Jim is the Director of Learning at Leap Frog, which designs and develops innovative and creative educational products. He loves “the ‘ah-ha”‘moment of learning something new, the feeling of mastery that comes with practice, and the way learning opens up new worlds to explore.”
Geo-literacy is the ability to think, act, and communicate in geographic terms. It provides a fun way to promote healthy physical development, practical skills for navigating everyday life, and broad understandings for success in a global world. For young children, it starts with the places, people, plants, animals, and things they encounter everyday.
Healthy Development. Children naturally learn basic geo-literacy skills as they use their bodies to explore and make sense of their surroundings, from crawling towards a favorite toy to bicycling around a city park. They build body awareness and spatial understanding as they go up, down, forward, backward, around, and behind. Games and activities that include communicating about locations, directions, and positions further build these geo-literacy skills. Parents can support them by using locational language (“your doll is under the coffee table”) and by encouraging games like hide-and-seek or free play on a jungle-gym.
Local Navigation. From digital maps and Google Earth, to GPS-enabled cars, cameras, and phones, families are increasingly surrounded by geographic information and tools. Parents can support children’s geo-literacy by talking about the locations, directions, and places that children know best. “The sun is coming up, let’s go to the East side of the house and see if the kitchen table is sunny yet.” “Let’s go to the end of this aisle and turn right, I think that’s where the oranges are.” “Look, there’s our house on the satellite photo, do you see the green park?” “Can you draw a map of your room that shows where you want the bed to be?”
Keep reading Jim’s full post on his blog!