Research suggests that there is a link between the amount of detail in a four year-old's drawings and later academic success. It’s not the artistic merit of the picture that is important but the features the child chooses to include.
Research suggests that there is a link between the amount of detail in a four year-old's drawings and later academic success. It’s not the artistic merit of the picture that is important but the features the child chooses to include. The child has a mental representation (schema) of the features of a person. A child who draws a man with a head and body combined, eyes and a mouth but no limbs, has a less sophisticated schema, than one who includes a separate body, arms, legs, hands and feet. Of course, drawing is not the only indicator of intelligence and some children are simply not interested in drawing at four. Use the draw-a-person test less as a test of intelligence, than a way to track your child’s developing understanding. Then you can help them notice features that they have omitted to draw. So much of what we think of as intelligence is simply about having the discipline to look and to notice. It’s a great habit to teach.
As with writing, confident drawing begins with strong gross motor movements. So encourage
Different elements involved: pencil control - ability to form all the strokes, observation,
- The youngest children should not be given drawing implements. It is better to learn to make the movements without a tool, e.g. drawing pictures in sand or on a steamy bathroom mirror using just a finger.
- Encourage free drawing. Lots of exploration of different types of strokes. Resist the urge to get the child to draw something specific. Often they are just scribbling, practising making marks with no end goal in mind. Adults then say, ‘What a lovely picture! What is it?’. The child, wanting to please, gives the picture a title, but it’s not what they were thinking about as they were at work.