Identifying and supporting spatial intelligence in young children.

Diezmann, Carmel M. & Watters, James J. (2000) Identifying and supporting spatial intelligence in young children. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 1(3), pp. 299-313.


Intelligence is a concept related to behaviours that are valued in a social and cultural context. Since the establishment of formalised education for Westernised industrial society, education has focussed on the development of literacy and numeracy skills and has acknowledged those areas as important in formal education. Intelligence, hence, has been valued in those who are highly literate and numerate. However, a careful analysis of highly creative people in the area of mathematics and science, and recognition of the impact of technology in an Information Age suggests that other behaviours broadly identified as spatial intelligence are significant areas of human capability. Spatial intelligence has been highlighted in recent years though the work of Howard Gardner. However, interpretations of this work have tended to emphasise the role of spatial intelligence in artistic domains and ignored the seminal contribution that spatial intelligence plays in mathematical and scientific domains. The paper explores spatial intelligence in the sciences from a variety of perspectives including a neuropsychological perspective and uses Gardner’s developmental trajectory of intelligence to explore how to facilitate the development of spatial intelligence. We challenge practitioners to examine their practices in educational settings and reflect on the extent to which they provide opportunities for children to demonstrate and develop their spatial intelligence.

Impact and interest:

Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

8,509 since deposited on 01 Jul 2005
671 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 1760
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: spatial thinking, visualisation, spatial ability, intelligence, gifted education
ISSN: 1463-9491
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2000 Symposium Journals
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 01 Jul 2005 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:26

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page