New Shoots Pakuranga – Growing a sustainable community

| By New Shoots, Pakuranga Early Childhood Centre

The donated mountain of mulch awaits spreading.

A few weeks ago, we were offered some free mulch for our Centre community garden named ‘Aroha mai, Aroha atu’ and after realising that we’d need help to shift this motu (mountain) of mulch, we posted messages on Facebook asking for help. Through the grapevine we were able to get some volunteers from ATC Military Prep School.

This wonderful group of students filled wheelbarrows of mulch throughout the morning and helped us to transform our community garden so we could add a ‘Secret Garden’ and a walking track for our tamariki.

The tamariki at New Shoots Pakuranga love their community garden. With each season there are different things happening and children have the opportunity to observe the changes and growth in different plants. The community garden is a key part of the Tāne Mahuta Preschool – tamariki learning and discovering about sustainability, manaakitanga, keeping healthy and caring for themselves, te oranga nui whakahua whakaaro.

Our tamariki are often outdoors actively learning about the wonders of Papatūānuku and how to grow and harvest their own vegetables and fruits that is also shared with whānau in our community. Vegetables from the garden such as cauliflower, lettuce, silverbeet & kale are used in our lunches. This is a perfect way for children to really see ‘farm to table’ in action.

Making progress with the mountain of mulch!

Building friendships and a sustainable community.








The children love feeding all our vege scraps to our worms too – a way to divert waste away from landfill as well as learning about nature’s composters. Tamariki are very interested in finding and observing all of the bugs and insects that are attracted to our worm farms. We recently noticed lots of slater families living on the worms ‘blankets’ (hessian sacks) and a very interesting slug, which we discovered was a native veined slug! Now the weather has been warming up, our tamariki were excited to remove the special sacks that keep the worms warm over winter. We spent some time looking for slugs which have been hiding in the worm bin. The tamariki loved having a turn to hold the slugs, moving them onto new pastures!

Observation and discovery.

Checking out the gardens.










These experiences support children to become increasingly capable of making sense of their worlds by generating and refining working theories. Our tamariki are gaining knowledge and practical skills every day in fun and meaningful ways.

Fa’afetai lava, thank you again ATC students for your mahi and service in our community and to our wonderful tamariki who enjoyed sharing their waiata and manaakitanga with our new friends, making connections between people, places and things in their world, te waihanga hononga.