Preschoolers' knowledge of their classroom environment: evidence from small-scale and life-size spatial tasks.

L. S. Liben, M. L. Moore, S. L. Golbeck

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32 Scopus citations


Preschoolers (N = 20) and student teachers (N = 10) were asked to reconstruct the complete layout of their familiar classroom using a small-scale model as well as using life-size furniture in their actual classroom. Children were given the model task once within a testing room (standard model) and once within their normally arranged classroom (cued model). Subjects were also given an isolated-location task in which they were asked to show the location of individual pieces of furniture, 1 at a time. Adults performed virtually perfectly on all tasks. Children demonstrated more knowledge about their classroom when no scale reduction was necessary (i.e., performance was significantly better in the classroom than on the model) and when information about spatial arrangement was available (i.e., performance on the cued model surpassed performance on the standard model). Nevertheless, some children still performed inaccurately, even with these additional aids. Results from the isolated-location task demonstrated that, when possible children rely on relational information in determining locations. Implications for conclusions about children's spatial competence are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1275-1284
Number of pages10
JournalChild development
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1982

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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