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Kindy kids achieve gold Enviroschools award

Tuesday, 29 March 2011 9:00 a.m.

Pāpāmoa Kindergarten pupils celebrated receiving a Green Gold Enviroschools Award last week to recognise the kindergarten's long-term commitment towards making sustainable changes.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Deputy Chairman Philip Sherry presented the award, saying the kindergarten's achievement was of regional and national significance. Only four kindergartens in New Zealand had achieved Green Gold, and only one other in the Bay of Plenty.

More than 100 people attended the presentation, including current and former pupils, teachers and parents, teachers from other kindergartens and Te Akau ki Pāpāmoa school and Enviroschools representatives including National Director Heidi Mardon. After a karakia to bless a new playground area made using natural materials and built with community help, the children unveiled a sign and performed waiata and action songs.

Mr Sherry said Pāpāmoa Kindergarten was one of the Bay of Plenty's first kindergartens to begin their Enviroschools journey in 2006. Since then the kindergarten had become a leader in their Kindergarten Association and nationally for integrating environmental learning across their programme.

"The teaching team bring such passion to their work, and allow learning opportunities to evolve from student inquiries. Parents have helped with field trips to Brann's farm, in the gardens, at the monthly markets and bringing their special talents into the kindergarten," he said.

"Some of the most committed parent helpers have long since sent their children, and in some cases grandchildren, off to school. Pāpāmoa Kindergarten has worked closely with Te Akau ki Pāpāmoa, the neighbouring primary school, easing the transition from kindergarten to primary and building a stronger sense of community. As often as not, the kindergarten students are teaching their older counterparts about how to make more sustainable choices."

Heidi Mardon said Pāpāmoa Kindergarten was a great example of a centre where the children were reconnecting with nature.

"Their health and well-being is a natural part of their sustainability journey. Pāpāmoa Free and Pāpāmoa Coast kindergartens are two of the four Green Gold Enviroschools Early Childhood centres in the country. Both centres are making a great contribution to the development of Enviroschools in the Early Years sector and their leadership is inspiring," she said.

A large version of this photo is available here.


Papamoa kindergarten Green Gold 2011 lowres