At Te Whare Ako Chilcare, staff are leading a new generation of tamariki where sustainability is at the heart of everyday practice.
In 2019, Te Whare Ako joined the Enviroschools network. Over this time, the teaching team, management and children have been working hard to make the centre a more sustainable environment. As they explored the programme, the centre has developed many opportunities for the tamariki to connect with nature and its rhythms and investigate where things we use come from and what happens when we don’t need them anymore.
Some of the highlights of their journey so far include growing vegetables and flowers together from seed, using food scraps to fuel their own worm farm and taking home the fertiliser it produces for their own gardens. The centre is also involved in reducing, reusing and recycling art supplies and exploring natural dyes made from vegetables.
In October, Te Whare Ako received their Bronze Manuka Enviroschools Award, which is the first stage in the Enviroschools journey. Becoming a Bronze Enviroschools is a milestone that recognises the centre's commitment to a long-term sustainability journey and to the changes they are starting to make.
“Sustainable education has enabled the teaching team, children, and families to promote a sense of responsibility, show respect for our natural environment, be active participants and bring about enquiry and change.
Our children are at the center of our sustainable goals and we must educate the next generation to ensure sustainable development for the future ahead,” says lead teacher Karen Chapman.
While they celebrate receiving their Bronze Enviroschools Award, the team at Te Whare Ako continue to look ahead, already working towards their Silver Enviroschools recognition which they hope to achieve by the end of next year.