Schooling methods are really looking towards the new (or is it old?!) ways of teaching our kids. With this comes four learning opportunities and schools for Auckland kids, all based in the forest. If you’re a parent who’s not afraid of a bit of mud and mess, and love the idea of your kids learning from what nature has to teach us, then read on about these four amazing forest schools in Auckland.
The Forest School (pictured above)
Where? Hatfields beach, Hibiscus Coast
In 2016, one clever teaching mum decided to take kids out of the classroom and immerse them in nature. It’s fair to say that having our kids learning, playing and building their problem-solving skills, all the while in a beautiful NZ forest setting – on the coast, full of native trees, with birds and insects chirping – is a dream … at least to those of us enamoured by the beauty of our environment. Hence The Forest School was established, where teachers use a student-led, inquiry-based approach when developing sessions, described as an Emergent Curriculum. This is free play in its true sense and from this, parents can expect a lot of enjoyable learning to happen.
The Forest School offers a One Day curriculum or a holiday club (Into the Wild) for kids. Check out more here (https://www.theforestschool.co.nz/programmes )
The Deep Green Bush School
This privately registered, full-time school is set in the middle of the bush in Clevedon, and has a clear purpose to raise a new generation of youth who are deeply connected with the Earth and who will have a deep understanding of the world around them. With this in mind, kids are not hurried into mainstream reading and maths, instead they are encouraged to enjoy a hands-on approach to understanding the deeper context of their learning. The school children range from four to 14-years, and you’ll find them cooking their own lunch, learning bush skills, lighting fires and making tools. No technology in sight, rather plenty of healthy outdoor fresh air, creativity and exercise.
SOS Survival school
Where? Muriwai Valley Road, Muriwai
Imagine learning the actual skills that Bear uses on his shows! With a survival team led by Stu Gilbert, who draws on his expertise gained as a highly qualified instructor with the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), your kids now have the chance. Stu has experience in working with all sorts of groups – from outdoor enthusiasts, to airline cabin crews, to kids looking to take on an exciting new challenge. Stu knows how to put together the right team and training modules to ensure successful learning.
The Junior courses are loads of fun, where your kids can test and develop their own intrepid survival skills. Trainee commandoes will learn to shoot down targets, fish for eels, build shelter and create an open fire. This may sound a bit out-there for some parents, but the course provides a safe and supervised environment. Be prepared for the kids to come home exhausted, but thrilled with their achievements.
These courses are designed for children from aged 7 to 17. Choose from our Half Day, Full Day and Overnight packages, plus special packages for birthday groups and the school groups. Check out more here
Where? Various parks and reserves around Auckland
Conscious Kids takes kids outside – into the bush, beside streams, to the seaside and where the birds are. The motto is ‘100% free play’ so children have the opportunity to make their own choices and follow their own interests and curiosities, within a framework of respect for those around them and the environment. They’ll be outdoors, either exploring amongst the trees, sitting and whittling sticks, or perhaps making small fires with magnifying glasses. Think of it as an antidote to the fast-paced technology-filled world many children now inhabit.
You have the choice of booking in to their One Day school, after school or holiday programme. Check out Conscious Kids and what parks they plan to be at here.