'Students have freedom' at NZ's first nature school

Long Lunch 29/08/2018
Photo: Getty.

New Zealand's first ever nature immersion school is unconventional; there’s no classrooms, no homework and no gadgets. Instead, the students decide themselves how they spend their day.

The Deep Green Bush-School opened just over a year ago in Auckland’s Clevedon. It has 11 students; seven boys and four girls, according to the last evaluation by the Education Review Office (ERO) in April.

Children are taught how to weave flax, look after chickens and live off the land. The school says students learn by connecting with nature and letting their interests direct their learning.

“The school has developed in exactly the way we would have expected and we’re seeing from students exactly what we would have expected,” co-founder Joey Moncarz told RadioLIVE’s Wendyl Nissen.

Mr Moncarz says his students have freedom.

“There’s a lot of focus put on the method of giving students freedom, not forcing them to do any subjects.”

The concept of the school is based on the belief kids are getting too much screen time and too little time amongst nature.

There are no maths, science or English classes, unless students ask to learn those subjects.

The ERO said in its findings the school provides suitable premises, curriculum and staffing.

The school is funded through tuition fees, sets out its own curriculum and is registered with the Ministry of Education.

Listen to the full interview with Joey Moncarz above.

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.