Developmental Art in the Low
Jean Marrapodi email@example.com @jmarrapodi 401-440-6165
Adult Sunday School Class
Senior citizens, age unknown (not tracked in
Meet 1 hour/week for past 5 years
Preamble: Spring 2006
Lesson One: Palm Sunday
Draw a picture to illustrate the story
Could not do.
Through a translator: “We can’t do that. We haven’t
practiced like you have to be able to do that.”
Lesson Two: Easter
Ok, let’s copy some drawings to tell the story.
We can’t do that.
Let’s try to copy some
Could not complete
unless dots were drawn
to connect the lines.
Circles were misshapen
and barely recognizable.
No Print Awareness
Elizabeth loves Jesus
Jesus loves Elizabeth
Said: Elizabeth loves Jesus.
Reading Art: Part One
Isabella Stewart Gardner Adam and Eve
Reading Art: Part Two
What time of
year is it?
Setting One: October 2010
Pastor Appreciation Sunday
Given a template with prompts:
Pastor Berkley is ___________
Pastor Michele is ___________
I love my pastors!
Learned what the prompts said. Asked to come up
with a word to fill in. They either copied the word
or had teacher spell it.
Draw a picture of you and the pastors.
Setting Two (following week)
Given blank paper and markers
Draw a picture of you with your grandchildren
Teacher wrote names of children
* Granddaughter came over to “help”
Setting Three (following week)
Discussion about houses in America vs Liberia
Let’s draw pictures of your houses here and in
Given blank paper and markers
Teacher wrote words as given prompts
Martha lives in an
America on the left.
Liberia on the right.
Elizabeth lives in
apartment 511 in a high
rise building. She takes
an elevator to get to her
Annie lives on in a triple-
decker in RI.
Annie G. Annie lives on in a two story single
Frances lives on the first
floor of a two story
Kumba lives in
apartments in a complex
Essah lives in a second
Kumba’s spontaneous drawings brought from
home in the subsequent weeks.
Painting background for nativities – 12/2009
Cutting snowflakes – 1/2011
Parallels to Children’s Work?
Does their natural development mirror emergent
Drawings of people by nursery
By a pre- From a severely By a pre-
school child mentally school child
Sarah – 3.2 to 3.4 years
a cat, Tyrannosaurus rex, and a leopard
Helen, 4.5 – 5.5 years
Abby, Age 4
Rachel, Age 7
Development in Children
Callaghan Phases of Development
Callaghan, T.C. (2008) The origins and Development of Pictorial
Symbol Functioning. In Children’s Understanding and Production
of Pictures, Drawings, and Art: Theoretical and Empirical
Approaches. Cambridge, MA: Hogrefe. P 22
Donley, S.K. 1985/1987
Adapted from teacher inservice training materials for early
childhood, art education, and special education workshops.
Rhoda Kellogg: Gestalts
Kellogg, R. (1969) Analyzing children’s art. Paolo Alto, CA: National Press Books. P 109
of the Evolution
Kellogg, R. (1969) Analyzing children’s art. Paolo Alto, CA: National Press Books. P 273
Measure aspects of person’s personality 3 years-adult
Common in art therapy
Josiah, Age 4
Noah, Age 6
Rachel, Age 8
Micah, Age 10
Value of Using Art
"This adapted Kinetic-House-Tree-Person for adults with
developmental disabilities holds promise for providing an arts-
based assessment that assesses for growth and positive
changes in the individual in addition to negative or
downward changes. Verbal assessments are not always
appropriate due to verbal limitations within the individual who
has developmental disabilities, therefore, arts therapists have at
their disposal alternatives for assessing for change in functioning.
Because this assessment mirrored the notes of the on-site
therapists, this assessment suggests it can measure change. It also
suggests that arts based interventions do, in
fact, facilitate well-being and positive changes in
interaction and communication."
p 45 Lister & Rosales In Snow and D'Amico
Value of Using Art
"...there is evidence of a relationship
between thought and drawing that
becomes visible through the study of
meaning-making processes. Drawing
supports the movement from simple
spontaneous concepts to more complex
concepts and plays an important role in
promoting higher mental functions. "
Brooks, Drawing to Learn in Making Meaning p. 9
Is It Cultural?
Alexander Alland, 1983
240 children’s drawings
Definite cultural variants
Now Pohnpie, Micronesia
Male, 4 years, 19 minutes
Female, 5 years, 5 minutes
First encounter with drawing
Limited exposure to art
Generally single color
Human figures rare
Nonconformity with Western norms Male, 5 years, 14 minutes
Male, 3.3 years, 30 minutes
Female, 4.6 years, 25 minutes
Highly artistic culture Male, 2.6 years, 18 minutes
Female, 4.8 years, 10 minutes
Female, 6.8 years
Long heritage of art
Filling, building, touching, details
Picture making influenced by
relationship between pictorial Male, 5.2 years, 24 minutes
representation and writing
Male, 5.6years, 27 minutes
Female, 3.10 years, 14 minutes
Modern aesthetic in culture
Highly visual culture
Colorful, often single subject Female, 4.11 years, 8 minutes
Alexander Alland, 1983
“…the two most important elements
in drawing skill among young
children are experience and
exposure to art.”
