The AccessArt Drawing Journey for Primary Children: Aims and Intent

By Paula Briggs

From Where to Where? What Might Aspirational Starting and End Points Look Like For Primary-Aged Children?

The aim of the AccessArt Drawing Journey for primary-aged children is to enable school teachers and home-educators to plan a dynamic and rewarding creative education in drawing for ALL children.

AccessArt’s ethos is to aim high: we want to make sure we do our children justice in terms of feeding their creative development. But we also need to make sure non-specialist or inexperienced educators feel encouraged and enabled to be ambitious in what they teach. To meet both those aims we have created the Drawing Journey.

The Drawing Journey splits Key Stage 1 and 2 (England) into 3 groups – ages 5 to 7, 7 to 9 and 9 to 11.

At age 5, many children have a very healthy relationship with drawing, needing only to be provided with materials to demonstrate their natural capacity to draw without inhibition. Fear and uncertainty are traits which arrive later and often follow us into adulthood. This happens because of a combination of a development stage when a child becomes more critical of their own drawing, comparing it to that of others, and an idea in their head of what they think it “should” look like, and, at the same time, pressure from schools to “learn” set knowledge which is usually quite formal and traditional in scope (which by definition is a narrow view of what drawing is). The end result, is that by ages 7, 8 and 9 many children decide that they “can’t draw” – and they rarely recover their original innate interest in drawing as they travel through their remaining school years.

What the Drawing Journey aims to do is to encourage schools to better understand what drawing is, or can be, in all its diversity in terms of outcome and intention. Once we have opened out what drawing might be, we can then present many opportunities to pupils, all of which, taken as a whole, provide pupils with a rich experience, and with the added benefit that ALL pupils can find an aspect of drawing which resonates with them – and at which they can succeed.

If the starting point for a five year old child is an interest in drawing as an activity which they feel entitled to undertake, then the end point we aspire to for pupils leaving primary school (aged 11) might be summed up by these resonating statements. If these statements do not resonate, then we need to check that we, as educators, have provided the best possible experiences for that child throughout their primary education.

  • I have enjoyed exploring different ways of drawing and different types of drawing, and I have found ideas, techniques or materials which I personally can relate to.

  • I have had the opportunity to work on a variety of scales. Not all the drawing I have done has taken place at a desk.

  • I understand key vocabulary relating to drawing, and understand the vocab through practical experience.

  • I have used a wide variety of drawing media and been given the opportunity to practice my skills. I have also drawn on a variety of drawing surfaces.

  • I have made drawings from observation, and imagination, and I have experimented with my approach.

  • I have drawn alone and I have also created drawings as part of a group.

  • I have explored the many different reasons I might draw (i.e. drawing from its own sake, drawing to build my understanding, drawing for development and sharing of ideas, drawing to communicate emotions or beliefs).

  • I have drawn from a variety of subject matter, including drawing from life (including people and places), as well as drawing from photographs and film.

  • I have been inspired by the drawings of other artists, craftspeople, designers and architects, and I understand the role of drawing to my world.

  • I feel I have been able to develop my creativity through drawing.


This is a sample of a resource created by UK Charity AccessArt. We have over 1500 resources to help develop and inspire your creative thinking, practice and teaching.

AccessArt welcomes artists, educators, teachers and parents both in the UK and overseas.

We believe everyone has the right to be creative and by working together and sharing ideas we can enable everyone to reach their creative potential.