Place and Mapping -The Shelter of the Imagination Itself?

Teachers in different classrooms have noticed mapping as a thread running through our exploration of Place. Teachers listen closely to the children as they make maps,and they are noticing that the adult assumption of what a map is may be very different from childrens ideas about maps.
Children have been describing and/or making maps that contain standard memes like roads and buildings, but also non-physical place markers like smells and textures.

The Rainbow room children have centered their maps (mental and made) on a cave which is a product of their storytelling, a place that might be deep and dark and scary. Other maps describe feelings and elements like wind.

In The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard writes about how places experienced in childhood may form the basis for imagination and creative thinking in adulthood. In his introduction to the book John Stilgoe asks if the first places are experienced by a child not only cognitively, but also with "fingertip memory".

He wonders, "How does the body, not merely the mind, remember the feel of a latch in a long-foresaken childhood home?"


  1. There was a group of students in my pre-k class last year that started exploring maps and map making. When they shared their discoveries with the rest of the class, everyone was pretty psyched. As part of another project we were working on, groups of students mapped different parts of the school.

    The medium that(surprisingly) worked really well for them was wire. They had already been exploring wire in the art center, and it was interesting to see them transfer the information they sketched into wire.



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