Why teach graphic skills in kindergarten

Young children who draw a lot and with confidence create imaginative pictures with lots of variety, detail and interesting features.

Roan 6y 2m cat dinosaur.jpgR aged 6 years: A cat dinosaur

 This engagement with drawing allows the child to acquire all the basic graphic skills needed for learning to print letters and acquire good handwriting skills.  They acquire these skills through repeated practice, repetition and attention to the outcome. Their drawings show that they have acquired the basic motor and graphic skills needed to control the lines and shapes that make up their drawings. 

Will 4y 7m Fish dinosaur.jpgWill (aged 4) a fish monster

Children with poor drawing skills do not invest the same amount of time and energy into acquiring the basic graphic skills needed for drawing with confidence and imagination. Their lines are not fluent and they tend to draw the same few familiar images repeatedly. They lack confidence and do not explore or experiment with different ways of representing people, animals and objects. A frequent response is "I do not know how to do that".

Gr R first term person 2.jpg

These children need more formal and structured teaching and learning environment to overcome the barriers to learning to draw and to acquire the basic skills. Sometimes just a little encouragement frees children to explore and experiment and lots of positive feedback increases their confidence. 

The pictures below were drawn during a 20 minute wobbly monster lesson. They illustrate the learners growing confidence in her ability to explore and experiment with lines and shapes. 

JJ Monster series 1.jpg   JJ Monster series 2_1.jpg

JJ Lion monster_1.jpg    JJ Spider monster_1.jpg

An effective  drawing curriculum for Gr R (Kindergarten) starts with ensuring that all learners have the basic ability to draw long straight and curved lines in all directions with confidence, using pre-planned movements, then moves onto drawing more complex shapes and joining shapes to produce pictures of people, animals and objects. 

L-grR-lines-down-across.jpgDrawing long lines down and across the page to develop effective shoulder/elbow action, confidence and motor planning. 

R 7 April flowers. 2.jpgUsing oval shapes to draw flowers

A field of butterflies_1_2.jpgCombining shapes to draw a field of butterflies

An important feature of an effective drawing curriculum is that it provides ample opportunities for practice and repetition to allow the learners to form and adapt motor plans for creating different strokes.  

Gr R page of rectangles 3.jpgA page full of rectangles provides lots of opportunity for practicing drawing rectangles of different sizes.

The other important aspect of an effective drawing program is to ensure that learners start to evaluate the quality of their own drawings and to use this information to adapt their drawings to achieve the desired result.