Practitioners' perspectives on spatial reasoning in educational practice from birth to 7 years

Kathryn E Bates, Ashley Y Williams, Katie A Gilligan-Lee, Catherine Gripton, Andrea Lancaster, Helen Williams, Alison Borthwick, Sue Gifford, Emily K Farran

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    There is a growing evidence base for the importance of spatial reasoning for the development of mathematics. However, the extent to which this translates into practice is unknown. We aimed to understand practitioners' perspectives on their understanding of spatial reasoning, the extent to which they recognize and implement spatial activities in their practice, and the barriers and opportunities to support spatial reasoning in the practice setting. Study 1 (questionnaire) included 94 participants and Study 2 (focus groups) consisted of nine participants. Participants were educational practitioners working with children from birth to 7 years. The study was mixed methods and included a questionnaire (Study 1) and a series of focus groups (Study 2). We found that whilst practitioners engage in a variety of activities that support spatial reasoning, most practitioners reported little confidence in their understanding of what spatial reasoning is. Informative and accessible resources are needed to broaden understanding of the definition of spatial reasoning and to outline opportunities to support spatial reasoning. [Abstract copyright: © 2023 The Authors. British Journal of Educational Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Psychological Society.]
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalThe British journal of educational psychology
    Early online date20 Feb 2023
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Feb 2023


    • spatial reasoning
    • practitioners
    • translating research
    • early childhood
    • mathematics
    • spatial thinking

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