Preschoolers in Dannevirke will be closer to nature thanks to a grant from the Horizons Regional Council.
First Years Preschool plans to create a native bush play area as one of 15 recipients in the latest $20,000 funding round.
Head teacher Sarah Graham said the grant had allowed the preschool to create something that had been on its wish list for years.
"We've wanted to extend the native bush patch in our backyard for such a long time but have never had the money to do it," she said.
"We've been open 47 years and over time have continued to upgrade the facilities, including upgrading the outdoor playground.
"As part of this we really wanted to plant more native trees as we currently have a very small patch that the kids love to play games in."
First Years Preschool is a not-for-profit organisation, meaning all fees go directly back into running costs.
"For this reason planting natives was low on the priority list compared to other needs," Graham said.
"So when I heard about Horizons' community grants from a family member I thought it would be worth a shot."
Horizons environmental management group manager Craig Mitchell said providing a native bush area would create fantastic memories for the preschoolers.
"We're really glad we can support First Years Preschool with enabling their preschoolers to experience playing in native bush.
"Hopefully this will mean they will continue to appreciate the importance of our native biodiversity as they grow up."
As well as a native bush area, First Years Preschool's playground includes a vegetable garden, compost bin, pet birds they breed themselves and a worm farm. Graham said these factors were aimed at developing an understanding of sustainability.
Horizons' community grants programme is now in its third year, with grants available to support community-led projects.
The 2014 round will be open later in the year.
- Manawatu Standard
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