Periods of Growth
These four periods have been organized to give some
insight into the artistic development of children. The periods
cover ages five through eleven.
1. Period of Orientation
The 5 year old::
- becomes accustomed to being and working with children and
shares materials and tools.
- plays with art materials and tools before realizing that
they have a purposeful use.
- scribbles, makes marks, or uses masses of color for an
- may fill or use only a small area of paper depending upon
the child's temperament.
- is easily distracted when working.
- males progress slowly in the coordination of eye, hand, and
- chooses a color or colors which satisfy and express inner
- cannot carry over to the following year all the progress
made in performance.
2. Period of Fundamental Learning
The 6-7 year old::
- is a doer with a short span of interest.
- tends to turn first to painting and drawing.
- begins by painting and drawing lines and masses in one
color. Progresses to the use of more color and a hint of
- starts picture making.
- draws figures which are distorted and characterized by big
heads and small bodies. Fingers are prominent.
- recognizes the distinguishing characteristics of animals.
- can use approved tools for construction after instruction
and with supervision.
- cooperates in group projects.
3. Period of Enrichment
The 8-9 year old:
- works on a large or small scale with equal confidence.
- portrays figures that are better proportioned.
- perceives distinguishing characteristics of people and
- adds significant details.
- discards the static pose and develops action and grouping in
pictures of people and animals.
- develops richer backgrounds in compositions and intuitively
achieves and interest center.
- is more sensitive to color. Starts mixing hues and values.
- can integrate art with another subject.
- becomes more objective in evaluating own work.
4. Period of Synthesis
The 10-11 year old:
- has a good span of attention.
- can combine art media in imaginative ways.
- draws with a degree of skill.
- has interest and ability in the development of 3-dimensional
design forms, both static and mobile.
- is a keen observer.
- seeks teacher assistance before an anticipated need arises.
- participates intellectually in evaluations. Tends to be
over critical of own work.
- notices classroom environment.
- profits aesthetically and intellectually from trips to art
galleries and museums.
- enjoys art portfolios and books that are placed on the
Erdt, Margaret Hamilton, Teaching Art in the Elementary
School, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., New York, 1952.
McFee, June King, Preparation for Art, Wadsworth
Publishing, Company, Inc., San Francisco, 1961.
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