Nadia (4 years 7 months) found some
squared paper in the technology area and chose to explore symbols in
her own way, using one square for each. It was the abstract symbols
themselves – their appearance and form; their potential functions
and the meanings that she attached to them that interested her.
When she showed this to me, Nadia ‘read’
the ‘E’; several ‘Js’; ‘a star’; ‘T’ ; ‘round’ (gesturing in the air
with a her fore-finger to make a circular movement); ‘umbrella’ (in
the centre of the paper) and ‘square’ (lower right).
Thus, while some symbols she named as
standard letters, for others she focused on the shape or form (i.e.
the circle and square) and two symbols suggested pictorial
representations (the star and umbrella).
Nadia’s symbols: early
explorations with marks
The ‘stuff’ that children use to
explore meanings within their play, offers ‘meaning-full’ contexts
for children’s future explorations of symbolic ‘written’ languages
children - such as writing and written maths.