I recently noticed a significant jump in my son’s art skills. Truth be told, he was the one that noticed. He came home from school very excited to draw saying, “Dad, I write like a sixth grader!” (He was a little mixed up on the difference between “draw” and “write”, it turns out.) He made a sudden jump from drawing stick figures to drawing filled in figures.
When I asked him if he learned this at art class, he said that he had not but had practiced and learned on his own, at school.
It is interesting that the arms come out of the waist consistently. When I said that his drawing where great and that I could show him one thing to make them even better and draw a basic filled in figure with the arms coming out the shoulder, he attempted to make the change but shortened the torso to almost nothing.
So what’s the point of all this ? I have been thinking that these development stages and the jumps between them are commonplace, if not ubiqitous. Piaget mapped them out for cognitive development and there has been similar work for social-emotional development. Part of my research at school is to determine if kid’s engineering skills have similar jumps. I will be giving the same kids the same engineering task every year from K to 6 to see if similar jumps occur.