Northshore School District
How Children Grow In Art
Knowing what young children are like, what their special interests and needs may be, are
important requisites for successful teaching, but a basic understanding of what children do
naturally in art as they draw and paint is just as crucial to the essential encouragement of their
creative growth. The children’s graphic potential, the richness and complexity of their imagery,
varies with the stages of their physical, mental, physiological, and sociological development.
Some children may have had preschool experiences in working with art materials, others may
have had limited creative opportunities. Some youngsters may have developed a keen interest in
some particular phase of their environment, for example, in horses, cars, trains, bikes, birds,
rockets, insect, rock or shell collections, and their observations will often distinguish their
artwork from what they know best and what they are most sensitive to, or affected by. It is often
possible for the discerning teacher to discover through their art what they respond to in their
environment and what their attitudes, values, and feelings about life may be.
Characteristics of Fourth Grade Children:
- Have improved eye-hand coordination
- Have better command of small muscles
- Are becoming aware of differences in people
- Begin to set standards for themselves
- Are learning to be responsible, orderly, and cooperative
- Begin to form separate sex groups
- May join gangs or cliques
- Enjoy comic books and magazines
- Are growing in self-evaluation and evaluation of others
- Are now able to concentrate for a longer period of time
- Are developing a growing interest in travel
- Are interested in the life process of plants and animals
- Are developing a sense of humor
- Are avid hobbyists and collectors
In Art, Fourth Grade Children:
- Begin to draw and compose with more conscious, deliberate planning, striving for more realistic proportions.
- Begin to create space and depth through use of overlapping shapes.
- May now select and arrange objects to fulfill the compositional needs.
- May in some instances introduce the horizon line to show distant space.
- Now draw distant objects and figures smaller as well as higher on the page.
- Make repeated efforts to show action in their drawings of people and animals but are often handicapped by technical shortcomings in their inability to master relative proportion and foreshortening.