Directory of Nature Education Programmes in NZ

Below you will find a list of early childhood and primary level centres, schools and providers who run nature programmes either as excursions, full days or full time. It is divided into regions so for your region to find what nature programmes are happening in your area!

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Back2Nature Childcare

Location: Whangarei

Ages: 0-6 ECE and 5-13 Oscar children in a homebased setting

We are a homebased childcare service and have one organised large group nature day where all of the educators and children come together, and one Kapa Haka practice each week. We have a strong nature philosophy where individual educators also take the children out into nature through the rest of the week.



Facebook: Back2Nature Childcare

Ngā Tamariki o Te Tai Ao

Location: Northland

Ages: 0-4

Parents and caregivers meet weekly, with their tamariki during term time. Children play freely in nature with others in their own age while their parents observe. Playing in te tai ai (the natural world) is a crucial part of children’s development. We support one another to provide this experience for babies and toddlers.



Open Spaces Preschool

Location: Northland

Ages: 3m – 6 yrs

Nature-based preschool with large wild play spaces and weekly trips into our ‘Wild Woods’. We follow a play-based emergent curriculum where nature is our primary provocation – the bush feeds our curriculum. Come visit and play!



Facebook: Open Spaces Preschool



Wild West Organics

Location: Waimauku, Auckland

Ages: 0 – 6 years

We run a 2-hour playgroup fortnightly on our certified organic farm for pre-schoolers to come with their caregivers. The main activity is adventuring about the farm and discovering fallen trees, pockets of bush, streams and also we have a large bamboo stand. We also get to know some of the animals, goats, chickens, pigs, cows and sheep.


Facebook: Wild West Organics 

Wild West Organics – Farm Escape Adventure

Location: Waimauku, Auckland

Ages: 4-12 years

We are a certified organic sheep, beef and free range pig farm. We run alternate week afternoon sessions on a Tuesday fro 1.30-4.30pm called FarmEscape Adventures. Parents attend with their children similar to playcentre. We have free play and activities in our four playscapes, farmyard, bamboo jungle, paddocks and bush. $125 for 5 sessions.



 Farm Friends

Location: Auckland

Ages: 2-6 years old

We are a licenced Early Childhood centre located in 10 acres of Farm land which our tamariki explore daily



Facebook #Farmfriendsnz

Other Contact DetailsRhiannon.Farmfriends@gmail.com

Birkenhead Playcentre

Location: Auckland

Ages: 0-6yrs

We run a 2.5hr one day a week nature session from our centre.


Facebook: Birkenhead Playcentre

Eden homebased childcare

Location: Auckland

Ages: Birth to 6 years

We run 2 nature play sessions weekly, these are a free community event. We vary the location so people need to follow us on Facebook for details.We also run a weekly music in the parks at Jutland park, also a free community event.



Facebook: Eden homebased childcare


Loving Care Kindergarten

Location: Auckland

Ages: 2-5 years

We are a community based kindergarten in Henderson and our four-year-olds take turns to go on a 2 hour nature walk with two teachers weekly to explore the tracks nearby. They learn about road safety, making discoveries, problem solving, independence, responsibility, confidence and a love for nature. We have whole centre nature walks during the term break too.




Ako Space

Location: Auckland

Ages: 5-13 years

A primary school offering a play-based and child-led approach with frequent all day excursions to local bush areas. Our values include play, curiosity, creativity, respect, community and seeing the whole child. We are based in Northcote.


Facebook: Ako Space

Conscious Kids

Location: Auckland and Hamilton

Ages: 5-12 years

We run 100% nature based school holiday programmes, one day programmes during term time, PD for nature based educators, youth development programmes, community events, and programmes in schools.




Facebook: Consciouskids

Country Bears Nature Childcare

Location: Kumeu, Auckland

Ages: 3 mths – 6 yrs

We are a full-time licenced preschool that provides our own outdoor programme within the bounds of our property and neighbours (rural location). Children and teachers have access to bush and paddocks at any time of the day.

We are nestled amongst acres of our very own trees & paddocks, providing your child with an endless route for exploration and the opportunity to foster a positive relationship with the earth and a love towards healthy living.
Our emphasis is on nature as a vast and wonderful classroom, encouraging empathy and respect to all living things through relationships and connections to Papatūānuku (Mother Earth).






