CK One Day Programmes
Conscious Kids One Day Programmes
Western Springs and Churchill Park
9 am – 3 pm for children aged 5 yrs – 12 yrs
Running every school term
$75 day/child - Full-term commitment required.
Conscious Kids One Day Programme runs one day a week during term time, allowing kids to escape their normal routine and take their learning outside the classroom. Like our holiday programme, the One Day Programme offers a 100% nature-based experience that gets Kiwi kids outside, developing social competence in mixed-aged groups, self-confidence in their problem-solving abilities, and awareness and sensitivity to the environment through unstructured/ free play in nature. With passionate and experienced educators, low adult to child ratios (1:8), and a consistent group of children throughout the term, the One Day Programme is able to nurture authentic, trusting relationships, and provide individualised learning extension and support.
“Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as the most important events in their lives.’ Thomas Berry
Children will have the opportunity to make their own choices and follow their own interests and curiosities within a framework of respect for those around them and the environment. Our educators observe the children closely, document their learning through photos and stories, and extend their thinking through authentic conversation, the provision of resources, and offering of skill-building workshops in areas such as marine biology, fishing, shelter building, or fire starting. At Conscious Kids we recognise the environment as the ‘3rd teacher’, and as the children experience nature throughout the seasons, they are gifted with innumerable opportunities for memorable, authentic learning.
Here is a snapshot, this is a real example from one of our programmes: The children noticed a sea bird in obvious distress. The group developed a plan of action to assist, considering the safety of the bird and of themselves. In spite of massive excitement and desire of each to be the ‘rescuer’, children talked through their ideas and worked collectively, supported by the educator, to come to a consensus on the way forward. Google was accessed as a resource for finding a bird rescue service, and a parent helper delivered the bird there. The following week we received an update from ‘the Bird Lady’ and we discussed the diagnosis of botulism and the probable cause (climate change). We pondered ways to help, and in response the Bird Lady asked if we could provide small fish as food for the sick birds. Our group then set to work fishing for tiddlers to deliver, and have continued to do this each week. The children have been empowered to share their learning with their classroom teachers and school mates.
Providing the opportunity to learn in a mixed-age setting is another key aspect of our programmes. Children learn best by observing and interacting with others who are older and younger than they are. Benefits for younger children include opportunities to engage in and learn from activities that would be too difficult for them to do alone, learning from and being inspired by older children, and receiving care and emotional support. Benefits for older children include opportunities to practice and develop their nurturing and leadership skill and capacities and to extend their own learning through teaching others. Age mixing also works as an anti-dote to competitiveness and bullying.[i]
Conscious Kids is based on Forest Schooling, this is becoming recognised and hugely popular throughout the world. Research shows us that children are missing out on opportunities to play the way generations before they have. Many children are lacking social skills, the ability to solve their own problems and have increased levels of anxiety, simply from missing out on the opportunity to play. Luckily, in New Zealand we have the choice to take our children out of school one day per week for alternative learning environments, click here for details, and Conscious Kids is proud to provide an option for children that could benefit from this. For those children who currently homeschool, the One Day Programme provides an opportunity to connect with a group of like-minded explorers in stimulating natural environments.
‘Giving your child extended periods of uninterrupted, child-directed play in nature, reduces your child's anxiety. Nature is healing.’ Angela Hanscome
At the One Day Programme children will gain:
Problem Solving Skills
Respect for the Environment
Knowledge about the Environment
Confidence to take risks
Our vision is “Little Seeds for a Better Future” as we believe that children who spend time free-playing in nature will develop the skills and attributes needed to be successful in their by school years, and beyond. The New Zealand Curriculum sets out a vision for young people to be “confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners,” and “connected to the land and environment.” We are pleased to work alongside our NZ schools to grow the learners of the future. Please get in touch for more information, we would love to hear from you. Please email email@example.com for more information.
[i] Gray, Peter, Free to Learn, Basic Books, 2017
* To ensure our children get the best of our free play spaces and enjoy the Conscious Kids way of play, we require at least 12 children to attend per term/ location.
Information to Parents
CONSCIOUS KIDS – 100% BASED NATURE PROGRAMMES
Information for joining our One Day Programme if your child attends school.
We recommend you begin by informing the school of your interest in registering your child for the programme. You may want to arrange a meeting with the principal to talk about your child’s needs and how you believe they would benefit from attending our programme.
To prepare for the meeting, you may want to do some research about play, and the importance of play outdoors. Below are some recommendations:
Pennie Brownlee book ‘The Sacred Urge to Play’
Nathan Mikaere-Wallis talks about the brain and what it needs to learn. http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2595176/what-3-to-7-year-oldsneed-to-learn-nathan-mikaere-wallis
Ken Robinson talks about what skills our children need in the future. https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity
How unrestricted outdoor play heals children - article
‘Decades of research has shown that play is crucial to physical, intellectual, and social-emotional development at all ages. This is especially true of the purest form of play: the unstructured, self-motivated, imaginative, independent kind, where children initiate their own games and invent their own rules.’ David Elkind.
‘Giving your child extended periods of uninterrupted, child-directed play in nature, reduces your child's anxiety.
Nature is healing.’ Angela Hanscom
'Anxiety and depression are all caused largely by the decline in opportunities for free play and the increased
time and weight given to schooling' Peter Gray
“Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as the most important events in their lives.’ Thomas Berry
We are not required to register through MOE as we are not a school. We are a small business running a programme for kids, there is a similar programme like ours in Auckland running a Forest School in Orewa.
The New Zealand Education Act section 25B Release from school states: The principal of a State school may if satisfied that a student will receive outside the school tuition acceptable to the principal, release the student from attendance at the school, for a period or periods agreed with a parent of that student, to receive the tuition.
