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Enviroschools’ preschoolers project unveiled

21 March, 2012

Enviroschools’ preschoolers project unveiled

An expo showcasing a new environmental education pilot programme targeting Northland pre-schoolers is being hailed a success by organisers.

The Northland Regional Council is working with Matarau’s (Whangarei-based) Comrie Park Kindergarten in a 12-month trial of the ‘Enviroschools in the Early Years’ programme.

The Early Years programme is customised for very young children (aged two to six years), their families and wider community and was showcased at an Enviroschools Northland expo at Comrie Park Kindergarten recently. (subs: Weds 14 March).

Susan Karels, the council’s Enviroschools Regional Co-ordinator, says Early Years is designed to foster a connection with nature and a sense of belonging to the environment and community.

She says with more than a third of the region’s primary and secondary schools currently in the wider Enviroschools programme (a whole-school approach to sustainability) the pre-school initiative is a logical extension of that.

Northland Regional Councillor Bronwyn Hunt says the 14 March expo was fantastic and she was thrilled by what she had seen, including the passion of participants and the level of support for the initiative from a wide cross-section of the community.

“The children taking part in this ‘Enviroschools in the Early Years’ programme are very much environmental trailblazers for Northland and the Northland Regional Council is thrilled to be associated with such a worthwhile project,” Cr Hunt says.

Mrs Karels says while the Early Years programme started elsewhere in New Zealand in 2004 and now runs successfully in nine other regions, the Matarau trial is a first for Northland.

She says the Early Years pilot will include a lot of enjoyable hands-on activity, with exploration and discovery key components.

She says as well as the Early Years initiative, the half-day expo had also touched on the work of the wider Enviroschools programme in Northland.

About 65 children, their teachers and members of their families attended, including about 20 new entrant pupils from nearby Matarau School.

Expo participants were involved in a range of activities from earth building and papermaking to energy conservation and puppetry.

Mrs Karels says further information about the Enviroschools programme is available via the regional council’s website www.nrc.govt.nz/enviroschools

ENDS

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