Young Parents Team
How do I know if my four-year-old is progressing in art class? He just seems to be making a mess.
We ask Su Xiao Min, an art teacher with Crestar Art.
A child’s progress in drawing or painting has different stages, just like how our body has different growth levels. Unlike academic subjects, which focus mainly on results, art is more about promoting a child’s expression and encouraging him to experiment with materials, thus giving him the freedom to develop his intrinsic qualities and problem-solving skills.
Related: How to introduce your kid to art
For a child who’s making art, we focus more on the process – in other words, his enjoyment during the course of action and free expression – rather than the product.
At the age of four, children are still making sense of the world and learning to express their thoughts with the limited words they’ve acquired. They would be saying things that don’t make sense to adults, and do not understand what we’re saying most of the time. They’re learning to use their muscles and acquiring motor skills, at the same time trying to explore and make sense of what they see around them.
For example, the first attempt at drawing a person is usually with a circle for the head and two vertical lines for the legs. Every child – even each adult – sees things differently. So it’s natural for parents not to understand what their children are trying to draw.
Doodling and scribbling are the first steps towards art. Children will gradually learn to recognise basic forms, and use them to express what they see or think through their drawings. In fact, doodling by adults is recognised as spontaneous art today.
Related: Encourage your child to draw
What type of art enrichment courses should I choose?
Art begins with appreciation. Children are often attracted to illustrations in books that parents read to them, especially very colourful ones. They could be enchanted by a specific style of drawing or illustration.
Sometimes, natural curiosity prompts them to question why the pictures are drawn in a certain way. By paying attention to his reaction to the illustrations, parents can identify the art style that their kid appreciates.
(Photo: Jennifer Huls/123RF.com)