Hubby and I have encouraged art in our children's lives since the moment they were able to grasp a paintbrush or pencil. We see art as an expression of one's self and an outlet for their emotions. I can tell if Binny's having a good day or bad day based on a drawing and same for Mae. We never criticize their art and rarely ask "what is it?" because does it really matter what it is? Not to us. They are old enough now to draw things that are recognizable and they'll tell us what they drew, for example Binny drew a picture of me recently and came right out and said that it was a picture of me getting out of the shower. I couldn't have instructed her to draw such a thing; she thought of it on her own, drew it on her own, presented it to me on her own, and hung it on the fridge on her own. She feels a great sense of accomplishment when she can do something all by herself, why wouldn't she, she's 4.
At school, Binny's class has been learning about families for the past week. The children brought in photos of their families, practiced writing the names of all of their family members, and so on. Yesterday she brought home a handmade book with the title "My Family." On each page of the book was a drawing of each family member. One for mom, one for dad, one for Mae and one of herself. As I paged through the book I was quite pleased with her progress... until I got to the picture of her.
The picture she drew of herself reeks of adult "help." The hair, the eyes, the nose, the perfectly round face. That's just not Binny's style, and not the work I would expect out of the average 4 year old. I know she didn't draw this because I know my child and her drawings, and frankly I'm irritated that a teacher had the nerve to take a crayon from a child's hand and destroy the beautiful work she was creating. Her father and I know that she's still developing her drawing skills and we feel that she needs to learn this on her own or by example on A SEPARATE PIECE OF PAPER. I don't mind someone reinforcing that she needs to include all the features of a face, or instructing her to maybe use more than one color, but taking over and doing it for her, not my idea of constructive teaching.
To us, art is a very personal thing and judging someone by their artistic abilities just isn't fair. Either you have it or you don't. No different than the ability to sing (in a pleasing way- forget American Idol), dance, play an instrument, etc. If she were uninterested or had a short attention span I could maybe understand, but I know that's not the case and if so I would like to hear about it. Her report card came home yesterday, with all high marks and no concerns from the teacher. What gives?
These are two of Binny's recent drawings, both of herself.