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free range learning adventures

Nature is our best teacher. Have you ever watched animals at play? We are a large, beautiful Animalian family evolved into many different shapes and sizes. Nature reminds us: Learning is what happens all the time, naturally: Cooperating. Collaborating. Learning to be self responsible, self-reliant and independent on all levels – emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. Nature stimulates creativity and problem solving skills that are part of our executive functional development. Spending time in nature increases concentration and cognitive skills. Labels such as ADHD/ADD etc. are either irrelevant or part of a unique individual’s super powers in the natural way of learning. Building and working with mud and connecting barefeet with the earth has huge benefits to our health and happiness. Moreover, when learning is fun, our attitudes are positive and open to learning new things. With more skills learned, we have even more fun, we are self motivated and growing into independent, free willed, sovereign humans, each our own hero. We are organic human beings able to think and do for ourselves – a beautiful and practical set of skills to be self contained as well as a wonderful servant leader to help create a more beautiful world.

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Online learning

Online Learning balances our offline, nature based experiential and freerange learning adventure programme. It is like a buffet menu: Learners can select from a wide range of creative, left- and right brained interactive learning experiences that mirror Animalia Learning Center’s inspiring hands-on, free range approuch. This may or may not include an accredited academic curriculum that is relevant to their interests, entrepreneurial passions and life paths – up to them. Thus individual life purposes are encouraged and nurtured, is self directed and real. In so doing, the learning process follows the natural route of self-motiovated and self-paced life long knowledge acquisition that evolves into wisdom with applied experience .

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Facilitated learning adventures

Our range of offerings vary according to the learners’ varied interests. This is ever changing and evolving as we grow and experience life’s expanding flow. Our focus is on nature based skills and collaborative, non-competitive games and sports-like activities. This ranges from Ultimate Frisbee and gorilla soccer, table tennis, pool, abacus maths and brain gym plus yoga-light warm ups to guided nature hikes and free range animal husbandry, sustainable food sourcing and cultivation, junk and upcycling wood work, metal work, building skills and bush engineering projects. All goes hand in hand with self-sustainability/ self-reliance, creativity and entrepreneurship. Our relationships with each other and our environment, our physical bodies and our mental and spiritual development love the challenges, mysteries, interaction and break throughs of a good game!

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play outside learning

Our dates for this year and beginning of next year:
School ends Thursday 9 December 2021
School starts Monday 17 January 2022
May this year’s pleasure and insights, blessings and beauty totally outshine any of the shadowy stuff. May common sense, self governance, sovereignty, freedom and love guide our choices going forward. Nature Is Our Teacher.

fun learn play create 


Life is our classroom

                  Living is our curriculum


Loving is our teacher

The world is our classroom and the things we do teach us what, where and why we need to know as we grow.


Children – human beings – are born free to love life, to know themselves and their worth as unique and self-reliant individuals who can self govern and make independent decisions plus take responsibility for those decisions. And to follow their dreams and hearts, plus be in service of others through their examples and actions. This may or may not include an academic syllabus.

     Animalia Learning Center is not a homeschool replica of a conventional, mainstream schooling system. Our main focus is not the academic curriculum, but the whole child and all of life is our classroom.
     Nature is our teacher, which means that our true nature – why we are here, this precious Earth that we are so intimately connected to, our own creative participation in life and creating the lives that we want to see (without doing what others want or force us to do or turn us into compliant machines in some big system) – is what we focus on.
     Having said that, we can guide you when it comes to academic or related life choices that your child is passionate about and want to pursue and learn from. You may come visit us anytime for a chat to see what we offer way beyond the mainstream academic content. We outsource various service providers for such – see further down for details.
     For daily updates of our activities and weekly programme, see our Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as our YouTube channel – LIKE, FOLLOW and SUBSCRIBE 😉


We have a mix of learners between ages 4 – 19 sharing an intimate space for maximum 30 full-time and part-time kids, averaging 6-8 kids per facilitator. We learn from and about life in a non-adversarial environment, encouraging cooperation rather than competition, and embrace free choice with responsibility.

Our Learning Center is an alternative school offering a unique and loving space for homeschooling and unschooling / Self-directed Education (SDE) children to interact and socialize in, and with, an environment that allows for freedom and independence, promotes self-discipline in a casually implicit way, and is surrounded by nature and peace.


Our acitivities are inclusive of modern day technology and hands-on creativity. We are not anti-devices, we embrace modern means of communication as a useful tool for learning, and encourage balance.

Acitivies include – but are not limited to – photography; music; drama; online desktop music programming; spoken word poetry and hiphop visual and performance art; creative writing; woodwork such as tree-house building; sculpture; ceramics/clay work/pottery; painting; drawing, baking; sewing and reading. We do online learning; gaming and programming; social networking; Parkour; physical games and sports; horse riding lessons and all things equestrian; environmental activities focused on food foresting, freerange chickens, beekeeping, wild nutritional and medicinal food foraging (mushrooms, herbs, weeds, plants, fruits, berries, seeds, nuts, roots etc), conservation and self-reliance missions. We practise servant leadership, are members of Assagay Conservancy and Madwala Nature Reserve, and host a Free Fridays Volunteers for Self-Reliance programme weekly.

Individual and group councelling are formally and informally addressed through play and individual sessions where needed.

We focus on social outreach and service to our community, reaching out to all animals including two legged humans as well as four- and no-legged critters. We do animal trap/snare sweeps regularly, do waste management in our community, learn animal husbandry, yard maintenance, animal rescue and relocation, and caring for our animal, plant and fungi kingdoms all round.

