Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Supporting Spatial Awareness in Early Childhood Education

"In youth we learn; in age we understand."
~Marie Ebner-Eschenbach

Many people see young children as accident prone, but they are really still orientating themselves to their surroundings and learning how to become spatially aware.
Spatial awareness is the knowledge and understanding of the position of objects in space, usually in relation to the self. If we all lacked spatial ability we would all be tripping and colliding into one another…which explains a lot about me and high heels…but that’s another story…..
I can really see where many of my preschoolers are at (as a whole) as far as spatial ability when it comes circle times; at least for me that is where it’s most evident for me within the early childhood environment.
Many preschoolers get sat on, pushed, pummeled, stepped on, and knocked over like dominos. We do carpet mats and various devices to define their space. But every now and then, we will allow them to freely sit and assist them with problem solving.
Spatial awareness activities can be fun and easy to do with young children.
Circle time activities like:
Setting up a toy or bear and chair and instructing the children to where to put the toy/bear it in location to the chair after you have demonstrated it for them:
• “Please put the bear on top of the chair.”
• “Please put the bear under the chair.”
• “Please put the toy in front of the chair.”
• “Please put the toy behind the chair.”

It also works great demonstrating with a piece of masking tape on the floor and having the children stand on it orientating themselves to the line on the floor.

What activities or books have do you like?


Jenni said...

Just want to add that Spatial Awareness is also very important for math's geometry!

Putting a stop sign with a line while riding trikes is my favorite way. Do they stop way before the line, way past the line, or right on the line? Hm, come to think of it, there are many adults who drive cars that need to go back to spacial awareness :)

Barbra The Bloggess said...

This is so true Jenni! I still have trouble picking out the right size Tupperware for my leftovers....sad.
This is something we can develop and strengthen...just like working out. I come...
Well, maybe not.
I'll work on the Tupperware first.

Jenni said...

Ha! Glad I'm not the only one that has that problem. I am really bad at spatial awareness. I have to move the couch before I can tell you if it will fit...even if I use a tape measurer!