Personal space is an important social skill. I see a lot of teachers talking to children about personal space, the personal space bubble and how to stay in line when they’re lining up and then walking in a line. Teachers really know how to cover all many of their bases when it comes to this subject. Thank goodness for teachers!
Lack of Development in a Child’s Proprioceptive System Makes Personal Space Hard to Grasp
As an OT, I want you to understand if a child hasn’t developed one of the three sensory systems called the proprioceptive system, they may have a difficult time gauging where they are in their space and because they don’t have full awareness of their body space, it’s difficult for them to grasp what personal space is. Proprioception is the system that allows a child to develop body awareness.
Ways to Tell If Your Student Is Experiencing Trouble with Personal Space
There are many ways you can detect whether your student is having trouble with personal space. They may lie across a table, try to lie down during circle time, attempt to lean into you or another student or bump into doorways or table edges. If you see any of these activities being illustrated in your classroom, your student(s) may need a little extra help with developing their proprioceptive system.
Recognizing your student(s) may need some more support is step one. Teaching them from a verbal lesson or explaining personal space gives them the concept in their mind, but to increase their proprioception skills you must integrate the information into the body from an interior standpoint and that would drive the lesson home.
Reasons To Implement Proprioceptive Building Activities in Your Head Start or Preschool
Once a child has increased their proprioception, they can also quickly improve in other daily tasks including, but not limited to, standing in a line, walking around objects or children sitting on the floor versus through them.
Looking for Proprioceptive Skill Building Solutions?
Let me help you make sense of sensory processing, and allow me to extend to you fun solutions you can use in your already established classroom routines, to enable you to assist your students in developing their proprioceptive system. Learn more about what I do in my day training Sensory Processing: It Does Make Sense.