Drawing Benefits for Young Children
Cognitive processes include feeling, thinking, memory, perception, attention, and observation. All these ones are directly related to consciousness. Cognitive processes in humans are developed during a lifetime. However, they occur in childhood, especially in the first ten years increasingly often. The fundamentals of nucleation of a creative personality are laid even earlier, i.e. before six years. Therefore, reading, watching movies and cartoons, socializing and just a fantasy anchor affect and develop the capacity for knowledge, intelligence, and the character of perception. One of the most useful classes is drawing that has a positive effect on the child development.
In the system of public education, a large place is given to drawing, which is important for the full development of any individual. In a process of drawing, a child improves its observation, aesthetic perception, emotions, artistic taste, creativity, an ability to create the own available means of beautiful things. In addition to teaching drawing skills, forming interest and a positive attitude to a representational activity, drawing lessons teach children other activities. Drawing gives benefits to kids both socially and academically by improving communication skills, helping to express feelings and emotions, and improving understanding school subjects as well as memory performance.
Drawing as a mean for improving children’s communication skills
Drawing helps with improving children’s communication skills. Adams claims that “drawing is the representation of ideas in symbolic form” (2). Thus, it helps youth to understand and order experience, shape their ideas, and submit their feeling as well as thinking. Lessons on drawing are those on the development of speech at the same time. In the course of outplaying a story and drawing, a continuous conversation with children is conducted. Such an organization of activities of kids stimulates their voice activity, contributes to speech imitation, and further organizes a real dialogue with a toy character or with an adult. Thus, it can be said that drawing stimulates the development of the communicative functions of speech. Moreover, in addition, kids are able to learn many new words and expressions while drawing at the peak of emotions. In such a way, it enhances an active and passive vocabulary of kids. Anim has argued that, “drawing helps children to organize their ideas thereby constructing meaning from their experiences” (1). The researcher has considered it as a universal language, which is not verbalized and offers some release for various emotions.
According to Papandreou, when children are grouped in a table to draw, they communicate with each other to discuss and share ideas. It can help develop their drawing activity and learning (88). Therefore, “drawing activities mediates their ways of communication and help them develop” (Papandreou 86). A child's drawing is a main communication tool for this kid. When drawing and experimenting, they ask questions their teacher, each other, enrich and activate their vocabulary. During drawing, specialized tasks for the development of the children's speech are solved. Vocabulary is enriched; and speaking is improved. Anim states that drawing contributes to kids’ understanding of signs and symbols, which are a basis for the language development.
Using collaborative drawing helps develop the child's speech and expand the ideas about the world. It gives a lot of impressions and positive emotions. If one chooses a meaningful theme, the child will quickly switch into the employment. This method gives rich possibilities of speech development, i.e. both active and passive. An adult denotes everything that happens on paper. This comment clarifies the meaning of words that the child already knows. It introduces some new words and meanings and enriches its passive vocabulary. It is necessary to support any attempt of the kid to talk and specifically create a situation, in which he or she wants to take an advantage of active speech.
It is known that the development of fine motor skills of fingers has a positive effect on the formation of the child's speech. The first step in the development of speech understanding in the process of drawing is the assimilation of a nominative function of every word. Everything that is around the child gets its name. Speech activities are activated by simply viewing the finished pictures. Children willingly compose the whole story. The creating of a plot is determined by a picture. Anim has considered drawing as the first communication tool for children. They are able to explore and understand the meanings of the world visually in the process of drawing. Then they are able to express themselves and their ideas to communicate with one another (Anim 13). Children’s drawing provides various communicative messages. They draw themselves or others as a form of identity or self-expression. They depict a man or a woman as a form of gender. They draw the interests for them such as cars, trees or family (Anim 13). An expressive activity is able to express the content of the unconscious mental life of any child. Drawing performs the most important communication tool of the kid, allowing to add the lack of communication and build a more harmonious relationship with the outside world.
Drawing as a tool for expressing feelings and emotions
Anim has found that children tend to express their emotions while they draw, “They expressed joy and self-satisfaction when their drawings were displayed, and discussed” (33). In Anim’s research, children were asked to draw themselves or their friends. As a result, they depict them with a huge smile indicating happiness (Anim 33). One of children drew his mother with a very wide mouth representing her happy mood (Anim 34).