Old MacDonalds farm and bush school

Location: Hamilton

Ages: 4.5-12years

We run a one day a week out of school nature programme near HAMILTON for primary aged children in collaboration with their regular school to enhance the child’s outcomes. We believe this form of education is grounding and needed for many and hope one day soon to see it funded





Education Angels in home child care

Location: Hamilton

Ages: 3-5 year olds

We run a 2 hour fortnightly forest school at Paranga Park and the Taitua Arboretum in Hamilton. Come and join us in the wonderment and awe of nature’s discovery. Bring morning tea , gum boots, woolly hat and something warm to wear on those cold mornings. For the warmer days plenty of water, sun hat and sunscreen.






Waikino School

Location: Waikino

Ages: 3 – 12years

We are a mainstream primary school and we offer forest school sessions weekly to our enrolled students.  We also offer a one day forest school where students who are not enrolled with us can come and spend the day learning and being in te ngāhere. These students can be enrolled in another school and attend with us one day per week or not be enrolled in school at all. We work with the Waikino Playgroup to offer Bush Kindy sessions and also with Kiwikidz Educare Waihi who bring their older students up one day per week.




07 8637733  

Newstead Country Preschool 

Location: Newstead, Hamilton

Ages: 6mth-6yrs

We are a small family owned childcare centre set on 15acres with a mix farmland, bush and gully which we explore daily.






The Children’s Garden Childcare

Location: Tauranga

Ages: 3.5 to 5 years old

We run bush kindy twice a week for 2 hours in the local reserve we’re children can explore their local environment. They take morning tea and are clothed appropriately for the weather conditions. They are able to run, jump in puddles, roll down hills, build huts, swing and climb on trees, pretend to fish in streams under close supervision, we have a robust RAMS in place to ensure their safety at all times. We are very fortunate to have a very large bush reserve surrounding our centre which makes it very accessible and easy to manage.



Facebook: The Children’s Garden


 Puaka Bush School

Location: Eastern BOP

Ages: 5-12 years

One day school to compliment 4 days normal schooling starting in 2019 based in original native bush. Developing children who are Play Based learners; Unique individuals; Adapadable; Kaitiaki o te Taiao; Achievers (PUAKA).



 Mount Plunket Preschool

Location: Bay of Plenty

Ages: 3-5years

We explore our local Maunga and beach once a fortnight as well as take our food scraps to chickens that live down the road once a month. The trips to the beach and Maunga are for three hours


Facebook: Mount Plunket Preschool

 Nature Kids from Nature Library NZ

Location: Tauranga / Mt Mounganui

Ages: 6-12 years

Nature Kids is small group Weekday and School Holiday sessions for kids who are keen to explore, create and learn in nature.
Our days blend focused learning experiences and free nature play all while exploring our beautiful backyard in Mount Maunganui and Tauranga.
School Holiday and Weekday sessions run every holiday and each term. Our days usually run from 9 am to 3 pm. For more info on dates and times:www.naturelibrary.co.nz


Kathy – Phone 027 842 5645






 Ashridge Road Playcentre

Location: Hawkes Bay

Ages: 0-6

We run an outdoor Papatuanuku session on Thursday mornings through our Playcentre. It’s a fabulous morning of imaginary play, physical challenges and currently lots of games of hide and seek. We follow Playcentre philosophy, so the play is child-led and our location moves around to follow their interests.


Facebook: Ashridge Road Playcentre


 The DEN: Discovery Education in Nature

Location: Hawkes Bay

Ages: 2 to 6 years

The DEN offers discovery education for children aged 2-6 years in a home-like, purpose-built environment set on two acres of natural, outdoor play space.





 TimberNook Hawkes Bay

Location: Hawkes Bay

Ages: 0-13 years

We offer many different education programs in nature from our smallest play group explorers to our school age Forest Education Programme. Ece and schools are welcome to book for sessions alongside our fabulous Holiday Programmes. Check us out and empower children to learn through their senses in an environment that encourages imagination and creativity.




Phone 0272424596



Pohutukawa Kids Oscar (out of school care and recreation programme)

Location: Gisborne

Ages: 5-13

We run after school care and school holiday programmes with a focus around getting tamariki back outside and in nature.

