Arno Stern was born in Germany in 1924. At the age of sixteen, after being chased by the Nazis during the Second World War,  he was confined two years in a swiss concentration camp with his family. But it wasn’t until a few years later, when he started his studies in the semiology of expression with a group of orphan children due to the war. (Carot y Ortiz, 2018)



The theory of Stern is characterized by creating a perfect environment, where children can paint with freedom, without judgments. The teachers don’t judge, they serve, help and attend children in their requirements, to make them feel comfortable, so they can concentrate on creating. This spontaneous expression is denominated Formulation, where there are transmitted emotions and feelings that in another way would be impossible. Furthermore is through Formulation, how Arno Stern realized that children do not paint randomly, copy objects or create new shapes. Their creations are based on memories that remain on organic memory, where there are prenatal memories. In addition to these studies, through numerous trips and experiences all around the world, Stern realize that children, of different cultures and circumstances, did very similar draws.  (Dauber, 2017)



The ideas of Arno Stern, are not very common, however, they are very interesting. This kind of activities fosters creativity and divergent thinking. Also, it lets children, and adults, paint without restrictions, which is something really fun. However, if you are not used to doing it, probably you would ask, or at least think, what should I paint? 

It is a good way to take away the fear to not knowing how to draw, or what people can think about our pieces. Without any doubts, children love painting, it is a game, but sometimes adults tend to tell them how is the right way to do it. Why can’t children use the colours they want to? Why do adults decide if they are doing it wrong?


“I am the one who offers children the possibility to play, and to make the game easy, without obstacles”

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Arno Stern


In conclusión, Arno Stern proposes a point of view very different from the one we are used to. Usually, art classes never leave time to create, teachers always give rules and dictate what is wrong, and the right way to do things, leaving out the discovery learning. For this reason, methods and theories as this one of Arno Stern, lead us to think and look through another perspective on the way of teaching Art education.



Carot, S, y Ortiz, M. (2018). La educación creadora de arno stern, el eco del dibujo infantil (trabajo de fin de grado). Universitat Jaume, Castellón, España.

Dauber, S. (2017). La semiología de la expresión: Arno Stern (trabajo de fin de grado). Universitat de les illes balears, Palma de Mallorca, España.


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