Visual-spatial thinking is the ability to make sense of what one perceives through body and sensory experiences.
~ Harry Wachs
Difficulties with academic, social or professional learning are often due to cognitive skills that are not matched with demands of the task at hand. The Interactive Learning Center helps students and adults who wish to improve their visual-spatial skills so that learning is easier. Our staff works one-on-one with clients to interactively engage them in a process of thinking and discovery. We achieve this through a wide range of developmentally based and multi-modal problem solving tasks that are designed to enhance critical thinking, curiosity, and passion for a lifetime of learning.
Cognition involves the perceptual and intellectual abilities that we need to learn about and navigate our world. The field of Cognitive Science is the study of what those skills are, how they develop, and how they influence our thoughts and actions as lifelong learners.
The Interactive Learning Center offers an intervention program based on insights and approaches developed through the study of cognitive science. We utilize these approaches to improve learning by enhancing visual-spatial understanding. Improved visual-spatial cognition leads to greater ease and ability to access academic and social content.
Learning occurs through an interactive dynamic between oneself and the outside world. Learning relies on a child’s cognitive abilities and the development of those abilities through his or her experiences and capacities to initiate and engage in their environment.
Efficient academic and social learning relies on a strong foundation of cognitive abilities that develop over time as we perceive and navigate our world. For example, reading relies upon visual thinking and logical reasoning to give meaning to the words. Visual thinking allows us to mentally construct images of what we are reading. Logical reasoning helps us to organize images or events in relation to one another. Efficient reading also relies on cognitive skills at the sensorimotor level. For example, children who skip lines of text, misread words, or fatigue when reading may not use their eyes efficiently. Children who have retained developmental reflexes or underdeveloped knowledge of how to orient their bodies in space may not yet understand how to orient their bodies to sit comfortably at a table and learn.
Children develop cognitive skills at different rates. For example, one six year-old child may be ready for the academic work of First Grade while another six year-old child may not. Often the standards for academic learning are based upon assumptions that children arrive in Kindergarten or First Grade having sufficiently developed their cognitive abilities. Students who are not yet prepared for the social and/or academic demands of their classroom may find themselves feeling out of sync and miss some of the foundational concepts they will need to learn in the Third and Fourth Grades.
Staff at the Interactive Learning Center guide students towards improving their cognitive abilities. We engage students in a process of understanding that leads to self-confidence and an inner sense of joy through creative thinking and discovery. The Thinking Goes To School framework developed by Hans Furth, Ph.D. and Harry Wachs, O.D. provides a developmental progression of cognitive abilities that we utilize to identify each student’s ability to find problem solving internally rewarding. Once students achieve mastery of a particular task we provide them with more complex tasks that rely on knowledge gained from the previous level of challenge. This approach directs students towards progressively higher levels of visual-spatial thinking that are foundational to their learning.