Paraparaumu Enviro School

Kapiti`s Newest Enviro School

By Nicola Easthope
November 2012

Paraparaumu children begin enviro-journey

 Paraparaumu School has become the newest enviroschool on the Kapiti Coast.

Students, parents and staff are excited about what they have been able to achieve over two terms, beginning with the question, “how can we make the school more sustainable?”

The new envirogroup hosted a tour around their initial projects to make their school a ‘greener’ place.

The envirogroup, comprised of two student representatives from each class, knowledgably revealed their two worm farms in the shed. “We have a fruit break at 10 o’clock, and then lunch, so that creates a lot of fruit and vegetable scraps”, explained 12-year old Ruby Caldwell. “We harvest the ‘worm tea’ and dilute it to water the garden, which helps the vegetables grow. We will sell the surplus at craft fairs or boot sales in the future.”

The garden, which contains broad beans, cauliflower, silver beet, cabbage, and calendula flowers, was established in Term 2 with assistance from a parent. Caleb explained the calendula is to help keep bugs away. “I want to see if we can get more calendula to plant around the whole garden.” On the students’ wish list for the plot are strawberries, carrots, tomatoes, and fruit trees.

Dean Skuce

Amidst the thrill of the partial solar eclipse last Wednesday Year 8 students from Room 11 have been working on a marketing project, designing attractive and informative worm tea labels for reusable milk bottles.

Paraparaumu School was a successful recipient of the latest Waste Minimisation grant, which the Kapiti Coast District Council administers once a year. As well as paying for the labels, the money will fund two large worm bins, two macrocarpa sleepers for a compost bin, and organic waste receptacles for every classroom.

The whole school’s topic for term 2 was a global water supply and conservation inquiry, and for term 3, a ‘Waste not, want not’ topic, which focussed on the rubbish created and disposed of at school.

“We have just joined the Paper for Trees programme, which will help us reduce the amount of paper waste at school”, said Lead Enviro-teacher, Sarah Rickard.

“As well as the larger garden, some of the senior students, with the help of the caretaker, have built the classroom planters for herbs and sunflowers.

Environment group in garden

They conducted research into when to plant different things, and the ideal type of soil to use, as well as using skills of measurement”.

This coming week, every child in the school will make a clay tile, utilising colourful scrap glass which will be smashed and pressed into patterns. After firing at the Otaki Pottery Club, the tiles will be mounted onto marine ply to decorate the walls, garden and other parts of the school grounds. The inspiration came from a recent tile-making community workshop at Otaki College.

The students are aware of their place in the world, and the choices they make in their environment every day. Oldest envirogroup member, 13-year old Matthew Taylor says, “We’re helping the environment, not hindering it. We want to have a lower ecological impact”.


Enviroschools is a self-paced, student-led, positive and creative programme, involving students’ everyday curriculum learning. Schools and early childhood centres that commit to the programme work with their facilitator to plan and implement a unique pathway towards sustainability in their centre of learning. Over time, the envirogroup and lead teacher, with support from the school- and wider community, develop a ‘whole-school approach’ to sustainability. Students plan, design and take action for waste, water, energy, eco-building and living landscapes. They then reflect on and celebrate their achievements!

Thank you to the Kapiti Coast District Council for funding the Enviroschools Programme on the Kapiti Coast. To find out more, contact Nicola Easthope,  Nicola will be ‘on leave’ in 2013 (teaching at Kapiti College), and her replacement will be revealed in early December!