Excursion walks and investigations to the Mangere Bridge Shore & Mangere Mountain 

New Zealand has an international reputation for being a “Green” environment. Maori Kaitiakitanga and a love of and conservation of the natural environment is fundamental to New Zealand today and supported by the Department of Conservation, and hundreds of other nature and heritage organisations to maintain and promote an outdoor way of life for our future generations.The Ministry of Education requires that children engage with the outdoor. It is specified by both regulation and curriculum.

The Licensing Requirement for Early Childhood Centres in New Zealand and supporting documents require:
The service curriculum provides children with a range of experiences and opportunities to enhance and extend their learning and development – both indoors and outdoors, individually and in groups.
It specifies that the outdoors must be connected to the indoors and easily accessed by the children without the assistance of adults. It should enable children to experience wind, sky, sun and rain and allow for running and kicking a ball.

Te Whaariki the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum specifies the following experiences:

Children experience an environment where they develop working theories for making sense of the natural, social, physical, and material worlds.
Learning Outcomes: Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes
Children develop:
- working theories about Planet Earth and beyond;
- a knowledge of features of the land which are of local significance, such as the local river or mountain;
- a relationship with the natural environment and a knowledge of their own place in the environment;
- respect and a developing sense of responsibility for the well-being of both the living and the non-living environment;
- working theories about the living world and knowledge of how to care for it;

Children experience an environment where they gain confidence in and control of their bodies.
Learning Outcomes: Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes
Children develop:
- increasing knowledge about how to keep physically healthy;
- increasing control over their bodies, including development of locomotor skills, non-locomotor skills, manipulative skills and increasing agility, co-ordination, and balance;

Children experience an environment where they learn strategies for active exploration, thinking, and reasoning.
Learning Outcomes: Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes
Children develop:
-confidence in using a variety of strategies for exploring and making sense of the world, such as in setting and solving problems, looking for patterns, classifying things for a purpose, guessing, using trial and error, thinking logically and making comparisons, asking questions, explaining to others, listening to others, participating in reflective discussion, planning, observing, and listening to stories;
-a perception of themselves as “explorers” – competent, confident learners who ask questions and make discoveries;

Randy White a world revered conservationist puts forward:
Loss of Contact with Nature is Nature’s Loss
Not only does the loss of children’s outdoor play and contact with the natural world negatively impact the growth and development of the whole child and their acquisition of knowledge, it also sets the stage for a continuing loss of the natural environment. The alternative to future generations who value nature is the continued exploitation and destruction of nature. Research is clearly substantiating that an affinity to and love of nature, along with a positive environmental ethic, grow out of children’s regular contact with and play in the natural world (Bunting 1985; Chawla 1988; Wilson 1993; Pyle 1993; Chipeniuk 1994; Sobel 1996, 2002 & 2004; Hart 1997; Moore & Wong 1997; Kals et al. 1999; Moore & Cosco 2000; Lianne 2001; Kellert 2002; Bixler et al. 2002; Kals & Ittner 2003; Phenice & Griffore 2003; Schultz et al. 2004).

The Mangere Bridge community is rich in opportunity for outdoor exploration. So as well as the outdoor and conservation principles that we provide within the centre grounds we value the opportunity to immerse the children and teachers in the learning about nature and its importance to us and how we can all contribute to its care.

Here’s what children experience on these excursion. 

In the process of walking they engage in physical exercise.

The walk offers experiences in People, Places and Things and children discover their orientation within the community, where the centre is, the shops and their purposes, the climbing tree park, the shore and the old and new Mangere Bridges and for some the location of their home in our community. 
With the assistance of out identification charts and books, children are developing literacy skills and research skills. (if you what to find out something you can look it up). In engaging with nature and having pleasurable experiences we foster love of nature and in doing so develop care and respect of the environment. Children learn about wind, rain, the sun, the nature of trees, the tides and the habitat, variety and identification of the creatures they encounter. 

Children learn about caring for our environment. For example the discovery of a dead shag prompted discussion about the cause of its death and the problems that rubbish causes in the environment. We collect and dispose of any rubbish that we discover on our trips to the parks.

An example of the impact of our explorations is the shore front has rubbish bins because of the children from Small Kauri, who wrote a sign for the public about not leaving rubbish and then wrote to the Manukau City Council about providing rubbish bins. This was supported by our then local councillor. https://www.whitehutchinson.com/printer-friendly/children/articles/childrennature.shtml