North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

Domain: NC Foundations for Early Learning: Health and Physical Development (HPD)

Subdomain: Motor Development

Goal: Children develop small muscle control and hand-eye coordination to manipulate objects and work with tools.

Skill Progression: Drawing

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List of Skills by Age

1-2 Months

No observable skills

2-4 Months

No observable skills

4-6 Months

No observable skills

6-8 Months

No observable skills

8-10 Months

No observable skills

10-12 Months

Tries to imitate adult marks on paper by banging dots or short marks

12-15 Months

Imitates adult’s scribbles

Makes dots on paper by banging marker

15-18 Months

Holds crayon using fisted grasp

Spontaneously scribbles on paper or other surface

Makes random marks in different directions

18-21 Months

Makes marks on paper with no organization

Experiments with vertical and horizontal straight lines-- alone, next to, or on top of other lines

Produces writing lines differently than drawing lines

Uses whole arm to make marks

21-24 Months

Imitates vertical strokes

Makes large continuous circular scribbles, with occasional straight lines

24-27 Months

Experiments with different ways to draw and write, such as “magic” drawing boards, making impressions in sand, drawing on computer app. with finger, etc.

Imitates horizontal stroke

27-30 Months

Starts adding color to drawings

Explains details of drawing

May create separated, tight scribble marks

30-33 Months

Copies a circle

Reports drawings represent familiar things

Zigzag scribbles are added to loops

33-36 Months

Uses lines and circles in drawings

Draws recognizable forms (e.g., face, flower)

Imitates a cross

Distinguishes writing from drawing

36-42 Months

Parts of objects may not be connected (toothbrush may be a stick with separate "bristle" lines)

Draws a face with features in proximity and understanding of the head (enclosure)

42-48 Months

Pictures have many parts and details

May draw a person as a head with facial features and arms and legs coming out of the head

Plans what to draw before starting to draw

48-54 Months

Enclosures are used to encapsulate features (circle around pupils in eyes)

Parts are connected, such as body and arms, tree trunk and limbs

Separation of different parts of the picture that are not connected

Horizontal and vertical coordinates used to display relationships (facial and body features, etc.), shows spatial understanding

Proximity of features are closer to each other than should be (i.e. facial features)

54-60 Months

Draws what is known, rather than what is actually seen (four legs on dog)

Draws more important things larger (e.g., person larger than the house)

Drawings are colorful, rhythmic, balanced, and expressive of feelings; may represent people, objects, actions, or events and begin to tell a story

Draws stick figures with head, body, arms, and legs

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

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