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Practica Activity – How to Teach Spatial Words.
The Practica Programme is intended to be used as a “lifestyle”. It’s not simply a curriculum. In fact, there’s a lot of emphasis on taking advantage of everyday situations to maximise a child’s brain development.
Over and above the activities designed to be used with the many Practica apparatus, there are also everyday activities that best serve their purpose when integrated into daily life. Today’s activity demonstrates this idea.
Group 1: Major Muscles and Coordination
Age: 3 Years Old
Aim: Deepening Understanding of Spatial Relations.
Activity 17: Familiarise your child with the concept of into, out of and next to. For example:
- “Put the teaspoon into the cup.”
- “Take the teaspoon out of the cup.”
- “Place the teaspoon next to the cup.”
Practise the meaning of these words as often as possible with different objects in various contexts.
The next step is to get your child to use spatial words.
Using a specific word is always a step up from being able to understand it. So, as your child nears his fourth birthday you can up the ante by asking questions such as: “Look at the teaspoon. Now tell me, is it in the cup or is it next to the cup?
The best indicator that a child has a deep understanding of a concept is when he uses words to describe that concept in his everyday speech.
Why is this a big deal?
Well, many learning experiences ask children to manipulate objects or move their bodies or hands in certain ways. They naturally feel more confident in those situations if they have a deep understanding of concepts that indicate position and direction and the words that describe those concepts.
Here’s a list of the top 20 spatial words and phrases that your child should ideally be using at the age of five.
In, out, next to, up, down, on, under, behind, in front of, between, above, below, towards, away from, over, through, around, across, at the corner, in a straight line.
Be led by your child’s level of enthusiasm.
If he’s unsure, familiarise him with only 2 or 3 new words at a time. Spend a lot of time on the first level where he follows instructions as described in activity 17 above, before moving onto the next step – where he needs to use the words to answer questions.