Outdoor Forest School
At Kakapo Creek we know children need nature to develop their sense of inquiry and curiosity. Nature also helps us find contentment and rest.
Children’s best learning and memories take place outdoors in nature – nature is our second best teacher (parents of course are our first and best teacher). That’s why, at Kakapo Creek we have taken special care to design and maintain an environment that is rich in nature. Children spend time every day exploring and learning in our mini forest / bush. We have planted our gardens especially to enhance children’s knowledge and experience of NZ flora and fauna. So expect your child to come home explaining to you how to make fire from Mahoe and how you can eat Kawakawa. And yes, we even make huts in the bush and on special occasions, like Matariki, we light fires under close supervision.
Parents are invited to enrol their children in our once a week excursion to our Northern Campus – a day spent at our very own 1.2ha farm-forest in Silverdale. Here children will explore our one acre bush, care for and learn about our animals – chickens, miniature farm animals, fish, and grow vegetables in our glass house and walled vegetable garden and pick organic fruit from our orchard. Children will be able to roam free, slide down hills, wander (fully supervised) through our native bush and roll down grassy hills. This one day a week childcare is an optional extra and is in addition to our frequent exploration walks to the local playground and Mairangi Bay beach. Note: our Northern Campus is only for fully toilet trained children over the age of three.
NATURE AS TEACHER
Awesome childhood memories, resilient character development, wonder, delight and excitement are all created in nature.
Research is increasingly pointing towards the essential learning that takes place when we ‘get dirty’ and engage in more ‘risky’ play outdoors. Of course, we take safety seriously, while allowing children the freedom to feel the mud between their toes.
Children learn best through play. But not just any type of play. The play must be emergent, creative, natural and supported. At Kakapo Creek we create opportunities for your child’s inner explorer to roam free.
In our hectic world, children need rest. Outdoors are transformative for children. Nature is a fantastic place of learning through looking, listening, and touching. Scientific studies show a child’s social, psychological, academic, and physical health is positively impacted when they have daily contact with nature. Kakapo Creek’s environment is rich in nature with large trees, bushes, ferns, and even our creek with its eels, fish, and ducks.
Outdoors are transformative for children. In a virtual technologically driven world children are spending more time indoors and less time being outdoors in nature or in a natural environment. Scientific studies show a child’s social, psychological, academic and physical health is positively impacted when they have daily contact with nature. More than ever children need the calming of nature. When we are in nature all 5 senses get engaged: look, listen, touch, hear, taste (if there’s a apple tree close by!)
At Kakapo Creek children are surrounded by nature both within the classrooms and without. Every room allows children to be connected to nature. Nature is like a learning medicine that ignites creativity, curiosity, discovery. Bugs, trees, flowers, leaves and our creeks eels, fish and ducks all create an interest in learning for a child.
We believe nature is so vital we have Kakapo’s northern campus (Silverdale) where our children will go on weekly trips to play in a native tree forest of kauri and totara, care for farm animals in their natural setting, and experience growing and harvesting food from the organic gardens and orchard.
Nature isn’t just great for stimulating learning; it’s equally effective at giving brains rest. A research study found that a 15-minute walk in a forest reduced cortisol (stress) levels by 12%. When a child is emotionally rested, they have less anxiety distractors and become better focused and more energised in positive ways. Children need nature for healthy growth and development.
• In one generation the amount of time spend outside has dropped in half. From 1970’s to 2000s there was a 50% drop in time spent outdoors, along with a 3 times rate increase of obesity and 40 times increase in the use of ritalin to treat ADHD!