CMNetwork E-bulletin: January 2016

    © Copyright M. Worthington & E. Carruthers 2012

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CONTEXT: in the nursery - Shereen, playing with pens

Shereen and Verast sat at opposite ends of a small table, each with a small notebook and felt-tip pen. Verast made purple marks and holding her notebook up said ‘That’s mashed potato.’ Shereen made marks with a red pen, held it up and announced ‘That’s fire.’

Young children sometimes attach meanings to their early marks after they have made them and in this instance, Shereen’s rapidly made marks appeared to suggest the flames of a fire to her. Shereen’s marks also characterise what Matthews (1999) refers to as ‘action representation’.

Such marks also offer semiotic potential (i.e. the possibility of signifying something other than the marks themselves), children often making a connection between the appearance of their marks and something they know in the real world. Worthington (2009) observed that young children’s symbol and signs in drawing points to a ‘natural history’ of their use that underpins all abstract symbolic languages.

Taxonomy:

  • Making meaning in social pretend play and imagination – graphicacy.

Gallery 7: The emergence of graphic symbols and texts in pretend play
Gallery 8: Children's graphic symbols and texts in self-initiated contexts.

Matthews, J. (1999). The Art of Childhood and Adolescence: The Construction of Meaning. London: Falmer Press.

Worthington, M. (2009) Fish in the water of culture: signs and symbols in young children’s drawing. The Psychology of Education Review, Vol. 33, No. 1, March 2009..
 

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Resources

Publications - New in 2016:

Worthington, M. and Van Oers, B. (2016) Children’s social literacies: Meaning making and the emergence of graphical signs and texts in pretence. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy. Online, 1-29.

Worthington, M. and Van Oers, B. (2016) Pretend Play and the cultural foundations of mathematics. European Early Childhood Research Association Journal. Online, 1-16.

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Courses and Conferences: 2015-2016
 

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