Absolutely! We are a fully Registered primary school in NSW. We are held to the same standards and requirements as all schools. We just approach things differently.
Yes. We are located in the Innes Lake Community Centre at 166 The Ruins Way, Port Macquarie. Our teachers teach both inside the classroom and outdoors, according to the lesson. We even have an outdoor classroom!
Yes. Students go out on Adventure Days every fortnight. These days involve learning on location, either in natural habitats or in the local community.
Yes. We have class sets of MacBooks for upper primary students, and iPads for lower primary. Our approach is 'low tech' rather than no-tech. Technology is an important tool for students to master, but we steer away from gamified learning and prefer purposeful use of devices. Screen time is limited!
Yes. We are an independent non-government school. Please contact email@example.com to request our fee schedule.
Our Bush Skills program takes place entirely outdoors and allows young children to explore nature and develop bush skills in a safe and inclusive environment. Children learn and play in all weather, and facilitators construct shelter from the weather if needed. Children spend up to a full day outdoors in wild spaces with opportunity to drive their own skill development through instruction and the exploration of the natural environment. Children are given the opportunity to learn how to manage risks, use their imagination and creativity, build respect for one another and for the natural environment.
While The Nature School Incorporated is in the process of applying for service approval for a Mobile Preschool, our Early Years Skills program is NOT a registered education and care service. TNS works closely with the NSW Department of Education and independent advisors to ensure we are operating appropriately within the Education and Care National Law where it applies.
There is a Norwegian saying, which is often referred to in forest schools: “There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing”. If it is raining, children must come dressed appropriately, with a rain jacket, gumboots and weatherproof pants, so we are able to have plenty of fun out in the rain! Facilitators and children will build a shelter together when needed, where everyone can stay dry for meals, rest, circle time and if we just need to have a break from the rain.
Our sessions take place in a variety of locations in and around Port Macquarie. Due to the children's safety these locations are not publicised. General areas are given on enquiry, and once children are enrolled families are informed of the locations for the term. There are permits in place with a variety of landowners such as private landowners and the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council. The sites are permanent for a term unless there is an extreme weather warning where certain bush sites are unsafe. Our goal is to move the programs from site to site to minimise the environmental impact.
Each site is accessed with a thorough risk assessment, and a daily safety check to ensure everyone's safety. The locations for The Nature School programs have specific characteristics. The natural spaces need to be explorable with enough open space as well as bushy areas. It should be away from major traffic areas and a safe environment to explore. Each space is different, and each risk assessment is different as well. The Nature School Executive team chooses locations that are not overly humid as this could attract mosquitoes, leeches and ticks. The aim is to explore different spaces within the community and ensure they are used appropriately and respected by children and families.
Learning how to manage risk is essential in early childhood. As Sara Knight describes in her book Risk & Adventure in Early Years Outdoor Play: Learning from Forest Schools – “An uneven surface or sand and mud are a challenge and a risky situation for children that are learning how to walk. However, if children only learn how to walk on even, concrete or carpet surfaces, when they are eventually faced with an uneven surface they might be unwillingly put in danger as they do not know how to use the space or how to walk.” At The Nature School the aim is to feed children’s innate need for risk with reasonable risk in order to prevent them finding greater unmanaged risks for themselves.
Absolutely. Part of the annual fee payment of $100 covers insurance costs associated with your child attending the programs. The organisation’s insurance policy is very comprehensive and covers $20 million public liability, professional indemnity, campfires, bushwalks and general outdoor play.
As our Early Years Skills programs are a nature-based activity program and not a registered early childhood education and care service, we do not qualify for any government rebates. As such, full fees must be charged to cover staffing, land use and resources.
The team understands that it can take time for children to develop this skill. Educators are happy to assist children to use the toilet (such as sitting on the toilet, assisting to put their clothing on/off, using toilet paper), but are unable to offer places to children who use nappies due to the additional time taken to manage this. The Nature School Inc. apologises if this is the case for your child, and look forward to offering a place to them in the near future.
Absolutely! Our Secondary program is Registered AND Accredited in NSW. We are held to the same standards and requirements as all schools. We just approach things differently.
Yes. Field Studies days will be held fortnightly to allow students to demonstrate practical skills, collect data, and conduct research in the field.
Our unique middle-school style structure means that each class has two core teachers who share the curriculum load equally while specialising in one integrated domain (English/HSIE or Maths/Science). Both core teachers accompany students for weekly Field Studies days. Creative Arts, Technologies, and Personal Development Health and Physical Education are additional to the integrated units and may be taught either by core teachers or specialists. This model eases the transition for students from Primary to Secondary by reducing the number of classes taught by different staff.
Students will have a choice of selected electives in Years 9 and 10. These electives are yet to be determined.
Yes, in Year 8. Proposed options we are considering include AUSLAN, or Gathang (Birpai) if this is a possibility.
TNSS will cater for Years 7-10. As with the development of our Primary years, we will 'grow slow' and add a grade each year until we reach Year 10 in 2026.
2023 - Year 7 only
2024 - Years 7-8
2025 - Years 7-9
2026 - Years 7-10
Yes. As an independent non-government school we are reliant on our parents paying fees. Please refer to our 2023 Schedule of Fees.
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