Early spatial language development and education: A scoping review

Dandan WU, Hui LI, Sheila DEGOTARDI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


Early spatial language plays an important role in facilitating cognition and thoughts thus deserves empirical studies. This scoping review aims to synthesis the empirical evidence to identify the key topics, major findings, and research gaps regarding early spatial language development and education. The search has identified 19 studies published in the international peer-reviewed journals during 2000–2021, converging into three common topics: the developmental patterns of early spatial language, its role in child development, and parental influences. First, the synthesis of evidence revealed a significant age effect but an inconclusive gender effect in early spatial language. Second, the modeling or regression results jointly indicated that early spatial language could facilitate or predict spatial skills and/or spatial cognition. Third, the existing evidence supported that parental language input and parental involvement could enhance early spatial language. However, this study also found the major research gaps: no Chinese studies, very few naturalistic studies, the understudied ‘motion events’, and no studies on ‘frames of reference’. Implications for future studies and practical improvements are also discussed. Copyright © 2021 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Article number20
JournalSN Social Sciences
Issue number2
Early online date13 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


Wu, D., Li, H., & Degotardi, S. (2022). Early spatial language development and education: A scoping review. SN Social Sciences, 2(2). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s43545-021-00260-0


  • Spatial language
  • Early years
  • Child development
  • Early spatial language


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