When Should I Introduce Crayon Drawing?

Every Wednesday our members get to ask Waldorf teacher Diane Power questions about their homeschooling experience, Waldorf education and more. These Q & A sessions are posted on the member blog every week so you have access to all the past Q & A sessions. Become a member of Earthschooling to get your questions answered personally every week.

Question: When should crayon drawing be introduced? Do I just show my drawing and let the kids do without instruction? Should I wait for them to ask how to draw like me? I don’t want them to feel bad about how they are drawing. Thx!

Answer from Waldorf Teacher Diane Power: What age group are you referring to? In early childhood, the large beeswax crayons are out in a basket. I would draw with them and a student could draw next to me if they desired. At this age they are imitating the adult.

“It is important to let very young children draw freely, with no systematic program of instruction, no teaching of style or technique in the early years. The healthiest approach for pre-nursery through kindergarten age children, who live almost entirely out of their own world of imagination and imitation, is to let them render freely what they experience in the world around them, that is, what is within them.  No instruction beyond the practical matters of how to grip the crayon, how to draw on the paper (not on the floor or wall), how to put materials neatly away, and so forth, are enough for the young child. In fact, to interrupt  this natural expression of the creative faculties and the formative, life processes active at this time by directing them toward outwardly imposed techniques can thwart a healthy, self-learning process that may not be entirely recovered later on in life. If parents draw alongside their children, this is instruction enough, for youngsters will pick up themes, imagery, and techniques by way of imitation. This indirect approach to drawing is the most appropriate for young children.”

From Every Child is an Artist: The Beginnings of Drawing by Van James ~ Published in the Autumn/Winter 2013 Volume 18 #2 Research Bulletin

This can be accessed through the Waldorf Library online at www.waldorflibrary.org.

The quote from the article addresses the Early childhood student. Once they are in the grades, I would draw with them, choosing the colors, the placement of items such as trees, animals, etc, borders, explaining techniques. As they got older in the grades, the students would be given more freedom to draw the MLB picture.

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