A teacher asked my 5 year old son to draw an apple and colour it. He draws a large apple and coloured it in purple. This is not a usual behaviour though. Many times he has drawn fruits of the real colors.

One of the teacher's comment is negative and she says that it shows unrealistic colours and shows lack of observation.

While the other teacher says that its creativity and it encourages out-of-box thinking (although she could not provide any research reference).

I want to know what should be the most appropriate response and the feedback to the little artist based on any modern authentic research.

My idea is that we should adopt a middle path where we explain the kids what are natural colours of apple and at the same time tell him that you have discovered an entirely new variety of an Apple(thereby encouraging him for out-box-thinking). But I want to know the views of experts in light of established research.

Which of these teachers should I trust and under what circumstances and why? Of course I need a scientific evidence for each choice.
Also as parent how should we respond to the kid?

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  • I could not create new tags such as creativity, lack of observation etc. Oct 4, 2017 at 10:18
  • 1
    If you could clarify in the body of your question what you're looking to have answered ("How to encourage creativity", "How to respond when child doesn't follow rules of nature regarding fruit color" both seem to be what you're asking, but are very different) that will help with answers!
    – Marisa
    Oct 4, 2017 at 11:41
  • 1
    It seems to me that the teacher should give clearer orders then....
    – Layna
    Oct 4, 2017 at 11:50
  • If you want your feedback to encourage any kind of thinking, make sure it ends with a question mark as much as possible.
    – Erik
    Oct 4, 2017 at 12:41
  • Which of these teachers should I trust and under what circumstances and why? Of course I need a scientific evidence for each choice. Oct 4, 2017 at 13:47

1 Answer 1


I would ask the teacher to explain to the child before the exercise if they are doing art time, or if we are doing "object observing". If it's art, then it's entirely subjective and he could go fully into abstract and draw something no one even sees as an apple. If instead she wants them to recreate life exactly as it's seen, she needs to say so. As an artist I can say I find it absurd to assert that a purple apple has any significance on his ability to understand the typical range of apple colors. It's also factually inaccurate to say apples are not purple. Apples are the most diverse of all fruit and the most common fruit on the planet. They can be the size of of a grape all the way to nearly melon sized and can be many colors inside too (most people only are aware of the sort common to their own location), but to say apples are not purple is false actually and to criticize "art" of any child is awful.

I was a very gifted student. Even so my mother was called in for a meeting when I was 5, in 1st grade and told that I had a problem because we were told to write out the names of each item pictured (cow, ball, cloud, dog, cat, etc) and I colored every single thing green. My mother asked to see it. She said she was so impressed that all of my coloring was excellent, inside lines, even attempted some shading, etc, and then she said to them, "Did you tell her that she had to color the items they way they appear in nature?" They did not. She then told me they were going to have to be very specific with me when it comes to anything art related because I love to just do things my own way so when I think I can, I will. She was right. I am still this way. I just did a portrait of a good friend that she loved. Her skin is entirely in blues and greens. I do not think she is blue in real life. I have never seen her even put blue makeup on, that isn't why I chose those colors.

Trust neither teacher. Trust your child. If your child seems to grasp that typically the apples where you live are red or green, good enough. Art isn't supposed to be a direct reflection of life. That is what photography is for.

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