Supporting girls to overcome boundaries through outdoor play.

Organisation: Nature School Trust
Where: Porirua, Wellington 
Funding: $14,000
Purpose: To fund outdoor activities for schoolgirls in Porirua who are facing various challenges

Nature School Trust used support from the Physical Activity and Wellbeing Fund to extend their Nature School programme to Porirua East School. 

The Trust ran a free, girls-only programme that provided an environment where kōtiro girls (most of whom have English as a second language and additional learning needs) could challenge their perceived boundaries while learning from play in nature.

Five girls who are participants in the Nature School activity climb up a hill and around a fallen tree in the native bush.

Participants in the Nature School activity climb up a hill and around a fallen tree.

Nature School Trust Director, Leo Smith, shared this story about the impact the programme had on one girl over the course of two months.

“One of the participants of the programme, who speaks limited English and is very shy doesn’t really talk at school has found real confidence in the outside nature play in our programme. She began very quietly and cautiously, spending her first couple of weeks with us observing and playing mostly vicariously. 

By her seventh week with us, she followed others down a challenging path to a waterfall in the bush. Her choosing to go along the path was a huge achievement in itself. She hesitated at a few points, looking for help, but after returning back from this adventure, she immediately went back down the path to show a few other girls the way to the waterfall. 

She then shared this huge achievement with her teacher when returning to school, and all the photos of this girl from that day show a huge, satisfied smile on her face.”