While drawing, a little person learns not only to see and represent the images and recreate them. In the process of drawing, a favorable atmosphere for the formation of the aesthetic attitude to life and unlocking the creative potential is created. The child is freely expressing the thoughts, emotions, and sensations. The child portrays its individual attitude to the environment and shows what the most important thing is and what it is being not so essential. Due to drawings, adults can understand the inner world of the kid. It is well used by psychologists. It is no wonder that the majority of psychological tests for kids are held through drawing or identifying the specific images.
The desire to draw is inherent among the preschool age children. It indicates the development of creative thinking and the need to express oneself. The study of drawings helps to better understand the interests of children, especially their inner world. Children's drawing can tell more than the kid himself or herself. The work on drawings, paintings, and sculptures helps to express feelings, relieve internal stresses, and give some joy of creativity. Each line and each color has its own character and mood. With their help, the child passes everything inside himself or herself.
The mental development of the child is determined by the emotional well-being. However, not only positive but also negative emotions affect the general mental attitude of the child occupying an important place in children's emotions. Therefore, it is necessary that kids are drawing their fears. If the drawing is created, then the child was able to overcome a barrier of fear in the mind. A graphical representation of fear reduces the voltage from a suspense implementation. In figures, the fear is largely implemented as something that has already happened.
Fantasy and imagination is an important part of the baby's life. A creative imagination is developing especially intensely at the age from 5 to 15 years. Along with a decline in an ability to invent, the kid’s personality is impoverished. The potential of creative thinking, as well as some interest in art, and a creative activity extinguishes. In order to improve the creative imagination of the child, a special strategy for the formation of an artistic activity is required. Drawing develops imagination, i.e. the ability to mentally represent any visual pattern. Due to this, a person can process past experiences and create new links between the resulting images. The more of these bonds being formed in a brain, the better it develops thinking. Fantasy will be needed in future, i.e. it allows every person to make bold assumptions, invent, and create something being fundamentally new.
According to Drake and Winner, “Drawing is a way for children to express and regulate emotions to be able to respond to their environment with emotionally competent behavior that promotes self-efficiency” (512). The authors have conducted the research with children being 6-12 years old. They were asked to remember something disappointed in the past and then do a drawing activity. The study has showed that children’s moods were improved because it distracted them from what had made them upset (Drake andWinner 516).
Art creativity is a great way of expression, knowledge of the world, and forming the own view of things. A creative child will always find a larger number of solutions to any problem because thinking will go beyond a typical perception. Through the picture, the child realizes not only an actual diagnosis of emotional problems, a personal character, but rather successfully conducts the correction. The feelings, hopes, and fears, expectations and doubts, conflicts and reconciliation are embodied in the child’s creativity.
Drawing allows the kid to feel and understand himself/herself, freely express the thoughts and feelings, and become free from conflicts and strong emotions. It also helps to dream and hope. Drawing is not only the reality being reflected in the minds of children, but also an expression of a relationship to this reality, its modeling, and transformation. While drawing, the kid gives vent to her/his feelings and experiences, desires and dreams, rearranges the relations in a variety of situations, and painlessly contacts with some frightening, unpleasant, and traumatic images. Drawing performs a psychotherapeutic function by helping the child to survive traumatic events and situations and restore emotional balance forming psychological defenses and becoming mature.
Drawing as a means of improving children’s understandings and performance of school subjects such as mathematics and science
Human’s brain is divided into two hemispheres. Each hemisphere receives the information differently. Reading, writing, counting, and science are those actions being controlled by the left hemisphere of the brain. It is responsible for a thinking process and analytical thinking. The right hemisphere controls the imagination, visual and spatial perception. It is responsible for the perception of art, music, and a physical movement. Drawing and other arts are the results of the brain’s actions being considered not so important (in terms of education). However, children learn best when they are stimulated by both hemispheres of the brain. It happens when the learning takes its place in a coordinated and collaborative environment. At today's schools, children learn together, but they are extremely missing a coherent teaching contact with each other during their learning process. Drawing is one of the best ways to bring consistency in the child's life. Arhin and Osei have found a strong correlation between art and mathematics learning. “With the increasing use of drawings in mathematics teaching associated with improvement in pupils’ performance in mathematics test” (Arhin and Osei 33). Drawing makes the study of math as more fun and interesting. It improves the students’ grades (Arhin and Osei 30). Drawing helps to master children’s knowledge, expand it, and apply the first versions of generalization. During drawing lessons, a teacher talks about the various phenomena of nature, life, and the life of animals. Such tasks allow giving knowledge about color, size, shape, the number of objects, and their spatial arrangement. Anim states that the teacher uses drawing to help teach children other subjects such as science (26). Drawing is an effective way for those people who need additional help for their studying or expanding the knowledge (Anim 11).
