Ruahine Linton Kindergarten has become the first early childhood education (ECE) centre in the Manawatū-Whanganui region to reflect on their journey at Enviroschools Green-Gold level.
Tamariki measure out worm tea and then go to the water tank to add water to dilute it. They know that they cannot just put worm tea straight from the worm farm on the plants as it burns the roots. The kindergarten is known for their worm shake which they sell to the community. This is just one example of how tamariki are fully involved in a range of projects.
At the recent Green-Gold celebration event, one the parents said that when they asked their child how kindy was, they replied that “they didn’t do much playing today as there was too much hard work to do!”
The Linton Kindergarten team and community have worked incredibly hard to ensure that the Enviroschools kaupapa is woven through everything they do. Whānau voice is really strong at the kindergarten, a shift from earlier days when a need for sustainability outcomes to ripple into the community was identified. It is heart-warming to know that tamariki who have left the centre, having learnt how to make worm shake (fertiliser for the garden), are now coming back to buy worms to set up their own worm farms at home.
My son has gotten a greater understanding of what composting means and why we can’t throw just anything out in any bin.” – Whānau voice
Other projects include learning about water conservation with their water tanks available for water play and for watering the garden. These are strategically placed around the kindergarten, so they are close to where they are needed. The tamariki are careful to turn off the tap on the tank for water play as they know that once it’s gone, it’s gone. They then need to wait for Ranginui to fill it back up again.
“We only use the reusable containers for yogurt and fill them up from a big 1 litre which we then recycle or reuse. We now have a worm farm and our own compost.” – Whānau voice
“My son has gone into great detail on our awa and what we need to do to protect it. This has resulted in us picking up rubbish when we are out adventuring.” – whānau voice
Learning about protecting our waterways is another area they have been learning about after attending an Enviroschools Water for Life cluster workshop. River journey is an outside activity which prompts conversations about where water comes from. Unfortunately, the water picks up little bits of pollution from land use as it flows down the sea. The tamariki enjoy hearing the river journey story and add things to a tank of water to illustrate these pollutants can make the water dirty. Their actions to support water quality have been to add ‘only rain for drain’ fish badges to their outside drains, and tamariki have painted fish onto rocks which are placed on the drains to remind themselves that they need to be careful about what goes down these drains to help protect fish.
Their vegetable gardens are mulched using off cuts from a company making wool jumpers (especially good for the strawberry beds) and maintaining a butterfly garden.
Atua Māori images adorn the gardens and the tamariki recognise who they are and what they represent. They have recently been learning about Whangaimokopuna, a pūrākau (Māori myth/legend) taught to them after teachers attended a wānanga (forum) at Te Rangimarie marae.
Linton’s Enviroschools journey started several years ago, so this Green-Gold recognition is testament to the vision and mahi of many people over that time. Linton Kindergarten lives and breathes the Guiding Principles of Enviroschools. They feel proud about sharing this with others.
Ruahine Kindergarten Association chief executive Alison Rudzki says she is extremely proud of the [kindergarten’s] achievement.