CMNetwork E-bulletin: June 2016

    © Copyright M. Worthington & E. Carruthers 2012

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Children’s graphics: (Nursery)

CONTEXT: Shereen 4 years 6 months – drawing at home.

Shereen explained: ‘I looked out of the window. I saw a butterfly, ladybird, snails, mountain and a dog asking for its food’.

Children’s visual texts reveal their use of circles, dots, straight and curving lines, zigzags, squares, arrows, spirals, grids and other graphical marks and symbols such as those identified by Machón (2013) and Matthews (1999). They appear to often embellish their drawings with symbols, or to practice them, often including letters or numerals (alphanumeric signs) in a similar way. In this example Shereen’s drawings, symbols and signs comprise straight and curved lines, ‘U’ forms, a grid, arcs, dots and a triangle. She included letters (she did not say what they meant), the numeral ‘8’, spirals and a cross in her drawing. This burgeoning symbol and sign use between the ages of three and four years extends children’s existing graphical inventories.

Taxonomy: graphicacy: drawing, maps, writing

  • Early explanations with marks, signs and symbols.

* See below for reference.

Gallery 7: The emergence of graphic symbols and texts in pretend play
Gallery 8: Children's graphic symbols and texts in self-initiated contexts.

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

Matthews, J. (1999). The Art of Childhood and Adolescence: The Construction of Meaning. London: Falmer Press.


Latest publications:

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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