Stages of Artistic Development in Preschoolers and Toddlers

Art is an important aspect of learning in early childhood education and must be carefully designed to enhance their artistic development and nurture an appreciation for beauty in their world. Art enriches the lives of all preschoolers and toddlers as it provides experiences for them in finding meaning about themselves and the world around them.

“From the moment the child discovers what it looks like and feels like to put lines down on paper, he has found something he will never lose, he has found art” – R. Kellogg 1969.

Rhoda Kellogg has studied 100,000 young children’s drawings drawn with pencil, pen, crayon or brush and this extensive study has helped significantly in our understanding of children’s artistic development. She was particularly interested in the scribbles of young children and she discovered that children progress from making scribbles to drawing pictures by using a built-in, spontaneous method of self-teaching and would continue until the children were 5 years old and only in the later stages of development that children’s artwork can be coached and guided by an adult.

Kellogg also identified various symbols that have been drawn by children across various cultures. The mandala design which is a simple circle or square divided by intersecting lines is produced by children in different parts of the world. Kellogg also discovered that preschoolers and toddlers unlike older children are not concerned about their art pieces looking nice or resembling real things but they move their hands to express a feeling that comes from within them and are delighted in the movement and scribbles they produce. With this knowledge in mind, it is important not to force them to look at physical objects and try to copy it but allow them to experiment, create in their own unique way thus providing them an opportunity to express their own ideas and feelings.

The artistic developmental stages are the scribble stage, basic form stage and the pictorial stage. Although there is a predictable pattern to their development, preschoolers and toddlers move through the levels in different ways and at their own pace. These stages can assist parents or teachers as they work with young children and provide guidelines for planning for a specific group of children.

Kellogg’s developmental stages

1. Scribble stage

These are the earliest drawings of young children. They are simple and random markings, made for the pleasure of drawing scribbles. During this stage, the young children have no concern in trying to draw to represent anything but rather are enjoying the process of making scribbles on the paper.

2. Basic form stage

Children begin to draw simple lines and shapes. Kellogg identified several universal symbols that children use around the world. These include the mandala, sun, ladders, spirals, wavy lines and rainbows. These symbols were being used to communicate and were the beginnings of writing. Children in this stage continue to draw for pleasure.

3. Pictorial stage

During this stage, children use the shapes from stage 2 to draw symbolic representations of real people and things such as houses, tress and windows. They begin to identify their drawings, tell related stories and expand their drawings to include new meanings and understanding.

Positive and appropriate nurture of preschoolers and toddlers beginning artistic efforts can provide a strong foundation for later development and enjoyment of artistic experiences.

10 Steps to Set Artistic Goals That Succeed Brilliantly

Setting the right artistic goals is more than energizing and inspirational! You step into your power when you create a crystal clear artistic intention. In fact, you start living as the artist you have always dreamed of being.

Don’t let this remain just a pleasant pipe dream. Learn right now how to set the kind of artistic goals that enable you to achieve what you truly want from life.

Create Only Goals That Empower You

It is easy to become overly caught up in fantasies. Initial brainstorming of possible outcomes can generate unrealistic plans to reach your goals. A bit of wild dreaming is expected and can actually motivate you. But if you don’t then apply a reality test to each option, you may end up disappointed, discouraged and discard your goals altogether.

Your Road to Rewarding Artistic Goals

Here are 10 success-driven steps to set winning goals:

  1. Identify Your Target Market.
  2. To thrive as an artist, you need to establish a clear mental picture of your targeted market. The goal is yours alone, so be completely frank.

  3. Create Specific Goals.
  4. A common goal is to paint and show your work more, but this is too general to be useful. Instead, define what you actually want: for example, “I want to exhibit in 6 shows and paint 2 pictures a month in 2012.” This is an achievable and measurable artistic goal.

  5. Set Short and Long-Term Milestones.
  6. Milestones serve a dual purpose. First, they motivate you with a focused target. Second, they break large overwhelming goals into smaller, manageable ones. Here’s how:

    • Picture your ideal long-term milestone. Make it vivid and let it energize you!
    • Mark this end point on a calendar.
    • Now, starting from your “due date”, work backwards. Schedule each short-term milestone that leads you to your ultimate goal.
    • Write it into your calendar.
    • Next, develop weekly goals to move you towards each short-term milestone.
    • Working backwards helps you achieve your goals by seeing the big picture first.
  7. Generate small, reachable artistic goals.
  8. These will maintain your enthusiasm and momentum.

  9. Expect setbacks.
  10. To expect that you will not experience any disappointment during your journey is simply unrealistic.

  11. Protect your focus.
  12. Determine how you will handle interruptions, unexpected events and low creativity, before they come to take a bite out of your productivity.

  13. Have confidence in your dream.
  14. Affirm that it’s OK if others lack the time or energy to encourage you. The one who needs to be fully committed to your dream is you. So go full tilt!

  15. Reevaluate your intention over time.
  16. It is okay and often necessary to periodically assess your initial goals. So conduct a review at regular, realistic intervals. Is this goal still valid?

  17. Revise your goal as needed.
  18. Rather than cling to a goal that no longer suits you or seems viable, update it so that it remains workable and compelling to you.

  19. Modify your strategy to fit changing times.
  20. Sometimes the goal works well, but you need to change your steps to achieve it. Shifts in your life situation can challenge you to become more resourceful. Welcome this as a chance to grow!

Artistic goals are yours. You can do with them as you wish. So bring to them the dedication they deserve. Then you live your life with passion, conviction and success!

3 Artistic Devices Used in Contemporary Movies and Film

Unlike written texts, movies generally employ three common types of artistic devices. These devices, although quite obvious once described, may not be immediately apparent to a young viewer. Educators can assist students in identifying these devices, defining their characteristics and understanding how they relate to the movie or film at hand. Repetition of this exercise will allow the young viewer to become proficient in quickly making the connection between the artistic devices used by the filmmakers and the movie’s underlying meaning.

The ELA curriculum of today has its roots in 17th, 18th and 19th century literature. The stories that interested the people of those times and were expressed via the written word. However, today’s youth will experience the vast majority of storytelling through screens (television, feature films, video games or the web). Thus, to stay relevant, modern educators must address stories told on screens as well as those in traditional written formats.

The three levels of artistic devices are:

1) Traditional Elements and Devices of Fiction in Novels and Short Stories

Many hours of current ELA instruction are spent on the elements and devices of fiction. They include: plot, character development, protagonist, antagonist, prologue, expository phase, crisis, rising action, falling action, denouement, epilogue voice, symbol, foreshadowing, flashback, imagery, irony, foil, archetype, motif, etc. These are also found in screenplays and the analysis of these elements and devices in the medium of film can assist students in understanding their use in written texts.

2) Traditional Devices of the Stage

These include: sets, simple lighting, costumes, props, sound effects, acting choice, choreography of movement, music and dance. The response to music and dance is something many young viewers are accustomed to already, as they are a crucial component of many popular movie and film productions.

3) Cinematic Methods

This layer of artistic expression includes shot angle, camera movement within the shot, music/sound effects, editing, colors/visuals and lighting levels.

In conclusion, no single method of adapting ELA curriculum to the current digital environment has been agreed upon. Many discussions and varying methods exist. However, regardless of the method, students will ultimately benefit from having the tools to make sense of what they see on the screen. The important aspect to take away from this writing is that every ELA course (from 6th to 12th grade) should devote a substantial portion of their lessons to analyzing stories through movies and documentary film.


Wall Mural Painter