The other day, I was trying to pitch the idea of Longaccess to a kindergarten. (No, not to the kids! To the director.) Parents would proably love to have a long-term archive of things their kids did for the first time. Having drawings, photos and videos of the first time most parents start to realise their kid has its own life is something most find priceless. Longaccess is an obvious fit for this kind of usage, and I think it's an area we should pay attention to. But that's not what this post is about.
Then, I started thinking how interesting it would be if kindergarten had a long term archive of kids drawings, a public one. Imagine the things you could study if you had access to kids drawings over the years...
When did kids start drawing women wearing trousers? Is there a change to how they see and draw the sky? Which animals are depicted on their drawings? Does this change over years? What are the themes three years olds preferred to (or were asked to) draw in the 80s compared to today? Is there a difference in the way they see trees, or cars, or buildings? Do the colors they prefer change over time? Depending on the location? Which aspects of their drawings are affected by the culture they live in, and which aren't? How do they draw summer, or winter? What kind of materials they use in each period?
The more I think about it, the more it sounds extremely fascinating!
Even if this kind of database doesn't exist, it would be relatively easy to create one. Many parents have kept their kids first drawings for decades. All one would have to do is create a website asking them to scan the originals and upload copies and metadata, like year, age, location. The "kindergarten art archive" would be an amazing source of information for each one of us, but also a source of valuable data for social scientists and historians.
If anyone tries something like this, please let me know: I'd love to participate, promote and help if I can.