Wednesday, 24 November 2010

What it means to be an EnviroSchool

We've been made aware that a couple of parents are wondering about the decision to close playground rubbish bins. This decision is an important part of our commitment to being an EnviroSchool. A growing number of other schools near us are all bin free, including new schools. The EnviroSchools programme ( is a national strategy which now includes a quarter of all schools - that's over 200,000 students! This number is growing as schools see the importance and relevance of what the EnviroSchools programme has to offer.

The purpose (kaupapa) of Enviroschools is to develop the well-being of the whole school, community and eco-system. It’s about working out how to live so that our society and economy nourishes the natural systems that give us life. Read here to learn about some of the other benefits to this programme...

Of particular note are the underlying kaupapa (or principles) that are very closely aligned with our school values of: Respect/Whaikoha, Achievement/Angitu, Tikanga/Responsibility and Whakapono/Strength or Self-Belief:
  1. Empowered Students are enabled to participate in a meaningful way in the life of their schools and community, their unique perspectives are valued for the knowledge and insight that they bring, and they are supported to take action for real change. Our EnviroGroup does a wonderful job of leading this in our school.
  2. Learning for Sustainability recognises the types of teaching and learning that foster student empowerment, decision-making, action and sustainable outcomes.
  3. Māori Perspectives honours the status of tangata whenua in this land and the value of indigenous knowledge in enriching and guiding learning and action.
  4. Respect for the Diversity of People and Cultures acknowledges the unique gifts, contributions and perspectives of individuals and groups, reinforcing the need for participatory decision-making in Enviroschools.
  5. Sustainable Communities act in ways that nurture people and nature, now and in the future, to maintain the health and viability of our environment, society, culture and economy.

We are teaching children to take responsibility for their rubbish by taking it home. This includes yoghurt pottles which children rinse and take home to reuse or recycle. Already we are seeing children take increased responsibility and show more respect for our school environment.

One advantage for parents is that you can see whether or not your child is eating their lunch/snack. Some parents report that they are even changing what types of packaging they send lunches/snacks in, which is most encouraging!

This is only one aspect of our EnviroSchools programme, and the EnviroGroup will be exploring ways to continue to improve the system based on feedback. If you would like to give us feedback then please do so. You can do this via the school office, speak to a staff member or me, or comment on our blog posts.

Remember - the best way to strengthen our partnership is through positive communication in the right forum.


Paul Seiler said...

Rob, this from Warrington may be of interest.

Paul Seiler

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