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Children’s graphics: Shereen (Nursery)
understanding and assessing
It would be easy to assume that
figure A was made by an older child
(or by the same child when older) -
than that shown in figure B.
However, Shereen made both, figure A
three months earlier that figure B,
and showing the influence of the
context in which they were made.
8th January: child-initiated
17th March: pretend play.
Figure A: Shereen had borrowed
her teacher’s notebook to write in.
She referred to the numerals in
circles as ‘buttons’ (possibly
relating to buttons on a calculator
or computer), reading them as ‘1,
2, 3, 4’. Then writing the
letters at the top of the page, read
them as ‘drawing’.
Figure B was written in the
course of Shereen’s pretend play
with a friend, playing shops.
Shereen read her list, ‘Cheeseburger,
apples, tomato. Cheese, chicken,
rice, sugar, mango juice. I’m
writing chocolate bar’.
often use scribble-marks for writing
in their pretend play, perhaps to
avoid interrupting the flow of their
play. At these times their marks
appear to be an indication of
writing rather than an attempt
to write letters. Shereen used a
wide range of letters of the
alphabet and numerals in a range of
contexts throughout the year,
interspersed with scribble-marks in
some play contexts.
Gallery 7: The emergence of graphic symbols and
texts in pretend play
8: Children's graphic symbols and texts in
Worthington, M. and Van Oers, B. (2016)
Pretend Play and the cultural foundations of
mathematics. European Early Childhood Education Research
Journal 24 (1). 51-66.
Worthington, M. and Van Oers, B. (2015)
Children’s social literacies: Meaning making and the
emergence of graphical signs and texts in pretence.
Journal of Early Childhood Literacy 16(1), 1-29.
Carruthers, E. (2015).
Listening to children's mathematics in school.
In B. Perry., A. Gervasoni and A. MacDonald. Eds.
Mathematics and Transition to School - International
Perspectives. Sydney, Australia: Springer.
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