thematic units

Thematic Units are central to The Forest School’s programme. The units, which can be adapted to any age group, are designed to help participants connect with nature. They reflect our commitment to student-centred, integral education in that each one brings challenges to the BIG FOUR perspectives: introspection, action, cognition and emotion.

Each thematic unit contains around 64 specific experiences grouped under the four headings:

Introspective - Taha wairua

Active - Taha tinana

Cognitive - Taha hinengaro

Emotive - Taha whanau

Here is a sample of some of our themes:

  • Bees & Butterflies

  • Sabre-toothed Sheep

  • Castaways

  • When Kauri was King

  • Shoreline Symmetry


sustainable educational technology (SET)

Sustainable Educational Technology (SET) differs from ‘art & crafts’ and ‘technology’ - as the term is commonly used. SET is an exciting subject which emphasises design and connection.


All SET projects have an open-ended design phase. In a craft lesson the teacher might tell the students what to make; in a SET project, students exercise choice over design and implementation.


The link between school and community, especially local business, is important in SET projects. Connecting SET to practitioners and consumers increases the work’s relevance.

Here is a sample of some of the projects:

  • Bamboo water features

  • Hay box cooker

  • Wind turbines

  • Natural skin care products


teaching and learning approach

When working with children, the learning and adventure opportunities are negotiated. Participants make choices inside a range of options and they change between activities in line with passion and interests.

Teachers facilitate student learning by providing a variety of tools, resources and experiences that guide students to observe, reflect and find answers to their own questions.

The bush, shoreline, ocean and islands are our platform for learning. As the seasons, weather and tides change, new learning opportunities emerge.

Although we have curriculum, we never forget that ENGAGEMENT is the holy grail.

As experienced teachers, we are responsive to the needs of the students, flexible, fun and most of all - kind