What are Enviroschools?
Enviroschools are schools and early childhood centres which commit to being part of a nation-wide programme of environmental education for sustainability.
In Tasman, the Enviroschools Programme is sponsored by the Tasman District Council, which recognises environmental education for the younger generation holds a key in securing a more sustainable future for our region. There are 27 Enviroschools in the region.
Enviroschools is a learning framework
Enviroschools is a national programme run by the Toimata Foundation based in Hamilton. It offers a rich learning framework for action to follow embedded with Māori perspectives.
The framework process can be used to help create a sustainability vision for the Enviroschool, to plan and take social and environmental actions, to collaborate on projects and to help integrate all aspects of an Enviroschool.
Enviroschools undertake their own pathway to be more sustainable with measurable signposts, recognised as Bronze, Silver and Green-Gold.
Resources and facilitation provided to support each Enviroschool are funded by Tasman District Council with support from the Toimata Foundation.
The bigger picture
The overall aim of the Enviroschools Programme is to have generations of empowered citizens who think and act sustainably now and in the future.
The Enviroschools Programme encourages learning for purposeful actions that care for people and the environment. The process sets up students to be empowered as knowledgeable and inclusive leaders. When they are fully engaged in their learning and actions they easily transfer their passion to the wider community in a ripple effect.
How would it work in a school?
Having a worm farm is popular in Enviroschools. Here is an example of how an Enviroschool can deepen real learning and actions to make wider connections from worms:
Students may just learn how a worm farm works and enjoy the actions for being kaitiaki/guardians of the worms.
A next step, or at another Year level of an Enviroschool, is when they see how the worms turn their food waste into a resource, which could be given away or sold, or used for a garden as nature intended. They may choose to develop or revisit a garden. A garden is a rich learning resource on its own for a range of science and problem solving activities. Depending on the purpose or goal that students may want to reach then the worm farm resource and/or garden can then become a local resource for a wide variety of other purposes.
At Bronze level, the Enviroschool may just use their garden produce in their school or early childhood. At a Silver level, they may also be feeding their chickens, or fundraising, or exchanging with the community. At a Green Gold level this same worm farm may be supporting a garden that is also specifically catering for meals for their neighbours without a garden.
Students who are knowledgeable start to understand the bigger picture of their community, and plan a sustainable action that benefits their community.