On the map


Researchers at University of East Anglia have discovered that children start to develop the basic skills that underpin map reading from the age of just four!

The study, involving 175 two to five-year-olds, is the largest of its kind and reveals that four-year-olds can use a scale model to find things in the real world. The team say that this new spatial ability may lay the foundations for maths and science skills.

Researchers played a hiding game with the children, showing them a sticker hidden in a model of a room. They then had to look for another sticker in the ‘same place’ in another model of the room. From about four years old, they were able to use one model room as a guide to finding the object in the other.

‘This tells us that map-reading may be cognitively simpler than previously thought,’ says researcher Dr Martin Doherty.

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