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The Importance of Spatial Reasoning in Early Years

by Bilge Cerezci

Spatial reasoning is a set of cognitive functions and skills that enable us to understand and describe spatial relationships between objects, others and ourselves. Our relationship with spatial reasoning begins at birth. Infants use these skills to recognize human faces, understand their body/body parts, and location of objects and others in relation to themselves. As they continue to grow and develop, these skills become important tools to understand the world around them. Children between the ages of 3 and 6 begin to describe locations of objects and use toys such as blocks, cars or dolls to express and practice their understanding of language related to spatial reasoning (e.g., below, above, next to). Acquiring spatial reasoning skills in early childhood is considered not only one of the strongest predictors of future mathematical learning and understanding, but also strong predictors of future success in other content areas such as science, technology, and engineering. Here are few reasons why:

  • Understanding categories and attributes of objects allow children to mentally manipulate and physically organize things in their minds and environment.
  • Developing spatial awareness and understanding spatial relations allow children to navigate in their environments.
  • Using spatial language allows children to express themselves in different contexts.

How can we support our children to develop these skills?

Growth and development in children’s spatial reasoning and abilities are intertwined with their increasing capacity to move, navigate through, and interact with their surroundings. Therefore, it is important to plan activities that encourage children to explore their relationship to space by moving their body in a variety of environments and situations.

The next three blogs will explore games where children can use their bodies or other materials as a tool to develop their foundational understanding with spatial reasoning while practicing this important mathematical concept.



10 Replies to “The Importance of Spatial Reasoning in Early Years”

  1. I believe this is the most simplified way of learning about spatial reasoning in the early years.

    1. So funny In working with infants for a number of years I have seen them interact when in play or just sitting never knew their actions had a name Spatial. lol

  2. i am learning. didn’t realize childrens actions were called spatial,im fascinated with this info cannot wait to share with the kids at my job{daycare}.

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