Five tips for taking preschool journals outside

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on May 3, 2013

in Reading and Writing Readiness, Science and Nature, Taking Journals Outside

This was our very first time since spring has sprung to sit outside and write in our journals. Don’t get me wrong, we go outdoors for lots of different types of activities everyday but for some reason, taking our journals outdoors to write in them hadn’t been a part of the plan. I learned a few things along the way and thought I would share these five tips for taking the journals outside…

Five tips for taking journals outside by Teach Preschool

Tip #1: Check the grass

I hadn’t thought much about where the children would sit when they went outside to write in their journals. In my mind, they would wonder off into our big grassy yard and find a cozy spot to sit back and write.  However, the grass was super wet so most of our students were not so thrilled about sitting in the grass. My kids asked if they could go back in and get a chair but Mrs. Courtney keenly directed them to our rocks and encouraged them to go take a seat on “nature’s chair.”

Five tips for taking journals outside by Teach Preschool

It took a few minutes for some of my students to settle into one of nature’s chairs. The children kept going from spot to spot trying to decide where to sit but after trying out several spots, the children finally found that cozy spot to write in their journals…

Five tips for taking journals outside by Teach Preschool

Tip #2: Check for bugs

My next thought was now that the children are all settled into their cozy writing spots, they would look all around them, find inspiration from nature, and get to drawing and writing.

Five tips for taking journals outside by Teach Preschool

Well the children did find inspiration but it kind of turned out to be an inspired distraction. Now that spring has sprung, we have bugs everywhere. Everything from ants to roly-pollies crawling around our nature chairs and although they were an inspiration, they were also a big distraction from actually writing in our journals…

Five tips for taking journals outdoors by Teach Preschool

#3 Check your time

I really thought that this would just be a quick activity that we could throw into the middle of our day then move on to the rest of our planned activities but little did I know. It turns out that bug hunting must come first and simply cannot be rushed or ignored…

Five tips for taking journals outside by Teach Preschool

#4 Check your hands

If you aren’t a big fan of holding bugs in your hand, then bring a small bucket or box because there is a good chance you will be asked to hold out your hand so the children can share some of their amazing nature finds with you (including the bugs)…

Five tips for taking journals outside by Teach Preschool

#Check your expectations

After the rush to explore bugs and find a dry seat, our students finally settled down to write in their journals. Oh good, I thought, now we can gaze out into the beautiful landscape, connect with nature, and be inspired to create some beautiful journal entries…

Five tips for taking journals outside by Teach Preschool

However, the journal entries were not our most profound work. The children’s stories were the shortest I have been told all year long and the drawings were quick and to the point but no worries, the outdoor writing experience was all worthwhile. I think what we need is to take our journals outdoors more often…

Five tips for taking journals outside by Teach Preschool

So while Mrs. Courtney and I tried to hurry up and jot down what the children told us to write in their journals, the children left us there to go off and do more bug hunting of course!

Five tips for taking journals outside by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

Let’s Get Writing Outside by I’m a Teacher, Get Me Outside

10 Tips for Keeping a Journal in Preschool by Teach Preschool

This article is being shared with you by Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool - Promoting excellence in early childhood education at home and in the preschool classroom!

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Comments on this entry are closed.

1 Gail P May 3, 2013 at 7:20 am

Questions: How did you manage the writing and drawing implements? Did the children write on the rocks as well? I have some very rambunctious boys this year and they would be drawing all over them.

2 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. May 3, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Hi Gail,
Our boys were more interested in hunting for bugs than writing on anything today but if they had drawn on the rocks, I wouldn’t be too worried because pretty much everything we use outdoors is washable so the rain would eventually wash it away. Also, crayon just doesn’t show up all that well on rocks. If you have a concern – send the children out with chalk to write with on the rocks and markers or crayon to write with on paper:)

3 Kelley Young May 3, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Deborah,
I just to have tell you how much I love reading about all the amazing things you do with your preschoolers! I discovered this site at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year and have been inspired to try so many new and interesting things with my 4 yr preschool class all year.
For the outdoor writing, I love #3- bug hunting just cannot be rushed or ignored. So true! We just have to let their hands and minds explore things that may not have been part of our plan.
Thank you for sharing! You are a blessing to other teachers.

4 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. May 3, 2013 at 11:07 pm

I am so glad to know you have been with me all year! It is such a pleasure hearing from you and knowing that we both share the same outlook on teaching young children.

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