The First Three Weeks:
Anita (4.5 years) represents perfectly the pre-schematic stage. She sat down behind Roza and gave her her complete attention, watching how she drew her objects and colored them. As Roza held the green marker, Anita directly grasped the green one and repeated the same objects Roza drew (of course with different ability to draw them in the same way). Then I sat down behind Anita trying to understand her behavior. I tried my best to give Anita positive comments about her drawings and the nice colors she had chosen. By speaking with Anita, I tried to attract her attention to what she drew and colored, and to encourage her to consider using different colors or filling some empty spaces on her page. She gave me a long look without any response because she was completely engrossed by watching Roza.
When I reviewed Anita's sketchbook, I realized that she almost drew many of the other children's symbols and subjects, especially those who sat next to her. I believe Anita's behavior is normal because she is still in the stage where she tries to build her own symbols by observing others' drawings, imitating them, or copying them. As I mentioned previously, it's important to avoid directing children about what and how to draw, but rather to give them some questions or options to choose from and/or think about. Anita usually uses one or two colors to draw, especially during the first two weeks of school, but the next week she used almost four colors (Ill. 6)), and for that purpose she drew the rainbow many times. Her human figures are nearly tadpole-like with some details, like eyes, smiling mouth, hair, nose and eyebrows. Arms extend directly from the head (stick shape without fingers or with three or four in some cases); the base line is sometimes missing from her drawings but found in some others.
In the third week, Anita drew the first two drawings completely by herself (Ills. 6 and 7) which are similar to the characteristics of this developmental artistic stage. I personally believe that Anita is in a transitional period between the mark-making: controlled and naming stage and the pre-schematic stage.
Fourth and Fifth Week:
During these two weeks Anita was almost within the same zone as before. She starts her drawings without completing them as she did before (Ills. 10, 13, 15 and others). Human figures were drawn the same way as before, but in one of her drawings the face has new details as seen in ill. 11 (especially the eyes). However, as a result of these details she omitted the body details and drew the arms and hands as sticks that extend directly from the over-sized head. As a conclusion, Anita was still in the same stage of pre-schematic without any clear development to the next stage.
As I mentioned earlier, Anita continued to copy the other children's symbols or shapes. In a discussion between Roza, Anita and me, both of them agreed about how important it is as human beings to help each other. Anita turned to me and said that friends should always help their friends if they need help. I smiled and agreed with her, and gave both of them some examples. At that moment Roza was drawing her illustration 18, and Anita stayed to watch how she chose the different colors to color the circles. Then Anita opened her sketchbook and begans to choose different colors, using them to draw some small circles within a previous drawing (Ill. 21). Colors still hold the same unrealistic values as before.
Sixth and Seventh Week:
Anita did not draw as many drawings during the last two weeks. In ill. 22, she drew different lines by using just two colors without any details to indicate her simple symbols. Of course, she assigned meanings to her symbols, but she cannot add as many details to them as some other children do at this stage.
In ill. 23, she used only the brown color (an unrealistic value) to draw the sun and the other symbol with a zigzag line (may be the sky or the ground). Here we can recognize perfectly the Mandala shape in her drawing as an important symbol to all children at this stage).
Eighth and Ninth Week:
As I watched Anita these two weeks, and compared her new drawings to the previous ones, I did not see any clear development or new trend in her way of drawing symbols. Her new drawings were still very simple, using mostly one or two colors in each drawing (there is one exception in ill. 28). Her human figures are still very simple ones; sometimes she added some details to these figures, such as the fingers, but she miscounts them each time as is expected from children at this pre schematic stage. Anita also drew feet in only two of her human figures (as seen in ills. 4 and 33).
Anita sometimes used the markers just to make lines
and shapes without any previous thoughts or ideas about what she wanted
to show (i.e., there is no subject). As I watched her making her lines
and watching other children, I asked her about the subject of some of her
drawings; she replied to me "I do not know." Sometimes Anita did not look
at her page while she was drawing, and instead just watched the other children
draw; yet it seems to me that she is searching for new figures or shapes
to draw in her sketchbook.
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