If you’ve been tuned in to educational news, you may already be aware of the buzz around preparing children for future careers in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (sometimes you may see the term STEAM which adds art and creativity to the mix). But just as important as the end goal for young students is the path that will enable them to get there.
That’s where spatial skill development comes in.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of spatial skill development in children: In addition to being correlated with admittance into and success within the STEM fields, having a high spatial aptitude opens doorways to other careers and allows students to internalize complex ideas, regardless of gender or language barriers.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits that spatial skill development offers.
One of the primary benefits in developing spatial skills in children is that it is shown to increase their aptitude in the field of mathematics. Take, for example, a study done in which mathematicians and humanities students were pitted against each other in a series of math tests. At first, their data concluded that “attaining mathematical expertise is primarily related to a basic symbolic numerical skill” (Sella et al. 2016).However, after adjusting for spatial aptitude, it was found that “the relationship between basic numerical processes and advanced mathematical skills is fully mediated by visuospatial processing.” In other words, spatial aptitude was the bridge between an individual possessing basic symbolic math skills, and his or her ability to leverage those skills to perform complex tasks.
Beyond the STEM careers, other professional trades also benefit from spatial skill proficiencies, including the arts, careers requiring high executive function, and more.
For a list of careers that benefit from spatial thinking proficiency, check out our article “Which Careers Require High Spatial Intelligence?”
Language Benefits of Spatial Skill Development
In addition to setting students up for success in the STEM fields, among others, it provides students with curriculum that develops spatial skills and promises to transcend the boundaries of language and improve students’ abilities to communicate complex ideas.
Since visual-spatial thoughts are primarily represented in mental images, they do not require words to be experienced and understood. Albert Einstein, who was known to be a spatially gifted thinker, is famously quoted as saying, “The words or the language, as they are written or spoken, do not seem to play any role in my mechanism of thought.”
Because visual-spatial processing requires no words, taking an approach to teaching that relies on spatial demonstrations allows all students to join in equally in the learning process, regardless of language barriers or language learning disabilities such as dyslexia (Julian von Károlyi, 2001).
Although spatial thinking doesn’t require language in order to be understood, communicating with students using spatial vocabulary encourages them to translate their complex spatial thoughts into words, helping them to improve their language skills. There have even been instances in which developmentally disabled children have experienced improvements in their ability to communicate verbally after taking a spatial learning approach to developing math skills.
ways to teach spatial skills, such as using construction systems. That’s why we developed Brackitz, the most versatile and adaptable construction system available. By removing limitations to creation and encouraging play, Brackitz allows children to develop spatial skills in a fun and engaging setting.
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