"On the basis of my data I believe that
representation and symbolism are
things children are consciously or
unconsciously taught to do by adults
and other children. This leads to the
conclusion that the only safe
definition of children's drawing can
be 'playing with form.'"
What we know about Liberia’s Art
Dan, Mano, Kran , Kpelle tribal art
Known for their
Music and dance very
Kissi make baskets
and weave on vertical
Literacy rate: 25%
Relating this to Writing
Children Create Letters in Art
"Most of the letters of the English alphabet, both capitals and lower-
case forms, are made by young children as art Gestalts. In art, the
letters are placed or arranged to complete a Pattern or an
implied shape. In language, the letters are arranged in a
certain order within words and are put into a certain left-
right and top-bottom placement. As the child learns to
read, he must perceive the differences between the esthetic
and the linguistic positioning of letters, and as he learns to
write, he must put this perception to use.
Each child who has scribbled a
great deal will know many of the
letter Gestalts when he enters
school, but he needs to learn the
differences between their uses
for art and for language.
Otherwise, he will have serious
difficulties with language.”
Kellogg, 1970 p 262
Not seeing letters, but shapes
Elizabeth did the same thing
Learning to Read and Write Art
“...human artistry is viewed first and foremost as an
activity of the mind, an activity that involves the use of a
transformation of various kinds of symbols and
systems of symbols. Individuals who wish to participate
meaningfully in artistic perception must learn to
decode, to "read" the various symbolic vehicles in
their culture; individuals who which to participate in
artistic creation must learn how to manipulate, how
to "write with" the various symbolic forms present in
their culture, and, finally, individuals who wish to engage
fully in the artistic realm must also gain mastery of certain
central artistic concepts. Just as one cannot assume that
individuals will – in the absence of support - learn to read and
write in their natural languages, so, too, it seems reasonable
to assume that individuals can benefit from assistance in
learning to "read" and "write" in the various languages of the
Howard Gardner, Art Education and Human Development, p 9
Working with Clay
Women at the tomb
A man and a woman
Women and a man
Women and the angel
Elizabeth’s mortars and bowl
On it Goes
Visual Literacy? Not yet.
Tell the story with the stickers.
So what? And now what?
What have you seen here?
Have you seen this in your classroom?
Is drawing a precursor to writing?
How can we use clay to teach symbolism?
Where do we go from here?
Alland, A. (1983). Playing with Form. New York: Columbia Universtiy Press
Brooks, M. (2002). Drawing to learn. Unpublished PhD thesis. Alberta: University of Alberta, Canada
Brooks, M. Drawing to Learn. In Narey, M. ed. (2009). Making Meaning: Constructing Multimodal
Perspectives of Language, Literacy, and Learning through Arts-based Early Childhood Education. New York:
Camnitzer, L. (2009, Feb). Art and Literacy. e-flux. http://www.e-flux.com/journal/view/42
Camnitzer, L. (2009,Oct). Alphabetization, Part One: Protocal and Profieiency. http://www.e-
Freeman, N. H. (1987) Children's drawings of human figures - The Oxford Companion to
Art, available, accessible, quite, real. Online: http://psychology.jrank.org/pages/890/children's-
Gardner, H. (1990). Art Education and Human Development. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust
Hagood, M.H. (2000). The Use of Art in Counselling Child and Adult Survivors of Sexual Abuse. London:
Jessica Kingsley Publishing
Kellogg, R. (1969). Analyzing Children's Art. Palo Alto, CA: National Press Books
Lister, S, and Rosales, A. . The Kinetic-House-Tree-Person Adapted to Adults with Developmental
Disabilities. In Snow, S. and D'Amico, M. (2009). Assessment in the Creative Arts Therapies: Designing and
Adapting Assessment Tools for Adults with Developmental Disabilities. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas
Milbrath, C. & Trautner, H.M. eds. (2008). Children's Understanding and Production of Pictures, Drawings
& Art: Theoretical and Empirical Approaches. Cambridge, MA: Hogrefe
Vygotsky, L.G. (1970). Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Edited by
Cole, M., John-Steiner, V. Scribner, S. & Souberman, E. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
Adult Literacy Students Draw
Gesell (1948) used "drawing to investigate the child mind. When he asked three year olds to copy geometric shapes - squares, circles, triangles, crosses, diamonds - they did rather poorly. Yet the normal child of this age spontaneously draws esthetic versions of these geometric forms except for the diamond. Apparently, the mental activity involved in copy work differs from that needed for spontaneous art.“ Kellogg, p 179
Basic ScribblesDiagrams and CombinesAggregatesSunsSun faces and figuresHumans with head-top markings and with arms attached to the headHumans without head-top markingsArmless humansHumans with varied torsosHumans with arms attached to the torsoRelatively complete human imagesKellogg, R. (1969). Analyzing Children’s Art. Palo Alto, CA: National Press Books p 109