Pre-schematic Stage

1. Pre-schematic Stage.
A. Early Schematic Stage.
B. Late Schematic Stage.



1. Pre-schematic Stage:

    Children at this stage share many characteristics which are defined by different researchers like Lowenfeld (1947); Read (1956); Betty Edwards (1979); Hurwitz & Day (1991) as follows:

    1. As the child progresses from the mark making (scribbling) stage, he will be able to draw his first human figures, which emerge from his scribbles. (This new and distinguished symbol comes as a result of their endless combinations of line and shape). The figure here is called "tadpole-like." All of the child's human figures are very similar to each other: large head, appendages that sprout directly from it, two large eyes and perhaps a mouth. As time passes, the child will begin to add details such as hair to the head, clothing to the body, etc. Finally there will be gradual inclusion of additional body parts, such as fingers and toes.

    2. Figures and any other objects (such as animals, trees, houses, etc.) will all float in relationship to one another, and none will be in correct proportion.

    3. The color choices will still be much more reflective of a child's personal color preferences than any attempts to portray objects "as they really are."

    4. Children at this stage will begin to seek approval for their drawings if they have not already done so in the past, bringing them to adults for confirmation, and pointing out the various people and other objects that they have drawn.

    5. Children at this stage search for meanings for their symbols; each symbol is connected with a meaning that they can relate to others from their life or their previous experiences.

    6. Children also like to exaggerate the most important parts of their symbols (for example to exaggerate the size of the hands if the hands perform an action).

    7. Children begin to understand and draw the third dimension in their drawings; for example they will try to show part of the hidden object behind another object, as in the image of mountains where some of them appeared and the others are hidden.

    8. They like to use different materials to express their ideas.

    9. Family becomes the most important subject to draw, and children create their own way to recognize members of the family (i.e. by using different colors, sizes, shapes, details or any other way).

    10. The "Mandala" stays with them as an important schemato in many of their symbols (human beings, sun, animals, etc.); Mandala now become very developed.

    11. It often seems at this stage that almost all the child's symbols are smiling (human beings, animals, the sun, the doors, the flowers, etc.).

    12. Children at this stage seem to agree in categorizing the most important objects to draw. People in general are considered the most important objects to draw, then animals (most of them have the same shape), then houses, trees and so on.

    13. At the end of this stage, details become a very important issue for the children to experiment with, for example, details for figures such as buttons, decorations, ribbons, fingers (without heeding numbers), and so on.

    14. Rainbows become one of the most important objects to draw, as it gives the child a chance to use many different colors.

    15. As children try to fill shapes with colors (if they draw the outer lines for these shapes), it seems hard for them to control this skill without passing these outer lines, but as they develop they can refine this skill.

    16. The child draws "what he knows but not what he sees" Hurwitz & Day (1991); this means that children depend on their own imagination for drawing objects.

    17. Children become familiar with the difference between their symbols and their scribbles; symbols now have a meaning and recognizable shape even though some children continue to scribble as they pass from this stage to the next.

    18. Telling stories becomes a very important part of children's drawings, a perfect way to give meanings to their symbols.

    19. At the end of this stage, children begin to create a schema for people (as family, society, friends, etc.). And they tend to repeat the same schema whenever they need it to draw their symbols.

    As some of the children here represent the schematic stage, it will be useful to provide some information about this stage. I will also divide the schematic into two main stages: A. Early schematic stage, and B. Late schematic stage:

A. Early Schematic Stage:
    Children in this stage are very interested in drawing their images and symbols. They also get more and more interested in telling stories about such symbols. Children now understand what they are doing and what to say about their artwork. They also have a better understanding of the different color values and can distinguish between them in a realistic way. They like to repeat their schema (symbol).

    The figure is developed in a clear way and facial details became more clear; for example the mouth is now like a circle, the nose like a small stick, and the eyes are drawn as a big circles. Also they draw the head large (as the previous stage) and connect it with the chest and the back. Arms and legs are developed to become closer to the actual shape. Also the body and toes are drawn as complete squares or oval shapes. One of the major differences is that children tend to draw the human figures from a frontal view in this stage.

    They also become more familiar with animal shapes and can add some details to distinguish between them. Animals are drawn as something close to human figures, but the arms and legs are drawn as vertical lines or sticks that extend from the body, and ears are bigger and placed on top of the head.

    Children now enjoy repeating their symbols, and that's why they draw the human figures in one way. They tend to use words inside the art work as a way to name their symbols. They like to connect personal names with the figures but many times they misspell names.

    Before they reach the late schematic stage, many children pass through a transition period between both stages; even after they have reached the late schematic stage, they may, in some ways, return to the previous stage.
 

B. Late Schematic Stage:
    Children at this stage are more able than children who are in the previous stage to tell stories through their drawing. Almost every drawing now has a related story. Drawings at this stage have new dimensions and views; some have a side view and some are tilted or bent. Objects generally seem very realistic, and children now like to use different colors to fill spaces and to distinguish between their symbols. They can now use the base-line in a clear way. They may sometimes draw more than one base-line: one for the ground, another for the sky, and maybe other base-lines for their different objects. Children also like to draw imaginative stories or movies. They like to express their understanding of the different concepts they know, such as far and close, clear and hidden, small and big, etc. They become more familiar with organizing their objects on the paper and situating them correctly.

    Human figures start to move now and to bend, and have many details. For example, the face now expresses emotional values and movements. They can distinguish between the second and third dimension to their objects or symbols. Also they now have more control over the colored spaces inside their symbols and use colors more and more as realistic values. Children continue to use x-ray drawing to draw different symbols at the same time and place (x-ray drawing means that children seem to see what is inside their symbols. As an example, they may draw fish inside the sea, or people inside the home).


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