Kaingaroa School is a beautiful kura located on a hill just south of Kaitaia. It has been walking along the Enviroschools journey for a while, with the goal of bringing the Enviroschools kaupapa alive through all ākonga and kaiako.
Several actions have been implemented through a mahi tahi (working together) approach, including the commitment to Enviroschools staff meetings, teachers upskilling with the help of community providers and the formation of a Kaitiaki Club that represents all students.
The students in the Kaitiaki Club have played a significant role in achieving the school goals. After travelling to a local Green-Gold school and meeting with their Enviro Group, they decided to undertake a whole school sustainability survey with both students and teachers (using the Enviroschools resources in Me in My Environment). After completing that survey, club members were able to identify areas to work on, develop shared goals and set next steps for the whole school.
These next steps were presented by the Kaitiaki Club in a school assembly and from there each class and team has taken on the responsibility of one or more of the goals. This approach has ensured all teachers and students are engaged in their Enviroschools journey.
Some of the next steps and projects that emerged as a result included more art forms around the kura, more native habitats, pest control, extension of the māra kai, and looking after local waterways.
As the learning took place and projects started coming to life, it was a real privilege to see the pride and mana students carried. By working together, exploring the possibilities, planning and taking action together the school is now proud of all their achievements.
Recently a Ngāti Kahu mural depicting the arrival of the Māmaru waka has been painted. Previously unused corners of the school have been developed to include more play spaces such as an outdoor chess board and hopscotch.
A pond has been built and the edges planted, and several bug hotels have been added to increase biodiversity in the landscape. Extensive planting including a dedicated bird garden, has already contributed to an increase in native birdlife in their kura.
A Hügelkultur Koru Garden has been developed with support from local experts and the existing māra kai and bus bay gardens have been revived. On top of all this amazing action, students organised several Crop Swap events to share crops with the wider community.
Through this journey, Kaingaroa School also decided to reflect at Enviroschools Bronze level. This process has allowed them to come together and check in on their progress, create a shared vision for the kura, and acknowledge all the mahi everyone was putting in.
At the end of 2022, they celebrated their achievements with a wonderful event called ‘Enviro Day’. This was a fantastic opportunity for students to showcase completed projects to their peers, whānau, wider school community and local Northland Regional Council Councillor. The addition of a bountiful community ‘Crop Swap’ and a number of experts running enviro-based workshops made for the perfect way to wrap up the year.
Check out their great slideshow here. Kaingaroa, Te Taitokerau_2022 slideshow created to celebrate moving forward
Ka mau te wehi Kaingaroa, you are inspirational!