CMNetwork E-bulletin: September 2009

    © Copyright M. Worthington & E. Carruthers 2012

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Aman (4 years 3 months) was playing outside near the sandpit. She found a twig and began scratching in the sand that had spilt on the ground, drawing what she described as ‘boats’. She completed the top of each ‘boat’ with a wavy line explaining this was ‘water’.

By combining the curved line of the boat’s hull with the wavy (or zigzag) line it appeared that she was communicating (in one sign) boat-on-water.

Children explore, make, think about, encode, transform and communicate meanings through their own marks and signs in flexible ways. This helps them understand that signs can be used to carry different meanings (in different contexts and for different purposes) - including mathematics.

In the following months we will provide further examples of children's graphicacy.


Link to Graphics of Past Months


In Early Education’s recent survey two particular problems identified by practitioners were problem solving, reasoning and numeracy and knowledge and understanding of the world as the two most 'difficult' areas of learning to deliver. Those surveyed also highlighted child-initiated play as an aspect on which they need more guidance. Problems with teaching maths in the Early Years are not new. Official reports including Ofsted and the ‘Williams Maths Review’ (DCSF, 2008) consistently raise the same range of concerns, echoed recently by the Review of the Primary Curriculum (DCSF: 2009). Confusion about the value of play and its role in learning persist.

Significantly whilst children may be exploring aspects of mathematics in their play, this is often unrecognised by practitioners. Now, in response to the ‘Williams Maths Review’s’ recommendation 4 (DCSF: 2008), new guidance entitled Children Thinking Mathematically: Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy in the EYFS is to be published this autumn by the DCSF. Through case studies, numerous examples and photos of children’s play it explores children’s mathematical graphics and many aspects of problem solving, reasoning and numeracy in the Foundation stage and into Key Stage 1.

The publication of this document should do much to show the significance of graphicacy and the rich potential of child-initiated play for children’s mathematical thinking and enrich practitioners’ understanding. It is hoped that it will also raise the profile of mathematics in early childhood education. Maulfry


Petition – to reject the proposal to lowering school admission age

John Wadsworth of Goldsmiths’ College is petitioning the Prime Minister to reject unconditionally Recommendation 14 of the Primary Curriculum Review which proposes the lowering of school admission age. To sign up, go to

Welcome to new members

From London and the South East, welcome to Helen Gillespie, Kingston Local Authority; and from the North of England, welcome to Joanne Miles, Education Leeds.

Newly Added Reports

Cambridge Primary Review: ‘The Primary Curriculum: an alternative vision’ 

Cambridge Primary Review website

Early Education survey of practitioners views of the EYFS - one year on

Next steps for early learning and childcare: Building on the 10-year strategy

Your child, your schools, our future. Building a 21st century schools system

Courses and Conferences

For 2009 - 2010


August 2009

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