More than 200 mostly early childhood educators, including a group from Japan, are expected at a nature education conference in the outdoors in Whangārei.

The event from today to Sunday is in its eighth year and is again being hosted by Cherry Daly at her farm along Ngunguru Rd, which is also home to her Open Spaces Pre-School Academy.

The aim of the Natural Phenomena Conference is to emphasise reconnecting children with nature and to let them engage in outdoor activities rather than being glued to TV.

"This year, our focus is very much on risk play. Children are their own best risk managers, let them set their own boundaries and let them develop that gut feeling through things like climbing trees," Daly said.


"New Zealand is one of few countries where there's no legislation on how much time children must spend outside and there's a push for legislation to set a minimum time."

She said 250 participants were expected at the event, including seven from Japan.

One hundred participants will be sleeping in tents on the farm while others will make their own arrangements. There will be four workshops on early childhood and peaceful parenting practices, including activities such as flax weaving, firemaking, yoga, rope and hangi making.

The event starts at 3pm today and ends at 1pm on Sunday.

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