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Artistic Creativity in Children

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My daughter is 3 years and 9 months old. Since about a year ago she has displayed a great deal of artistic talent (at 2 yrs 9 months old she was drawing people with arms and legs and naming them). She draws pictures and labels them specifically, often asking how to spell the word so she can write it on the paper. Today she drew a "couch and chair" which was a striking resemblance of a chair at home, complete with the light that sits behind it.

What type of assessment would you recommend for a child demonstrating artistic ability at her age?

A: Every child is considered to have creative potential and capable of creative expression, however not to an equal extent. In fact research has indicated that creativity can be enhanced using specific creative programs, which include art-based ones. Your daughter appears to be creative, in this case, artistically creative. But this would have to include talent in other art-form in general, for example music, clay, puppet theatre, etc.

In some pre-school settings, children are encourage to express their ideas, observations and feelings using graphic language, that is through drawing. This is the case of the Reggio Emilia approach. Briefly, the Reggio Emilia's approach to childcare and education that distinguishes it from other efforts is the emphasis on children's symbolic languages in the context of a project-oriented curriculum.

As far as assessment goes, perhaps you could use the "Torrance Test of Creative Thinking Figural" to determine her talent in view of creativity. A more straightforward assessment would be one done at an art school. You may also want to enroll her in a school that emphasizes her talents or enhances her ability by seeking help from an art tutor. She appears to have a very good memory and being able to vision what she sees into graphic form at such a young age is naturally a gift and I hope this talent would not go to waste. Good luck!


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