Kindergarten becomes Golden Bay's first Green Gold Enviroschool

From left: Golden Bay Kindergarten pupils Kaiah Mason-Eru; head teacher Rebecca Olney; Aaro Millar; Olea Weiss and Akira ...
Nina Hindmarsh

From left: Golden Bay Kindergarten pupils Kaiah Mason-Eru; head teacher Rebecca Olney; Aaro Millar; Olea Weiss and Akira Morgenstern. Golden Bay Kindergarten was the first school or early childhood education centre to become a Green Gold Enviroschool.

A Takaka kindergarten's passion for sustainable education has seen it receiving the highest level of national recognition in the Enviroschools programme.

Reforestation, edible gardens, embedded Māori perspectives and "reduce, reuse and recycle" have all been a part of daily-life for the Golden Bay Kindergarten since it opened eight years ago.

Those efforts were acknowledged last week when it became the first school or early-childhood centre in Golden Bay to become a Green-Gold Enviroschool.

Enviroschools is a nationwide programme which focuses on on teaching kids to be thoughtful environmental citizens.

It was a long-standing goal for head teacher, Rebecca Olney, who said they were all "super happy" about the new status.

"It just proves that we can achieve anything if we put our heart and soul into it," she said.

"It is a special time to reflect on the past and our goals for the future."

Olney said it was a priority for the kindergarten to keep the Enviroschools guiding principles on top to ensure the journey was holistic for everyone.

"Environmental education is important to us as a team and for our kindergarten association. Our children are kaitiaki, which means caretakers, of Papatuanuku [mother earth]," she said.

Tasman District Council education and partnerships officer, Claire Webster said it was the kindergarten's te Ngāhere programme which really stood out.

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Te Ngāhere, which means "the bush" is a forest located a short walk from the kindergarten behind the Community Gardens in Takaka.

For over 2 years, the kindergarten has been visiting te Ngāhere every week to partake in its reforestation initiative programme.

The children cut out Bay trees using tools and they replant native trees..

Webster said the celebration was a great time to acknowledge the work that goes on day after day with the children.

"[Another area that stood out was] the staffs' desire to keep revisiting different aspects of their kaupapa [principle] – for example how the kindergarten manages waste," Webster said.

"This revisiting keeps the learning alive for the current tamariki so it's not just about 'this is how it's done here' but the tamariki get the 'why' too."

 - Stuff.co.nz

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