Practical mathematics (e.g., with blocks, sand, water, manipulatives and games) provide valuable mathematical experiences, but are not directly related to children’s understanding of written mathematics.
Children learn about written mathematics through using their own ‘written’ mathematics (their own marks, signs, symbols and other representations). It is very difficult for young children to understand written mathematics at a deep level if they only copy what adults show them to do, or when they are asked to write their mathematics in a particular way. Young children need to own their mathematical representations by developing their understanding through their meaning making and communications in authentic social and cultural contexts.
Children’s Mathematical Graphics support children’s mathematical thinking and helps them understand the abstract symbols of mathematics. Subsequently it underpins their developing understanding of written methods of calculations, problem solving, data handling - and all areas of written and represented mathematics in primary school.