I took a leap earlier this week – I submitted a proposal that I am excited and passionate about but one that also makes me feel nervous because of the amount of work I would have to do to make it happen. I have always believed in dreaming big so this is no exception.

I put a proposal into Regenerate Christchurch suggesting that the Red Zone should have its very own Bush kindergarten. It’s such an exciting concept and having shared the concept on Facebook there has been a lot of support which was awesome to see. I wanted to share a bit more about my vision as its not only a bush kindergarten. It’s a bush school and and Outdoor Education Centre too. By sharing my vision, I hope to encourage any other passionate people out of the woodworks but also it would be nice to document where this journey takes us.

So here are some of the high-level details that I have come up with so far. The kindergarten would have its own area but tamariki would also be able to venture into the Otakaro Forest Park which is another wonderful proposal. Within its area would be native forest for the tamariki to learn, play, discover and explore. A community garden would be set up through either the Outdoor Centre or a community group that the children could use and help run.

The bush school would also have its own small area or base and they would venture out into the park for activities. The bush school would be a place that school pupils, aged approx. 5-17years old, would be able to come and visit and take part in activities, outdoor education, environmental education and adventure play with lots of nature play thrown in there too. It would benefit schools from all over Christchurch and possibly Canterbury too.

The Outdoor Education Centre or Adventure Centre is aimed at visitors and tourists. Some of the activities could cross over and be used by the bush school as well. There could be activities like zip wires, high ropes course, tree top walks, orienteering, kayaking and bike rental that would help showcase the area and the environmental journey that the red zone has gone through. Tourists would be able to engage in other activities that educate, promote and support environmental awareness. The centre could be involved in setting up natural playgrounds and nature play spaces within the park as well as a pump track for kids and a community garden that could be an inter-generational project that could incorporate the bush kindergarten and bush school groups as well.

The more I think about it the bigger my idea becomes! It did start off as just a Bush Kindergarten but as you can see it’s a lot bigger now! There is a saying ‘if you shoot for the moon and fall, at least you land amongst the stars’. I love that saying as it encourages endless thinking and promotes self-belief. No matter what I do it’s better than doing nothing, right? My ideas will evolve and develop as I talk to other people and I very much welcome that. This is the start of the journey and I as I write this another idea has popped into my head – the centre could be a base for kid’s adventure races or rogaines or orienteering challenges. The possibilities are endless!

One of the reasons I get so passionate about this idea is that I love being outdoors and I want every child to have the opportunity to develop a positive relationship with nature. I also know that if our future custodians of this planet don’t spend time in it then they don’t know how to care for it and they won’t see the value in having good access to nature. I also want to get children active outdoors. Children are spending considerably more time sitting down during their days than previous generations. Being outdoors and in nature doesn’t just give us the opportunity to be more active but it is great for brain development and mental health. I will share more on that in another post.

Regenerate Christchurch are currently taking ideas from members of the public before a consultation process occurs. I am keen to make people aware of this idea so that it can be considered when it comes to the consultation process. That will be part of my focus over the coming months so if you are interested to hear how things are going please sign up to our mailing list for our monthly newsletter. We would love your support!

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