Children by the age of four can start reading maps

The latest U.K.-based research revealed that kids as young as 4 can look through maps. While certain claims were made that young kids around the age of 7 or 8 find it difficult to deal with symbols or drawings, to help these kids in strengthening their base spatial ability skills, the skills to understand, remember, and reason the visual and spatial relationship between space or different items are introduced at an early stage. With an early introduction, spatial skills help kids understand science and mathematics.

To carry out the research, the University of East Anglia, the institute behind the research, surveyed 175 kids between the ages of 2 and 5. They were asked to participate in a spatial learning game in which stickers were shown that were concealed in a computer-generated room. Later on, they had to find other stickers hidden in similar simulations.

While participants below the age of 4 couldn’t understand the spatial layout of the simulation room, kids the age of 4 and above showed positive results as they were able to complete the given task.

Dr. Martin Doherty, a member of the research team, interpreted the results by saying that it shows kids start developing the skills needed to understand a map at the age of 4. He further added that expanding the results to maps will make them more clear. In reply to the previous studies suggesting that it is a matter of arrangement and not spatial skills that help the kid, Dr. Martin stated that studying a map could be simpler cognitively.

For those who are afraid of everyone becoming software dependent, such as the global positioning system, the results could help them be less scared. In case of an emergency, if software-based maps are not available for any reason, kids will be able to navigate the maps available to them.

The same ability can guide these kids to think in difficult situations, help them analyze situations, solve different problems, and enhance their memory. It can even shape the mental map of young kids.

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