Gumboots are a must if you plan to venture out the back of The Secret Garden Childcare centre.
There, you will find a goat named Dotti and Fletcher the calf, as well as Rufus the rabbit, a dozen chickens and a rooster, four doves, and a guinea pig. And mud - lots of mud. Land and an old cottage have been transformed into a child's wonderland, hidden behind the trees in Waughs Rd near Feilding.
The centre is the creation of mother-of-three Lorelei Dekker who, after working in the early childhood sector for 17 years, opened The Secret Garden Childcare centre seven months ago.
Following an Italian approach to teaching known as Reggio Emilia, children are encouraged to discover the environment for themselves.
Mrs Dekker said she tried to keep the alterations to the cottage minimal because she wanted to retain its homely feel.
The centre used the environment's natural resources inside and outside, Mrs Dekker said.
The facility includes a sprawling playground, a paddock where the animals live and an orchard filled with play areas.
It had been great to watch the children learn to use the environment, she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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