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Spatially aware children

2009/03/24

Over the winter, I took a break from the development of wicked cool GIS gizmos to attend a seminar about teaching spatial literacy (I can’t locate his name, but I’ll keep looking). 

So one of the high points of the talk involved teaching spatial literacy to the little ones. If you would like your kid to grow up knowing where they are in the world (and you really do), one of the best things to do when they’re little is have them lead you through the store. At the grocery store, ask them to take you to the milk and follow their directions. The kid will lead you astray, but don’t worry and don’t stop asking. Keep trying and soon enough, they’ll be taking you straight there. And it’s not just directions, it’s left and right, identifying landmarks, observing the world around them. It’s all good. The lecturer had some statistics, which I certainly won’t manufacture, but suffice it say that improving spatial literacy improved reading and math scores.

Spatial literacy falls under the “Use it or lose it” activities, so start them young and keep expanding their world. Ask them to help plan the route for a road trip or something. Stop at a scenic overlook and have them point out the landmarks from the placard. Get them involved in the world around them. It’s to the benefit of everyone.

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