Spatial awareness allows us to be aware of the things in our immediate environment as well as our position relative to them. Small children need to earn how to navigate their surroundings. This is even more important for children with visual impairments, but it is important for all children. We need to provide specific assistance to help a child with navigating their surroundings. They need to understand how to move around their environment in ways that are safe and effective. Put simply they need to not get lost and to function well with some levels of independence. Sometimes we might take these things for granted but when explicitly taught, children can be happier, more independent and free to navigate their surroundings confidently.

Here are 8 ways to help a child with navigating their surroundings:

  1. Have someone accompany the child when they need to find simple locations in or around their close environment.
  2. Take the child on a personal tour of their environment and the nearby surroundings.
  3. At first limit the number of locations the child needs to find without assistance then gradually increase the number and challenges of these locations as success is gradually achieved.
  4. Create very clear instructions, written directions or a map that easily identifys locations within or close to the environment.
  5. Use color coding to identify locations within the environment. For example, blue boys toilet doors, red arrows, yellow safety lines.
  6. Create symbols that are universal at different locations. For example, cafeteria, library, etc.
  7. Create opportunities for the child to complete errands to different locations in the nearby or surrounding environment.
  8. Teach the child to ask questions or for clear instructions when they are having difficulty finding locations.
help a child with navigating their surroundings
Help a child with navigating their surroundings

Senior Managing Partner and Education Expert Shanna Parry

Shanna Parry
Shanna Parry – Senior Managing Partner

Combining her passions for teaching, training and travel, Shanna Parry has since worked throughout the USA, Middle East, India and China serving as a director (Higher Education), headmaster (Secondary School) and consultant (K-12). Shanna brings a wealth of experience in a variety of critical areas.

In 2018 and 2019 Shanna was identified as top 30 in the Education category for Global Gurus among some of the worlds leading Education experts. Shanna continues to travel extensively to meet the demands for her consulting expertise in administrative and teacher development.

In her role as Senior Managing Partner of GSE she plays a key role in the day-to-day operations as well as pioneering creative models for international schools and providing groundbreaking training methods for directors, administrators, teachers, and students.

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Global Services in Education set up and operate schools in all parts of the world. Governed by a philosophy of global citizenship, every member of the GSE team shares a passion to help shape international education and student achievement through inspiration and collaboration.
Our goal is to meet the highest objectives of every school, teacher, student and parent, with an unwavering dedication to quality education, shared ideals and intercultural perspectives.

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help a child with navigating their surroundings