A simple reminding remark such as “Where do we keep the paintbrushes?” is an opportunity for children to describe their understanding of space. If the response is a gesture or a phrase such as “over here,” you can take advantage by saying, “that’s right, we keep them in the coffee can on the shelf by the window,” modeling a much more precise response. If your spatial language is rich and precise, over time, children’s language will become more specific, as will their understanding.

© Erikson Institute’s Early Math Collaborative. Reprinted from Big Ideas of Early Mathematics: What Teachers of Young Children Need to Know (2014), Pearson Education.

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