Contacts: http://pkgis.nz/pk-oscar.html

Facebook: Pohutukawakidsoscar


 Nature Play Gizzy, Playgroup

Location: Gisborne

Ages: 0-5years

We are a casual playgroup that meets Thursday mornings from 9.30, at the local beach, bush or park. The focus is Parents following the lead of their children, exploring the outdoors at their own pace. We dress to allow for exploration in all types of weather. We range in ages from babies in front packs to 5 year olds, the majority are around 2/3 years old. Check our Facebook page for details. All are welcome to join us!


Facebook: Nature Play Gizzy



Harriette Vine Kindergarten

Location: Whanganui

Ages: 4 years old

Harriette Vine runs a once a week Nature Discovery excursion as part of the Kindergartens curriculum. We have access for a 5-acre forest and farm block where the children get to discover and explore. Teachers follow the forest-schools philosophy of child guided self-learning based on their interests.



Facebook: Harriette Vine Kindergarten

The ECO School

Location: Whanganui

Ages: 0-13

We run: Holiday programs for school aged children; Nature play program for schools and ECE centres to come to our site on excursions; A weekly playgroup for children and caregivers during term time. We are based on a 5ha farm in Whanganui.




022 190 7323



Tai Tamariki kindergarten

Location: Wellington

Ages: 3-5years (ish)

We take the 10 oldest Tamariki up into Mt Victoria for half a day fortnightly. We go in all weather unless there’s a weather warning. The tamariki walk up the hill to Mt Vic carrying individual packs with their kai, water and extra warm clothing. We follow the children’s curiosities and each trip is different!


Facebook: Tai Tamariki kindergarten

 Seedlings Nature Playgroup

Location: Wellington

Ages: 0-3 year olds

We are a free nature playgroup based in Johnsonville Wellington. At this stage we are only for our littlest nature explorers aged 0-3 years old. We meet biweekly rain or shine. New people always welcome.


Facebook: Seedlings Nature Playgroup North Wellington


 Nature School NZ Trust

Location: Welington


We set up and facilitate the Bush Sprouts programme; long-term, sustainable nature programmes in early childhood centres and primary schools. Working with the school/ECE weekly for a term, we help with whanau engagement, risk management and also mentor teachers to gain confidence and experience in running their own programme at the School/ECE. Funding may be available. We also run a weekly Nature School/One Day School and Bush Sprouts holiday programmes, and our new programme; He kakano, is a special whole school native seed gathering and propagation project, culminating in children tending and planting the native trees they have grown in local bush areas. We are a not for profit trust and may have funding available for our programmes.



Facebook: natureschoolnz

Instagram: natureschoolnz

 Wairarapa Forest School 

Location: Wellington

Ages: 0 to 90years

Once a month or more often during Spring and Summer families come together under Kahikatea trees, part of 230 acres regenerating land. School and EC groups come for a special program of 4 hrs.

This outdoor playground has plenty of scope to grow and develop into a place that can serve the ever-increasing need for our tamariki to connect to land.


Facebook: Wairarapa Forest School

791 Mikimiki Rd RD1 Masterton

 Timbernook Wellington

Location: Wellington

Ages: 4-16 years

TimberNook is an innovative nature-based developmental programme designed to foster creativity, imagination, and independent play in the great outdoors.





 Pohutukawa Early Learning Centre

Location: Masterton-Wairarapa

Ages: 2-5 years

Pohutukawa is a mixed aged center that provides a daily ‘forest school’ based programme as part of it’s curriculum (roughly 2 hours long). Our center backs onto a local recreational river trail which is utilised for nature based exploration.



(06) 3771000

 Wairarapa Forest School

Location: Wellington

Ages: All ages

Every 2nd Monday of the month we come together for the day under the Kahikatea trees on the edge of the Tartarua Forest Park. EC and School groups come for day outings, or people can request to organise an outing themselves. We retired 230 acres 10 years ago which is available for walks, recreation and other Forest School related activities.



Facebook: Wairarapa Forest School



Clifton Terrace School

Location: Nelson

Ages: 5 – 11years

We are currently running a forest school programme in our junior school with small groups of children.


