CMNetwork E-bulletin: August/September 2013

    © Copyright M. Worthington & E. Carruthers 2012

Welcome to your CM Network News page

Once again two months together– your editor is immersed in writing!

Gallery 7: The emergence of mathematical signs and texts in pretend play

The power of writing

Young children’s ability to make sense of signs used in writing and other ‘literacies’ depend a great deal on their ability to freely use graphical signs in meaningful contexts for their own purposes of communication. In this example, Tiyanni and Amy were play together with the big blocks.

Amy’s writing
Amy explained their construction as ‘a trap’ and fetching a large envelope, she rapidly wrote a series of circles in rows from left to right. Amy described this as ‘writing’, explaining ‘it’s to say how to build a trap.’

Amy used circles as signs she knew (and perhaps considered to be writing-like): she was aware of the directionality of writing in our culture and attached to them the meaning she wanted to communicate to Tiyanni.

Taxonomy: Making and communicating meanings in social pretend play - graphicacy (drawing, maps and writing)

Tiyanni’s message
Closely watching Amy as she wrote, Tiyanni remarked admiringly, ‘You’re good at writing!’ Tiyanni went to fetch a large envelope too and drew a spiral and an enclosed shape, ‘reading’ them as ‘Please Tiyanni remember to bring some fruit!’ - something she’d heard staff in nursery say.

Tiyanni focused her attention on Amy’s facility with ‘writing’ perhaps impressed by Amy’s confidence and fluency.

Maintaining her interest in writing as a means of communication and completely ignoring Amy’s explanation of ‘how to build a trap’, Tiyanni wrote her own message with signs available to her and then read it to Amy.

Reflections on learning
Tiyanni seldom uses signs to communicate within her pretend play and this episode suggests powerful learning. It also demonstrates a significant point in young children’s learning - when they understand the relationship between signs and meanings, and take their own steps to communicate their personal thinking.

Gallery 7: The emergence of graphic symbols and texts in pretend play

New Members

From the southwest of England, welcome to Paula Brown of St Matthew’s Playgroup, Bristol.

Resources - Most Recent Publications

Worthington, M. (2012) 'Pretend play and mathematics – informing the ‘school readiness’ debate'. TACTYC, Reflecting on Early Years Issues.

Carruthers, E. (2012) 'The pedagogy of children's mathematical graphics'. In M. McAteer (Ed.) Improving Primary Mathematics Teaching and Learning. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Worthington, M. (2012) 'Children becoming expert symbol users'. In M. McAteer (Ed.) Improving Primary Mathematics Teaching and Learning. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Courses and Conferences - this summer

The 5th International 'Art in Early Childhood' Conference, Nicosia, Cyprus: 7th - 9th June 2013.

EECERA Conference, Tallinn, Estonia, 28th - 31st August 2013.

Courses and Conferences: 2013-2014

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During the first half of 2013, the countries with the greatest number of visitors to this website were: the United Kingdom (30,938 hits), Australia (12,894), Germany (8,367) and the Ukraine (2,874).

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