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Only 20 finalists are selected and the kindergarten is one of four in the ''excellence in teaching and learning'' category.
Finalist kindergartens are to receive a visit from a judging panel of education experts. Winton's visit is scheduled for July 30.
Ministry of Education early learning and student achievement deputy secretary Ellen MacGregor-Reid said the finalists demonstrated outstanding teaching practices that made a big difference not just to learners, but to their families and the wider community.
For the past six years, teachers at Winton Kindergarten have been taking children into the woods to learn in a natural environment.
Category winners will receive $20,000 and a professional development opportunity.
The winner of the Prime Minister's supreme award, selected from the four category winners, will receive an additional $30,000 and represent New Zealand at an international education conference.
The awards ceremony will be held in Wellington in September.