Chang declares that drawing helps children to learn science concepts effectively and promote their understanding of different subjects including the language and math (i.e. counting, numbering, and solving quantitative problems) (189).
Drawing as a tool for improving children’s memory performance
Anim emphasizes that drawing serves as a tool for remembering. Even before the formation of speech, the child tries to doodle. At the age of two, children's drawings are traced on certain patterns. Closer to three years, the kid draws some lines, combining them into crosses, triangles, and squares. Then he or she begins to create a composition. Approximately, at four years, there are the first attempts of child drawing. Using their own knowledge of the world (grass, sun, and a dog), the kid is trying to portray the history and organize some objects in space, distinguishing between the heaven and the earth. At five years, there comes a golden period of drawing. Any child that has a set of pencils will develop imagination and creativity without any intervention of an adult. However, in eight years, there comes a crisis of realism. Children understand that their figures are far from real objects. Thus, parents should stimulate the creative thinking of children through drawing at an early age. Being able to notice the details, building associations, and delving into the essence of things may develop the child's intelligence. Thus, kids that paint well have an excellent visual memory. They can remember not only the right shade and recreate it on the palette, but an angle between the lines. People, who learn to draw, regularly train their memory as well as learn the basics of the proper visual perception.
Drawing improves an ability to focus on a task in order to maintain and develop throughout the life in all areas of the child. Butler, Gross, and Hayne state that drawing is beneficial for the accurate recalling of information for young children. “Drawing may also be an effective technique for use in legal contexts to gain accurate evidential reports from young children about events that occurred in the past” (606).
At preschool age, child's thinking is imaginative. The more new images are being created, the better intellectual abilities and mental operations are. The strong incentive to develop at this time is the creativity. However, unfortunately, parents often find games and creative activities as being not important, replacing them with mindless cramming and development of mechanical memory. A unique feature of human thinking, i.e. creativity, develops in childhood during some creative activities. Drawing allows the child to create a variety of images, edit them, and seek new associations between objects and their images. The search for associations and the generation of images is a good mind training. It successfully replaces any methods of an early intellectual development.
The study, conducted by Bruck, Melnyk, and Ceci, has showed that a drawing condition group gave the accurate recall of true reminders than the question condition group. They equally have reported false reminders. “The study shows that drawing was more memorable or explicit than answering questions about re-minders” (Bruck, Melnyk, and Ceci 175). Drawing can help giving the accurate verbal recall, when children talk about what they are drawing (Bruck, Melnyk, and Ceci 171).
Weaknesses of drawing
It should be said that there is a counterargument to all positive sides of drawing. All children are brilliant artists, because they create not what is being accepted and fashionable, but as they see and feel. It is valuable. Sending a child to art school means destroying this inner creative freedom and teaches to stamp ordinary pictures. They are cute for parents and teachers, but are not so sincere and unusual. Repeating the same type of an exercise produces automatism and makes typical subjects of images. Moreover, Bruck, Melnyk, and Ceci have found that there were, “negative consequences to using drawing as a rehearsal technique.” Drawing increases the acceptance of children to false reminders (Bruck, Melnyk, and Ceci 190). Therefore, it does not authentically help to distinguish some real and false events.
Despite these opinions, it mostly deals with the professional drawing and forcing the child to draw without its own will. If the child makes the own decision to start drawing, parents have to give some supplies for a painting and explain how to use them. It is the minimum that should be done for increasing the child’s desire for drawing. The kid should be taught, when the lack of skills and the ability to translate creative ideas interfere with the imagination. The best guide to children's creativity is when the teacher does not impose his or her vision, but helps this child to realize the own ideas and inspire the new ones. Moreover, the adults have to help children distinguish the reality and illusion while drawing.
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Children grow up; their hobbies vary, but the activities that contribute to their development remain. They include drawing. The child receives only the single favor from drawing. The interaction of drawing with the kid’s thinking is especially important. In this research, the motor, visual, muscular, and tactile analyzers are included. In addition, the depiction develops memory, concentration, fine motor skills and teaches to ponder things and expose an analysis, proportion for finding the difference. It influences the development of coherent speech and vocabulary of the child. The variety of objects and shapes, different values, colors, shades, and spatial designations only contribute to enhancing the knowledge of the kid. The physical and mental activity children are combined in the process of some graphic activity. The creative possibilities of the kid realized in the process of drawing contribute to the developing, intellectual, emotional, and creative potential having their right to the decent life.
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