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Roland Draws a Garden

About this video

This video clip suggests that children have much to gain from making drawings of places they have been with their families, caregivers, or teachers. Besides helping them to remember events in their lives, such drawing experiences can address several Illinois Early Learning Benchmarks. This clip also shows that as the child draws, comments and questions from an interested adult can enrich the child’s memories of the subject—especially if the adult pays close attention to what the child is doing and does not criticize the child or direct him/her. In this clip, Roland, age 3 years 6 months, makes a drawing from memory of a place that he knows well—his family’s garden. (This is the first time he has drawn the garden.)

Roland and his mother Kay are at a table that he often uses for drawing and writing. A clipboard with paper and a cup holding pencils and markers are within easy reach.

Kay invites Roland to draw a picture of the garden to help decide where to plant some of their seeds. Kay points out the sheet of paper on the clipboard while she is talking. As she continues to talk, Roland uses a colored pencil to quickly draw a rectangular outline on the paper. He holds the pencil in his left hand. (Like many other children his age, he does not use a “tripod” grasp pattern). He comments about two corners of his outline of the garden. Kay’s response allows him to consider what he could add to his drawing.

After more conversation, Roland picks up a different colored pencil. He continues to draw while he and Kay talk. He switches the pencil from his left hand to his right hand and back again several times.

As Roland draws, Kay comments and questions him about what his drawing shows. At one point, she mentions a garden structure they call the shade house and suggests its position. As he draws it, she comments about how he has shown the parts of the structure. Kay also uses and explains a specialized term (cover crop) to Roland as he draws. Even though he does not respond to the explanation, he continues to draw “tall grass,” the cover crop.

Roland does not always reply verbally to what Kay says; however, he is not ignoring her or being rude. In fact, sometimes he responds by adding to his drawing rather than by speaking. When adults and young children work so closely together, interactions do not always need to include words.



Kay: So I wondered if you wanted to make a drawing of the garden because what we want to do…

Roland: Yes.

Kay: …today is to figure out where we’re going to put what seeds in the garden. Okay? (Roland moves around.)

Kay: (Gesturing to the paper.) So do you want make—what were the shapes that you think of? Because the garden has got the fence that goes around (traces with her finger on the paper)—the shapes of the garden… (Roland sets the pencil on the paper and begins to draw.)

Kay: Yeah, we’ve got big—yeah!

Roland: (Indicates two corners of the large shape he has drawn.) Look at these.

Kay: Mm-hmm.

Roland: I don’t know what they are.

Kay: And how many of those do you think we have?

Roland: Uh.

Kay: We have several of them, right? We have, each one of them has the straw on it and… (Roland has added to one corner of the garden outline). Is that another one?

Roland: Yeah (adds to another corner of the garden outline). This is another one. Those are…

Kay: It’s a little one.

Roland: Yes. It’s a—thing… (begins to draw with his right hand inside the garden outline).

Kay: There’s that bed—exactly, yeah. Yeah.

Kay: And then maybe down in this corner (points to a corner of the garden outline) is where we put the little shade house, right?

Roland: Yeah (begins to draw in the corner Kay indicated).

Kay: Right there, are those sticks for the shade house?

Roland: (Continues to draw.) Okay. Yeah.

Kay: And the cloth.

Roland: (Continues to draw.) Yeah, that…

Kay: (Points to part of the drawing.) And today we went up and we planted carrots.

Roland: In that (points) in that bed (begins to draw with left hand).

Kay: In that bed. Do you want to make sort of a little shape and…

Roland: (Adding to the “bed” by drawing what seems to be a green plant.) There’s, right… when they grow like that (shifts positions and begins to draw next to the “bed”).

Kay: Mm-hmm.

Roland: And these are all the tall, tall grasses (still drawing with his left hand).

Kay: The tall grasses that are next door, that we used. We call those cover crops, which means they cover the ground until we’re ready to put something else in.

Roland: (Making several long lines with pencil held in left hand.) Look at all these tall grasses! (Switches to right hand, continues to draw.)

Kay: Mm-hmm.

Roland: There’s the garden! (Makes a final mark and steps back.)

Kay: Very nice.

Roland: (Begins to draw again with right hand.) I’ll make the children in the shade house.

Kay: And there’s the children in the shade house?

Roland: (continues drawing) Yeah. Here’s Palomer.

Kay: Palomer.

Roland: And me.

Kay: And Roland. Nice.

The camera pulls back to show the drawing itself.

Benchmarks and How They Were Met

BenchmarksHow They Were Met
Language Arts
1.B.ECc: Continue a conversation through two or more exchanges.
Roland sustained conversation about the garden and his drawing through several exchanges.
Language Arts
1.C.ECa: Describe familiar people, places, things, and events and, with teacher assistance, provide additional detail.
Sometimes spontaneously and sometimes with prompting, Roland described and drew parts of the garden in detail, such as the beds, the tall grasses, and the shade house.
Language Arts
5.C.ECb: With teacher assistance, recall factual information and share that information through drawing, dictation, or writing.
Roland used drawing to represent what he recalled about the garden. He used some specialized vocabulary, such as “bed” and “grasses,” and Kay provided additional words, such as “shade house” and “cover crop,” to describe what he drew.
7.A.ECc: Use vocabulary that describes and compares length, height, weight, capacity, and size.
Roland referred to “tall, tall grasses.”
9.B.ECb: Use appropriate vocabulary for identifying location and ordinal position.
Roland used the word “there” and the phrases “in that bed” and “in the shade house.”
10.B.ECa: Organize, represent, and analyze information using concrete objects, pictures, and graphs, with teacher support.
Roland used the drawing process to organize and represent his knowledge of the garden.
Social Studies
16.A.ECa: Recall information about the immediate past.
Roland had just come from the garden and was drawing what he remembered.
Social Studies
17.A.ECa: Locate objects and places in familiar environments.
With some suggestions from Kay, Roland made a maplike drawing of the garden that showed awareness of the locations of the beds, grasses, etc.
Physical Development and Health
19.A.ECe: Use writing and drawing tools with some control.
Roland alternated drawing with the left hand and right hand. Regardless of which hand he used, he was able to move the pencil to make his drawing.
The Arts
25.A.ECd: Visual Arts: Investigate and participate in activities using visual arts materials.
Roland uses traditional visual arts media (paper and pencils) to create a picture showing his impressions of the garden.

About this resource

Setting(s) for which the article is intended:
  • Home
  • Family Child Care
  • Child Care Center
  • Preschool Program

Intended audience(s):
  • Parents / Family
  • Teachers / Service providers

Age Levels (the age of the children to whom the article applies):
Related Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards:
Reviewed: 2017