Our Vision.

That every child in New Zealand will know their value, self worth and the greatness within themselves.



Our Mission

Empowering children through experiential learning in nature so that transformation happens in self, place and culture.


Our Philosophy

The Forest School instills a love of learning through play, discovery and curiosity in the natural world, fostering a connection with and love for the environment.

Emotional intelligence and social competence are highly valued, explicitly taught and fostered to equip and prepare children for their global future.

Children are taught how to think, not what to think and our students are encouraged to be imaginative people who are great at problem solving. We empower them to take supported risks so that they build resilience and confidence in their abilities.

These important life skills combined, empower children to become happy, healthy and connected people who are confident to ask the big questions:

Who am I? What am I capable of? Where do I fit? What is my purpose?

Finding the answers to these big questions is the fundamental purpose of educating children.

We help children to discover new passions and gifts and to understand that they have enormous potential. We help them find their reason to learn.


Our Values


The Forest School is play based. Play is the foundation of true inquiry and discoveries. Play empowers, enables and excites. It is the very thing that allows for natural, developmentally appropriate learning to take shape. Play provides children with the opportunity to interact with one another, so that they can make sense of themselves and their world. We have fun and play together always.


Genuine relationship is our core foundation. Being truly connected to others and to the environment is essential to personal, social and emotional growth. We support children to become socially competent, empathetic people who feel a true sense of belonging, to people and place.


Experiential learning is at the heart of what we do. We focus on the process and what children are learning through their experience, rather than the product. Children experience through doing. Real-life learning is key, so that children understand that what they are a part of has purpose.


Who we are and who we can become is the big question of life. Every child arrives unique and capable in their own way. We enable children to understand this about themselves and others. Children are empowered to see that we all have purpose and potential and are given space to figure out what that is.  


Moving physically provides greater opportunities to process, think and participate in a whole body way. Physical and mental well-being is a byproduct of highly engaged active learners. Engaging the mind and body with surroundings is a powerful catalyst that enables children to become lifelong healthy and active people.


To prepare children for our fast changing world we must first understand what matters in their world. This is different for every child. Our focus is to then enable children by coaching them in becoming confident, resilient, bold, creative, innovative problem solvers of the future, that can not just make sense of the world they live in, but impact it.

Inspiring People
+ Research

See what the experts have to say on education, play, nature and development. We are constantly inspired by them and the evidence based research that they conducte. We hope that you are too.

Dr Peter Gray

Founder of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education, Psychologist, research professor, author and advocate of free play.

 The Decline of Play

Freedom to Learn

What is Self-Directed Education?

Self-Directed Learning Fundamentals

Professor Adele Diamond

Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, Adele Diamond is at the forefront of research on executive functions.

What Are Executive Functions?

How to Help Children Develop Executive Functions

Turning Some Ideas On Their Heads

Dr Thomas Armstrong

Executive Director of the American Institute for Learning and Human Development, award-winning author, speaker and educator for over forty years.

 The Best Schools

Progressive Education

Institute for Learning and Human Development Resources

Professor Welby Ings

Teacher of 40 years, award winning designer, filmmaker and professor at AUT, Welby Ings is an international consultant on issues of creativity and learning.

Disobedient Thinking

The productively disobedient teacher

Professor Welby Ings helps students 'believe in themselves'

Disobedient Teaching: Surviving and creating change in education

The fact is that given the challenges we face, education doesn’t need to be reformed — it needs to be transformed. The key to this transformation is not to standardize education, but to personalize it, to build achievement on discovering the individual talents of each child, to put students in an environment where they want to learn and where they can naturally discover their true passions.
— Sir Ken Robinson