The Enviroschools kaupapa supported the direction for the upgrade of the outdoor environment at Havelock North Central Kindergarten.
The Enviroschools Action Learning Cycle and Māori Perspectives Guiding Principles informed the kindergarten’s process (as well as concepts from the book ‘Natural Playscapes’ by Rusty Keeler) and planning as they created a revitalised space.
The kindergarten invited whānau and extended community to contribute thoughts and ideas from memories of their own childhood and garden play. Significant features of the whenua were all discussed and the children contributed to this through a variety of different avenues e.g. kōrero, hui, art, pūrākau, stories, planting seeds to grow into seedlings etc.
The garden development was a very big part of the children’s programme. Māori Perspectives and the dispositions of atua were incorporated into the plan. Tūmatuenga – strategy, focus and determination – represents the planning, consultation, feedback, and design. Grasses were planted for Tāwhirimatea to play and dance through, while a formal garden area with peaceful, quiet and mindful spaces represents Rongomātāne.
Haumietiketike is seen in the wild plants growing up where they naturally wanted to grow, and the tamariki even figured out how to incorporate Urutengangana as coloured glass and pebbles mosaicked as stars into concrete.
Tangaroa and Hinemoana and their elements are incorporated into the sand area, and water is pulled from an old pump by tamariki so it can then cascade over and around limestone rocks before creating valleys and rivers through shells, fossils and lots of sand.
Tānemahuta and his plants are plotted in and around areas of play, some to give shade from Te Rā, others for different scents and visual delight.
The kindergarten’s planning and reflection has produced a beautiful, engaging area for the tamariki, with spaces able to be adapted as the children find what works for them.