About Nature School NZ


Nature School NZ was started in 2018.   We are a stand-alone, registered charity, with the purpose of getting as many as possible NZ children learning from and through play in nature.  We do this in three ways: Through working with Schools and ECE providers to set up Bush Sprouts programmes in their local bush; equipping schools and teachers with the confidence and experience to run a sustainable nature play programme that has their children learning and growing through play in nature.  We also run the Nature School programme, our 1 day School that runs two days a week at Battle Hill; Here our passionate, experienced and skillful staff empower children through freeplay in nature, to play, grow, learn, lead, question, make mistakes, work through emotions, learn to love nature and so much more! We also run Bush Sprouts holiday programmes and Leo runs Nature Educator training throughout the country with Celia Hogan from Little Kiwis Nature Play.

 We constantly strive to build respectful and reciprocal relationships with our whenua and our people.  Our Philosophy and purpose reflect who we are and who we want to be.   

 Head over to our feedback & reviews tab to see what past children and their families have to say about our life changing learning experiences.

Leo Smith

Leo is the director of Nature School NZ and facilitates the Bush Sprouts programmes, Nature School and Holiday programmes.

Leo is a mother, a fully qualified and registered teacher, with a degree in Sport and Recreation and 2 diplomas in teaching; years of experience teaching in Secondary, Early Childhood and Primary levels. She has also gained SKOANZ/NZOIA Kayak 1 and Bush 1 teaching/instructing awards in the past.

Leo worked in outdoor education camps in Australia before kayak guiding in NZ and Canada for 5 summer seasons.  After teacher training, she worked for 2 years teaching at Secondary level at St Cuthberts College and then Wanganui Collegiate at their live in, outdoor education campuses. Leo has worked as a teacher for the last 9 years, mainly in early childhood in Wellington, also at a nature Kindergarten in Auckland and more recently at Primary level running Bush Sprouts programmes.

After working in teaching and outdoor instructing for around 10 years, Leo set up and ran the Bush Sprouts programme at Plimmerton Kindergarten for 5.5 years. Seeing the overwhelmingly positive results from children, their families and the community, she wanted to get more children learning from and through nature. Leo presented at conferences and helped a few Kindergartens get their own nature programmes up and running, but knew she could reach more communities by working directly with Schools and early childhood centres; helping them set up their own programmes and mentoring their staff to run a successful and sustainable nature programme. Thus, Nature School NZ was born to share the love and get as many children as possible learning from and through play in nature.

Dan Green

Dan has years of experience in environmental restoration. He has worked as a Environmental Restoration Officer for Kapiti Coast District Council and assisted GWRC with restoration projects up and down the Kapiti Coast. He has recently worked on the Transmission Gully Roding project as Restoration Foreman, under a private contractor. 

Part of his time as a Restoration Officer with KCDC was spent helping volunteer restoration groups, species selection, site preparation and liaising with local nurseries to make sure the right native trees were selected for the specific areas the group were planting into.  This could range from developing an already established reserve, to coastal dune restoration or riparian/wetland restoration.  

Dan also has a passion for music! He writes, composes and performs original songs. He’s also taught music/guitar for around 15 years, privately and in schools around the lower North Island. Before moving into environmental work, he composed music for TV and Radio. He loves bringing his music and songs to Nature School NZ and Bush Sprouts, writing songs with the kids and singing!

Dan is a solo father of 2 children. He has a deep passion for the environment, NZ native bush, camping, and tramping the coast lands and mountain ranges.

He’s loved New Zealand’s outdoors since he was a kid and values the importance of passing this love, knowledge and passion onto our next generation of kaitiaki. 

Exploring the rich sensory experience of nature

Reach Us

Wellington, New Zealand

+27 438 5366


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