The development of mathematical concepts and language in school

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The development of mathematical concepts and language in school

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The development of mathematical concepts and language in school

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The development of mathematical concepts and language in school

Maulfry Worthington

- Foundation stage curriculum
- Birth to three: strong research base
- EYFS – birth to five
- Play-based curriculum
- Subject areas including mathematics

- Cultural-historical perspective (Vygotsky)
- Play as a leading activity for the child
- Child at the centre of the educational process
- Imaginative play promotes abstract thought
- Important link between education and development

- Teacher in class of thirty, 4 – 6 years olds (Reception and Year 1)
Observations collected during one school year:

- to help build my understanding of children's interests (schemas)
- to support and extend the children's thinking

Analysed my original observations to:

- Identify patterns of children’s behaviours, using frequency charts
- Explored the relationship between children's schemas and their early written symbols
(Carruthers and Worthington, 2003/2006)

Current research:

- Socio-cultural framework - Vygotsky
Informed by:

- Research on schemas - Athey
- Research on Multi-modality – Kress
Aims:

- To explore the relationship between play and children’s personal mathematical interests
- To trace the development between ‘everyday’ and ‘scientific’ mathematical concepts

- Ethnographic study
- Participant observer
- Qualitative research
- ‘Re-mining’ the original data – short observations of ‘significant moments’ of children’s play

- Robin Hood; pirates, Paddington Bear, Batman; spaceships; submarines; police; kings, racing cars; aeroplanes and helicopters; fire engines; submarines and postmen
- Other influences from home

- Mathematical thinking and language developed within imaginative play
- Both collaborative and individual play and explorations
- Through actions, 3D constructions, mark-making and imaginative play (symbolic activity)
- Wide range of resources

Plotting observations of Daniel’s schemas revealed:

- a general forwards movement indicating developing interests and development
- A zigzagging pattern and a clustering as he re-visited schemas and explored new ones
- Analysis points to ways in which the everyday mathematical concepts support development of scientific mathematical concepts

- Drawing maps
- Writing letters and numerals

- Arrows

- Important role of the teacher in developing the child’s thinking
- Adults mediating and scaffolding learning
- Importance of involving the child’s family
- Value of observations to inform pedagogy

Growing interest in schemas as a pedagogical tool

Schemas appear to support skills relating to symbolic language systems children develop in school (but not meanings)

Observations revealed the mathematics hidden in play

Play offers idea contexts for children up to six year of age to explore everyday mathematical concepts

www.childrens-mathematics.net