scribbling at a tender age and it only blossoms when they are old enough to understand what they are doing. Let’s look at some art development milestones in little ones.
When it comes to child development, psychologists talk about various developmental stages in a child’s life regarding all aspects of a child’s growth. Similarly, when it comes to art there are some key developmental stages too. These development milestones are crossed by each child in a particular sequential order, however the pace of each child differs as it is with any development milestone.
Let’s look at the 5 stages defined by researchers and psychologists:
1. Scribbling Stage
At first when a child is as young as 2 years of age, he is still curious about everything. He is exploring the world around him and registering images, shapes and colours. So when you give him paper and pencil, he will most likely move it in all directions, an act that is known popularly as scribbling. It may seem meaningless to the parent, but it is in fact a very important and necessary milestone for each child to go through. At first, your child may start with random scribbling, then move on to making some designs which have a specific pattern and then eventually try and write alphabets.
2. Pre-Schematic Stage
In this stage (from 3 years of age), a child starts drawing some specific shapes, symbols or objects. Their shapes and symbols may change continuously and erratically. Your child may also turn the paper multiple times in order to complete a shape. For e.g., in order to draw a square your child may turn the paper four times. By drawing these shapes the child is developing a schema for objects and things. By schema we mean he is building a visual image of all things and objects around him
3. Schematic Stage
By 6 years of age your child has formed a schema, by which we mean your child knows what a square, circle, house, etc. looks like and has also a visual image of it stored in his mind. In this stage the child uses a lot of base lines, straight lines to make a tree, house, etc. so the images look very stiff. As the child grows he learns to make multiple base lines and other complexities, to make an image look just as it ought to be. With handholding and correct guidance, any child can learn how to make creative images by this stage.
4. Transitional Stage
By now the schemas have developed and with correct guidance and your child’s creative skills have also developed. Your child will now attempt to produce his own art work. However, we may still find some traces of schematic stage, depending on the pace at which your child is learning art and his inclination towards it. For.eg. your child may draw a garden and children playing in the garden. However, the human images may look at little stiff.
5. Stage of Realism
In general, a child reaches this stage by 12 years of age. In the child’s drawings figures have a more natural representation and images start to look more real and natural in their appearance. At this stage the child becomes self-conscious about producing artistic and realistic art work.
Although there are defined stages for development, like each flower blossoms in its own unique way, each child blossoms in their own unique way and as parents it is our responsibility to give them that space and time for their development and growth.