Original Research

Making sense of experience in preschool: Children’s encounters with numeracy and literacy through inquiry

Marjorie Ann Henningsen
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 3, No 2 | a39 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v3i2.39 | © 2013 Marjorie Ann Henningsen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 May 2014 | Published: 30 December 2013

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Marjorie Ann Henningsen, Wellspring Learning Community, Beirut, Lebanon, Lebanon

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Opening up space for authentic inquiry in preschool can influence the extent to which children can make use of their growing mathematical and linguistic understandings to make sense of themselves and the world around them. Authentic inquiry here refers to investigation that arises naturally from the interests and questions of the children as they experience the learning environment. Three authentic examples are presented from the work of four- to five-year-old children in the domains of mathematics and literacy development to illustrate how the two domains need to be viewed as intertwined at the preschool level. Reflections are also offered on the role of the learning environment, the role of curriculum and the role of teachers and other adults in the learning process. This manuscript is based on a plenary address given in Grahamstown, South Africa at the SARAECE Research and Development week: “Strengthening Foundation Phase Education” conference at Rhodes University in September 2012.


early years, literacy, numeracy, preschool, inquiry, sense-making, student-led, international, IB-PYP, Reggio


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