First grade skills

Is your child ready for first grade? Is he equipped with the right skills that will enable him to start school successfully?  Children’s drawings are an effective and easy-to-use tool to identify whether the child is mature enough to enter first grade from any aspect – cognitive, social and emotional – or whether he still requires some preparation, specific training or emotional support.

Evaluating children’s first grade skills is important and meaningful, as it has long-term consequences. When the child is 5 years old, his parents are required to take a decision which means that in many respects he would be moving to the more responsible and mature phase of formal education.

Advantages of children’s drawings

Children’s drawings include various elements – shapes, figures and colors – that hint at their personality traits and abilities in a wide range of fields. Their analysis provides a clear view on characteristics such as: cognitive style, concentration ability, social attitude, self-image, anxieties and more.

The conclusion from the analysis of a child’s drawings may be that he is mature enough to cope with school’s challenges – the crowded social arena, the exams and homework and relationships with new authority figures. However, it could be that the child has difficulty in some aspects and it would be better for him if his parents postpone the transition to first grade.

Another year in kindergarten has great significance for many children. The fact that the child benefits from additional year in the kindergarten with other children who are younger may contribute to his self-confidence and allow his parents to strengthen his weak points.

Evaluating first grade skills through drawings

One of the parameters checked in drawing analysis is the child’s multi-level thinking skills. This parameter concerns the child’s cognitive maturity, as it identifies his ability to perform tasks that are composed of several parts, while referencing to each  separately.

Multi-level thinking is indicated in children’s drawings by the way they choose to structure their artwork. If a drawing is divided into parts, organized, demonstrates story buildup, and includes repeating elements – shapes or colors – in a structured way, this means that a child has high multi-level thinking ability, which is important for learning.

This drawing is a good example for maturity and good first grade skills in terms of multi-level thinking. It is possible to see how the girl who made it plans her moves and maintains a clear drawing pattern, which repeats itself. In fact, this drawing style is the basis of the cognitive skills required for acquiring a new language: the ability to create recurrent patterns with different shapes and colors in a drawing is the exact ability required for writing.

first grade skills

There are many other tools for evaluating a child’s cognitive functioning, but more importantly, the child’s parents should evaluate his emotional and social ability at ages 5-6. Studies found that most children are cognitively mature enough at these ages to enter first grade. However, many still need guidance and strengthening in the emotional and social aspects to be able to reach their learning potential and fit in socially. These aspects are clearly represented in children’s drawings, through line quality, drawing style of the elements, spreading on the page and more.

The girl’s drawing suggests several characteristic traits. This information helped us guide her parents to take the most effective steps to support their child emotionally. Her drawings show that she has high self-confidence and that she is popular among her peers, with whom she spends much of her time.

It was also possible to conclude that she is talented in dancing and other activities which involve performance in front of an audience. Moreover, elements in her drawings show that she is attached to her mother and likes to give orders to and “direct” her family members.

From the motoric aspect, it is possible to see that she controls the drawing tool well and draws the complex roof accurately. Cognitive maturity is assessed on several levels. One of them is the ability to distinguish between what’s important and what’s not and another is the ability to use generalization and conceptualization in order to draw conclusions. These abilities contribute to the child’s reading comprehension, math and more. An example may be seen in the way she draws the flower – she draws only the flower’s main parts, the ones most vital for understanding its essential nature: the petals and stalk.

To conclude, drawing interpretation is an effective tool, because it has the ability to identify whether children are mature enough to enter first grade or still require some guidance and strengthening.

You are welcome to send us several drawings of your child for individual analysis of his status in various aspects, including first grade readiness.

Want to know more?

Our learning center will familiarize you with important tools and topics for understanding children’s drawings.


If you have any comments or questions about this article, contact us or leave a reply below.

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