News and Events

Recognition for Kerikeri Kindergarten commitment

August 30, 2023

Congratulations to Kerikeri Kindergarten who have been recognised as the recipients of the Environmental Action in Education Award – Whakamānawa ā Taiao | Environmental Awards 2023 | Northland Regional Council.

Kerikeri Kindergarten’s decade-long journey of sustainability is having positive and profound impacts, not only on the tamariki in their care, but also whānau, the wider community and the environment. In December 2022 they achieved Enviroschools Green-Gold status, and their journey has now been recognised as winners of the ‘Environmental Action in Education Award’.
A deep respect for the environment is threaded through all that Kerikeri Kindergarten does. The kindergarten promotes sustainability in every aspect of its teaching and learning, with the aim of positively impacting the Taitokerau/ Northland environment and instilling a sense of responsibility within the tamariki in their care.

Careful observation of the natural ecosystems.

One of its activities is a weekly Ngahere (forest) programme for tamariki and whānau, and it has installed a compost hub that is open for use by the community. It has also established ngā kaitiaki o Kerikeri Kindergarten, a trapping programme to protect native species, and Kaitiaki Hikoi, weekly litter-picking rituals.

A deep understanding and connection to Papatūānuku is evident among the tamariki at Kerikeri Kindergarten. They are consistently challenged to make better environmental choices, fostering a sense of responsibility and care for the planet.

The teaching team recognise the importance of integrating te ao Māori and were the first kindergarten in New Zealand to build a māra hūpara, a traditional Māori playground. This was created in collaboration with Ngāti Rehia to reflect the kindergarten’s pepeha, whilst encouraging imaginative and open-ended play. Kerikeri Kindergarten’s deep commitment to te taiao is a shining example of bringing the community together to care for the environment and empowering tamariki to be kaitiaki (guardians).

As the chair of NRC Tui Shortland shared, “Your mahi is an example to us all, a beacon of hope.”

Working and learning together for a common good.

The Pataka kai and māra kai project further supports the local community and economy. By practicing organic gardening, the kindergarten is able to provide families with an abundance of fresh produce.

Kerikeri Kindergarten is continuously striving for sustainability in their everyday operations. They have recently replaced paper towels with reusable cloth ones, involving children in the decision-making and implementation process. Tamariki actively participate by folding towels, starting their day with this meaningful activity. Additionally, the kindergarten is researching and planning the transition to cloth nappies as their next sustainability goal. By involving children and taking proactive steps towards sustainable practices, Kerikeri Kindergarten fosters a sense of responsibility and resourcefulness while making a positive impact on the environment.

From their trapping programme to their compost hub, Kerikeri Kindergarten is making a real difference by empowering tamariki to be kaitiaki. They deeply embrace te ao Māori, evident in design of the mara hūpara playspace created in collaboration with Ngāti Rēhia. This is a beautiful example of how traditional Māori values can be used to create sustainable and educational spaces.

In the words of the judging panel, “Kerikeri Kindergarten are a shining example of bringing the community together to care for the environment. They show us that by working together, we can create a better future for our planet.”

Congratulations Jo, Scott, Sheryl, Kim, Kerry and Karen and the Kerikeri Kindergarten tamariki and community. (images by Dawn Dutton)

Kerikeri Kindergarten has been at the forefront of environmental initiatives for some time now. Over the past few years, they have ramped up their efforts by implementing various changes and projects within their kindergarten community. This has resulted in a significant shift in their operations, and have had a positive impact on their environment, whānau members and wider community. Kerikeri Kindergarten prioritises sustainability in every aspect of their operations, from small day-to-day decisions to large-scale projects, all with the aim of positively impacting Northland’s environment.

A deep understanding and connection to Papatūānuku is fostered.

These initiatives showcase the kindergarten’s commitment to environmental sustainability and their efforts to engage children and the community in practicing and promoting sustainable change.
By empowering their tamariki to become change makers, Kerikeri Kindergarten recognises the significant importance and impact of preparing the younger generation to be kaitiaki. The value of this endeavour cannot be underestimated, as it ensures a sustainable future and fosters a sense of responsibility and care for the natural world.

By inviting community involvement and providing educational resources, Kerikeri Kindergarten has not only expanded their impact but also empowered families and community members to actively participate in environmental sustainability efforts. The compost hub serves as a practical and tangible example of their commitment to creating positive change within their community and beyond.

While the exact measurements may be elusive, the tangible outcomes of waste reduction, wildlife protection, sustainable practices, and cultural empowerment demonstrate the positive impact of Kerikeri Kindergarten’s environmental and educational initiatives in Te Tai Tokerau.

Time to pause, chat and question.