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Published: 2004-09-07 00:00:00

More Waikato schools have been invited to join the Enviroschools Programme which integrates environmental education into school life.

Regional co-ordinator, Environment Waikato’s Schools Programme Co-ordinator Dean King said the Enviroschools programme could help schools enhance a “healthy, peaceful and sustainable learning environment”.

“The Enviroschools Programme helps schools to integrate environmental education into the whole of school life through the curriculum and to create learning opportunities by working towards a healthy, peaceful and sustainable environment, ” he said.

A total of 32 Waikato schools are involved in the Enviroschools Programme, a three-year process supported by an Enviroschools facilitator, a comprehensive resource kit and network of environmental educators. Environment Waikato works with Hamilton City Council (16 schools), Waipa District Council (six schools) and Waikato District Council (three schools) to fund the Enviroschools facilitator for schools in their areas.

“Through the Enviroschools programme children enquire, explore and contribute to decisions about their school environment. Students have opportunities to learn that they can make a difference as part of a community, they can be active participants in directing and managing environmental projects.

“This can be an empowering experience that will develop their capacity for life-long learning and action to care for the environment.”

Mr King said one of the highlights of the Enviroschools programme in the Region this year was the Environmental Education Expo attended by over 1,000 students. The Expo involved static displays and interactive sessions set up around the five key Enviroschools themes of Living Landscapes, Zero Waste, Precious Energy, Healthy Water and Ecological Buildings.

He said 25 different Environmental Education providers were involved in the sessions with students.

“Schools involved in the programme need to have enthusiasm, time and passion to make environmental learning a way of life,” he said.

Interested schools can attend a presentation about the programme at the Environment Centre in Ward Street, Hamilton on Wednesday October 6. The presentation will showcase some existing Enviroschools and give an overview of the programme.

Interested schools need to submit a proposal by October 20 showing how they were prepared to commit to long-term change in their school, support curriculum development and ensure whole school development. They would be notified by October 31.

More information on the Enviroschools programme is on the website