Creative Connecting: Early Childhood Nature Journaling Sparks Wonder and Develops Ecological Literacy

Submitted February 27, 2014; accepted May 21, 2014

“While nature journaling with elementary age children has recently increased in popularity, journaling with children of ages 2-6 is often overlooked. This article focuses specifically on why journaling is a valid practice in early childhood and the practitioner application of journaling techniques modified for the young child. Young children have an inherent sense of wonder and connection to their natural world which can be preserved and enhanced through the cultivation of observation and documentation. The young child, working either one-on-one or in small groups with the adult, can begin to consciously explore the nearby nature of their world. The addition of a journal practice to regular outdoor environment exploration allows the child to assimilate their observations and experiences while laying a foundation for literacy education.

The young child’s nature journal is a place for the recording of the natural insights and wonder as developmentally appropriate, rather than the more scientific data collectionpurposes of an older child’s field journal. It is a place for color exploration and recording of the special relationship between the young child and their world through abstract drawings and adult documentation of verbal observations. Prompts may be used with young children, as well as scenarios that enhance seasonal observations, but the journal is foremost a place for spontaneous observation development and “nearby nature” connection facilitation. Drawing on the research of Eyunsook Hyun and Maria Montessori, and the work of Rachel Carson, Clare Walker Leslie, Bill Plotkin, and David Sobel, this article will provide early childhood educators with the resources and motivation to incorporate a sensorial-based journaling practice into their environments.”

View the original article written by Kelly Johnson from the International Journal of Early Childhood Environmental Education.