Social Studies

Component 4: Geography

Standard 4.a: Children demonstrate knowledge of geographical concepts of location and physical characteristics of the environments in which they live.

By the following age ranges, children typically, for example:

  • Notice their surroundings and develop basic spatial awareness (e.g., respond to sound stimuli by looking in that direction; look underneath a cup)
  • Crawl or scoot to explore objects of interest
  • Explore different landscapes in their immediate environment (e.g., crawl up a small hill)
  • Use spatial cues to find or describe the location of objects (e.g., “behind the bookshelf,” “on top of the table”)
  • Recognize familiar locations (e.g., shows anticipation when approaching home, or school)
  • Explore physical characteristics of land through play (e.g., picking up pinecones, climbing rocks, riding a balance bike down a hill)
  • Follow directions to find and retrieve an object in specific locations
  • Point out familiar locations within the neighborhood (e.g., point to school when driving past the building)
  • Recognize basic physical characteristics (e.g., landmarks, land features)
  • Use spatial terms to communicate with increasing specificity about the location of objects and familiar locations (e.g., far/close, over/under)
  • Identify landmarks or places through their logos and signs (e.g., familiar stores, churches, restaurants)
  • Create art that contains realistic elements (e.g., pointing to one of their drawings and saying, “This is our house.”)
  • Show recognition and/ or interest in some geographic tools and resources such as maps, globes, or GPS.
  • Create simple maps of familiar locations and talk about the things that are in certain areas (e.g., a bed or a closet in the bedroom)
  • Name own street, town and/or neighborhood
  • Create representations of different landforms and landmarks during play (e.g., using sand to make a mountain; creating a tunnel with blocks that represent the tunnel on the way to school)
  • Use geographic tools to identify landmarks in a specific location (e.g., use a globe to look for a pretend location during play)
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