888 Atawai Drive, Nelson


Teal Valley Forest Kindergarten Programme

Location: Nelson

Ages: 3-6year olds

Run as a full day nature excursion for local Nelson kindergartens/ECE centres/schools. Through these ongoing experiences tamariki will strengthen their lifelong connection with Papatūanuku and develop learning dispositions including developing an inquisitive mind, a strong body and sound social and emotional skills. Teal Valley Forest Kindergarten Programme, is an evolving concept, grounded in the fundamental idea that children learn more about who they are, what makes them excited, motivated and feel more connected, when they are in the natural environment. Our role as adults is not to provide the answers but to share in the children’s sense of wonder and awe. The programme provides opportunities for tamariki to build       resilience and confidence in themselves to take supported risks in order to grow their abilities. Children are taught how to think, not what to think and are encouraged to be imaginative and inquisitive individuals who are great at problem solving and have sound social and emotional skills.




Nature Kids Motueka

Location: Motueka

Ages: 2-6

Nature Kids is open from 8.45 to 3.15 Monday to Friday in school terms only. With extensive grounds, play based philosophy and no restrictions to outside we encourage natural inquisitiveness and help develop a strong commitment to kaitiakitanga among our tamariki. Our whole days are a natural excursion into nature to discover Papatuanuku. We have a passion for sustainabliity and te ao Māori and our team work collaboratively to achieve a high standard in this regard.
Nature Kids encourages child directed learning in a peaceful, natural environment, reflecting the holistic way children learn and grow and  assisted by well-informed teachers who love what they are doing, and are encouraged to nurture their own desires to develop and improve their professional standards.






 The Children’s Garden

Location: Nelson

Ages: 0-6 years

We have a beautifully restored home which been made into heart filled, nature focused, child led play space. We are placed on a quarter acre section surrounded by climbing trees, fruit trees and secret gardens. We spend our day outdoors every day, no matter what the weather is. Children are able to eat, play and sleep in the outdoors. In addition to this, we take a group at least one day every week for up to 3hours into local nature reserves, parks, and to our local beach. For more information, check out our Facebook page or visit us: The Children’s Garden
390 Main Road Stoke
03 5530665




He Manu Hou ECE

Location: Timaru


He Manu Hou ECE is set by the sea in Timaru and we are in a wonderful natural setting. We opened in July 2018, our centre is on the grounds of Te Aitarakihi Multicultural Centre surrounded by native trees. We go on spontaneous excursions on a regular basis, as our enrolment form covers us to go up to 1 km from the centre. We also have whanau who support our learning with weaving, gardening and waiata. We have a rich language environment and you will hear the teachers speaking in English and Te Reo Maori.

If you are interested to visit give us a call to arrange a time and follow our centre on Facebook He Manu Hou Trust. Mauri ora!


Facebook: He Manu Hou Trust

03 6831717

Organic Kids

Location: Canterbury

Ages: 0-5years

We run fortnightly forest education programmes in Selwyn, Oxford and Christchurch for our families and home educators to attend. We follow the children’s innate urge to explore, get dirty and splash in puddles!



Facebook: Organic Kids

021 1134 798

TimberNook Christchurch

Location: Christchurch

Ages: 0-12yrs

TimberNook aims to provide a truly authentic outdoor experience for children aged 0-12yrs. TimberNook weaves the therapeutic aspects of nature with an understanding of child development to create the ultimate programmes. – Weekly ‘Tiny One’ Playgroups for children 0-6years – Saturday morning ‘Going Wild Weekends’ for children 4-12yrs – nature immersion programmes during school holidays for children aged 4-12yrs – host in excursions from ECE centres, community groups & schools



Facebook TimberNook Christchurch NZ


Little Kiwis Nature Play

Location: Christchurch

Ages: 18months-6years

We run 2 hour bush kindy nature sessions. Parents join their children for a morning of child-led free play in nature. We use tools, have fires in winter, climb trees, make mud slides, search for bugs and more. Our sessions are Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

We are trying to change the legislation in New Zealand to enable full time bush kindergartens. This will enable us to set up a drop off nature kindergarten programme.




Family Tree Home-based Education and Care

Location: Rangiora

Ages: 0-5 years

We are operating at a wonderful park once a fortnight in Rangiora,North Canterbury for approx 1.5-2hours. We meet at the park,and the children lead the way exploring through native bush, over muddy swampy areas, under brushwood,along paths,across nature spring fed wee streams and under big canopy native trees,stopping to look at whatever they are curious about or captures their attention.