An abundance of climbing trees, a large conservancy with loads of wild life, river, forest and dams become children’s hang outs and learning places. Our space is constantly evolving as the learners interact with it. They take responsibility for, and participate in making it their own.

A large resource library of books, lego, educational board games and cards for children offer more playtime exploration and life skills development.

Uncapped, superfast internet is included in the fees.

We are not a school, we are an environmentally sound, real world community centre for real life learning. The learning process here is mostly self-paced and self-directed. As facilitators, we guide, mentor, encourage and inspire, not force or control.


Informal, project-based, experiential learning is our core service combined with offline as well as online reflection upon that experience.

We also offer state of the art online learning for learners who want to compliment their learning experience with a more formal curriculum alongside our informal creative, environmental and other extra curricular activities.


Animalia Learning Center operates as a democracy: The children participate in making the rules for the center.

Communication, relationship and expression is key in daily life. Problem solving and any issues that arise are dealt with as a group and fleshed out together, or extended to individual councelling sessions.

Our daily program combines a structured time-table blended with informal activities. Among others, we do light daily warm-ups with movement and physical games, brain gym etc. Each process intends to facilitate children’s freedom of expression, holistic development and grounding.


We use accredited service providers for online learning curricula. DTO Learning is our primary service provider which we highly recommend for kids keen on a solid, inspiring and relevant academic experience to compliment their whole learning adventure at Animalia LC. DTO offers the highly acclaimed Cambridge syllabus dished up with passion and excellence. Then there is also Think Digital College for the CAPS and a version of Cambridge syllabus from Grade R – 12, GED Online for the US syllabus ages 16 upwards doing matric, and others. Chat to us about what’s best for your unique child/ren and their interests.

Learners bring their own laptop, tablet or I-pad.

“We do not teach. We create an environment that inspires learning” – Einstein

We facilitate their daily learning and we do not teach or act as a replacement for school in the conventional sense. We offer a caring facility and provide the infrastructure for a registered distance learning curriculum which learners can complete when parents can’t supervise them during the day. It is still the parents’ responsibility to monitor their child’s progress, in partnership with us.

Programs like Think Digital College offer online tutor support at an added cost. If this is not sufficient for your child, then extra after care tutoring can be arranged by the center in addition to the set fees.


Children who do not wish to enroll with any of these online programs, such as unschoolers or those working with alternate programmes, bring additional materials from home or research their passions here. This could include learning materials or projects of their own making, games or books. We focus mainly on numeracy and literacy, creativity (music, visual and dramatic arts), nature immersion, conservation, self-reliance, eco-farming and animal husbandy. There are many informal learning programmes and materials that can work with this approuch, such as Fun-Schooling with their range of context appropriate books. We do create our own learning materials also as we go, using experiential learning with note taking as our way to cover numeracy and literacy on the move, naturally.


The center is managed by Niko van Rensburg and partner Simone, qualified and SACE registered teachers with tertiary qualifications and with 30 years’ experience respectively in education on all levels/grades and in all different kinds of schools – from government to private, rural to prison schools. Qualified and experienced specialist facilitators as well as parents in academics, physical acitivities, mentorship, life skills and creativity assist us with passion, beauty and compassion.

We have been homeschooling our own children since 2014. 


We are located in the magical Valley Of A Thousand Hills, Kwazulu-Natal at 14A Clement Stott Road, Assagay, Hillcrest, Upper Highway.

Contact us to come see and try out the experience for yourselves. 


Gates open daily at 8:30am and close at 2pm. Learners officially attend 9am-1.30pm, Mondays to Thursdays, and afternoons accommodate additional extra murals, extra lessons and related activities.

Fees are applicable to 4 days per week, Mondays to Thursdays. Friday attendance (9am to 12pm) is free and optional, no fees are charged, and it is a volunteer programme engaging our learners and community members in experiential hands on self-reliance projects ongoing at the centre.


Details for different packages and days per week can be downloaded from THIS PAGE – SEE  Download Fees and Registration Form BUTTON below.

Usual rate R330/day per child ad hoc and try out when without parents. With parents helping facilitate it’s R50 per child p/day. For full time (Mon -Thurs, R4 200 monthly @ R262.50/day), R1 300 monthly for once a week @ R325/day and everything inbetween. Fridays are free for all to join our Free Fridays Volunteers For Self-reliance programme.

Siblings discount is available on request, and fees are adjustable according to parents’ budget – please speak to us for a win-win solution as we would love to acommodate everyone if possible :) .



Life and learning is one and the same thing. Who Am I? What Do I Love Doing / Who Do I Love Being? What Do I Want To Do With My Life? We encourage our learners to explore life, do crazy stuff, experience different choices and options, try out different things. We are essentially creative beings with a strong urge to be free: Independence and joy drive us to get up in the mornings, face tough challenges, keep on keeping on regardless of what life throws at us, and to step into our power as creators of our own realities.

Through our real life Virtual and Contact Shop, we motivate learners to take their passions into cash and monetise their talents. Home baking, mentoring and teaching others about and how to do their passions, art and craft, sewing, novel DIY hacks and other services the learners love doiing and offering naturally, are given platforms for turning them into financially viably businesses. They utilise social media and visit actual shops to market their businesses. They explore logo designs, pricing and product design in the process, all the while working with their innate purpose, sense of play and fun, and actively participating in their own worlds as creators, agents and whole humans.

Click here to see our ever evolving and expanding online shop