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Self Portraits in the Early Elementary


by Aana Vaghani, Resident Teacher

A study done in New York University by Corry (Grace Corry et al. Young Children’s Self-Concepts Include Representations of Abstract Traits and the Global Self. Child Development, August 2017) showed that the sense of self in young children is not too different from that of older children and adults. “Young children can think of themselves as possessing abstract traits and abilities, and they can also reason about their self-worth, which has implications for self-esteem”, associate professor Andrei Cimpian the study’s senior author explained.

It was enthralling to see this concept come to life in the Early Elementary the day we painted self portraits. Our session began with us explaining to the children that how we might draw ourselves might feel a little disappointing. Will our nose look the same? Will face structure look exactly the way we envision it? Will our eyes have the same color they do? Probably not. We had to break down that this was a representation, not a photograph of ourselves. The next step was to bring a mirror out and take a moment to observe ourselves closely. Tracing each part of our faces, we then began drawing ourselves the way we envisaged. After the busy and fun day of self-analysing, drawing and painting, we sat down to take a closer look at these self portraits. We noticed something delightful about children and their development. The self portraits were almost accurate to the level it represented their personality! The listeners drew big ears, the talkers and entertainers- big mouths! The self portrait was truly a window into their soul.