Spatial Thinking in Children’s Education: The relationship between Geography and Cartography
Spatial thinking, comprised of concepts, representations and spatial abilities, is a cognitive activity developed in everyday living, and can be systematized through different school disciplines, mainly Geography. The comprehension of this concept and the investigation of how it can be developed and systematized in schools are critical points, involving different languages that represent the space. Our main objective is to propose theoretical and methodological references for the spatial knowledge of children aged between 4 and 6 years old. The research is based on the following question: Which spatial abilities and concepts can be addressed in activities aimed at developing spatial thinking in children aged 4 to 6 years old? To answer this question and achieve the main objective, the specific objectives were: a) to investigate and analyze the pertinence, possibilities and approaches regarding the spatial notions in children’s education; b) develop teaching situations based on guiding theories about spatial thinking, children’s drawing and the concept construction under a historical and cultural perspective; c) understand the patterns in children’s graphic representations; and d) analyze the children’s dialogues. The analysis of the research data allowed us to conclude that drawing is part of the cartographic initiation, and words are fundamental elements that concretize the way of thinking, in this case, spatial thinking ability. In this research, we reaffirm the direct relationship between Geography and the development of spatial thinking, considering the very nature of this Science, and Cartography as the language used to materialize this way of thinking.