musings of the domesticated godess

Sunday, April 10, 2011

stop "teaching " your child to draw !!!

Ok this is something that annoys the crap out of me .

Children are brilliant , creative and have imaginations that far outweigh the scraps of imagination that adults have so it drives me batty ( especially when I was teaching ) to see a child draw ..lets say ...a girl , stick figure , round head , triangle dress and instantly you KNOW their parents have been trying to "teach" them how to draw .

Sorry but that isnt teaching ANYTHING in fact what it is doing is crushing their creativity , their imagination and their power of observation into fine detail .

Children from the moment they pick up a pen arent always drawing anything , it could just be they enjoy the feeling of making big circles so please dont try and coax them into saying it is a truck or a snake instead of saying " that looks like a truck " say " what are doing here it looks very interesting " then they wont feel pressured to say it is anything , then they can freely say " IM MAKING BIG CIRCLES !!" .

If they do want you to be involved in their art , if they do say " I want to draw a dog" then encourage them to be an observer , get a picture of a dog , encourage them to talk about what they see .
" is the dog big or little , what shape is its head , does it have a long or short nose , are its ears floppy or do they stick up what kind of fur does the dog have , encourage them to really see where all the parts go , is the dog sitting up or down ? can you see all of its legs ? "

Not only will you be amazed at how observant they are you will not believe the finely detailed art pieces they come out with when encouraged to really see the deatil .

So please try not to encourage stick figure people , smiley " faces " with circle head , circle eyes and and a one line smile .

If your child does a drawing on their own and makes a picture of a person that to you barely resembles a bowl of noodles DO not say it looks like noodles or say it doesnt look like a person respect their work and appreaciate their abstract art because if I see one more carbon copy , creativly killed child Im gonna cry .

Here is a great poem by one of the most amazing childhood educators talking about the hundred languages of children and how they have far more ability to express themselves through their creativity and how adults are set on crushing this wonderful ability ......don't kill it nuture it .

The Hundred Languages Of Children
The child
is made of one hundred.
The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.
A hundred always a hundred
ways of listening
of marveling, of loving
a hundred joys
for singing and understanding
a hundred worlds
to discover
a hundred worlds
to invent
a hundred worlds
to dream.
The child has
a hundred languages
(and a hundred hundred hundred more)
but they steal ninety-nine.
The school and the culture
separate the head from the body.
They tell the child:
to think without hands
to do without head
to listen and not to speak
to understand without joy
to love and to marvel
only at Easter and at Christmas.
They tell the child:
to discover the world already there
and of the hundred
they steal ninety-nine.
They tell the child:
that work and play
reality and fantasy
science and imagination
sky and earth
reason and dream
are things
that do not belong together.

And thus they tell the child
that the hundred is not there.
The child says:
No way. The hundred is there.

Loris Malaguzzi
(translated by Lella Gandini


  1. That is so true. I see so many parents trying to "help" their child make the "perfect" what ever that the kids always seem to not be ok with their own creations.

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  2. True and a good reminder for the perfectionist that always lurks in all parents!

    I blog about my life, my sewing, my boys...your welcome to join me!