Our Story.

The Forest School was founded in 2016 when two passionate educators recognised the societal need to provide real-life-learning opportunities. Since the first child arrived on a rainy Monday morning, The Forest School has been a sanctuary for those who love to grow and learn in connection with the New Zealand outdoor environment.

From a small class of just six children a week to now over a hundred, The Forest School has grown exponentially in response to the needs of forward-thinking families who recognise the importance of nature-based learning.


School Leaders.

Gavin and Tennille are married and have three boys. They are highly experienced and skilled teachers with a combined experience of over 37 years leading education for children from pre-school, primary and high school through to adults in tertiary education and the corporate sector. They believe the combination of nature, relationship and meaningful connection, is a powerful environment to experience authentic growth and learning that lasts a lifetime.


co Founder | head of school

Tennille holds a Bachelor of Education and has taught for 20 years in Early Childhood and Primary schools in New Zealand and internationally. She is a highly experienced teacher and passionate about developmental learning, teaching social thinking and neurodiversity.

“I am a mother of three incredible boys who are all SO different. It is these wonderful differences in children, not only my own, that inspired me to begin The Forest School. Learning is not a one size fits all, but an individual process that happens at different rates in a variety of ways. Life and learning are intertwined and is a mechanism for who we can become as adults.”


co Founder | director of outdoor education

Gavin is a New Zealand Registered Teacher and holds a degree in Health Science. He is a certified Outdoor Instructor and highly experienced Surf Lifeguard. He has led university undergraduate programmes in adventure based learning and leadership in New Zealand and Australia.

“I am passionate about preparing young people for the challenges of life through engaging them with the outdoors. I am driven by the idea that there is nothing quite like real learning experiences, in real places, that fully engage and grow us. The Forest School is a very special environment where this can happen in an authentic a way for our Kiwi Kids.”