Strand four - Communication
Mana Reo

Goal 3

Children experience an environment where they experience the stories and symbols of their own and other cultures.

Indicative Learning Outcomes: Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes

Children develop:

  • an understanding that symbols can be “read” by others and that thoughts, experiences, and ideas can be represented through words, pictures, print, numbers, sounds, shapes, models, and photographs;
  • familiarity with print and its uses by exploring and observing the use of print in activities that have meaning and purpose for children;
  • familiarity with an appropriate selection of the stories and literature valued by the cultures in their community;
  • an expectation that words and books can amuse, delight, comfort, illuminate, inform, and excite;
  • familiarity with numbers and their uses by exploring and observing the use of numbers in activities that have meaning and purpose for children;
  • skill in using the counting system and mathematical symbols and concepts, such as numbers, length, weight, volume, shape, and pattern, for meaningful and increasingly complex purposes;
  • the expectation that numbers can amuse, delight, illuminate, inform, and excite;
  • experience with some of the technology and resources for mathematics, reading, and writing;
  • experience with creating stories and symbols.

Questions for reflection


To what extent are the children’s cultural backgrounds well represented in the arts and crafts, stories, and symbols found in the early childhood education setting?

What is the most effective group size for telling and reading stories, and what factors influence this?

How often are stories read aloud, and are there more opportunities for this to happen?

In what ways, and for what purposes, do children see mathematics being used, and how does this influence their interest and ability in mathematics?

Are children regularly hearing and using mathematical ideas and terms in their play?

What opportunities are there for children to observe and work with adults in the setting using numbers for meaningful purposes?

Examples of experiences which help to meet these outcomes

For infants

Adults read books to infants, tell them simple stories, and talk to them about objects and pictures.

Infants are able to feel and manipulate books and to see and handle mobiles and pictures.

Numbers are used in conversation and interactive times, such as in finger games.

Everyday number patterns are highlighted, for example, two shoes, four wheels, five fingers.

Adults draw attention to concepts such as differences between “more” and “less”, “big” and “small”.

The programme includes songs, rhymes, and chants that repeat sequences.

The infant has playthings of a variety of colours, textures, shapes, and sizes to experiment with and explore freely.

For toddlers

Toddlers have many opportunities to play simple games and to use an increasing range of playthings, which feature a variety of symbols, shapes, sizes, and colours.

Adults’ conversations with toddlers are rich in number ideas, so that adults extend toddlers’ talk about numbers.

Adults model the process of counting to solve everyday problems, for example, asking “How many children want to go on a walk?”

Toddlers are encouraged to develop the language of position (for example, “above” and “below”, “inside” and “outside”) and the language of probability (for example, “might” and “can’t”).

The toddler’s name is written on belongings and any personal space, and names or symbols are used to enable toddlers to recognise their own possessions.

The written language of the child’s culture is used as well as the English language.

Books are available for the toddler to read and carry about, and reading books and telling stories are frequent, pleasurable, intimate, and interactive experiences.

For young children

Children experience a wide range of stories and hear and practise story-telling.

Children have opportunities to develop early mathematical concepts, such as volume, quantity, measurement, classifying, matching, and perceiving patterns.

Children have opportunities to learn through purposeful activities using, for example, sand, water, blocks, pegs, and the materials and objects used for everyday play, such as dough, fabrics, and paints.

Children gain familiarity with mathematical tools, such as rulers, tape measures, calculators, scales, and measuring cups, and use them in their play.

Adults comment on numerical symbols which are used every day, such as calendars, clocks, and page numbers in books.

The programme fosters the development of concepts about print, such as the knowledge that print conveys a message that can be revisited, that spoken words can be written down and read back, and that written names represent a person. The children also learn that both the text and the illustrations carry the story, that print can be useful, that books can provide information, and that stories can allow one to enter new worlds.

Last updated: 9 April 2009