Welcome to Aroha Discovery School

Aroha Discovery School is an initiative started by the registered charity Arohanui Learning Communities Trust. The charity and initiative were born from the desire of Nelson parents for a more holistic approach to education. Our programmes are based on the fundamental tenet that relationships (between students, teachers, parents, nature and the wider community) are the foundation from which children will continually spark their creativity and desire to learn, grow and thrive as confident individuals.

Please note that Aroha Discovery School is not a registered school and is not required to be when running one day programmes. The name was chosen as it is our intention to eventually register as a private school so that we may offer a full immersion programme based on our founding principles.

Update Sept 2021

We’re going through some big changes right now and part of this is the inclusion of the Montessori method in our vision. 

This merger opens up many opportunities for us and we’re excited to say we’re on the
brink of making our school a reality!

Make sure and watch this space for further updates very soon…



We chose to use Aroha in our name because it means “love” in Māori. A corner stone of Aroha Discovery School is to nurture our children’s’ inborn love of learning – letting them lead the way. The teacher’s role is viewed as providing scaffolding to support them as they travel along their own personal journey of discovery.

At Aroha Discovery School the child is at the centre of their own learning and are encouraged at all times, in all areas to compare their work and skills with their own previous achievements and their own goals. The capacity to use a skill and expand on it, is taken as demonstrating possession of that skill and these are documented using learning stories and portfolios.

Photo by Laura Kapfer on Unsplash


We all need to feel we are understood, valued and supported to be able to effectively learn and grow as individuals. At Aroha Discovery School learning to build and maintain healthy relationships with each other (whether it’s with another student, teacher, parent or people in the wider community) is central to our students learning and involves established conflict resolution methods for problem solving between individuals.

Our culture is one of respect – for each other, for the importance of and freedom to learn, and for Papatūānuku (mother earth); and unstructured play is considered a natural way in which children explore, master new skills and integrate information.

Image designed by Freepik

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