what does my child need to bring?

  • Sunhat

  • Wetsuit or rash shirt

  • Sunblock (please apply beforehand)

  • Insect repellent

  • Change of clothing

  • Comfortable footwear

  • Towel

  • Rubbish bag for wet/muddy clothing …or to get into for the ride home!

  • Lunch and plenty of snacks

  • Full water bottle

  • Waterproof rain jacket

  • Waterproof pants (optional)

  • Warm thermal layers in the colder/wetter months – NOT cotton

*It is important that your child comes prepared for any weather. As we know all too well, our Auckland weather is very unpredictable and we can have all seasons in one day! The right clothing is essential to the quality of the experience.


What age is your programme for?

We generally have children attend from 5 – 12 years. However this is not set in stone, as we prefer to focus on the ‘stage’ a child is at in their learning and development- not their ‘age’. Please contact us if your child is older than 12. We also do not separate the children based on age. Having children of different ages interact together and learn from each other is a powerful learning opportunity. In some situations, children often respond better to their peers than to adults. We empower the children to lead and to facilitate one another’s learning no matter what their age. Every child is at a different stage in a vast array of life learning experiences.

Are your educators qualified?

Yes. We have 5 educators on staff who are all experts in their field. The Forest School staff all have expansive experience in a range of education, health and safety, medical, child development, outdoor and watersafe professions. Including but not limited to:
NZ Registered Teachers – (Primary, ECE and High School)
Outdoor Education
Forest School Level 3 Practitioners

Clinical Social Worker
First Aid Qualified to PHEC
SLSNZ Senior Lifeguard
NZOIA Outdoor Instructor
Westpac Rescue Helicopter Trust Lifeguard
EOTC Management Certificate
Coastal Skipper
Gifted and Talented Education Teacher – One Day School
Play Worker Specialist
Published Educational Author

what will my child learn?

There is no set academic benchmarks or testing for children at The Forest School. Our teaching programme is experiential (hands on) and is designed to teach life skills such as; how to relate to others, collaboration, problem solving, resilience, grit, determination, creativity, imagination, empathy, respect as well as many other skills they’ll take with them throughout their lives.

It is also our belief that kiwi children should learn to engage with the natural world in a way that reflects the Maori perspective. For this reason, our programme acknowledges the Maori worldview which helps children to grow in their understanding of their place as New Zealanders, living in a bi-cultural nation.

CAN my child attend on a casual basis?

Not for the One day School programme sorry. The One Day School programme requires a commitment for the full term as a minimum. Depending on the length of the term this may be between 8-11 weeks. Children attend once per week, every week, for the full term.



The One Day School has its own curriculum, the Holiday Club does not. The educational opportunities at the ODS have a great deal more professional input. Although both are learning programmes; free play is the focus of the holiday club and the ODS has this as well as Thematic Units, Sustainable Educational Technology and other learning opportunities.

The One day School is focussed on the long-term growth and development of each of the students, like at a regular school. vs the holiday programme which is an 'experience' but not an ongoing learning process like during term time. Each session builds on the one before.

The School Holiday Club is a great opportunity for authentic play in nature and exciting adventures, as well as being a fantastic introduction to students thinking about joining the One Day School.


what is a one day school and how does it work?

We offer a One Day School programme that provides a variety of play based EOTC (Education Outside The Classroom) learning sessions. One Day Schools have existed since the 1990s and have previously been available to children who are Gifted and Talented. The Forest School is available to any child – not dependant on a specific learning style or learning need. For your child to attend our programme, you will need to firstly visit our venue to see if it is the right match for you and your child and the type of programme you are looking for. Once we have discussed a place for your child, you will need to seek approval from your school Principal to be released one day per week to attend our programme. The 1989 Education Act allows for this- with consent from your school Board of Trustees.


what is your ratio?

We are very fortunate to have a low ratio of 1:9. We have this because establishing close genuine relationships is an essential part of our philosophy and we work closely alongside the children throughout the day.

do you cater for children with special needs?

Yes. The Forest School is open to all young people from all cultural and social groups, regardless of learning and/or behavioural needs. We are highly experienced educators who have worked with a vast number of children with diverse needs- our staff includes Special Needs Specialists, Psychiatrists/Psychologists as well. However, the health and safety of the children who attend our programme is paramount. If your child has learning and/or behavioural needs that could put themselves or others at risk this will be considered and a decision made on a case by case basis.


what happens when it is cold and raining?

The Forest School is a 100% outdoor programme. We want to encourage children to learn about, and understand nature, regardless of the weather. We do not have indoor facilities but the forest provides us with a lot of shelter and the children do make their own dens and shelters.

Our motto is: There is no such thing as bad weather – just the wrong clothing!

It is important that children come prepared for all kinds of weather and that they have the right kind of gear. Please ask us if you are not sure where to get waterproof clothing from. The children will get muddy and wet at times- WE HOPE!
*Remember: Children do not get sick from the rain or cold weather – they get sick from viruses and bacteria. Research tells us that children who spend more time outdoors, in all weather, are less likely to become sick!


is the programme safe for children?

The safety of children is paramount. We have robust Health and Safety procedures in place and every activity has undergone a risk benefit assessment. Staff constantly reflect, review and improve on the experiences. Part of our daily routine is to assess the environment before children arrive to check for any possible risk factors, including fallen or loose branches, garbage, debris, and more. Understanding weather patterns and tides is essential, as well as ensuring that all fire and first aid safety equipment has been checked and is readily available. Our philosophy is ‘challenge by choice’. No child is expected to participate in an activity if they do not feel ready. The children themselves are taught to be active ‘risk assessors’ and therefore, this becomes part of their regular thought process. They then are able to apply this calculated thinking and problem solving to other areas of their lives. We take every precaution to ensure the safety of all children.


How do we enrol?

You can register your interest for the One day School programme via our registration form . After receiving your enquiry we will invite you to a Try Day. After this, we will provide you with an Enrolment Form and request necessary documentation. Your child will then be considered and you will be notified when a place becomes available.



Please refer to our Programmes and Fees page to see a detailed explanation of the Cancellation Policy and links to our Terms and Conditions.