boy in field

“Playing in a natural environment has shown to improve children’s concentration, social and mental development, and physical and mental health”

Dr William Bird (2006)

In this modern era so much of our children’s time is structured, and much of their learning is confined to a classroom. It’s important, now more than ever, for our young people to have time and space to experience diversity and freedom in their learning, so they can get to know themselves and what is important to them.

Aroha Discovery Programmes will be focused on nature based learning. Many programmes such as this have become widely recognised and hugely popular around the world, including the commonly known Forest School, Bush Schools and Outdoor classroom learning. Our programme is based on the Little Kiwi’s Nature Play approach, which is specifically tailored to the New Zealand environment.

Research shows us that children are missing out on opportunities to play the way previous generations have. Many children are lacking social skills, the ability to solve their own problems and have increased levels of anxiety – simply from missing out on the opportunity to play.

In our one-day programme we offer children a break from their routines by removing the four walls, bringing learning into the outdoor environment. We aim to create a space where children feel safe to be themselves, build on their confidence by learning through play, and create a stronger connection to nature, other people and above all themselves.

Aroha Discovery One day Programmes run throughout term time. The aim of our programmes are to give children the opportunity to develop skills they might not so easily develop in other environments. Some of these skills/benefits include:

  • Problem solving skills
  • Learning how to assess and manage risks
  • Developing social and emotional intelligence: empathy for others and nature
  • Self-esteem: Building confidence and independence
  • Self awareness: mentally, emotionally and physically
  • Mental Health: Freedom of movement and fresh air contributing to better sleep, moods and general mental health
  • Communication skills: Learning to work as a team/building relationships
  • Leadership skills
  • Learning by experience

We have chosen for a mixed age programme, open to children aged 5 to 13 years. Children learn mostly through observing and interacting with others, so mixing ages gives them a great opportunity to learn from those older and younger than they are. Mixing ages also works great to minimize competitiveness and bullying.

Younger children can benefit from having older children around to inspire them to engage in activities that would be too difficult for them to do by themselves. They also benefit from care older children can give to them, as well as emotional support they provide.

Older children can benefit from opportunities to practice and develop their leadership skills and nurturing. By teaching others they also extend their own learning.