Comrie Park Kindergarten : Supreme Award & Environmental action in education
Comrie Park Kindergarten aims to grow and develop lifelong learners through its philosophy of ‘Ngā Kākano Āpōpō – The Seeds of Tomorrow’.
A kaupapa of environmental sustainability is embedded in the heart of the Matarau-based kindergarten, one of the attributes that saw it recently judged Supreme Award winner at the Northland Regional Council’s 2019 Environmental Awards.
Despite having just 44 pupils, the kindergarten’s commitment and learnings spill well beyond its daily activities, out into the wider Matarau community and beyond, benefiting not just its children, but their whānau and hopefully those of future generations too.
In just a few years, Comrie Park – which also won the awards’ ‘Environmental action in education category’ – has already influenced the lives of hundreds of Northlanders, young and old alike.
A month on from the awards themselves, head teacher Anna Alexander, the kindergarten’s team and the rural community it supports are still thrilled by – and coming to terms with – those wins.
Anna says, given the impressive standard of the almost 40 other finalists across eight categories, the Supreme Award win was extra special to Comrie Park.
“It was very humbling to be surrounded by so many like-minded people. Award winners often say that they’re being recognised on behalf of the efforts and support of a much bigger group than the people or organisation itself and that’s certainly been the case for us.”
She says the kindergarten team believes environmental sustainability is a necessity and as such, sustainability is embedded in a raft of activities that make up daily life in the kindergarten.
The approach touches everything from the kindergarten’s community gardens, its growing and use of riparian plants, right down to the toilet paper and tissues used there, which are made from fast-growing sugar cane and bamboo fibres.
“We empower and encourage everyone to make one small change and believe that small changes collectively end up making a huge difference.”Anna says it’s fair to say the kindergarten has been more than a little taken aback by just how much attention its wins have generated.
“We’re extremely proud of the programme we provide here for our tamariki and whānau and to be recognised with these awards is truly humbling.”
She says the experience has been universally positive and the kindergarten encourages others to enter the next awards.
“Be proud of the work you are doing out in the Northland community. It’s about acknowledging and celebrating all the wonderful environmental initiatives Northlanders are doing.”