Imagine a generation of innovative and motivated young people, who instinctively think and act sustainably. It is a vision that is already becoming a reality for some schools through involvement in the Enviroschools programme. 

What is an Enviroschool?

The Enviroschools Programme integrates environmental education into the whole of school life, creating learning opportunities by working towards a healthy, peaceful and sustainable environment. With support from the school community, students plan, design and take action to create a sustainable school.

The programme aims to equip young people with the skills they need to be leaders in sustainability. We see a world where students are actively engaged in environmental change that will have significant effects on the school, community, nation and planet.

We see young people with a holistic sense of the environment, and the ability to confront and challenge the barriers to a sustainable future.  Action projects, undertaken by Enviroschools, have both environmental and educational outcomes that benefit the school and the wider community.

If you are interested in joining the programme, check out Introduction to Enviroschools. This is a good document to share with staff, students,  parents and management. Take a look at some of our newsletters,  Enviroschools website and www.measuringchange.org.nz to learn more about the  programme.

Here are some next steps you can take if Enviroschools sounds like a good fit for your school.

Step 1

Meet with an Enviroschools facilitator. Find out what it means to be an Enviroschool and how the programme can be implemented into school life. Hear about the Bay of Plenty Enviroschools we already have.

Step 2

Talk to your staff and Board of Trustees.

Step 3

Request an application form and submit it.

Step 4

If accepted, your school signs an agreement with Council and the Enviroschools Foundation, committing to the programme for three years.

Step 5

Lead teachers are appointed in the school who help coordinate all staff meetings with the facilitator. The school receives a wide range of student-centred Enviroschools resources including the Enviroschools Kit, DVD, scrapbooks and handbook.

Enviroschools is part of a growing community of schools, Early Childhood Education centres and kura kaupapa in New Zealand and internationally who want to make a difference to our environment.

What are bronze, silver and green-gold Enviroschools? 

The Enviroschools programme includes a reflection process that recognises active Enviroschools' progress towards their sustainability goals. The process is designed to encourage schools to reflect on their journey towards sustainability, celebrate success and identify areas for future growth or development.

The reflection involves the whole school or ECE centre - students, teachers, non-teaching staff, board of trustees and members of the local community - parents, local councils and businesses.

Participation in a structured Enviroschools Reflection as a Bronze, Silver or Green-Gold Enviroschool is optional and the reflection process can begin at any time of the year. This is one way of recognising schools that are striving to adopt a sustainable lifestyle and share these practices with the wider community.

What is the purpose?

To encourage schools and ECE centres towards becoming a sustainable community incorporating best environmental practices that will carry over into home/everyday life such as; conserving energy, improving air and water quality, protecting and enhancing our biodiversity (plants, animals, ecosystems), reducing our car trips or reducing waste.

What does the reflection offer your school?

An opportunity to engage students in group decision making and analysis of long term sustainability initiatives, reflect on the changes made within their school and identify opportunities for the future.

Reflecting at different stages

There are three levels or stages of recognition of  a school or ECE centre's progression towards becoming more sustainable:

  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Green-Gold

Typically there are 2-3 years between each structured reflection to allow new practices to become embedded and existing practices to deepen. This system of recognition was previously known as "Enviroschools Awards". Enviroschools has moved away from this terminology as the process is about self reflection rather than winning. Each Enviroschool develops a vision for a sustainable future that meets the needs of their community, so their reflection relates to the goals they have set themselves.

Creating a sustainable environment

Environmental education is much more than the core curriculum. It is about how we facilitate learning. It is about what we do to look after our physical environment, how we try to reduce our impact on the environment and how we interact with each other - education for the environment. Enviroschools compliments the New Zealand Curriculum (2007) and the Guidelines for Environmental Education in New Zealand Schools (1999).

Where to start

Full details on the reflection process is in the orange section of the Enviroschools kit. Enviroschools eager to reflect  should contact their local facilitator or the Council on the contact details below. Schools should allow at least one full term to gather evidence, reflect on their progress and plan for the participation of students, staff and community in the reflection process.