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The 4 Key Stages in Children’s Artistic Development

Art development for children
Image Credit: 2xSamara.com/Shutterstock.com

Children’s artistic development can be expected to go through some predictable stages when they are exposed to art from a young age. By introducing kids to art at home, parents start them on a process of discovery that encompasses communication, imagination, hand-eye coordination and a range of other skills. The curriculum created at the Golden Road Arts studio in Hillsboro is one resource that helps children as they progress through each of the four stages.

The Four Stages of Children’s Art Development

While the categorization of the development stages can vary, they follow similar patterns that map the progression of a child’s technical ability and understanding of art. By starting the process early, children can progress more quickly and develop valuable skills for life.

1. Scribbling

From around the first or second birthday, children start manipulating crayons to create random marks and lines. During the earliest stages of scribbling, the child doesn’t recognize a connection between the crayon and the lines they have drawn. However, scribbling will gradually become more controlled and the child will start to discuss what they have created if parents or teachers ask questions. The scribbling is primarily about enjoyment, along with the development of some initial motor skills.

2. Pre-Schematic

From around three years old, children start to notice links between shapes on the paper and objects in the real world. If parents engage with their children about their drawing, they will often find the child compares a shape to a person or object around them. While their skillset and motor skills won’t allow them to accurately draw these objects, they are using symbols as representations.

3. Schematic

From around age five, children have developed a simple system for communicating their ideas. Individual shapes are consistently used to represent objects and more patterns start to form. For example, the common picture of a house placed on the ground and the sun in the sky indicates an awareness of structure that was absent in earlier stages. Kids may also take part in elementary printmaking, using different techniques to develop their art.

4. Realism

From around age seven, children are increasingly interested in realism in their art. Motor skills and spatial awareness have improved, with the schema from the earlier stages becoming more complex. During this stage, one of the main reasons why kids need art – communication skills – becomes more pronounced. Children will discuss their art more freely, and can even be self-critical as they strive for greater realism. As kids evolve through this stage, they will often develop a passion for art and a skill set that helps encourage the pursuit of their development over the years.

Our Free Video Art Lessons Help Artistic Development

At Golden Road Arts, we provide art lessons online and at in-person events. Our free content can help children develop both technical skills and art literacy as they progress through our lessons. Watch our free art lessons now. If you would like to help us support art education for children, please consider making a donation or purchasing art from our online art gallery.

Martin Conley Recognized by Hillsboro Schools
Oregon Artist and volunteer with Golden Road Arts, Martin Conley created an artistic rendition of Reedville Elementary.

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