Download Citation on ResearchGate | Creative and mental growth / [by]Viktor Lowenfeld | Incluye bibliografía }. Creative and Mental Growth has 48 ratings and 1 review. Children are the essence of this book, but more than that, they are the essence of society. Creat. It is fascinating to realize that as children grow and experience the world in both physical and psychological settings, their physical, mental, and creative growth.

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Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet. Lambert Brittain In this new, extensively revised edi- tion of a book that has been acclaimed a “must” for art educators, there is material that will interest everyone, professionals and laymen alike. From creatkve profusely illustrated pages springs a wealth of information on the growth and development of the creative process in the child, from his first uncontrolled scribbles to his high school paintings.

The child’s creative expression during specific stages in his mental and emotional growth can only be understood and appreciated if the general causal interdependence be- tween creation and growth is under- stood. Creative expression is as differentiated as are individuals. This is as clearly evident in the minds of artists as it is in the minds of educators and psychologists.

How- ever, the child’s creative expression during specific stages in his mental and growrh growth can only be understood and appreciated if the general causal interdependence between creation and growth is under- stood.

The current edition is written in the hope that it may provide the basis for deeper understand- ing of the art expression of children.

The fourth edition was already planned when Dr. Viktor Lowenfeld died in the May of lowsnfeld His dynamic contribution to the field of art education cannot be measured in terms of his numerous articles, his re- search, or his many books, or even the exciting and stimulating lectures he delivered all over the country; rather it can be measured more readily in the people who have been more personally affected by close association with a spirit that continues to live in each of them.

Many were inspired by his contagious enthusiasm. He overwhelmed his listeners, both as in- dividuals and as large audiences, with an intensity that was awe-inspiring. It is with a great deal of humility that I have undertaken to fulfill his hopes for the latest edition of this classic book. I wish to express my deepest appreciation to Mrs. Viktor Lowenfeld for her continued encouragement and understanding and to Dr.

John Lowenfeld for his support. I also wish to acknowledge the kind assistance of the many colleagues and friends who have helped give direction to the new edition. I have appreciated the notes, tape recordings of growh lectures, and suggestions from those who were close to Dr. Lowenfeld nad recent years which helped me to get a truer feeling for changes that he would have made. I also wish gratefully to acknowledge the following for their help in securing the illustrations for this volume: Figure 90; Barrett Gallagher, photographer.

Figures 2, 6, 26, and 88; Jack Grant, photogra- pher. Figures 21, 22, and 23; Indiana State College, Penn.

The process of drawing, painting, or constructing is a complex one in which the child brings together diverse elements of his environment to make a new meaningful whole.

In the grpwth of selecting, interpreting, and re- forming these elements, he has lowenfelf us more than a picture or a sculp- ture, he has given us a part of himself: For the child this is a dynamic and unifying activity. Formal education takes on a tremendously important role when we realize that our children — from the age of five or six to sixteen, eighteen, or beyond — are forced by law and job requirements to spend ten, twelve, sixteen, or even twenty years behind school doors.

That is a pretty stiff sentence just for being born a child. From some points of view education has done its task; looking around us today, we can see great material gains. But serious questions can be raised about how much we have been able to educate beyond the making and consuming of objects.

Have we in our educational system really put emphasis upon the human? Or have we been so blinded by the material awards that we have failed to recog- nize where the real values of a democracy lie, in its most precious good, the individual. To a great extent the passing or failing of an examination or of a course, or the passing on to the next grade, or even the remaining in school depends upon the mastery groath memoriza- tion of certain bits of information that are already known to the instruc- tor.

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The function of the school system would then seem to be that of producing people who can file away bits of information, and then repeat these at a given signal.

Once the student has achieved a certain compe- tency at producing the proper bits of information at the correct time, he is considered right for graduating from school. What is most disturbing is that the skill in repeating bits of information may have very little rela- tionship abd the “contributing, well-adjusted member of society” we thought we were producing. We do not want to give the impression that by merely developing a good creative art program in the public schools, mankind is saved; but the values that are meaningful in an art program are those which may be basic to the development of a new image, a new philosophy, even a totally new structure to our educational system.

More and more people are recog- nizing that the ability to learn differs from age to age and from individual to individual, and ahd this ability to learn involves not only intellectual capacity, but also social, emotional, perceptual, physical, and psychological factors.

Altogether learning is very complex. Therefore, there may be no single best teaching method. Our tendency to develop the capacity to regurgitate bits of information may be putting undue emphasis on but creatve factor in human development, that which is now measured by the intel- ligence tests. Intelligence as we now know it does not encompass the wide range of thinking abilities that are necessary to the survival of man- kind.

The ability to question, to seek answers, to find form and order, to rethink and restructure and find new relationships, are qualities that are generally not taught; and in fact these seem to be frowned upon in our present educational system.

Creative and Mental Growth by Viktor Lowenfeld

The exper- iences central to an art activity embody this very factor. This is true whether it is in putting together a construction called “Spring” from straws, colored paper, and bottle caps, or in painting a picture that neces- sitates the mixing of colors and the invention of new forms. If we look at very young children, we often find a freedom to act with- out regard for the amount of knowledge mankind has amassed regarding this action.

