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Talking Tree Hill

Healthy Children. Healthy Planet

Children spend one day a week in an outdoor classroom. Learning to love nature before protecting her. Focusing on creative/innovative skills to thrive as compassionate, conscious humans. Exploring and learning about what makes themselves, others and the planet thrive. We focus on learning from our first teacher...papatuanuku our earth mother. Healthy children+Healthy Planet = Education today.

HundrED 2019


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2019

Web presence






Target group
April 2024
More mind and body health for children and teachers. More planet well being. Our innovation is about using the natural resources that we have to support our wellbeing We want to reframe the school week to 4 days of a regular curriculum and 1 day of a a creative outdoor nature day. Giving everyone more freedom to teach and learn.

About the innovation

Nature is our first teacher...take 1 day to save the world.

We’ve been observing what makes children’s and teachers imaginations and hearts sing for years. We want children to love learning, and teachers to love teaching. We want the planet to breath happily and know the impact of education is purposeful and aligned to the future generations needs.

Our Green Play Days are what children, teachers and the planet need to grow. Over the past 21/2 years we have created an 18 acre outdoor educational facility on Waiheke Island Nz called Talking Tree Hill. This is dedicated to the wellbeing of children, teachers and the planet. We host one day schools, after school and holiday programmes, school groups, events, festivals and professional development courses for teachers. We have hosted thousands of children to get them outside at Talking Tree Hill, accessing local green spaces, and spending more time outside at their own schools. We are currently creating a Talking Tree Hill Online series to spread the word about the need for nature education skills and play, respecting our indigenous culture and accessing more creative, innovative and mindful activities for children, teachers and the planet to thrive.

Our two year ‘Green Play Day’ research project has been accepted into three local schools, training teachers to implement an outdoor classroom. Making one day a week a ‘Green Play day’. We celebrate nature education and play, Te Ao Maori, yoga/meditation/mindfulness, art, music, story, tinkering & making, zero waste and plant education. We are training teachers over a 2 year period to integrate Green Play days into their week and upskill in the learning areas mentioned. When this research project is complete we aim to make this concept part of the regular New Zealand Education system. Simultaneously, we would love to partnering with other countries to develop this as a global concept in all schools. We need to focus on the importance of developing emotional health of humans and the planet. We need to be the change we want to see.

Why ? We’ve learnt a great deal over 2020 whats important and what’s not. Children are the future ambassadors for their earth and its time to focus on the fundamental needs of our planet. Education allows us to do this, and we want to help.

Heres how...

We challenge a child to be them. To be authentic. Outdoor spaces let children ‘sit in their element’…creating, innovating, moving, laughing and loving. This is what kids do best and they need space to just do it! Find stillness, find strength.

We need planet pioneers to be involved in re-imaging education. With amazing educational enthusiasts and advisors we are creating an outdoor curriculum based around what children need to learn now, so they can be their best selves in the future, and look after their planet.

A day spent creating and innovating and developing entrepreneurial skills.... music & art, creating eco-friendly passion projects, practising yoga/meditation/mindfulness, growing food & caring for animals, experiencing bush, farm and forest schools, andimportantly laughing. All this is geared towards maintaining the healthy minds & bodies of our children in a world built on kindness, respect and integrity. A day of breathing out and smiling at the world around them. Spending time with teachers who know how to nurture and let children's authentic selves shine!.

Our Green Play Days have a place based education system supported by passionate teachers who know what children and the planet need to flourish! A day spent outside learning about the essence of the land they are exploring, and how we keep it and themselves healthy. This can be done in any country around the world where your celebrating the indigenous culture, and stories of the land.

Children learn to calm their farm. They will learn to quieten their minds, refocus and learn skills for how to help their minds and bodies function healthily. They will learn to respect themselves, others, animals and the planet and become grounded in who they are as a person, and what they give to the world.

That means learning important skills: how do we speak kindly to each other? What fuels our bodies and minds? What does the planet need now? How do we build a sustainable + future? And most importantly how can we do all of this for free? Well, its all inside of us, we just need to make sure we tap into our own resources and bring out the best that we can!

Children will share, communicate, collaborate and think about their impact on the world.

They will gain confidence in their abilities, be risk takers, care about themselves and others.

They will learn that who they are matters, nurture self belief and integrity.

They will get dirty, run, laugh, climb, jump, do cool stuff that makes them flourish and burst with pride.

All in all, children spend loads of time outside being kids! At the end of it all they will have become Outdoor Awesomepreneurs whom will shape a net positive future. And it just takes oneday of change...

Impact & scalability

Implementation steps

Look up the informed.
In NZ we are running under the "Education Outside the Classroom" (EOTC) programme. It's all covered in the Education Act of 1989. There are two relevant clauses that mean parents are allowed to send their children to a programme inside school hours if there is a need for their child. Know your legislation and start talking with your local parents, Principals and schools to see if there is a need for an outdoor 1 day school in your area. Do your research and you will be rewarded! Ps there is always a need for an outdoor school in your area!
Set yourself up...then the school will follow.
Ask yourself some important questions...what do the children in your area need more of? What can really help the physical, social and emotional needs of your community? Who can help you achieve your vision? You need to know why your doing what your doing. All the people who come on board need to love your purpose, trust your intuition.
You need to love children, the planet and be passionate about maintaining children's mental health and wellbeing. Research your market and know whose going to do what and how it will be financed.
Find your space...find your tribe.

Where are you going to do your 1 day school? Will you buy rent/land? Or will you base this from a local school, park, farm, forest or bush? Who knows the skills to create your vision? Know what you want, why you're doing it, how you are going to do itand with whom. Be a visionary and get people to help you with what you're doing if they meet a specific purpose. At Talking Tree Hill we have expert educators whoteach the fundamentals of our beliefs around what children need to know now. We know the benefits of being outside immersed in a place based education system so we have Bush and Forest School consultants. We want children to immerse themselves in their creativity so we have art/music teachers. We want children to create their own passion projects so often a mechanic or woodwork teacher is essential. We know how vitally important it is for children to calm their minds, respect their bodies and practise awareness & gratitude so we have an experienced yoga teacher and we all strive to reflect these qualities. Find your tribe they will reflect your vibe :)

Be brave and do this thing !
So now it's time to pull it all together and this takes time and money. This is where we can help by handing over our draft curriculum, our daily flow, and our know how for you to experience. We think what we're teaching will be helpful all over our country and yours! So you don't need to rewrite the book. Our draft curriculum will be available for people to pilot (for free) at the end of please get in touch and we will pass it on! If ours isn't for you, go on ahead and get out there and do your own thing and let us know how you go! It's time for us all to reimagine education and maintain healthy children and a healthy planet.

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