Early years art
Early years art

Focus on the process not the end product

Early Childhood Education

Welcome to the world of your little one’s creativity. When you receive your child’s artwork, you may think, “This looks like ‘scribbles’!”, but believe me, they are so much more than just ‘scribbles’. This post will explain why.

Your children are on an amazing journey of discovering their world, and they do this by using all of their 5 senses through play, art and other activities. Therefore they also express themselves through these mediums, here we will be discussing the medium of visual art.

Early years art focuses on the process of creating and not on the end product that the children produce.

Early years art Early years art Early years art Early years art

Visual Art takes place in various stages of development.

1. The Scribbling Stage (2-4 years old)

This stage is categorised by accidental mark making. It is all about the process of kinaesthetic movement and the manipulation of the materials rather than the final result of what is put on the page. Children are able to recognize certain colours, but rarely choose colours for specific purposes. The transitional benchmark for this stage is the creation of closed shapes, in addition to the naming of scribbles.

2. The Pre-Schematic Stage (4-7 years old)

In this stage the child’s images begin to resemble symbols, but these may only be understood by the child. Drawings created during this stage are often about elements of nature and fill the entire paper. This stage ends with the creation of tadpole people (figures without necks and with arms sprouting from their heads).

3. The Schematic Stage (7-9 years old)

Artwork created during this stage is used as a tool for visual communication. Children develop specific schemas to portray objects, such as a tree for them will always look like a tree trunk with a rounded bubble tree top. There is now a baseline to the child’s picture and their depiction of people has become a fuller stick figure.

4. Dawning Realism Stage (9-12 years old)

Art in this stage marks the transition between art as purely symbolic to art as a creative outlet. The child’s artwork becomes more realistic as the child includes more detail.

Dawning realism Dawning realism Dawning realism Dawning realism

Most of our students at Avendale are in the ‘Scribbling Stage’. They are enjoying the sensory and therapeutic qualities of drawing/painting and merely expressing themselves at this stage! The actual process of picking up a crayon or paint brush and putting it to paper, and seeing the cause and effect as splashes of colours appear on the page are so exciting, they are by no means focussed on creating the perfect masterpiece. They are all about the process.

Therefore it is completely natural for your child to be scribbling and basically just exploring how to hold a crayon in the correct way, and how to get the correct gross and fine motor skills going. I.e. gaining better control over their drawing utensils by using their fingers and wrist movements.

You may see marks such as these: bang dots, slash marks and open shapes.

Bang Dots Bang dots scribbles

Slash Marks Slash marks scribbles

Open Shapes Open shapes scribbles

So, we do hope that this explains a bit better why their art pieces may look like ‘a mess’, but we also encourage you to put a piece of their art up on the wall, and say “Well done! This is beautiful!”. You will see how their little face lights up and their confidence and self worth gets boosted! We hope this helps!

Stages of Artistic Development