We spend a lot of our time outdoors experiencing the local natural environment and developing our early literacy using nature. I recently completed the 2015 Summer Institute presented by Sally Haughey of Fairy Dust Teaching. Twenty sessions of awesome early childhood inspiration. I came away with pages and pages of notes, ready to implement some of these ideas into our afterschooling.
One session was centered around the development of writing. It spoke so deeply to me because Sally Haughey voiced exactly what I am doing with my own children and why. She spoke of the importance of sensory development in children and that it is directly related to how they are progressing in the literacy continuum. She spoke of the power of play and its essential role in children’s development.
As young children learn to write there are clear stages that they go through, which begins with Drawing and Scribbling. In this stage the joy is in the movement not in the marking. Awareness will come that the movement is creating the marking but instead of moving children onto the next stage Sally Haughey recommends that we let them fully experience this stage with lots of physical expression.
My son Ooffa is in this stage of ‘joy in the movement’. It is him that I have in mind when we go down to the beach and we draw in the sand with big sticks.
I encourage Chook and Strawberry to write letters, names and words because they are in this stage. Ooffa can also observe what his other siblings are doing and be encouraged to try if he would like.
We also use found objects to form letters and this task strengthens our fingers with careful placement of each object, uses our bodies with movement, as well as exploring nature and learning our letters.
Is this something you have done? Do you and your kids enjoy using nature in your learning?