Horizons Regional Council has announced that Ruahine Linton Kindergarten has become the first early childhood education (ECE) centre in the region to reach the Enviroschools Green Gold level.
Enviroschools is a national programme that encourages young minds to build a sustainable world. The programme engages with schools/centres and teachers to support and empower young people to plan, design and implement sustainability projects that are important to them and their communities.
Horizons implements the programme around the region which is part funded by city and district councils
Horizons senior environmental educator, Sarah Williams says that reaching Green Gold status means sustainability is central to all decisions made within a school/centre.
“The Linton Kindergarten team and community have worked so hard and absolutely deserve this acknowledgment,” she said.
“Whānau voice is really strong at the kindergarten, which is amazing as we are wanting those sustainability outcomes to ripple into the community. An example of this is tamariki who have left the centre having learnt how to make worm shake (fertiliser for the garden), are now coming back to buy worms to set up their own worm farms at home.
“Enviroschools in the ECE sector is really easy to do as the kaupapa fits really neatly with Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Centres are already doing Enviroschools.
“Tamariki are fully involved in a range of projects, from water conservation to composting, vegetable gardening, and maintaining a butterfly garden. They have recently been learning about Whāngamokopuna, a pūrākau (Māori myth/legend) taught to them after teachers attended a wānanga (forum) at Te Rangimarie marae.
“At the celebration event last Friday, one of the parents said that when they asked their child how kindy was, they replied that they didn’t do much playing today as there was too much hard work to do!”
Ruahine Kindergarten Association chief executive, Alison Rudzki said she is extremely proud of the prestigious achievement.
“Linton’s Enviroschools journey started several years ago, so this award is testament to the vision and mahi of many people over that time. Linton Kindergarten lives and breathes the principles of Enviroschools and now they have the certificate to prove it,” she said.
“All our Ruahine Kindergartens and Early Learning centres empower tamariki to be kaitiaki (guardians) of our environment. It is an important aspect of our kaupapa, along with caring for each other.”
For more information about the Enviroschools programme: https://www.horizons.govt.nz/HRC/media/Media/Environmental%20Ed/Enviroschools-Snapshot-Booklet-2022.pdf