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Children’s Art as Dynamic Storytelling

by Aleta Wynn Yarrow
July/August 2010
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/childrens-art-as-dynamic-storytelling/5019468/

Adults have long been fascinated by children's drawings and paintings. Significant research has been done on the development of representational imagery (Cox, 2005; Matthews, 2003). Through long-term observation of the entire process of children's paintings I felt a component was missing. I realized most young children are not primarily focused on the visual appearance of the final image. Instead they are engaged in the unfolding and observation of their ideas, their experience, and the transformation that is occurring visually and mentally. Usually in the months approaching the fourth birthday, the child's ideas take the form of a narrative.

Children's art as transformation

For many preschool children creating art is transformative. It is experiential, like a game. Young children begin with a simple idea. They react to their original marks or forms with sounds and story, continuously interacting with their own work by transforming images, and continuing the story thread. This ongoing process enables them to create sophisticated narratives and envision complex actions. The final image often does not reveal the depth of their ideation. Everything that happens during the session is equally valued: words, sounds, lines, shapes, and imagery (even if transformed to the point of obscurity). Art tools join the narrative, becoming ...

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