The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of different instructional methods adopted to individual differences on spatial learning in preschool children. The experiment consisted of three sessions; a pre-test, an experimental education session, and a post-test. In the experimental education session, the children's ability to orientate objects correctly in large scale environment was studied. In the pretest and the post-test, the subjects were asked to make a drawing of the disposition of their room at home and to draw a map showing the way from their kindergarten to the park located near by. In the post-test, they were asked to compose the map of the surroundings of their kindergarten, using the given seals that showed a road, a park, a building, and so on. 32 chi dren (5-year-old) were divided into two groups (16 subjects each) on the basis of the pretest score and contents. The subjects of one group were considered to have the reference system of their own body considered as a reference point to orientate objects (FP-group), and the subjects of the other group were considered to have slight indications of getting the reference system of “coordinated” orientation (FW-group). In order to teach those two kinds of subjects, two different instructional methods were made. In one method children were helped to learn how to use their own reference system usefully in order to orientate objects (B-type). In the other method childrenwere helped to obtain the reference system of geographic orientation as a reference point, which seemed to be a new idea to them (G-type). The B-type method was supposed to have effects on the FP-group and the G-type method on the FW-group. In the experimental education session, the FP-group and the FW-group were also divided into two groups, according to the given instructional method. Then four groups were made (8 subjects each): FP-B-group, FP-G-group, FW-B-group and FW-G-group. The main hypotheses were as follows; The FP-B- group and the FW-G-group would show higher score than the FP-G-group and the FW-B-group in the post-test. The FP-G-group and the FW-B-group would not improve their space cognition for lack of suitable instructional treatment. The results supported the ab ove hypotheses while indicating that the G-type method was effective for only the FW-G-group that received good marks in the pre-test, while the B-type method was effective for almost all the subjects of the FP-B-group. It was also shown that the score of the FP-group in the post-test was relatively lower than that of the FW-group. It was suggested that the B-type method was effective for the subjects of the FP-group so that they might improve their space cognition up to a certain level, but for a greater improvement, it would be necessary to give them different types of instructional method, which might be something of the G-type, in a following teaching process.
In the present study we examined how 3 to 5 year-old children collaborate in a block play. We observed and videotaped 18 same-age and same-sex pairs' play sessions: each session lasted 20 minutes. The collaboration in those play sessions was analyzed from the viewpoints of themes and episodes. An episode was defined as children's individual act when building something with blocks, exploring surrounding buildings, telling a story, and making believes. A theme was defined as the framework showing what children construct or what play they do as a whole. 18 cases were classified, according to existence and kind of each pair's theme, into the following four types:“no-common-theme”,“similar-theme”, common -theme through blocks (where an operation with blocks was effective in arranging the common theme), and “common-theme through ideas” (where an idea preceded operations with blocks in arranging thg common theme). There were more tried common themes in older children than younger. Episodes were classified according to not only the commonness of pair's episodes but also each other's way of the comprehension of episodes. Age trend in the episode level was unclear. When patterns of collaboration were classified according to the states of collaboration during the entire 20 minute- session, several patterns were found in children of the same age. The states of collaboration were closely related to the theme types. Each theme type included different contents of episodes and different arranging and comprehending processes of episodes. That is, in no-commontheme group, almost all episodes were constructions and the rate of uncomprehended episodes was high. In similar-theme group, the rate of the common episodes was as low as that of the no -common-theme group but the rate of requesting of each other's comprehension showed an increase. In this type, operations with blocks were particularly effective in arranging the common episodes. In common-theme through block group, the rate of the common episodes was so high that common plus comprehended episodes occupied more than 2/3 of the whole episodes. Operations with blocks mainly enabled the arrangement of the common episodes. Children often appealed to each other explicitely when requesting to comprehend episo des. In common-theme through ideas group, the rate of the common episodes together with the rate of requested but uncomprehended episodes were high (the highest of all 4 theme types). The comm on episodes were mainly arranged through the exchange of utterrances. Finally, our results were compared with those of Parten et al.(1943), Smith (1978), etc. Parten's linear model as states of collaboration in children's play correlating with their age was found not to be proper in this study. Even 3-year olds who shared the common themes, were able to develop the common episodes frequently, while 5-year olds who did not share the common themes comprehended few episodes. From the results of this study parallel play was considered to comprise a phase of the flow in the group play rather than a lack of immaturity.