“To be an artist is to believe in life.” This majestic quote by Henry Moore describes the importance of arts. As much as motor skills are important for a child’s cognition, their artistic skills are just as important. Arts support a child’s imagination and encourage self-awareness in early childhood.

A language with no boundaries, rules and set medium, art is that language. Not only drawing/painting but just pressing the buttons on a toy phone or playing a toy instrument helps broaden the horizons of a children's imagination and nurture a creative soul. It simulates both halves of the brain and improves focus and attention span.

Did you know that the global art market was estimated to be worth 1 billion USD in 2021?

The benefits are manifolds developed through the various artistic development stages in early childhood. According to many parents worldwide, the chances of a child making a career from their fine arts degree is supposedly very low. But, according to Statista, the value of the global art market will be over 60 million USD in the first quarter of 2022.

Not just artistic development has a huge impact on a child’s fundamental skills. Let’s learn more about them and how they can be encouraged naturally?

benefits of art in a child development

What are the Six Stages of Artistic Development According To Lowenfeld?

Children learn to make sounds, babble, and form words that later develop into complete sentences. Similarly, a child's artistic development is gradually divided into four stages. Australian educator Dr Viktor Lowenfeld developed the theory of artistic stages - in 1947 - which later became a part of the textbook curriculum for art students.

These six stages consist of:

Scribble: 2-4 years

The child's motor skills are barely developed at this stage, and they cannot develop regular shapes and forms. There is representation in children drawing at this stage.

Preschematic: 4-6 years

Children begin to recognise shapes and make connections in their drawings at this stage. They are at a stage of developing a slight understanding of the physical world around them.

Schematic: 7-9 years

Children at this stage are accustomed to shapes and figures. They try to represent apparent meaning and try to communicate through their art. Drawings at this stage have a clear distinction of objects - the sky, field, house, people, etc.

Drawing Realism: 9-11 years

Children at this age are more critical and aware of their drawing and develop a perception of good/bad. Drawing at this stage depicts the physical attributes - depth, volume, height, etc. They develop real connections between the physical world and artistic expression.

Pseudo Realistic: 11-13 years

This stage is very important for artistic development in early childhood. The use of colour scheme and light is visible in this stage. Children develop realistic attributes in their drawing - the right shade of colour, shading as per light's direction, etc.

Decision Stage: 13 – 16 years

At this stage, the child will take up art with a professional scope or see it as a merit-less activity. This stage is crucial for developing a child's artistic skills for professional purposes.

Between 1912 and 1948, art/painting used to be a part of the Olympics. Sports inspired arts were given out for sports-inspired arts, as a true sportsman is also a great artist, according to Baron Pierre de Coubertin (founder of the modern games).

The six stages play an important role in developing children’s cognition and artistic skills that they might nurture throughout their lives. Creativity develops new ideas and expresses personal ideas into forms tangible yet unspoken. Children’s artistic development is important for various reasons; let's go over a few in the next section.

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What Is the Importance of Arts In Early Childhood Development?

Understanding the importance of Artistic Development in the Early Childhood stage can help you develop good art. It also helps you become a more effective and compassionate teacher. Here is a few additional reasoning:

  • At the schematic stage of artistic development, children begin to communicate with their drawings and learn various modes of communication and expression.
  • Art is unbounded and can be developed without limitations or categories (unless required). Still, there are a few challenges - developing ht right shade of colour or fixing mistakes in a finished painting - supporting the development of problem-solving skills.
  • Children also develop the connection between the physical world and the apparent reality. Art encourages making such connections which further develop children’s expressive intelligence.
  • Children become more aware of their art at the realism stage and its meaning to them. It helps broaden the horizons of their imagination and expresses themselves.
  • Many also remember an instance, memories and images, which they incorporate into the art. Such art styles help a child’s intellectual development.
  • Group artistic sessions teach them teamwork and respect for ideas different from theirs.
  • The decision stage is of utmost importance for Artistic Development in Early Childhood as it is when children devise their plans incorporating art.

Did you know that the Monalisa has a dedicated mailbox as the painting receives thousands of appreciation emails per month?

The development of artistic and imaginative attributes for children plays an important role in their cognitive development. Hence even before learning to write, children are provided with colours and sheets to scribble. The chances of many, if not all of you, have also done the same. Art is a great recreational activity. It relieves stress and helps replenish both psychological and physical functions. As a result, it never loses its appeal regardless of age and skills.

stages of artistic development

How Do You Encourage Artistic Development in The Early Childhood Stage?

Artistic development is a gradual process. Children’s drawing might not get better in a few years, or they might lose interest after growing up but still, it is important to encourage their endeavours. Here’s how to naturally help children develop their artistic skills:

  • By Imitating children’s drawings, you can make them feel connected as their teacher/guardian. They will be encouraged to be braver and develop an interest in the arts.
  • Painting isn’t the only form of art. Try various art forms - clay modelling, writing/doodling, reading out to them, singing/listening to music, etc. Various activities help stimulate the brain’s different zones, keeping it interesting.
  • Supporting children’s exploration doesn’t lead them or try to improve their mistakes. Art is of many forms. Letting them develop their form of expression is also important.
  • Focus more on the artistic process than the final product. Especially educators who will come across many children and just as many drawings. Don’t grade them as good or bad; just advice for possible scope and compliment.

An artwork is not only a technological query. Only when we consider it as a whole then we'll be able to understand the artwork's emotional expression. - Aristotle

As quoted by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in his book The Little Prince, “The grownups couldn’t decipher my drawing of an elephant inside a boa constrictor’s stomach and described it as a hat. So I never showed my drawing to anyone ever again.” Similarly, we might find these oddly shaped figures weird or even funny.

But, all these are a part of children’s Artistic Development in Early Childhood. So it is important to support them and provide options for more exploration.

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About the Author

Rick Frederick

Rick Frederick

Rick is a report writing professional who began with guest lectures at the universities in Sydney in 2010. With his passion for learning and reading, he received the best researcher of the year award in 2015. He is committed to boosting student success inside and outside the educational institutions. Rick joined My Assignment Services in 2014 and is now leading two of the company’s major projects.


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