In regards to marking students absent or present the school will determine how to proceed. Legally children are only allowed 5 absent school days a year. They may decide to mark ‘explained absence’. Ask them about their policy when students go overseas for a holiday or attend a gifted and talented programme once a week.
We do not have anything for schools and parents to sign, as this is a negotiation solely between parents and the school. We thoroughly recommend getting permission from the school because our goal is to work in partnership with them, and for the schools to see us as a complementary programme that benefits their students.
Please print or email the 'Information for principals' page so the principal has more information about the programme. There is a possibility that principals will want to take it to the Board of Trustees to be discussed and cleared. You would need to submit a letter at this point, but your school will advise you about this. If this is the case or for any other reason, they may want to see our Health and Safety policies, Risk Assessment plan, or Insurance Policy. We can supply all these things so please let us know and we can email them to you.
If the Principal refuses your request, you can follow through the school’s complaints procedure and then take your request to the Board of Trustees, but ultimately the decision is up to the Principal.
Can we come for a visit to check it out?
Yes! Please register your interest at here and we will be in touch to organise a visit for your child as spaces become available. You may choose to stay with your child or drop them off. Free visits are available from 9 am - 11 am. Full day visits cost $75, and this cost will be credited toward the term price should we agree to move forward with enrolment.
What will happen at the free trial?
To celebrate the opening of a new site, we may offer a free open day. Our open days are run similar to a regular session, but there will be more adults and children than usual. The day will consist of a morning meeting to set up expectations for the day, followed by opportunities for free play. You may choose to stay with your child or drop them off. Extra CK staff will be on hand to discuss the programme with parents, freeing up the educators to run the session.
What if my child has special needs?
We have found that many children with special needs thrive at Conscious Kids, including children with ADHD/ADD and ASD. We are proud to work alongside schools and families to ensure the best outcomes for the child. If your child has any special needs, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Together we can make a plan for visiting or enrollment that works for your child.
Can I reserve a spot for my child for next term?
We cannot guarantee a spot as current enrollments and siblings have the first option to re-enroll. Most of our programmes are currently full. Register your interest at here to let us know which location you prefer and which term you are keen for your child to begin. As spaces open up, we will invite you and your child for a visit to see if it is a good fit.
How many children can you have there? Do you have maximum and minimum numbers?
Maximum numbers are 20, the minimum is 12.
Is it run by registered NZ teachers?
Some of our educators are registered NZ teachers, but not all of them. We have found that Early Childhood, Playcentre, and/or Primary school teacher training can all provide a good foundation for success on our team, but significant on the job training and support is still required for effective educating in the natural environment. Some practices promoted through teacher training and used in schools are not consistent with our philosophy of respect for children and the environment. Our highest priority for our staff is that they are passionate about our philosophy, respectful of themselves and others, have extensive experience supporting child-initiated learning, and are willing to fully engage with our comprehensive on the job training and support. We are proud of the excellent quality of our educators.
Can we book in for a day, bi-weekly, or only for the term?
Bookings are taken by the term, as we have found that continuity in the group is very important for developing a sense of belonging and well-being.
Can we pay in instalments?
Yes, payment can be made in instalments.
What are the ratios?
1 adult per 8 children. There are always 2 adults and usually more.
How does this actually work with the school? What do Principals think about this?
Please see the PDF links:
- Information for parents
- Information for principals
We have found that Principals are generally supportive. CK staff are available to meet with school staff if needed.
What are the safety policies?
Please see Conscious Kids Policies PDF link at the bottom of the page.
How does this work legally?
The NZ Education Act section 25B Release from school states: The principal of a state school may, if satisfied that a student will receive outside the school tuition acceptable to the principal, release the student from attendance at the school, for a period or periods agreed with a parent of that student, to receive the tuition.
Do homeschooled children attend this programme?
Yes, we do have homeschooled children attending the programme.
Is this programme the same as your school holiday programme?
The One Day Programme is based on the same core principals as the school holiday programme: free play in nature. However, because the One Day Programme is a smaller group, with consistent enrolment, the ability of the educators to assess, plan for, and extend on individual learning needs is greater. Project learning is another distinctive feature of the One Day Programme, as children follow threads of interests over the whole term, and throughout the changing seasons. Because the demands of the role are significant, One Day Programme educators and assistants require a high level of experience and training. Our staff are supported through specialised professional development, particularly in the areas of holistic assessment and planning, positive behaviour management, and supporting children with special needs.
Tell me about the parent help option.
If you are able to attend the programme each week and play an active role in supporting the running of the session, you may qualify for our parent helper option. Parent helpers children receive a 50% discount. A limited number of spaces for parent helpers are available at each site. If you are interested in the parent helper option, please specify this in the visitor enrolment form. More information here.
Is there a discount for multiple children in the same family?
Not at this time.
There is no CK programme near me, can we get one going?
We are always looking to expand and offer this type of programme to more children who could benefit from it. Please get in touch if you are keen to get involved email@example.com
What should I pack for the day?
- Minimum 3 full sets of clothing including underwear and socks. Thermals are highly recommended
- sun hat
- Plastic bags for wet clothes
- LOTS of food. They will get far more hungry than they do sitting in a classroom all day.
- Large Drink bottle
- Shoes suitable for bushwalking.
- Gum Boots
- GOOD QUALITY RAINCOAT AND WATERPROOF PANTS
Waterproof pants are compulsory for wet days. We offer waterproof pants for sale in our online shop.
- They need 2 bags, 1 for clothing and a backpack one for lunch, drink and trips.
Frequent Answers and Questions
Expression of Interest Form
If you are interested in our One Day Programmes, please complete the form below with your and your child/ children's details. For more detailed information, contact