CMNetwork E-bulletin: December 2013

    © Copyright M. Worthington & E. Carruthers 2012

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Bookings for the campsite (3-4 years)

Young children draw on their interests and cultural mathematical knowledge in their pretend play. Isaac often goes camping with his family, triggering this play episode.

Isaac and David were talking down the phone to each other. Isaac decided to use a diary as a ‘booking book’ for a campsite, explaining that two people were staying, and making two marks in the diary. Isaac then used the phone to take more bookings, telling David ‘one hundred million people are staying!

David said ‘I want to stay for two nights’. Isaac said, ’No. I’ll put you down for two million nights, but don’t worry - it’s only £1.00 a night’. Isaac then wrote it down in his ‘booking’ book - this time making many marks and David also took a diary and made his own symbols (circles and vertical lines). Their teacher Emma commented:

Isaac had the knowledge and personal experience about campsites and instigated the play, and the others went with his idea. This is so different from a themed play area since the children in the campsite play totally owned it and set it up and collected the things they wanted and needed. I got the diaries at our scrap-store and that has just sparked so many ideas for the children’s play.

Taxonomy: Making meaning in social pretend play and imagination.

Written number and quantities:

  • Early explorations with marks: attaching mathematical meanings

  • Representing quantities that are not counted

  • Exploring symbols

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


New! Carruthers, E. and E. Butcher. (2013) Mathematics: young children co-construct their mathematical enquiries. In P. Beckley. Ed. (2013) The New Early Years Foundation Stage: Changes, Challenges and Reflections. Maidenhead: Open University Press, (2nd ed.)

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November 2013

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