We believe tamariki should be Free Range!
Since instigating a Forest Programme excursioning from our previous centre some years ago, we have wanted to create a dedicated Forest centre, where children can not just visit, but have their home in a beautiful native forest. We spent more than a year searching high and low for the perfect place, and we have finally found our slice of heaven. It has the ideal amount of challenge, a gorgeous area for our building, a clearing for lots of sunshine, and a gorgeous body of water - the The Waitakaruru Stream. The stream is a major tributary of the Piako River, and has loads of local eels we can make friends with.
The stream has a wonderful history as a baptismal site for the local Māori people long ago, and we enjoy an ongoing investigation of both its importance to our Forest ecosystems, and as we work with the tamariki to learn ngā Pūrākau me ngā pakiwaitara of our rohe - the stories of our local area.
We know that as we work alongside and learn with tamariki, everything that happens to them in our care will influence them - not just their cognitive development, but the way they think about themselves, their identity and the way they see themselves as learners. We have a deep respect for the environment as the third teacher, and have our fully qualified teachers as a support system to the environment itself, following the tamariki interests as they lead their learning.
We aim to empower lifelong learners that have a strong connection to the land, a commitment to sustainability and an empathy for all life forms. Learners that will go forward on their journey knowing who they are and how to articulate their needs, confident that they make a difference in the world and that they matter.