CMNetwork E-bulletin: July/August 2017

    © Copyright M. Worthington & E. Carruthers 2012

Welcome to your CM Network Bulletin

New!! BERA-TACTYC Early Childhood Research Review 2003 – 2017

[See chapters entitled: BERA-TACTYC: Play and Pedagogy and Learning, development and the curriculum for references relating to pretend play and children’s mathematical graphics, and mathematics]

See also related document:

BERA-TACTYC Early Years Policy and Future Research Agendas. (2014)

[Again, see chapters 3, Play and Pedagogy and chapter 4, Learning, development and the curriculum].


Isaac and the safe*

Isaac’s teacher Emma bought a small safe into the nursery to support Isaac’s interest and for other the children to investigate. A few days later she observed Isaac and Jayden’s pretend play, rich in mathematics…

After several days of complex play with their ‘safe’, Isaac decided to write down the number of blocks being taken from the block area, saying ‘one, two, three, gone! Gotta write it down and put it in the safe.’

In addition to his curving lines and scribble-marks Isaac had written a cross and a circle.

In supportive settings young children experience an explosion of interest in graphical symbols (Worthington and van Oers, 2015). Machón, (2013) highlights how between the ages of three to four years of age the children had begun to use specific graphical symbols, something that Isaac had begun to explore here.

Machón, A. (2013) Children’s Drawings: The Genesis and Nature of Graphic Representation. Madrid: Fibulas Publishers.

Worthington, M. and van Oers, B. (2015 / 2017) Children’s social literacies: Meaning making and the emergence of graphical signs and texts in pretence. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 17(2)

* For the full observation of this play narrative see: Worthington, M. 2015. Mathematics and the ecology of pretend play. In J. Moyles, Editor. The Excellence of Play. 4th Edition. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Taxonomy - this example

  • Written number and quantities: Early explorations with marks: attaching mathematical meanings.

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

Gallery 8: Children's graphic symbols and texts in self-initiated contexts.


New! Worthington, M. (2017) Mathematics and symbolic meanings: from pretend play to problem solving. In J. Moyles, J. Payler and J. Georgeson. (Eds.) Beginning Teaching, Beginning Learning: In Early Years and Primary Education 5e. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

More Recent Publications:

2013/2016: (ongoing): Collaboration between the BERA Early Years Special Interest Group (SIG) and TACTYC to produce some briefing papers to inform early years policies and practices. This has several parts and, as one document, distribution to all those in government and elsewhere concerned with young children and their early education and care has begun. The papers also incorporate a research agenda to guide future scholarship in the field.

BERA / TACTYC Early Years Policy Advice: Play and Pedagogy. Other sections can be accessed here.

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.

Courses and Conferences

Courses and Conferences: 2016-2017
Courses and Conferences 2017-2018


National Education News

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


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