The Forest School

Frequently Asked Questions


  • Sunhat

  • Wetsuit or rash shirt

  • Sunblock (please apply beforehand)

  • Insect repellent

  • Change of clothing

  • Comfortable footwear

  • Towel

  • Rubbish bag for wet/muddy clothing …or to get into for the ride home!

  • Lunch and plenty of snacks

  • FULL water bottle

  • Waterproof rain jacket

  • Waterproof pants (optional)

  • Warm thermal layers in the colder/wetter months – please avoid cotton.

*It is important that your child comes prepared for all weather.
*The right clothing is essential for a quality experience.

Children attend from 4 – 12 years. We have mixed ages and do not separate students into groups based on age. When children of different ages interact and learn from each other, it provides a powerful opportunity for growth, leadership, empowerment and empathy. In some situations, children often respond better to their peers than to adults. Children are empowered to lead and to facilitate one another’s learning no matter what their age. Every child is at a different stage in the learning journey.

Yes. Staff are a mix of full and part-time who have expansive experience in a range of education, health, play and development, psychology, medical, outdoor safety and water based professions. We employ our staff based on their passion, love for children, energy, enthusiasm and ability to connect positively.

There is no set academic benchmarks or testing for children at The Forest School. Our learning programme is experiential (hands on) and designed to be engaging, fun, active and authentic. We allow for real-life-learning opportunities that develop life skills.

It is also our belief that kiwi children should learn to engage with the natural world in a way that reflects the Maori perspective. For this reason, our programme acknowledges the Maori worldview which helps children to grow in their understanding of their place as New Zealanders, living in a bi-cultural nation.

Not for the One day School programme sorry. The One Day School programme requires a commitment for the full term as a minimum. Depending on the length of the term this may be between 8-10 weeks. Children attend once per week, every week, for the full term.

The One Day School is based on an Emergent Curriculum as well as free play opportunities. Each term has a different theme with learning choices that easily link to the Learning Areas of the NZ Curriculum. The Holiday Club does not have a curriculum and is purely free play focussed.

The One day School is focussed on the long-term growth, social emotional and character development of each child. Each session builds on the one before. The holiday programme is a fun experience, but does not allow for the ongoing learning process that term time does.

The school holiday club is a fantastic introduction to students thinking about joining the One Day School.

One Day Schools have existed since the 1990s and were initially for children who are Gifted and Talented. The Forest School is the pioneering team behind nature-based One Day Schools in New Zealand. We provide an opportunity for any child – not dependant on a specific criteria or learning need. For your child to attend our school, you will first need to complete an Expression of Interest. You then will be invited to a Try Day to visit our venue to see if it is the right match for your child. Once we have discussed a place for your child, you will need to seek approval from your school Principal to be released one day per week to attend our programme. The 1989 Education Act allows for this- with consent from your school Board of Trustees.

We are very fortunate to have a low ratio of 1:12 This is because establishing close genuine relationships is an essential part of our school culture. We work closely alongside the children throughout the day.

Yes. The Forest School is open to all young people from all cultural and social groups, regardless of learning and/or behavioural needs. We are highly experienced educators who have worked with a vast number of children with diverse needs. However, the health and safety of ALL children who attend our programme is paramount. We will not allow any child or adult to be in an unsafe situation.

The Forest School is a 100% outdoor programme. We have open cabins as well as the forest which provides us with a lot of shelter from the elements.

Our motto is:There is no such thing as bad weather – just the wrong clothing!”

It is important that children come prepared for all weather, no matter the season. The children will get muddy and wet at times!
*Remember: Children do not get sick from the rain or cold. Research tells us that children who spend more time outdoors, in all weather, are less likely to become sick! 

The safety of children is paramount. We have a very robust Health and Safety system and each activity has undergone a risk benefit assessment. Staff constantly reflect, review and improve on our policies and procedures. We have an external Health and Safety consultant who advises us on new legislation and supports us in our policy writing. Part of our daily routine is to assess the environment before children arrive to check for any possible risk factors, including fallen or loose branches, garbage, or debris. Understanding weather patterns and tides is essential, as well as ensuring that all fire and first aid safety equipment has been checked and is readily available.

Our philosophy is ‘challenge by choice’. No child is expected to participate in an activity if they do not feel ready or comfortable. Children are taught to be active ‘risk assessors’ and therefore, this becomes part of their regular thought process. They then are able to apply this calculated thinking and problem solving to other areas of their lives.

Please refer to our Terms & Conditions to see a detailed explanation of the Cancellation Policy.