Bush Kindy Playgroup

PLEASE READ: We are sorry but we have had to turn off the waiting list at the moment. There are currently 70 families on the waiting list and it continues to grow. We will open the list up again when we get to about 40. It is a challenge for us as we want to provide this opportunity to as many children as possible, however we only have a certain number of sessions each week. Thank you for your understanding.

What is bush Kindy

Inspired by the Scandinavian Forest Kindergarten movement, bush kindy is a holistic approach to early childhood education believing children are capable and competent learners. Bush Kindy provides real-life experiences exploring and playing in nature developing a deeper connection with te taiao. A place where they build resilience, develop social skills, fine and gross motor skills and develop independence in a supportive environment.

Our Bush Kindy is currently run as a playgroup due to the existing legislation in NZ (which we are trying to change) that prevents us running a 100% outdoor bush kindy. So we have set this up in the meantime. This means that parents come with their child for the whole session.  We really appreciate how special this time is for families. It’s so nice to be present with your children and enjoy the magic of childhood in nature! 


Research shows us there are many benefits to connecting our tamariki with nature.  It can support multiple developmental domains including intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual and physical.  It develops problem solving abilities, emotional regulation, self belief, it enhances cognitive skills and improves academic performance.   It also increases physical activity, can improve nutrition, eyesight, social relations, self-discipline and reduce stress. Daily contact with nature can show many positive impacts.

Little kiwis philosophy & VALUES

The philosophy behind our bush kindy sessions is around child led play in nature, with nature and through nature.  This means that children choose what they want to do and how they want to do it.  The main focus is about using the natural environment and exploring it at their own pace.  There are opportunities to explore, climb trees, forage (seasonal), get dirty, play on the forts and tree swings…and much more! We also provide outdoor play and loose parts opportunities that help enhance the space and provide some familiarity to children in a new space. 

Child led Free Play

We follow a child led free play philosophy which allows children to follow their play urges and explore when and how they want. Nature provides real life experiences where children can explore and play at their own pace in nature and where the child is at the centre of the experience.

We encourage children to take turns rather than share. A child can wait till another child has finished with something before they get a turn. If they want to negotiate their turn that is great. But ultimately a child should be able to choose when they are ready to move on not be told.

Risky Play

Risky play is an important part of a child’s development. At little kiwis Nature Play children are provided will opportunities to engage in risky play. It is wonderful to allow children to experiment with risky play in a supervised environment rather than later on in life where there might not be any guidance.

Risky play helps develop problem solving skills, risk management, self confidence and helps builds resilience. It is a wonderful skill that transfers to other areas of life.

If your child comes home with some cuts, bumps or bruises, please know they have had a wonderful day and that it is a normal part of nature play. In fact, we expect it! We call them learning injuries and there is a difference between learning injuries and life altering injuries.


We encourage children to do things for themselves. This can be frustrating for some children. The reason behind it is to help build resilience, problem solving and perseverance. If we help a child do something, then they become dependent on someone else to do that task. If they are given the opportunity to get frustrated, try and try again, problem solve; they may just figure it out all by themselves. They may not too. And that is ok. There is a saying ‘Every climb has it’s time, which need not be today.’ We support children in these feelings where needed.


Relationships are so important and are the foundation to everything that we do. We feel that when relationships are strong children feel more secure in themselves and when exploring the environment. We put great value on going at the child’s pace as all children are unique and will build relationships at different paces. Social skills develop through realationships.

These relationships are with people, life and the world. Allowing time for relationships to build through warmth, love and kindness in our natural environment.


We provide an environment that is peaceful, slow-paced, calm and happy. Nature helps us to feel healthy, happy, purposeful and socially connected. With lives being so busy and over-scheduled, being able to find time to support our wellbeing is treasured.



Sessions run on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday 8 weeks of the term.

 IN SUMMER 9.30 – 12noon.

IN WINTER 9.45 am – 11.45am. 

We start with a karakia, welcome / introductions and go over the days risk management and opportunities for play.  Children then go off and choose what play that want to do. On some sessions there is opportunity for families to help out with maintenance/gardening on site if they choose to. We have a rolling kai and there is a nice place in the sun where parents often sit with their tamariki.  We are a community when it comes to looking after the children, we run with the ‘It takes a village’ ethos.  At the end of the sessions we start packing up around 11.30 and then we have a quick check in with the tamariki to reflect on the days adventure and say farewell till next time.


1.5 – 6(ish) years


$70 per child over 18 months per term (adjusted over winter)
2 children for $125.00
and 3 children for $180

NB Younger siblings of paying child (under 18 months) come along and enjoy it for free. 


44 Cowlishaw Street, Avonside



WINTER: Warm clothes, wet weather clothing (jacket and over trousers are useful), gumboots maybe required on the wetter days / dew days, spare clothes are a bonus, picnic blanket to sit in the sun, morning kai.

SUMMER: Hats, sunscreen, shoes or sandals, clothes that protect from the sun and layers if it’s a cool day, morning kai. Insect repellent can be helpful in summer. Picnic blanket to sit in the sun, morning kai.


Photos: Header by Stephanie Defregger, others by Celia Hogan

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