A focus on our kai garden started when Homer from Kaipātiki project visited us and held a workshop on creating veggie gardens. We were excited to receive various vegetable plants, organic vegetable mix and pot mix for our garden project and it was a perfect season for planting and provided an excellent gardening experience for tamariki.
In 2020 our families and Bunnings donated potting mix, veggie plants and items needed to start our veggie garden and our vision to create a fruit sensory orchard. The space used to be a rock garden, which our children revamped with donations from Bunnings Glenfield, and is now our productive veggie gardens.
We used our first fresh produce of vegetables from our own garden, including carrots and spinach to make cheese muffins. This provided momentum of our garden-to-table approach, where our tamariki now harvest produce and we co-create meals from it. So far, we have made a whole range of tasty dishes including smoothies, pies, muffins, pizza, fried rice, pasta, and hummus.
Recently, we received kind donations from Mitre 10 Mega Glenfield of plants (vegetables and marigolds) organic vegetable mix and potting mix – again our gardens and puku were well fed! We are fortunate that this is just the beginning of Mitre 10 contribution, as we intend to develop a long-term relationship between Glenfield Kindergarten and Mitre 10 Mega Glenfield. We have one of the representatives from Mitre 10 visit us regularly and help gardening with our tamariki. We have discussed future projects to support the living landscape in our māra. Glenfield tamariki have been busy planting vegetables and marigold plants and adding organic soil and potting mix to our garden boxes.
As kaiako, we empower tamariki to participate in meaningful ways in the life of their early childhood centre. Their unique perspectives are valued for the knowledge and insight that they bring, and they are supported to take action for the real change. They are learning to be kaiāwhina of our natural environment and to live the values of Manaakitanga and Kaitiakitanga in their Enviroschools practices, including planting, gardening and maintaining our herbs, veggie garden and our fruit orchard.
Being an Enviroschools Green-Gold kindergarten, we emphasise our teaching philosophy of sustainability in our community and are aware that building connections and reciprocal relationships is essential. Our teaching philosophy is to act in ways that nurture people and nature, now and in the future, to maintain the health and viability of our environment, society, culture and economy. We value and enact tikanga Māori, building awareness and understanding of Māori ways of knowing and making sense of the world in our daily practices.
We know that learning sustainability is to recognise the type of learning that uses a series of connected experiences to develop holistic and ecological perspectives, foster inquiry, decision-making, action, and reflection, and create sustainable outcomes. The results are positive!