CMNetwork E-bulletin: October 2013

    © Copyright M. Worthington & E. Carruthers 2012

Welcome to your CM Network News page

New! For 2014: National Masters Module in Early Childhood Mathematics: Redcliffe Children's Centre, Bristol with Bath Spa University.

The example of pretend play below is included in the forthcoming paper:
Worthington, M. and van Oers, B. Pretend play and the cultural foundations of mathematics. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal – accepted for publication.

Car park entry - Isaac and Oliver 3-4 years

This pretend play episode arose from Isaac’s interest and very detailed home cultural knowledge about swiping a plastic card to enter a car park, business cards related to his dad’s work, security gadgets and cameras. Knowing his interest, his teacher Emma brought several small safes into the nursery for the children to investigate.

Figure 1 Figure 2

Drawing rapid marks on a sticker, Isaac announced, ‘you need to have a business card to get in here. I’m fixing the gate so it has electric. You have to have a business card to swipe in. I don’t need one - I use my hands.’ Isaac gave a piece of paper to Oliver, ‘Here’s your business card.’ Isaac wrote more marks on a label, ‘this says ‘swipe here with your special code card' (figure 1).

As Oliver swiped his card Isaac noticed another child enter without one: he stuck a smaller sticker on the fence (to the right of the first) with scribble-marks on (figure 1), explaining, ‘this is the bell if you don’t have a sticker, someone can let you in. It says, ‘press here’. Someone will come and open the gate.’ He added a third sticker in the centre of the gate, ‘This is for lorries and deliveries - it opens automatically - it’s a camera’.

Lacking Isaac’s specific knowledge of car parks Oliver quietly listened and observed before deciding to participate. He made independent decisions to use dots followed by several ticks, explaining, ‘these are ticks. When there are 3 ticks you can go, when there are 2 you can’t go that way. I’ve made 2 ticks - that means you are not allowed. People allowed in that way’ (figure 2).

Using letters from his own and family members’ names, Oliver wrote his name on his sign ‘O, L, I’ to personalize and perhaps confirm his power, then wrote ‘E’ for Ellie (his sister) and ‘D’ for Daddy, before attached them to the fence (figure 2). Oliver was able to fully appreciate the power of signs when another boy followed his instruction (and sign) by walking where he was directed.

The children sometimes used scribble-marks as semantic ‘placeholders’ to denote specific meanings in their play, whereas in other child-initiated contexts in the nursery and at home the children used letters, drawings or other graphical signs. This suggests that such rapidly made marks allow the course of play to proceed uninterrupted. Matthews argues that ‘Far from being chaotic actions and random ‘scribblings’ children’s use and organisation of visual media exhibits semantic and structural characteristics from the beginning’ (1998: 90).

Taxonomy: Making and communicating meanings in social pretend play - graphicacy (drawing, maps and writing)
Written number and quantities: Early explorations with marks: attaching mathematical meanings

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

Welcome to New Members

From the southwest of England, welcome to Hannah Bastin at St Colum Minor Academy, Newquay, and  Natalie Riley at South Coast SCITT, Bransgore. From London and the South East, welcome to Annie Goss of the University of Reading, Reading and Linda Mullis of the Borough of Newham. London. From the North of England, welcome to Frank Tupling at Hull University, Scarborough.

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Courses and Conferences: 2013-2014

TACTYC Annual Conference

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