Kerikeri Kindergarten has become the latest Northland Enviroschool to reach the programme’s coveted Green-Gold status.
The Northland Regional Council introduced the programme to the region in 2004. There are now more than 140 schools, kindergartens and early childhood centres taking part.
Regional Councillor, Marty Robinson says becoming Green-Gold was a significant milestone in an Enviroschool community’s sustainability journey.
Councillor Robinson, who presented the kindergarten with its Green-Gold flag on Friday, says Enviroschools’ recognition comes in three bands, from the most-often achieved Bronze, through to Silver and the rarest Green-Gold.
Just 11 other Enviroschools in Northland have already accomplished Green-Gold status.
He says the kindergarten community has a deep respect for the natural environment and promotes protection of Papatūānuku through nature-based learning.
“Sustainability is central to kindergarten decisions and everything it does, and the kindergarten is proud of its ‘carbon negative status’.
“The kindergarten has a strong sense of connection to the environment and knows it can affect change for a sustainable world by being kaitiaki.”
Councillor Robinson says enquiry and action in Kerikeri Kindergarten is led mainly by tamariki.
Māori perspectives are enriching the kindergarten’s journey and are embedded in its curriculum, he said.
“It is the first kindergarten in New Zealand to have integrated a māra hūpara (traditional Māori playground) into its space. Māori values, identity, language, and culture are strongly reflected within this space as tamariki explore traditional Māori notions of play.”
The kindergarten has implemented a long-standing weekly ngahere (forest) programme where tamariki and whanau learn and take action around pest control, biodiversity and survival skills.
It was awarded a highly commended for Environmental Action in Education by the Northland Regional Council in 2020 and was a national finalist in the New Zealand Biosecurity Awards the same year.
Councillor Robinson says the kindergarten also equips its whanau to trap rats and possums in their own backyards.
“It really is deserving of Green-Gold and I congratulate the entire kindergarten community for their mahi. The kindergarten demonstrates that you’re never too young to make a difference,” he said.
More information on the wider Enviroschools programme in Northland is available from: www.nrc.govt.nz/enviroschools.