Weaving Enviroschools into the early childhood setting is intuitive. Not only does the holistic and non-prescriptive nature of Te Whāriki curriculum lend itself to the style of learning and action at the core of the Enviroschools kaupapa, but ECE centres have strong communities through whānau support.
We want to empower tamariki to take sustainability knowledge and practices they have gathered at their centre home and share this with whānau. This helps to create change in the home environment. This is ultimately one of the aims of the Enviroschools kaupapa.
Evidence shown at Bulls Kindergarten
Ruahine Bulls Kindergarten held their Silver holistic reflection recently and were joined by a number of parents for a day of sharing and celebration. The parents talked about how their tamariki were taking their learning home, chatting about the practices and actions they had participated in at kindergarten. This shared learning and understanding had influenced families and had subsequently led to change in practices at home.
“Since my son has been at Ruahine Bulls Kindergarten, he has learnt so much through the kindy being an Enviroschools. We have always dabbled in sustainability but through what he has come home and taught us, it has really ignited our passion as a whānau. He loves to be involved in all the different areas of Enviroschools and incorporates it at home. On our outings, he will pick up rubbish at the park, offer to weed our vege garden or help plant seedlings, and he really wants to get a compost bin and worm farm at home. It has made such a great lasting impact not only on our son but also on our whānau that we will continue on learning more and more about and incorporating at home.” – Ruahine Bulls Kindergarten parent comment
Sharing and caring
Engagement with whānau is not just a one-way street. Centres encourage their families to get involved by donating things to use for collages, or food scraps and coffee grounds for the centre worm farms. The ‘worm wees’ produced are then being bottled up with instructions and given to families to use in gardens at home.
Zero waste lunches are promoted through the centres providing lunch boxes with the small-lidded pots and families buying food in bulk. Many centres have pātaka kai and sharing tables for gifting a range of items.
Some centres have made their own cleaning spray using citrus peels and white vinegar. Tamariki help with producing this and sharing it with whānau for use at home.
Every early childhood centre across our country is unique, with its own ecology, history, culture and community – so Enviroschools looks different in every setting. The journey of connecting with the place and its people is designed and led in response to people and place. Early childhood education centres are such fertile soils for growing sustainability practices, empowering tamariki and contributing to sustainable communities.
Through active participation in environmental projects, tamariki learn that they can make a difference as part of their community. In early childhood centres the kaupapa provides a seamless flow for tamariki as they move from early childhood education into school. These young people are empowering older learners along their own learning pathway.