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Supporting young children drawing: developing a role

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This article recognizes drawing as a child-appropriate symbolic activity young children use to make meaning in the world. Evidence from a three-year longitudinal study (Ring, 2003; Anning & Ring, 2004) of seven young children drawing at home, pre-school and school is taken as a starting point for considering the role of adults in supporting young children's drawing behaviours. Narrative is also drawn from an ongoing research project in which experienced teachers in English educational settings working with children aged between 3 and 5 years chart their exploration of their role as they strive to tune in to their needs in relation to drawing. The article highlights the importance of adults making time and space for drawing; ensuring the materials they provide engage both genders; recognizing a wider range of drawing activity as developmentally appropriate for meaning-making; developing and valuing their role as co-constructors working alongside children. The emergent findings show the importance of supporting drawing on both a large and small scale, outdoors as well as indoors for both girls and boys.
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Keywords: drawing; meaning-making; teacher support; young children

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: York St John College, England.

Publication date: 27 November 2006

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  • The International Journal of Education through Art is an English language journal that promotes relationships between art and education. The term 'art education' should be taken to include art, craft and design education. Each issue, published three times a year within a single volume, consists of peer-reviewed articles mainly in the form of research reports and critical essays, but may also include exhibition reviews and image-text features.

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