Bush Farm is a localised programme that started in 2017 to cater to the people of Waitaha Canterbury. It grew out of the need to bring more real-world experiences on the farm, sea, and whenua that would connect the dots and creates new worldviews.
Western research indicates children who experience outdoor play have higher pro-environmental attitudes, are more resilient and resourceful. While Indigenous knowledge (TEK) shows how a deep connection to the whenua fosters holistic wellbeing and supports a sense of identity and belonging. We believe that by combining both lenses, within a relationship-based environment, our whānau can flourish in their knowledge and understandings of their world.
Bush Farm operates outdoors, year-round, in all weathers. We're an social enterprise that connects nature with resourcefulness. We follow the cycles of the seasons. We craft, we observe, we gather, we kōrero. We learn where our kai, fibre and everyday items come from.
Bush Farm uses a variety of tools on our programmes. Some of these are as follows: sensory awareness, self-care, quiet-mind, autonomy, cooperation, empathy, interdependence, pattern detection, singing and storytelling. These are outlined more fully in our Handbook of Policies and Procedures. Please get in touch for more information.
Grounded in Nature
We don't just teach facts. Instead, we use a psycho-emotional approach that is grounded in nature. We purposefully slow our ākonga down to give them a deep connection with the whenua. We offer educational opportunities for all learners, all ages. Each day involves a combination of free exploration and guided activities.
Our approach is guided by three core principles that underpin Bush Farm:
~ Connection to our local environment
Through improving access to nature-based education; facilitating place-based experiential play; using our localised Bush Farm curriculum.
~ Experiences that enhance hauora | well-being
Through processes that encourage being fully present and engaged; using the head, heart and hand; supporting mindfulness techniques and sensory activities; using mentors who walk alongside ākonga.
~ Contribution to a sustainable future
Through building capacity, knowledge and skills; through guided learning cycles; connection with Ngāi Tahu, crafters, scientists, innovators, and whānau; understanding of the unique kaitiaki role of Ngāi Tahu whānui across Waitaha Canterbury.
"Katie and Naomi have a real talent and passion for connecting and educating tamariki with taiao. And what a fabulous learning environment to work in. Ka pai!"
Teacher, Chomondeley Childrens Centre, 2018