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Curly hair — K. Liu

Choosing the right class at the right time

Moving up to Intermediate Drawing

EACH YEAR we see families register children in higher level classes that inadvertently put them in developmental "gray zones" where they may, or may not be capable of completing the projects. The most significant of these zones is the age range of 8.5 to 9.5 years, and it takes place when students move from the Basic-B into the Intermediate A1 level.

ON OUR CLASS DESCRIPTION PAGE we list the minimum age for students to enter the Intermediate A1 class as nine years. Once they've reached the age of nine years most children will be fine moving into an Intermediate A1 class. Conversely…most kids who are younger than nine years are likely to have problems understanding the concepts. This is normal child development since their brains have not quite attained the level of integration and processing power needed. And it’s particularly noticeable in projects that involve grids or linear perspective with vanishing points. Because every project presented in the Intermediate A1 level and above is much more complex and requires greater concentration than the lower levels, moving from a 1-hour Basic-B into a 1.5-hour Intermediate A1 class is a big change.

THERE IS NO WAY TO PREDICT what child can or cannot manage these projects because children are in a constant state of developmental change. And development is NOT a one-way, always forward process. It frequently shows up as reverse change where kids appear to lose skills or knowledge they had previously mastered. What we can predict from experience is that it's never a good idea to place children in a level too high for their ability. It leads to frustration and it undermines their self-esteem and confidence in their abilities. It's a result that none of us wants.

OUR ADVICE IS to not push them too fast at this point in their development. They are still quite young and it's far more important that they form a self-image of themselves that is positive, capable and even a bit cocky about their skills. When a child identifies him- or herself as "artistic", it's an accomplishment which is very personal and theirs for life.