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Nearly 6000 signature strong petition urging Government to allow outdoor 'bush kindies' presented to Parliament

A petition asking the Government to change the rules to allow full time bush-based early childhood education programmes has been delivered to Parliament today.

Nature-based early childhood programmes involve children being taken into the outdoors to earn, play and grow.

The 5,752 signature strong petition was presented on the grounds of Parliament to National education spokesperson Nikki Kaye by Celia Hogan, founder of Little Kiwis Nature Play, who created the campaign.

MPs from Labour, NZ First and the Green Party were also present when the petition was delivered.

The law currently says early childhood education programmes must have a dedicated indoor space of at least 2.5 metres for each child, along with the various amenities and conditions deemed best for childrens' learning.

However, Celia Hogan told 1 NEWS over the weekend that such facilities are redundant in a fully bush-based kindy programme, and the law needs to change.

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Bush kindergartens are growing in popularity overseas and educators here are asking whether NZ should support the practice. Source: 1 NEWS

Speaking to TVNZ1's Breakfast programme yesterday, she said she understands kids need shelter from the elements, and that will be provided by the programmes as necessary, but said children are more resilient than many expect.

"We're not saying that we don't want any shelter - shelter is very useful - but children dress appropriately, they dress for the weather in these bush kindergarten," she said.

"When they are comfortable, warm they will spend the whole day outside playing."

Ms Hogan says many kids have become cotton wool-wrapped, so to say, and that they learn best in the outdoors.

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The petition is asking the Government to change 2008 regulations. Source: 1 NEWS