CMNetwork E-bulletin: February 2012

    © Copyright M. Worthington & E. Carruthers 2012

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Dr Penny Munn

We are sad to learn of the death of Dr Penny Munn who died of cancer at the age of 57, in June 2011. Penny worked in the School of Education at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. She began her academic career as a research assistant at Cambridge University, moving in 1989 to the psychology department at Strathclyde. After a brief spell at the University of Central Lancashire she returned to Strathclyde in 1999, this time to the department of primary education, where she led research and focused her own work on early-years literacy and numeracy.

Penny was instrumental in the development of the Maths Recovery programme in the UK, and introduced the programme to Scotland. She was also chair of the Maths Recovery Council (UK and Ireland) and editor of the International Journal of Early Years Education, (Lio Moscardini & Sue Ellis: University of Strathclyde Newsletter, August, 2011).

We knew Penny’s research in mathematics in early childhood, and particularly her research into young children’s symbol use – research that continues to be relevant today. We were fortunate to have met Penny on two occasions, allowing us opportunities to discuss our shared areas of interest.

The deaths of both Dr Penny Munn and Professor Martin Hughes in 2011 are a sad loss to all working in the field of early childhood mathematics. With the sad passing of Chris Athey (also in 2011), the loss of these three researchers leaves a considerable gap early childhood education. We were privileged to know all three people and have valued shared dialogues and their interest in our research.

Both Penny and Chris were members of the Children's Mathematics Network.

 The example below is included in chapter 9 of our new book Understanding Children’s Mathematical Graphics: Beginnings in Play

Maisie’s measure (4 years 7 months)

The mathematics: counting (to 29), measuring length, comparison

Maisie wanted to see how long her Christmas paper-chain was. Although there were several 30cm rulers on her table she decided to make her own ‘ruler’, and wrote as many numbers as she could fit on the strip of paper she’d chosen. When she reached the end of her first strip (with numbers up to ‘9’) Maisie added a second strip (with numbers from 9 – 17) and then when this was full, attached a third strip, writing numbers from 18 – 29. Finally Maisie held her paper ruler against her paper-chain to check that her ruler was sufficiently long, and then measuring her paper-chain announced it was ’27 long’.

Maisie’s teacher supports children’s graphicacy and open ways of working and, since this was a problem that Maisie posed she had ownership of it, her strategies contributed to her growing understanding of linear measurement.


Making meanings in imagination and symbolic play: models with found materials
Written quantities and numerals: numerals as labels; representing quantities that are counted
Calculations: children’s own methods: counting continuously

Gallery 5: Beginnings in Play


Website statistics: Last month we noted the annual number of visitors to our website in 2011 and the considerable increase during the past year. Total visitor numbers continue to grow, with 6370 visitors last month compared to 4427 for the same month in 2011.

New Members

Welcome to Melanie Widnall,  Early Years Consultant from the London Borough of Enfield


New! Worthington, M. (2012) 'The power of graphicacy for the young child' in
T. Papatheodorou and J. Moyles (Eds.) Cross Cultural Perspectives on Early Childhood. London: Sage Publication

Courses and Conferences

Courses and Conferences: 2011-2012  

National Education News

BBC Education News
Guardian Education News
Independent Education News
Times Education Supplement (TES)


Jan 2012

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