CMNetwork E-bulletin: September 2014

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CONTEXT: discussion about playing shops

Nursery: Shereen and Verast, 3-4 years

Shereen told Verast ‘Shop is closed’ as she drew a single wavy line on her notepad. Turning the page she drew two, wavy lines similar to the first, then picked up a phone and spoke into it ‘Shop is closed’.

Verast sat down opposite Shereen again and opening the draw of the till, Shereen gave Verast a raffle ticket, and pretended to give her some money, saying, ‘Shop is open'.

Shereen then gave these pages from her notebook to Verast, describing the one on the left (with one wavy line) as 'Shop open' and the other as 'Shop closed' (with two wavy lines) - as she declared the shop - ‘closed’ and ‘open’.

Young children appear to have a fascination with contexts in which symbols showing a change of state such as Shereen’s. Other examples including Daniel's Sign 'Shop Closed' and Nursery - a spontaneous ball game also show children using alternative or contrasting symbols to indicate different (but related) meanings, indicating that conditions have altered.


Taxonomy: Making meaning in social pretend play and imagination.

  • Exploration with symbols

Gallery 7: The emergence of graphic symbols and texts in pretend play / child initiated activity.

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