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Title: The development of pattern-related abilities through play activities in young children
Author: Garrick, Rosalind Louise
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2000
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This thesis investigates nursery children's knowledge, understanding and skills in patternmaking as an aspect of early mathematical development. It presents two discrete but closely related studies, a cross-sectional and a longitudinal study. The methodology includes use of structured assessment activities using familiar play materials. Assessment focuses firstly on different aspects of pattern-making; secondly, on pattern perception; and thirdly, on wider aspects of developing cognition. The methodology includes collection of case study data in the naturalistic setting of the nursery class. The cross-sectional study, focused on knowledge, understanding and skil1s in pattern-making at 3½ and 4½ years, finds an increasing minority of children successful in repeated pattern-making and 2D spatial pattern-making but not linear symmetrical pattern-making. Few children evidence pattern perception at either age but an increasing minority evidences an emergent understanding of the word 'pattern.' The longitudinal study tracks children's development towards and within pattern-making from 3½ to 4½ years. It details development in two key aspects of pattern-making, colour and spatial organisation, through case study data. An examination of commonalities in development leads to hypothesised developmental pathways in both aspects of pattern-making. A single pathway leads towards complex colour organisation. Distinct pathways lead to basic and complex spatial organisation and to the basic elements of pattern. Pathways to 2D spatial pattern-making are more varied than pathways to repeated pattern-making. Quantitative analysis confirms key features of the pathways although some findings remain tentative. Differences in the detail of individual pathways are highlighted, as are wide differences in children's rates of development and in their interests and motivation. There are no findings of significant gender-related differences. Children's competencies in the colour organisation strand of pattern-making are significantly associated with abilities across key areas of developing cognition. Spatial organisation competencies are at first associated with a narrow range of primarily spatial abilities but this extends to include number and rhythmic abilities at 4½ years. The study confirms and extends some earlier findings, and also presents new findings. Findings lead to questioning of guidance on curriculum goals and pedagogy for the age-group. They highlight a need to acknowledge the creativity of many young children in this area of mathematics.
Supervisor: Orton, Anthony ; Threlfall, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available