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Children's Mathematical Graphics

 What are Children’s Mathematical Graphics?

     Children’s Mathematical Graphics is the term we originated to describe the marks, signs and symbols that children freely (and often spontaneously) choose to use to communicate their mathematical thinking. Our use of the word graphics  includes scribbles, lines, dots, drawings, tally marks, arrows, crosses, ticks, children’s early (emergent) writing, and invented and standard abstract mathematical symbols. These marks signs and symbols originate in very young children’s marks and signs for drawing (e.g., Lancaster, 2003; 2014). We have included the word Children's to emphasise the significance of the children's role in their mathematics.

     Children's Mathematical Graphics is not a scheme or a step-by-step approach, but encourages teachers and practitioners to value, support, understand and empower young children to think, make meanings and communicate their thinking in ways that make sense to them.



Example of Children's Mathematical Graphics

Pretend play and Children's Mathematical Graphics


Note: Children’s mathematical signs and representations are variously termed external representations; inscriptions; notations; cultural, psychological or symbolic tools; emergent models; schematisations; visual signs, and (from Worthington & Carruthers, 2003), Children’s Mathematical Graphics.


Aldrich, F. K., & Sheppard, L., (2000). Graphicacy: the fourth 'R'? Primary Science Review, 64, 8-11.


Anning, A. (2003). Pathways to the graphicacy club: the crossroad of how and school. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy 3 (1), 5-35.


Sagasti Escalona, M. (2019). Graphicacy: Another way of thinking and Communicating.


Sagasti Escalona, M. (2020). Graphicacy: represent, record and communicate mathematical facts from an early age to avoid mathematical anxiety. Numeros, 105, (1-15).


Lancaster, L. (2003). Moving into literacy: How it all begins. In N. Hall, J. Larson & J. Marsh (Eds.). Handbook of Early Childhood Literacy. Sage.


  Lancaster, L. (2005). The emergence of symbolic principles: The distributions of mind in early sign making. Biosemiotics, 7(1), 19-47.


    Worthington, M. & Carruthers, E. (2003). Children's Mathematics: Making Marks, Making Meanings. (1st ed.). Paul Chapman.