Outside the Backdoor: Entrepreneurship, Field Experience and Preservice Teachers

Dia Gary (Central Washington University)

Article ID: 5070

DOI: https://doi.org/10.30564/jiep.v5i2.5070


This research is to share qualitative data of one preservice teacher, and one early childhood entrepreneur, who educated young children in an exclusive outdoor preschool.

The study was conducted in a rural community where most preschools were held in the traditional venue-inside. The Coronavirus-19 pandemic presented many obstacles to the placement of preservice teachers in an appropriate early childhood setting. The university discouraged all direct contact with children. Instead, preservice teachers were expected to view videos of veteran teachers, who in former years, submitted teaching videos to obtain a “National Boards Certification.” The objective was that the preservice teachers would “reflect” and learn from the electronic source. This electronic substitution was unacceptable to the researcher. Practicum experiences allow for rich collaboration between preservice teacher and child. Electronic sources can never replicate the rich learning that happens during an authentic face-to face encounter with a child. Thus, the vision for the study was born.

As an alternative to exclusive electronic learning, the preservice university supervisor initiated the opportunity for preservice teachers to participate with a local entrepreneur who was in the process of designing and implementing an exclusive outdoor school. Nature and environmental field experience opportunities for preservice teachers are promising alternatives to the traditional preschool setting. Venues that encourage nature and environmental studies enhance early childhood programs and create opportunities for preservice teachers, and the children they serve, to appreciate the nature around them enhancing their natural curiosity and investigative skills to seek, study, and share. This research article shares the reflections of both the preschool entrepreneur as well as the preservice teacher.  It is a pragmatic description of how the exclusive outdoor environment is feasible and presents the challenges and assets that the environmental venue provides.  


Outdoor school; Higher education; Field experience; Preservice teachers; Entrepreneurship

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