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Willow has only just turned 3 years old and she loves to read the Taronga Zoo Kids Map to discover her favourite animal spaces. She loves the giraffes in particular and carries her toy giraffe with her wherever she goes.

Map reading is an effective skill we use in our daily lives e.g. to read a transport map to figure out which station, stop or ferry wharf we need to get out at. You need to know which way is to the left and right on your map, even if you don’t have the words “left” and “right” fully understood. You need to understand that specific symbols refer to paths, areas and directions.

If Willow can maneuver herself and her Grandma around a zoo when she is three years old, imagine what she will be able to do when she is 5 and in Kindergarten. Current technology presents us with Google Maps, locations of holiday houses, shops and a friends house at the flick of an ipad or iphone.

What do we need to do in our schools to make map reading a relevant part of our maths sessions?