OPOTIKI’S Central Kids Kindergarten has been recognised as the first silver Enviroschool in the Eastern Bay.
Staff, children and representatives of various organisations gathered yesterday to celebrate the achievement.
With 1261 Enviroschools nationwide, the programme works with early childhood centres to encourage learning about the environment and promote environmental awareness from a young age.
The silver award was celebrated with songs, speeches and a shared lunch.
Bay of Plenty Regional councillor Stacey Rose congratulated the staff and students on the award, and the work they had been doing.
“It’s been really good to see and hear,” he said.
“This celebration is well deserved, I’m really excited to see more work come out of this place.”
Enviroschool regional co-ordinator Rachel Thaugland congratulated the centre on the work it had done.
“It’s such a big voice to the community on leading the way for our environment.”
She said the programme was an example of how little hands could make a big difference in the community.
The programme has five guiding principles for schools: empowered students; learning for sustainability; Maori perspectives; respect for the diversity of people and cultures; and sustainable communities.
The kindergarten practices these through composting, recycling, keeping chickens and more.
Mrs Thaugland describes the children as “little leaders” in the community, as far as environmental sustainability.