Facebook: Family Tree Homebased


Rata Kindergarten

Location: Temuka South Canterbury

Ages: Preschoolers

Once a week the kindergarten ventures to the park next door. At the park the children explore a small pine plantation they have names as their forest / ngahere. On arrival the children bless the forest they unpack the trolley which contains clipboards ropes magnifying glass old sheets. Tree climbing is a part of the adventure.

Being a small kindergarten allows us to make these outings on a regular weekly.



Facebook: South Canterbury Kindergarten Association

Kidditech Early Learning Centre

Location: Christchurch

Ages: Preschoolers 2-6 years

Being close to nature is important to us, we involve the children in nature walks in our community and composting, gardening and harvesting within our centre environment. We encourage and regularly explore caring for our environment and all living creatures big and small. We embrace natural play spaces where children can play and be close to nature in all kids of weather.




Akaroa Playcentre

Location: Akaroa

Ages: 0-5 years

We run one of our regular 3-hour playcentre sessions on a Tuesday morning as am excursion session, visiting different local places around Banks Peninsula.



BushFarm School

Location: Orton Bradley Park

Ages: 5-12 years

We offer a one-day school for 5-12 years olds that complement the NZ Curriculum outside in the Bush and on the Farm.  Our sessions are a mixture of free-play, a structured (60 -90min) learning cycle, sensory activities and eco-literacy games. We also offer a 2-hour session, once a week for pre-schoolers (2.5 – 5years) with their caregivers.  Children are free to run, climb, build huts and play







Waitaki Community Gardens

Location: North Otago

Ages: 3-18 years

We run educational workshops and classes for children through holiday programmes and visiting school groups. We teach children ages 3-18 a range of topics including compost, bees & pollination, edible gardening, the scientific method, soil nutrition, germination, and photosynthesis.

To book a class or workshop on site at Waitaki Community Gardens or with one of our facilitators on-site at your school, please contact our Manager Sophia at 021 0448 209.




mobile 0210.448.209

Otago University Childcare Association – Te Pa

Location: Dunedin

Ages: 4year olds

Four-year olds attend a Bush programme for one morning a week.

They walk to the Bush area, explore, observe, play in the bush and often have a campfire.

Contact Details:



Queenstown Forest School

Location: Queenstown

Ages: 5-12

Queenstown Forest School complements your child’s academic curriculum with full days of nature immersion, experiential learning and compassion & empathy & kindness. Where?@Queenstown’s magnificent natural playground incl. its lakes, rivers, mountains, forest. Daily: 9.30am – 3pm – for our local school children and visiting individuals and groups.




 Gems Educational Childcare – Farm School

Location: Queenstown

Ages: 4 year olds

Gems Farm School caters for 4 year olds from the two nearby Gems Educational Childcare centres. Tamarki visit the fully operational farm once a fortnight to explore the natural environment, help with farm jobs and learn how to care for animals. Our special annual events include: The Farm School Mountain Climb, Giant slip and slide & Matariki Night Farm School, where the children and families do a torchlit hikoi around the farm at night.



03 4282862



Southern Stars Early Learning Centre

Location: Te Anau

Ages: 4 year olds

Our outdoor programme is called Southern Adventures. At present we run twice a week for a group of 4 eligible (minimum number of hours at Southern Stars required) children plus two teachers. Each day is a different group so at times there may be up to 10 children that take turns to go on Southern Adventures. We are able to drive to the Kepler Track in 5-10 minutes so often we go on the Kepler Track for a couple of hours, explore the nearby community, or visit a local farm. The group usually decides on the destination. With such a small group and able to travel by vehicle we are able to go to a variety of places.

We spend a couple of hours away from the Centre. The changes in knowledge, confidence and leadership skills are very noticeable after they have been Southern Adventurers. And it encourages the children to take their whanau on their own ‘Adventures’. This environmental and nature knowledge is then built on as they continue their learning journeys through the local primary schools and Fiordland College as most of the learning centres in Te Anau are part of the Kids Restore the Kepler Programme.



 Porse in home childcare

Location: Invercargill

Ages: 0-5

We run a 2-3hr nature session every fortnight.


Facebook: Porse Invercargill

Blue Duck Early Learning Centre

Location: Southland

Ages: 3-5

Tuhura Tui (Maori for exploring and Tui is the name of our pre-school room). We take 5 children out for 2 hours 3x a week and 2 teachers. We explore the amazing area around Lake Te Anau.



Facebook: Blue Duck Early Learning Centre Te Anau

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