Selwyn kindergarten first to receive Enviroschool award in New Zealand
Kidsfirst Kindergartens Lincoln is the first kindergarten in New Zealand to receive the Green-Gold Enviroschool Award, the highest award achievable by an Enviroschool.
Schools involved in the programme typically take five to eight years to get to the Green-Gold award by showing environmental ethics throughout all aspects of the school. The environment has to be physically and visibly improved through the activities encouraged by the programme.
Head teacher, Jeanne Williams, says this award is a huge accomplishment for the kindergarten.
Students have been involved in cleaning up their local stream, working in the Lincoln community garden, writing to art suppliers to encourage reduction of plastic packaging and assisting in the design of a playground for a new subdivision.
“Our students also influence their families to reduce their waste, conserve energy and water. They care about their local community and our community supports them.”
Regional coordinator for Enviroschools Canterbury, Andrea Creighton, acknowledges the support of the local funders, especially the generous contribution from Environment Canterbury, the Department of Conservation, and Selwyn District Council.
“These funders enable us to deliver the programme in the Selwyn District. KidsFirst Kindergartens Lincoln has made a long term commitment to sustainability which will continue to benefit their wider community,” Andrea Creighton said.
Environment Canterbury chairman, Sir Kerry Burke, congratulated Kidsfirst Kindergartens Lincoln on the award.
“Kidsfirst Kindergartens Lincoln is leading the way for early childhood centres in New Zealand and in Canterbury,” said Environment Canterbury Selwyn/Banks Peninsula councillor Eugenie Sage.
National director of the Enviroschools Foundation, Heidi Mardon, believes that schools and early learning centres are highly motivated to be part of the Enviroschools network as they see the benefits that this future-focused approach to education has for student learning, the health of the environment and social atmosphere of the school.
There are currently 47 Enviroschools in the Canterbury region.
Of these, 41 are primary schools or high schools which represent 12 percent of all schools in the Canterbury region. The balance is made up of six early learning centres.
Enviroschools is an innovative nationwide school programme where students plan, design and create sustainable communities.