British Journal of Developmental Psychology

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Volume 17 Issue 1 (March 1999), Pages 1-166

Children's journey to school: Spatial skills, knowledge and perceptions of the environment (pages 125-139)

The growth in accompanied travel to school, particularly by car, has led to speculation about the cognitive and emotional impact of this change on child development. Spatial skills, knowledge of the environment, and perceptions of the environment were assessed in 93 children aged between 7 and 12 years. Children who were accompanied to school performed as well as their unaccompanied peers on spatial ability tests and showed no greater concern with stranger danger. However, they showed a greater tendency to cite traffic danger in their responses, and a greater knowledge of the environment as indicated by the use of landmarks in their drawings of their locality. Children who had more freedom to travel without adults on nonschool journeys also showed a greater use of landmarks. Mode of transport had no effect on the study's measures. These results are discussed with reference to the nature of the journey to school and to other places.

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