Children learn to walk without an intellectual understanding of the motor control involved. What a person knows, or does not know, may bear no relationship to creative action. One sometimes hears that there are definite steps to the creative process and that preparation is a first important step However, it can be seen that children create with whatever knowledge they happen to have at the time.

The very act of creating can provide new insights and new knowledge for further action. Probably the best preparation for creating is creating itself. Waiting until a good factual preparation can be obtained before taking action, or stop- ping children from creating until they know enough about the subject to act intelligently, may inhibit action rather than promote action.

One of the basic ingredients of a creative art experience is the relation- ship between the artist and his environment. That is, the painting, draw- ing, or constructing is a constant process of assimilating and projecting: Now, if we look at formal education, we realize that the basis for the development of learning rests within 26 letters and 10 numerals.

These 36 abstract figures are manipulated and reshuflfled from kindergarten through college. The development of mental growth then tends to be an abstract function as these figures take on different and more complicated meaning. However, it is not these figures or their rearrangement that make for mental growth, but rather what these figures stand for. Being able to assemble letters in proper sequence to spell rabbit does not constitute an understanding of a rabbit.

To really know a rabbit a child must actually touch him, feel his fur, watch his nose twitch, feed him and learn his habits see Figure 2. It is the interaction between the symbols, the self, and the environment Figure 2. Interaction of the child with his environment — in this case, a rabbit with his twitchy nose and soft fur — provides material for abstract intellectual processes.

Creative and Mental Growth

Therefore, mental growth depends upon the relationship between a child and his environment; such relationship is a basic ingredient of a creative art experience. Man learns through his senses. The ability to see, feel, hear, smell, and taste provides the means by which an interaction between man and his environment takes place.

The process of educating children can sometimes be confused with developing certain limited predetermined responses. The curriculum in public lowenfed tends to be little concerned with the simple fact that man, and the child too, learns through these five senses.


The development of perceptual sensitivity, then, should become a most important part of the educative process. But, except for the arts, the senses mengal apt to be ignored. The greater the opportunity to develop an increased sensitivity and the greater the awareness of all the senses, the greater will be the opportunity for learning. Education has often neglected these attributes of growth that are responsible for the development of the individual’s sensibilities, for his spiritual life, as well as for his ability to live cooperatively in a society.

The growing number of emotional and mental illnesses in this nation, the largest in any nation, as well as our inability to accept human beings first of all as human beings regardless of nationality, religion, race, creed, or color, is a frightening sign and vividly points out that education so far has failed in one of its most significant aims. While our high achievements in specialized fields, particularly in the sciences, have improved our material standards of living, they have diverted us from those values growtth are re- sponsible for our emotional and spiritual needs.

They have introduced a false set of lowebfeld, which ceeative the mejtal needs of an individual. In a well-balanced educational system, in which the development of the total being is stressed, each individual’s thinking, feeling, and perceiving must be equally developed in order that his potential menatl abilities can un- fold. Crsative educaton, introduced in the early years of childhood, may well mean the difference between a flexible creative human being and one who, in spite of all learning, will not be able to apply it, will lack inner re- sources, and will have difficulty in his relationship to the environment.

Because perceiving, thinking, and feeling are equally stressed in any creative process, art may well provide the necessary balance for the child’s intellect and his emotions.

Viktor Lowenfeld

The Importance of Art for Creativity Art has long been looked upon as the stronghold of creativity within the public schools. In recent years, however, the more academic courses have begun to develop an interest in fostering creative thinking. The im- portance of encouraging and developing creativity cannot be overempha- sized. Without question, one of the prime objectives of any art program is the development of individuals who are creative thinkers.

Research into creativity extends back only a few years. There are still people who look upon drawing and painting as being somehow removed from reality, and children seem to them to be touched with some magical power. This feeling that creativity is somehow tied up with the gods may be one reason why mere humans have found difficulty in attempting to fathom the mystery around this important area of human development.

The Meaning of Art for Education 7 We do not have to ponder very long upon the condition of the world today to realize that children who are presently in elementary school will be called upon to revise, change, and remake our world into an entirely new pattern of existence. Problems in human relations, growing populations, international understandings, and the problems resulting from rapid tech- nological change make it imperative that the development of creativity becomes one of the most important considerations of our educational sys- tem.

To teach toward creativity is to teach toward the future of society. No child should be thought of as “uncreative. On the other hand, there is no “creative” child. This would assume that the creative power is already unleashed to its fullest extent in some children and we therefore can do little to further its development. This whole question is somewhat analogous to developing healthy bodies. In any class we will find children who are undernourished or less healthy than normal.

We would hope that proper medical care, diet, exercise, and a change of environment might stimulate healthy growth.

But we continue the nourishment and exercise for further development of the healthy body. At any age, we find many levels of physical proficiency. There are also many levels of creative performance, from the mere drawing of a line following the directions of the teacher, to the complex integrated compo- sition that is done spontaneously. At all levels of creative performance children need to have the encouragement to progress beyond their present capacities and to come closer to a genuinely creative spirit.

Some research has been done that can help us understand some of the factors involved in the creative process.