International Journal of Art & Design Education

Conversations Around Young Children’s Drawing: The Impact of the Beliefs of Significant Others at Home and School

Volume 21.3   2002



Children learn to make meanings in communities of practice through interaction with more experienced others. Young children's strategies for and attitudes to learning are determined by the socio-cultural contexts in which they practise those strategies, including learning how to draw within the distinct cultures of home and school. Evidence of meaning making – 2 and 3-D representations involving drawing, modelling and play with objects - was collected over one month periods in the Autumns of 1998, ‘99 and ‘00 from seven young children in home and as they settled into new pre-school and school settings in the North of England. The evidence of the seven children's meaning making, recorded by photographs and scrap books of their representations, was used as a stimulus in dialogues to elicit parents’ and practitioners' beliefs about the value and significance of different modes meaning making, including drawing in the contexts of home and school. Their conversations were recorded and transcribed for analysis. Evidence from the perspectives of parents, practitioners and the children was triangulated with evidence of contextual features for learning around the children’s drawings. Episodes from analysis of the data sets will be used to illustrate how the children were inducted into the conventions of ‘school’ drawing whilst often retaining a distinct personal drawing agenda at home. Implications will be drawn for the status and function of drawing in the education of young children in formal and informal learning contexts.