Drawing Stages May24

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Drawing Stages

Did you know that children draw in stages? The same stages, all over the world? Universally? If you have children, you have probably noticed that they go through the scribble stage, the more organized scribble stage, the stage where they draw big heads with wiry arms and spidery hands coming out of them, then they do ladder shapes, trees and other homey subjects. But knowing that all children do this regardless of where they are in the world makes me feel that we are all held together by something. Some inner connection made visible by kids when they first pick up a tool to communicate.

This week I have been looking at the children’s work from our first day. You may recall that day, they all had a go at lino-cutting. I told them they could do whatever they liked. Then we put all their work up in the room to show our efforts. I brought them down last week because I decided to use them for the invitations to the big exhibition of our finished books in August. And then I noticed. Every child seemed to have created a house in their linocuts. Some of the houses are small, some pictures have more than one house. As I kept looking through the pile, I got excited. Another house, yes, there’s one there. Then, to my disappointment, there was an odd one, made of random patterns. Oh well. one out of a whole class is still a great statistic.

I went to school for the next scheduled day of the project. I asked who had done the random patterned lino cut. It was Ms. Kelly, the teacher! I was thrilled to learn this; it meant that EVERY SINGLE CHILD HAD DRAWN A HOUSE! 100%, now that’s a really amazing statistic. And for the purposes of the project this subject matter is perfect as I plan to put all of their houses in the shape of a bridge for the invitation; our project is called, If I could Build a Bridge from Beeac to… How apt for them to be launching themselves from their homes to the outside world.

So, what do their houses mean and why did they all do one? Maybe there was a bit of copying going on. She’s doing a house, hmm, I’ll do a house too, with a butterfly. Maybe this is where their lives are wholly centred at the moment and when no other subject is suggested, it is what naturally topples out onto paper. It is, after all, the place where everything important happens – Home, the place to eat, sleep, play and be loved.

A house, a home, naturally uppermost in a child’s mind.