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Thread: A preschool with a difference

  1. #1
    MotherBear's Avatar
    MotherBear is offline The missing link
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    Default A preschool with a difference

    A preschool with a difference
    4:00AM Monday Sep 15, 2008
    By James Ihaka

    Sami Nieschmidt, 4, (right) holds Buttons the rabbit while he is fed celery by Arie Tawera, 3 (left). Photo / Sarah Ivey

    At first glance the Kids to Five Kindy in Hamilton appears to be like any other preschool.

    Out the back is the sandpit, the swings and slide on which the children sort out in their own way who gets to go first.

    Inside there are seashell motifs, cute finger paintings of happy families hanging on the walls and a shelf of books with favourites such as Dr Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham.

    But it's what is happening around the kindergarten that sets this place apart from others. "We came up with a few ideas about trying to utilise what we have here to lessen our environmental imprint," said teacher, Jill Van Amsterdam.

    These ideas, Ms Van Amsterdam says, are giving children an insight into sustainability and "environmental responsibility".

    Virtually nothing at the kindergarten goes unused with all food scraps either used as compost or sorted for their three rabbits and turtle or the birds that gather outside at lunchtime each day.

    The waste from the children's thriving worm farm is collected as liquid fertiliser for the number of fruit trees and vegetable gardens at the kindergarten from which they harvest and eat celery, corn, tomatoes, peas and strawberries when in season.

    "Children need to learn that food just doesn't come from the supermarket so we thought there was no better way to learn about it than by doing it themselves," said Ms Van Amsterdam.

    Used paper is shredded for animals' bedding and even lunch wrappings aren't spared. "We unwrap their lunch and send the wrapping back to their parents in their lunch boxes," said Ms Van Amsterdam.

    The back-to-nature approach has won the preschool a Healthy Eating Healthy Action award from the Ministry of Health.

    More gardens and trees are planned to utilise every inch of free space at the kindergarten while Ms Van Amsterdam says children making their own paper remained "a possibility".

    She was unaware if other preschools had gone to the lengths they had to support sustainability.

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    Mother Bear

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  2. #2
    studynz2008 is offline Junior Member
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    Sep 2008


    Such an inspiring article. These kids are lucky enough to know how to take care of our environment. Bravo!

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