Usually we ask a question of the day based on a book we read at circle time, and we write down all the answers. However, after reading Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola, we asked the children to draw an illustration about the story based on a question….
If you had a magic pot, what would you like it to make?
I am sure that you’ve noticed that scribbling is the first stage of art development in humans. While scribbles may look meaningless, the lines drawn are certain definite patterns that are repeated throughout a child’s particular artwork as he or she develops. Scribbling begins with side to side line, usually followed by up and down movement and then circular shapes emerge as the child develops. The changes in stroke show more controlled use of the writing utensil, and a tentative understanding of action and consequence. Scribbles are extremely important because they are the child’s first real experience in communication with line and they are a basis for pre-literacy/writing skills. To put it more bluntly, scribbles turn into handwriting. The more a child scribbles (and experiments with art), the better prepared he or she will be for reading and writing.
Can you see the difference between scribbles from each child?
Some children make marks that are small and tight together, while others have large, looping movement. These initial marks will be present through life, as the scribbles become handwriting. Just as each person has unique handwriting, so each child has a unique scribble.
Looking at each picture, do you notice who has more control of the marker?
All children develop skills at different times. Some young people are very good at climbing when they are 18 months old, and others can write their names at 2.5 years old. A skill that develops over time is fine motor; holding a writing instrument, pressing down on paper to make a visual mark, or intentionally connecting two lines are skills that are learned naturally by most children. Yet, experience and interest way heavily into development, and some children don’t exhibit these skills at 4 or 5 or 6 years old. And, guess what? They are still within typical development!
Within the pictures possessing the most scribbles, can you see shapes begin to appear?
After scribbling, comes the shape stage. Typically we see circles appear within scribbles. This indicates that the child is becoming more aware of the control they have over the writing implement. It also shows us an initial understanding of cause and effect. As children develop their art and writing skills, they will continue to scribble. As the saying goes, we always return to where we start.