Cascades Kindergarten, a member of the Auckland Kindergarten Association, recently received their Silver Enviroschool status and sign.

By encouraging early childhood centres and schools to integrate the five ngā Mātāpono (guiding principles) of Empowering Students; Learning for Sustainability; Māori Perspectives, Respect for the Diversity of People and Cultures and Sustainable Communities the Enviroschool’s kaupapa supports children and young people to learn about sustainability, cultural diversity and the physical, social, and political aspects of the environment.

Cascades Kindergarten has embraced these five guiding principles and over the last five years, the teaching team, tamariki and whānau have enjoyed rejuvenating the old compost heap and worm farm, built garden beds and used the food produced for eating, cooking and feeding the resident guinea pigs. They have also integrated a very successful ‘zero waste’ policy to reduce rubbish going to landfill – in fact they’ve gone from one black rubbish bag of waste a day to one a week. Understanding that sustainability needs to involve the whole community, Cascades Kindergarten teachers and children have also visited the local stream and waterfall and Pigeon Mountain to learn more about the local environment.

Wai Care (part of the Auckland Council), New Zealand Land Care Trust and Pakuranga College students have all joined Cascades Kindergarten on their journey to becoming an Enviroschool, along with the support of environmental education advisor Cate Jessep from Auckland Council.

A ceremony was held on Tues 24 May and attended by Auckland Council members who, with the help of the children, unveiled a permanent sign to commemorate this achievement. The children thanked their guests with a selection of waiata, before enjoying a delicious shared morning tea.