Many parents asked this question. My answer is it is never too early or too late.
I always want to meet the child in person, normally at that time and space while he/she can be independent from the parents. It is not really a interview, but to create a free environment to she/him to express oneself. Let’s break down into three points to discuss how I see this.
It is never too early to meet the art educator in person and talk. Many parents brought the kids to me because they found their children always like to use drawings to express and telling stories, and they don’t feel they are competent enough to lead them anymore. I would say, yes this is the time the child is ready to be in my studio, get influenced by the atmosphere, potentially to enroll into the class.
However, I do realized that many preschoolers like to draw only in their comfort zone, they may feel shy or challenged by the other students around. They want to withdrawn. I felt the children can be open easily when they see their friends around in the class.
( Top Image Credit to Ragini, age 8)
Children at this age are learning by playing. Never underestimate the power of play. Children are encouraged to self led play are more active in art creation. If they are very playful individual, let them to explore drawing themselves, but observe them attentively. When they want to express more, but lack of the ability to do so, then it is time to bring them to me. I will give them a window for exploration.
(Middle Image Credit to Ragini, age 8)
Try not ONLY let the kids keep copying the images others are creating. Copying is a left brain activity, children can copy well definitely will learn faster in art making, because the best way to learn from the art master is by imitate what one does. We will explain it in another chapter.
If the kids get used to copy images, they tend to enjoy the crafts and spend less time to create. Creation is also a habit, always encourage this characteristic, skill set will be introduced when they are ready.
Never too early to evaluate the talents. Art making is like a language express in the visual atmosphere. There are all kinds of styles and genes, for the parents who are not used to express feelings and ideas in the visual format, they tend to judge the art by looking realistic , looking more alike, that is not exactly a standard for evaluating art making.
Bottom Image Credit to Ana, age 6)
Looking at a piece of art also needs the knowledge and background in understanding the historical content and context. Those will be introduced in the art class grade by grade. The standards of evaluating art have changed dramatically throughout the history.
In our art class, we encourage the students understanding the originality of art making, individualistic expression as well as craftsmanship.