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Investigating Greek kindergartners’ spatial abilities. Are they the best they can be?


Christina ZISI | Aikaterini KLONARI Downloads: 146

Corresponding Author Email: geod17011@geo.aegean.gr

Published: 2022/04/13 DOI: https://doi.org/10.48088/ejg.c.zis.13.3.001.018

Open Access

Keywords: Spatial abilities, Kindergarten students, Map reading skills, Geography education


Abstract

The development of spatial abilities in young children leads to better achievement in STEAM education and in their daily lives. Early interventions have been shown to be highly effective in developing spatial abilities. In this study, the spatial abilities curriculum of the Greek kindergarten is described, and the use of maps is recommended for inclusion in the curriculum. This study examines kindergarten pupils’ spatial abilities at the end of two consecutive preschool years and determines whether attending kindergarten for one or two years succeeded in developing the participating pupils’ spatial abilities and achieving the goals set by the curriculum. Furthermore, it investigates which spatial abilities can be developed to the greatest and lowest degree and whether there is a statistical difference in achievement between age (1 or 2 years of study) and gender. The research sample consisted of 90 pupils from 5 different kindergarten classes; these pupils had attended kindergarten for 1 year (younger children called pronipia in Greek) or for 2 years (older children called nipia in Greek). A questionnaire survey was used to collect data for analysis. It was found that the goals set by the curriculum were not satisfactorily met. Older children, as expected, performed better and there was no statistical difference between boys and girls for the total performance. This paper is part of a wider study that aims to investigate pupils’ spatial abilities. It proposes an effective teaching intervention with the use of two large-scale giant maps and appropriate teaching material to develop kindergarteners’ spatial abilities.

Highlights:- Proper teaching interventions are required for kindergartners' spatial abilities - There is significant room for improvement in kindergartners’ spatial abilities - Spatial abilities are strongly related to geographic science and education

 
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