UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The development of childrens' personal landmarks : an indication of spatial awareness White, Janet Ann


This study examines one of the major periods of geographical exploration and learning, that is, in childhood. Such exploration and learning can occur in and around the home or in the local neighbourhood. Children and adults need to know about a place within their own environment. Different landmarks may have significant affective potential, and over time they themselves could be subject to developmental change. The purpose of this study is, therefore, to determine which landmarks primary children recognize spontaneously and know and use in their local environment. In this way they can, perhaps, locate themselves in a comples world. A child's development of spatial concepts is related to the framework in which images are received. The basic research tool was that of a sample of twenty children, approximately seven years of age, who were individually shown a series of colour photographs and asked to identify the landmark or environmental feature. In a second part of the study, children mapped perceptions of the routes they followed to school. Each child was asked to indicate on a map the relevant landmarks they observed en route. Scores were obtained for both tasks and compared. In the conclusion, the results are discussed in an attempt to determine the degree of spatial competence within the local environment gained by an ability to identify landmarks. Consideration is also given to the question of whether such competence is a skill that could, or should, be taught to young children within the normal process of education.

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