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Talks at Twelve: Marianella Casasola, Thursday, December 10, 2015

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Spatial Language and Spatial Play in the Early Development of Spatial Skills
Marianella Casasola, Human Development

Thursday, December 10, 2015
Beebe Hall, 2nd floor conference room

This talk is open to all. Lunch will be served. Metered parking is available in the Plantations lot across the road from Beebe Hall. No registration or RSVP required except fo groups of 5 or more. We ask that larger groups email Patty at letting us know of your plans to attend so that we can order enough lunch.

Spatial skills contribute to a number of important abilities—navigation, building from instructions, or imagining an object’s appearance from a different angle. In a one-month study, Dr. Casasola found that providing spatial language as preschool children engaged in constructive play (e.g., building with blocks) yielded greater gains in their spatial skills than constructive play alone. In a Head Start training study, she found that constructive play provided a better context for acquiring spatial language than other play activities (e.g., arts and crafts, book reading). These findings point to a synergistic relation between spatial language and constructive play in the development of young children’s spatial skills and suggest an accessible, cost-effective approach to promoting spatial skills and spatial language in preschool children.

Marianella Casasola is an associate professor of human development in the College of Human Ecology. She received her Ph.D. (2000) and M.A. (1995) from the University of Texas at Austin, and her B.A. (1992) from the University of California at Berkeley. She has been associate editor of Developmental Psychology since 2012 and a board member of the Cognitive Development Society since 2013. Casasola’s talk reports on work done as a BCTR Pilot Study Grant recipient. She is also a current BCTR Fellow, one of three in the program’s inaugural year.

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