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Elements of Movement in Early Childhood: Spatial Awareness

written by: Willa • edited by: Laurie Patsalides • updated: 1/17/2012

This is the first installment in a series of lessons on movement for Pre-K through 3rd grade. This lesson teaches the children spatial awareness, both personal and general space in the classroom, with age appropriate activities that are beneficial to the development of locomotor and social skills.

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    Circle Time

    Each child should be assured of their personal space, by assigning a special place to sit during group or circle time. The use of interlocking colored foam tiles or carpet samples obtained from a floor covering store, are excellent ways to establish a sense of belonging. When walking in line, playing in centers or at their tables or desks, the children should learn to remain in their "personal space".

    The story, From Head to Toe by Eric Carle, will have the children wiggling and giggling, as it excites them for the next activity.

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    Activity: Hoops

    Elements of movement in early childhood should include spatial awareness. Activities may provide exercise and a focus on spatial awareness. Hula hoops are used in various ways throughout this unit on movement. In today's lesson, a fast pace song such as "Ants in Your Pants" on Johnette Downing's Wild and Woolly Wiggle Songs CD, excites the kids, but the hoop forms a boundary for their "space".

    Playing "Musical Hoops", is another activity that will focus on spatial awareness. Each child stands in the hoop, the music begins and the children step into another hoop. When the music stops, remove 1 or 2 hoops, to allow the children to share hoops. Continue until only a single hoop remains. The children then have to decide how everyone will fit in. (each should put one foot in the hoop). This teaches not only sharing, but also problem solving and social skills.

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    Phonics

    An activity for a phonics review is to use flashcards of vowels, consonants or letter blends. Have the kids stand in two lines, facing each other. As you show a flashcard of what is currently being learned, a child will answer, then bounce the ball to the next child across, then continue until everyone has had a turn. This also is an exercise in spatial awareness and gross motor skills.

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    Suggested reading:

    • Gallop! A Scanimation Picture Book by Rufus Butler Seder
    • From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
    • Pica, Rae (2004). Experiences in Movement: Birth to Age 8, 3rd Edition