The Education of Faustina

June 29, 2021

The number 3

I explained to Faustina that her name had 3 syllables, and demonstrated what I meant by saying her name as Faus – Tin –  A. She did likewise. I pointed out that her brother’s name had 3 syllables, and pronounced if for her as, Josh –  U –  Ah.  She did like wise.

I showed her a three note pattern on the keyboard   C, B, C, neighboring notes. She repeated the pattern. Then I showed her C A C, and she repeated the pattern

I asked her to repeat  ! , 2 , 3, three times, and it was obvious by her puzzled look that she did not know what “Times” meant. Then I said, 1 2 3 , 1 2 3,  1 2 3, and she repeated this pattern saying 123 three times, but raising this question, when does the term, “times” begin to have meaning for a four year old, separated from the concept of multiplication, such as, “pat your head 3 times.” Without a demonstration of what you mean by those words.

Faustina was presented with 2 ½ inch white cardboard squares with the letters of her name on one side. She easily spelled her name, putting the letters in order, but did not notice that some letters were upside down, or sideways.

On the back of the squares were numbers and she put them in order 1 through 10, but sometimes did not notice when a number was upside down, but did not notice if I corrected her mistake, by rotating the numbers. She displays a degree of self confidence such that corrections do not cloud her countenance, but she exhibits obvious satisfaction when she is complimented on the things she does well.

  I asked Faustina to do a drawing, but instead she began to write a long letter in an imaginary script of her own invention, with marks going from left to right in repeated lines, composed of idiosyncratic varied marks. Asked to tell me what she had written, she did not answer. Asked if she wanted me to read the “story”, she consented, and so I made up a story about her sentences.

Pointing to each line I said:

Line 1,  Faustina and her mom went to the store.

Line 2, Faustina’s mon said, “Now get in the cart.”

Line 3. Faustina said ,” No, I don’t want to.”

Line 4, More of the same, describing her trip to the store and home again with her Mom. At the store they buy 13 apples, and 17 bananas. “Both 13 and 17 are numbers Faustina does not know yet.

Line 5. Then when Faustna got in the car she said, “Please turn on the air conditioner Mom, because it is sweltering hot in here.”

This last line was added simply to observe her reaction to words attributed to her, which are not in her vocabulary. Her reaction was to understand the comic nature of the statement. 

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