What are we all about?

At our Bush and Farm school, children will spend the entire day absorbed in nature. The curriculum will be child led and come purely from the child’s interests, empowering them to take the lead in their own learning. Tamariki will have the option to be involved in projects and see tasks through from planning to implementing, then reflecting on the process. 
We value the importance of dispositional learning and hope that when each child comes to us, they leave with a positive view of themselves a learner. Through our learning experiences in the bush and on the farm, we will see our tamariki face challenges and experience risk taking in a safe environment, develop all of their senses and use them as a tool for learning, develop social skills for establishing and maintaining friendship and learn respect for the land. With these tools under their belt, we believe they will be able to face many challenges that come their way and can trust in themselves as a learner.

We value the importance of free play and the role it has for children’s learning. Through play, children learn and practice social literacy; communication, empathy and relationships. By having animals that children can interact with means they can naturally take on the role of guardians/kaitiaki.

We follow closely both Te Whariki and the New Zealand Curriculum and have teachers who have sound knowledge of these wonderful learning tools. Our team will be fully qualified in outdoor first aid and we will handpick people who have different strengths, interests and qualifications that will benefit the children.

Our children’s lives these days are often so busy and not every child thrives in a normal classroom environment 5 days a week. We also acknowledge that all children learn differently and at their own pace. We believe that having a day out from their structured routine, grounded in nature and learning and practising social and practical skills will benefit children immensely.
We intend to work in partnership with schools and to complement what they already do. We are lucky here in New Zealand that under the Education Act 1989 section 25B children are given permission to attend alternative learning facilities for one day a week. 
Old MacDonald’s Bush and Farm School will run one day a week during term time for children aged between 5-12. Our ratios will be 1:9. Unfortunately, there is no Government funding for this sort of venture at the moment, and we have no other donations from outside sources. Therefore, the cost to attend will be $80 per day per child. 
Alongside our one day a week school, we will also be running a holiday programme for children to attend during the school holidays.

We look forward to the possibility of learning alongside your child in the near future.
Ngā manaakitanga
The Old MacDonald’s Bush and Farm School team

WEBSITE: https://oldmacdonaldsbushandfarmschool.co.nz/

STUFF ARTICLE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/108905529/school-kids-to-benefit-from-new-bush-school-experience?cid=app-iPhone&fbclid=IwAR1VcmuKjEDhgPi5lT8t0xXP5u42b7QzwdwwnRlo9dgob8etsTqoExIPvaU

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwgrDoyPN3w


VIX - BUSH and farm school manager

Children are brilliant teachers; they see the wonder all around them and have this strong desire for learning to make sense of the world around them. I am a mum of 2 young girls who remind me everyday to slow down and take notice of the small things. I believe that in this busy world that we live in, taking time out to enjoy what’s right in front of us is so important for our wellbeing.

Being outside in nature is something I feel very strongly about. Having grown up in Wales by the sea, my siblings and I were always out and about exploring. A lot of our adventures took place without the presence of an adult, where we were trusted to be safe and to head home before it got dark, or when we felt hungry, whichever one came first!

With the ever-changing world that we live in, I am sad to think that children don’t get the same opportunities to spend as much time outside as they used to. I believe being outside is as important as the air we breathe, and for children to care about their world, they need to spend time outside.

As an adult and from my time in both the Primary and ECE setting, I appreciate how all children are unique and learn in different ways. Not all children will thrive in the normal school setting for 5 days a week and I believe it is important to allow children to show what they have to offer in a range of different ways.

Our vision for Old MacDonald’s Bush and Farm school is to offer tamariki a place where they feel a real sense of belonging, for them to feel empowered and successful as a learner, to create an environment where they can follow their interests and passions and offer rich real-life experiences and to be around like-minded people.

I am excited about the journey that lies ahead and to see our tamariki fly.




From growing up and schooling in a relatively rural area at the time in Tuakau, a strong outdoor learning environment has always been part of my school and personal curriculum.Bush, beach, nature and water is greatly my moto for all things ‘nature based learning’. This is why I initially touched base with Tracey at Old MacDonald’s for a teaching position. I was more than taken with the Old Mac’s philosophy and their drive for all things outdoors. This lead to being involved with our Tamariki o Te Ngahere (forest school) programme held for our 4.5 + tamariki, of which I felt greatly privileged to be a part of. The endless growth of our tamariki who partake in this programme is humbling. I see myself in our tamariki all the time, as my own growth in nature base play far out gained my classroom learning. It set me forward for a very grounded, hands on, ‘nut it out’, ‘go get em’ and confidence-based attitude of all that came my way.

Nothing melts my heart more to have our tamariki korero amongst themselves and working out how to create their own bivouac, as an example without my assistance. Those proud moments of when I hear “Shell, come and see our whare!” The learning dispositions and life skills are endless, from social skills, mathematics to language articulation and all that we can imagine in between.

I could go on, however there is much exploring to be done and I am heading out to explore the ocean.

Much Aroha



Craig…. the outdoor enthusiast here at Old Mac’s! There’s not such thing as too much rain with Craig’s hut building and knot tying abilities. Craig’s outdoor education knowledge and experience makes him the perfect mix in our diverse team.

Craig works closely alongside our Old Mac’s Exploring Nature Programme and our Ngahere Programme. This means that he is the man on the job when it comes to campfires, knot tying lessons and tree climbing.

Craig is also currently studying his Bachelor of Teaching at the University of Waikato aswell.

Thank you for being all that you are and all that you bring to Old Macs, Craig!