FOREST & FARM SCHOOL
"The best classroom and the richest classroom is roofed by only the sky." - Margaret McMillan
Nature’s Den Forest & Farm School is a not-for-profit programme that operates two days a week (Thursdays & Fridays) during the school term throughout the entire year. We provide this unique education experience at two different locations, Brookby and Pukekohe.
We work in partnership with your child’s school and gain permission from their principal to receive education outside the classroom for one day a week.
Our group size is normally between 16-24 students. The tamariki will be accompanied by two experienced teachers at all times, who are passionate about nature and are fun, energetic, loving, caring and inspiring role models. We also warmly welcome passionate volunteers. Come out, roast some marshmallows on the campfire and see what we are about.
WHAT WILL THE CHILDREN BE LEARNING?
‘‘Giving your child extended periods of uninterrupted, child-directed play in nature reduces your child's anxiety. Nature is healing.’’ - Angela J. Hanscom
Our Forest & Farm School is purely based around the children’s interests – child-led learning. We don’t require children to sit still at a desk in a classroom with four walls; we don’t test them on their academic ability; we don’t compare them to the rest of the class in terms of achievement; and we don’t force them to learn something that they are not interested in.
Our classroom is surrounded by nature, with open spaces for children to learn and grow through exploration. Our curriculum is supported by the key competencies of the Early Childhood Curriculum (Te Whāriki) and the New Zealand School Curriculum. We are not tied to a tight schedule - every day is completely different, offering many opportunities for children to develop a range of skills.
The child’s holistic development (social, emotional, spiritual, physical and cognitive) is nurtured through enriching free play experiences that foster their curiosity, confidence, innovation, resilience and imagination.
Children will learn how to problem-solve and take risks in a safe environment, and they will learn how to care for and respect the environment as well as others.
Children will learn through real and authentic experiences, such as learning how to build huts, cooking food on a campfire, collecting loose parts, discovering who lives in our native bush, and working out theories together to problem-solve.
Many children lack social skills and the ability to solve problems simply due to the lack of ‘play’. Research proves that unstructured play not only provides many learning opportunities, but it also reduces anxiety and supports children with sensory needs.