Kerikeri Kindergarten

Winner of the Environmental action in education award at the 2023 Whakamānawa ā Taiao – Environmental Awards.

Kerikeri Kindergarten’s decade-long journey of sustainability is having positive and profound impacts, not only on the tamariki in their care, but also whānau, the wider community and the environment.

In December 2022 they achieved the coveted Enviroschools Green-Gold status, and their journey has now been recognised as winners of the ‘Environmental action in education award’.

A deep respect for the environment is threaded through all that Kerikeri Kindergarten does. The kindergarten promotes sustainability in every aspect of its teaching and learning, with the aim of positively impacting Northland’s environment and instilling a sense of responsibility within the tamariki in their care.

One of its activities is a weekly ngahere (forest) programme for tamariki and whānau, and it has installed a compost hub that is open for use by the community. It has also established Ngā kaitiaki o Kerikeri Kindergarten, a trapping programme to protect native species, and Kaitiaki Hikoi, weekly litter-picking rituals.

Children and teacher in the forest. (Image: Wendy Bown)

Kerikeri Kindergarten tamariki, learning about the ngahere (forest).

The teaching team recognise the importance of integrating te ao Māori and were the first kindergarten in New Zealand to build a māra hūpara, a traditional Māori playground. This was created in collaboration with Ngāti Rehia to reflect the kindergarten’s pepeha, whilst encouraging imaginative and open-ended play.

Kerikeri Kindergarten’s deep commitment to te taiao is a shining example of bringing the community together to care for the environment and empowering tamariki to be kaitiaki (guardians).

(Images: Wendy Bown)