Notebook, 1993-

Return to - Notes for a Perspective on Art Education -- Child Development

Motor Development 0-18 Months -- Ainsworth's Phases of Attachment -- The Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale -- Drawing Sequence / Evolution of Spontaneous Abilities -- Erick Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial Dilemma -- Selman's Role-Taking Levels -- Kohlbergs Stages of Moral Development -- Language Development -- Parten's Play Stages -- Piaget's Cognitive Stages -- Piaget's - Cognitive Operations -- Contrasting Characteristics of Prenatal and Postnatal Life -- Stages of Prenatal Development

Notes from: Childhood Development

A Developmental Sequence


For one year. Hand-mouth --eat the crayon.

After lst year. Holding crayon in fist --Tap or scribble

2 years. Imitation of vertical.

Two and 1/2 years [Six months later]. Imitation of horizontal. This is more difficult--it doesn't relate to body space. May turn the paper first.

3 years. Circular lines and scribbles.

4 years. Copy cross lines - combining the vertical and horizontal.

Almost 4 1/2 years. Will imitate a square if drawn segmentally.

4 1/2 years. Will copy a square.

5-6 years. Will draw a mature square while getting into structure of handwriting. Will copy a triangle with diagonals. A change in motor control.

6 years. Will draw a diamond--most difficult.

NOTE: Figure drawing. When drawing a picture of a person the child shows self-image. The important thing is the sensitivity and openness to this--not analysis! The imagery shows the concrete body scheme awareness which comes from within --and reflects the cognitive ability and Praxis [the organization of complex putting it together]. Pre-school. Pre-operational. Not operational. Not logical. No conservation. No class inclusion. No hierarchy. Very ego-centric. This drawing actrivity contributes to their imagination. They are really very proud of what they do and feel they are very good at things. Can really become superman. This is real to them. And--lots of role-playing practice such as mowing the lawn and cleaning the house.


William James said, "To the infant the world is just a big, booming, buzzing confusion." Like an infant, Mr. S. B. (the man who did not acquire vision until the age of 51) had to find meaning in his visual sensations. He was soon able to tell time from a large wall clock and to read block letters he had known before only from touch. At a zoo, he recognized an elephant from descriptions he had heard. However, handwriting meant nothing to him for more than a year after he regained sight, and many objects remained meaningless until he touched them. Thus, while Mr. S. B. had visual sensations, his ability to perceive remained limited.

A. How are sensations organized into meaningful perceptions?
Figure-ground organization. The simplest organization involves grouping some sensations into an object, or figure, that stands out on a plainer background. It is probably inborn, since it is the first perceptual ability to appear after cataract patients regain sight. In normal figure-ground perception, only one figure is seen.

Reversible figures: Figure and ground can be switched. As you shift from one pattern to the other, you should get a clear sense of what figure-ground organization means.

Gestalt psychologists conclude a number of factors would bring some order to your perceptions causing the formation of a figure:

In addition to these principles, Learning and past experience greatly affect perceptual organization. One can have an immediate recognition of letters and not be able to read handwriting. Camouflage patterns break up figure-ground organization. If you had not seen a similar camouflaged animal in a scene, for example, would you recognize it? In a way we are all detectives, seeking patterns in what we see. In this sense a meaningful pattern represents a perceptual hypothesis, or guess held until the evidence contradicts it. The active nature of organizing perceptions is perhaps most apparent for ambiguous stimuli (patterns allowing more than one interpretation). If you look at a cloud, you may discover dozens of ways to organize its contours into fanciful shapes and scenes. Even clearly defined stimuli may permit more than one interpretation. In some instances, a stimulus may offer such conflicting information that perceptual organization becomes impossible. A tendency to make a three-dimensional object out of a drawing is frustrated by the "three-pronged widget", an impossible figure.

[Notes from: Coon, Dennis. Introduction to Psychology, Exploration and Application. St. Paul: West Publishing Company, 1989.]



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