A bit about us!
Nestled at the base of the Oxford foothills lies the small country town of Oxford. We (Justin and Mel Fletcher) moved here six years ago from Bournemouth, England and set up a much needed quality preschool.
Bright Horizons Preschool was built in February 2010. We wanted to set up a centre of excellence for 25 preschoolers aged 3 to 5; creating a sustainable environment with a large outside space.
Our centre is ‘home’ to 2 highland cattle, 8 sheep and some chooks. We also have composting bins, a worm farm and a small vegetable garden. One of the benefits of being a small independent pre school is we can develop and grow the centre in line with our children’s interests.
In September 2010 Bright Horizons embarked on its Enviroschools journey. Here are some project highlights:
The Plastic Bottle Greenhouse – April 2011
We were looking for a sustainable project for the year and, whilst surfing the net, Mel came across a greenhouse made from plastic pop bottles. Never one to shy from a challenge Justin was on the case! Download instructions here
He is proud to say that this final design survived the 6.3 February earthquake and the wildest Nor West winds this year and ‘the big snow’ so is confident plastic bottles will not be spread around the paddocks.
In order to build the bottle house 105 canes and 1600 plastic bottles were required. We asked parents for used pop bottles and the remainder were sourced from the local recycling unit over a 6 week period. We used leftover framing from the centre build and macrocarpa off cuts for the door. The only cost would have been for the 4 corner posts and concrete, however Mitre 10 Mega Rangiora provided these. The result is a strong ventilated self watering greenhouse. The children are now drawing up plans for plants they want to grow.
As part of the centre’s ongoing review process Justin constantly questions and challenges the learning these projects generate. Last Friday at afternoon mat time he was quizzing the children on what items could be recycled and possible re uses, he held up a plastic pop bottle. Our youngest 3 year old put up her hand and said “We could make another greenhouse, Mr Justin” – What price preschool education?
We are looking forward to our next projects: firstly installing two rain water collection tanks for irrigation and, longer term, developing some of the remaining paddock into a community garden.
Arbor Day 2014 - Little shoots set down little roots
Children, parents and teachers got into the spirit of AWorld Arbor Day with the planting of 30 native trees. They also celebrated expanding their outdoor area! Justin Fletcher (owner) said a $1000 grant from Honda Schools Fund will be spent on planting native trees over the next two years. For Arbor Day each child was given their own tree to plant, which they will take responsibility for and watch grow.
The celebration reflects the preschool's philosophy whihc is centred on preparing children for a sustainable future. They are looking forward to reaching their goal of achieving Silver in the Enviroschools Holistic Reflection later in the year.
Justin is happy to share ideas or offer advice and can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org or be inspired at: www.brighthorizons.co.nz