Announcing Chrysalis's newest concept in Early Childhood Education - Secret Forest Early Learning Centre – a fully inspired Earth-based Childcare Centre

Tuesday 27 November 2018, 10:59AM

By Beckie Wright


The husband and wife founders of Chrysalis Group of early learning centres (Dr Darius and Nikeeta Singh) are convinced of a better, more balanced way to prepare our young children to become the next guardians of our future hybrid-age world. Their Gaia (Earth) inspired “back to basics” approach provides the balance, resilience, perseverance, passion and respect for life that one needs in a journey of life-long learning, together with the building blocks for the necessary STEAM knowledge areas later in schooling to evolve us to the next ages of civilisation. They have spent the last decade researching various educational theories, designing and demonstrating what award winning childcare looks like, and testing and proving best in class educational outcomes for over 1000 pre-schoolers in Auckland and Tauranga to date.

“Look around us… we have a city (and a world) that is slowly losing its “Kiwi” backyards to subdivisions, and a generation of children raised on computer screens.”

What happens when we get our children off smartphones and YouTube and let them get back into nature? What happens when we slow down the way we teach our children and encourage them to learn in natural spaces and surroundings, with all the curiosity, interest, discovery and exploration that this offers?

Knowing that “Earth doesn’t need People, People need the Earth” – we want to reconnect our children who are being deprived of natural surroundings on a daily basis from the day they are born. A best-selling author Richard Louv has labelled a new problem in kids called “Nature Deficit Disorder”, and Professor Jane Clark from the University of Maryland, USA now refers to “containerized kids”, while Albert Einstein once said “Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better”. Were they right … are they still right?

Are we overwhelming our children with steep technologically supported trajectories too early in their life-long learning journey? That’s precisely what we think – and we believe in our balanced solution. Meet our proposed Secret Forest Early Learning Centre – an (as-of-yet) unrevealed one-acre forest location in South Auckland, outfitted with a modern early childhood learning centre. We’ve crafted an approach to early childhood education that is centred on building a positive learning environment for children, powered by a relationship and connection to the one living entity that has seen it all, taught it all and learned from it all over the last 4.6 billion years -  Earth.

At its heart is our Gaia (Earth) inspired, bio-designed building. Our centre takes its cues from nature – shaped as a single leaf, and raised on tree-hut style supports, our building is as alive as a leaf reaching to touch the sky and sun. The building will be solar powered, with rainwater harvesting systems to supply all forest, fauna, orchard, bathroom, laundry, (and mudslide!) needs, while “thermal roots” trap heat underground in summer and release it in winter. A naturally ventilated and naturally lit open space, completes this living, breathing, self-powered building that closely mimics how nature functions.

Inside the centre, our education will adopt the NZ Ministry of Education’s world-leading early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki, with inspiration from world class philosophies from around the world like Italy’s Reggio Emilia and Montessori approaches, Germany’s Waldorf, Europe’s and USA’s Pikler approaches, and Scandanavia’s Forest school environments. Our vision is to enable our children to be connected, communicators and confident in mind, body and spirit. Our learning outcomes are certainly building blocks for the later STEAM subjects in primary, middle and high school, but initially centred on learning life lessons from nature itself of resilience, perseverance, sustainable approaches, empowerment, focus, determination and so much more, until these qualities actually become “second nature” to them when it will be their time to be the transitional guardians of influence in our world.

Register your interest today for the Secret Forest Early Learning Centre, so we can come back to you first when our enrolment bookings begin mid-way through next year, as we work towards the launch of our Secret Forest in April 2020 to coincide with International Earth Day.

For more information, visit today or check out our child care centres in New Zealand.