News and Events

Exploring Living Landscapes and Biodiversity – ECE hui

May 18, 2023

Toitū te whenua – toitū te ao


Sustain the land, sustain the world

Exploring the Living Landscape Theme Area resource.

Early Childhood kaiako in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland were treated to an afternoon exploring the Enviroschools Living Landscape concepts and activities, with the support from Frazer Dale, Auckland Council, Debbie Upham and Pandy Hawke, Auckland Kindergarten Association.

The kaupapa of the day supported the Auckland City biodiversity strategy vision for a flourishing and treasured city. The workshop provided kaiako with opportunities to share aspects of their personal and work connections with Living Landscapes and explore this Enviroschools Theme Area more deeply.


A puna mātauranga/pool of knowledge was created by participants through exploring the Enviroschools Living Landscapes 5 key concepts and recording ideas about what these might mean and look like in an ECE setting.


The Epsom South Kindergarten learning landscape was explored through an activity from the Enviroschools kit ‘Walk, Gawk and No Talk’ using small magnifying eyeglasses, and observations made of the tree canopy, noting mature healthy trees, the cultural medicinal planting, the orchard growing area and leaf litter.

Magnifying things in special places.

What can we observe?











Later on Frazer Dale from Auckland Council’s Sustainable Schools team shared an informative presentation including the Urban Ngahere Strategy. He explained how biodiversity is critical to the health of living landscapes. Frazer’s presentation also included examples of lizard habitats.

Frazer’s presentation.

Supporting resources available.








“It was so good to be learning together again” said Debbie Upham, “and everyone left the workshop clutching a lizard shelter!”

Sangeeta Lal, Centre Manager, KiNZ Mission Heights shared their Exploration Garden project before the hui was drawn to a close.

This workshop at Epsom South Kindergarten was well received by the 25 kaiako who attended.

Debbie shared – “Today we share Living Landscapes can also be learning landscapes and we can relate to the energies of the environment, noticing, feeling, listening, tasting, it is an environment that provides so many different spaces, land is more than the ground we stand upon, Aldo Leopold states …’land is a habitat alive with organisms “not merely soil , it is a fountain of energy flowing through a circuit of soils , plants and animals… is the setting for an intricate web of life that supports our existence.

Our landscape is increasingly changing and is less alive as cities give priority to roading, shops, carparks, concreted areas, natural living areas are reduced, these places children experience as boring, dead, and not valued. an Enviroschools landscape is a great place to learn – our environments are part of the ‘hidden curriculum ‘sending messages to tamariki about what is valued, and how we do things.”

Using small magnifying eyeglasses provided a different perspective of the Living Landscape.

Intricate patterns, different textures, biodiversity.