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Writing With Nature
January 10, 2020
The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.
-Denis Waitley

In their beautiful book, Bringing the Outside In, Sandra Duncan and Jody Martin encourage the use of various items from nature as writing surfaces to support young children’s interest in making marks and supporting early writing. Here are some of the surfaces they recommend:

  • “Birch bark
  • Tile
  • Cork
  • Sand and Mud Trays
  • Tree Stumps
  • Limestone and Granite Pieces
  • Parchment Paper
  • Plywood
  • Wood Veneer”

And in the book, Growing With Nature, the authors write about ways natural outdoor classrooms can support children’s desire to write: “As children’s spoken language becomes more sophisticated, they begin to understand that communication can happen through written expression as well. Many activities children engage in on outdoor classrooms can help them develop writing skills. Making maps of their outdoor space, drawing shapes found in nature, or sketching flowers can all be pre-cursers to learning to write letter and words. Interactions with nature often motivate children to want to share what they know with others or record personal discoveries. Wise teachers use this motivation as a way to encourage writing.”

Bringing the Outside In

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Bringing the Outside In offers nature-based experiences to encourage educators and young children to bring the natural world into the early childhood classroom. Each hands-on, open-ended, and sensory-oriented experience is designed to spark discovery and imagination; encourage conversations and collaborations; and allow young children to develop a sense of wonder and get to know the natural world.

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