November 11, 2020 | Kristen Jordan
Children have been working on drawing self-portraits.
They have been very excitedly looking at themselves and examining their faces so carefully and then trying to represent what they see with lines on the paper. Their drawings are amazing!
The process of drawing self-portraits teaches children to look and observe carefully, which is something that transfers to much of learning throughout our lives. We will do a great deal of observational drawing throughout the year, but self-portraits may just be the most meaningful for the children. Self-portraits provide an opportunity for children to do an observational drawing of a subject they know so well:themselves!
Because children are wearing masks at school, they have been studying a photograph of themselves as they draw (with a bit of use of mirrors as well). Perhaps they have never quite looked at the details of their own face in quite the same way.
Some children notice freckles or the shape of their nose. They may notice how a curl drops down right on their forehead or that their mouth is not just a single line. Maybe they see how long their eyelashes are or that their eyes are not round. These can be new and exciting discoveries.
Often, even at age 3, 4 and 5, these portraits look very much like the child who has done the drawing. It can be challenging to draw everything you see when you look at your face in a photograph. In addition to paying careful attention to details, drawing a self-portrait helps children learn to work through a challenging process. It is very hard work to try to get what you see onto a piece of paper!
Children are developing stamina and persistence when they stick with drawing their self-portraits. Drawing something so carefully also helps to develop finger strength and fine motor control. Drawing with a Flair pen allows children to make precise marks on the page. Trying to make something accurate and beautiful contributes further to developing control and hand strength. When drawing self-portraits, children are also developing the idea of knowing that we can grow and get better at things when we work at them.
One of the things that often happens in the Trees Class is that we have children attempt more than one draft of something, whether it is acting out a story more than once, attempting a puzzle over and over, rebuilding a block structure if it falls over, or drawing something several times. When children draft, they gain an understanding that they can learn from their mistakes, they see that practice helps them to get better at something, and children begin to understand that learning is a process. When children do a second draft of a self portrait, they may notice or include details that they did not in their first draft.
The children’s self-portraits are an indication of so much hard work! They are amazing!