Comrie Park Kindergarten is situated in Matarau, in a rural community just fifteen minutes from the centre of Whangarei and is surrounded by beautiful farm land and mature trees.
Comrie Park kindergarten are leaders in sustainable education in Early Childhood in Northland. As the first Green Gold Enviroschools Kindergarten north of Auckland our commitment to working with community to create significant changes in sustainability knowledge, and therefore actions, is widely recognised. We know that lifelong learning begins in the early years; what children learn when they are young creates mind-sets and habits for a lifetime. We are aware that through our work with children, we are directly influencing the education of our community. We have focussed on leading community engagement in sustainable education since opening the doors of our kindergarten and signing up with the National Enviroschools programme with the support of NRC in 2011.
Over the past eight years the initiatives of our kindergarten programme have become a focus of best practice for others committing to sustainable education. We believe that shared knowledge and participation builds power. Through our partnerships with the Northland Kindergarten Association (NKA), local marae and schools we actively facilitate opportunities for community to be involved in our projects focussed on sustainable outcomes whilst continuing to provide an ‘everyday’ kindergarten programme which in immersed in the principals of sustainability.
The Enviroschools kaupapa and guiding principles (empowered learners, respect for diversity of people and culture, sustainable communities, Maori perspectives and learning for sustainability) fits seamlessly beside the principles and strands of Te Whāriki. Empowered learners participate in their environment through exploration and discovery. This builds children’s literacy and language repertoire, allowing them to develop strong communication alongside a confidence in contributing to the achievements of the collective. The connection with nature and the wider community ground children in their place, creating a turangawaewae that we believe is lifelong. Through caring for, and being deeply involved in their environment and community, our tamariki are gifted the treasure of belonging, something we treasure. All of these aspects create a well-being not only of body but of wairua, enabling our children to confidently step into the next phase of their learning with pride. We believe that by upholding the kaupapa of Enviroschools we are undoubtedly supporting our children to grow as” competent and confident learners and communicators, healthy in mind, body and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they make a valued contribution to society” (Te Whāriki, 2017.)
The purpose of Comrie Park’s commitment to sustainable education for all is due to the team’s belief in the power of education. By providing new knowledge and ideas for our children, whanau and wider community we empower them to make choices that directly affect Northlands community and environment. Education spreads knowledge and knowledge brings change.