The Forest School

Our Story | The Forest School

About The Forest School

The Forest School was founded by two passionate educators who recognised the societal need to provide real-life-learning opportunities. Since the first child arrived on a rainy Monday morning, The Forest School has been a sanctuary for those who love to grow and learn in connection with the New Zealand outdoor environment. 

From a small class of just six children a week to now well over a hundred, The Forest School has grown exponentially in response to the needs of forward-thinking families who recognise the importance of nature-based learning.

The Forest School is a small private school based in Hatfields Beach, Auckland. It aims to inspire the minds and enrich the lives of tamariki, by engaging them with all that nature has to offer. 

The Forest School provides connection, belonging and education. Through these things, we can support young people respond to te taiao (nature), themselves and each other in a positive way. 

The Forest School Trust – Te Rongotaiao is a registered charity (Registration number: CC59088). We do not receive any Ministry of Education or private funding and operate purely from donations and the fees we are obliged to charge. We are a small family-run social enterprise providing education and specialised learning.  

Students attend one day every week, known as One Day School. Permission is granted by your child’s regular school principal to attend. The Education and Training Act 2020 allows for this. Attendance is always on the same day since belonging, connection, and friendships are an integral part of our culture. For those children who are home educated, attendance may be on multiple days and discounts are provided.

Our History

Te Rongotaiao - Learning through all the senses

Established in 2016, The Forest School (Māori name gifted to us Te Rongotaiao) was created so that children could learn about the natural world, one another, and themselves. We provide small classes so that true, authentic connections and relationships can flourish between adults and children. Everyone has a place and a purpose at The Forest School. 

Our children have the opportunity to learn about the living world in context. Science is the basis for our curriculum with scientific topics and concepts woven through the play, discovery and hands-on learning opportunities we provide. All other subject areas are woven through this foundation. 

The Forest School is the antidote for our increasingly digital world. When children are frequently connected with te taiao (nature) and each other; in a real, face-to-face way, an abundance of positive social and personal development takes place. The heart of our school is to develop the whole child. This includes their physical, intellectual, social and spiritual self. We are more than the information we carry in our minds. 

With an endemic of mental health conditions on the rise for young people; The Forest School not only provides a haven for children to de-stress and re-set from the busyness of life, but we explicitly coach them to develop positive social and self-management skills. 

The success of our students isn’t just based on academic and intellectual achievement, but on the way they see themselves, what they can achieve, and the respectful relationships they have with the environment and people. This has a lasting impact on society.

Welcome to The Forest School Whānau!