As some of you may or may not be aware – Enviroschools are going to be loosing their funding this year as the government has decided to cut and focus on core education such as reading, writing and maths.
Many parents are very saddened by this news as we know what a great programme Enviroschools is.
A quarter of New Zealand schools are Enviroschools, reaching 212,870 New Zealand children. The programme is positive, practical, and wildly successful – another 210 schools are on the waiting list to become Enviroschools, including early childhood centres.
Enviroschools relies on the wonderful Education for Sustainability Advisers whose jobs have been cut, and Matauranga Taiao the tikanga Maori Enviroschools programme for kohanga reo and kura kaupapa has also been cut.
Our children learn to respect and value the natural environment, save energy and water, recycle and compost, grow their own food, and understand the connections between their actions and the future of the planet. These are essential skills for young people in today’s world, and to cut what should be core learning in the name of financial belt-tightening is spectacularly narrow and short-term thinking.
Ruth MacClure who is involved with Pt Chev Transition Town and Pt Chev Primary is looking for people who would be available should a journalist be interested in covering the story. Please leave a comment on this page on what you can offer.
Here is a short video clip made by a school in Dunedin.
Not surprisingly the Greens are picking up on this issue ( it was a successful Green bid that secured funding for the programme initially) and are asking you to make the following actions:
Take action to save Enviroschools:
- Visit your local National MP, and express your disappointment that this successful programme is no longer supported. Keep it positive and personal – if you have a child at an Enviroschool, talk about what environmental education has meant for your child and your family. Ask that the funding be reinstated.
- Write a letter or email to your local National MP and cc John Key – we need to keep it on the Prime Minister’s radar.
- Write letters to the editor outlining the importance of environmental education in NZ schools and calling for Enviroschools funding to be continued.
Points you might like to include in letters / emails
- A quarter of our schools are Enviroschools, reaching 212,870 New Zealand children. This is a positive, successful and popular programme that it is achieving great things at a low cost to government.
- These days, knowledge and skills in sustainability is not a luxury ‘add on’; it needs to be an integral part of our children’s learning.
- Enviroschools are delivering on the government’s priorities:
- Economic growth and jobs: Sustainability is a major growth area and young people need to be eco-literate to survive in the global economy today.
- Science and innovation: Enviroschool programmes foster children’s interest in environmental science, technology and primary production
- Literacy and numeracy: Enviroschool programmes regularly utilise other learning skills, such as reporting, surveys, and analysis.
- Enviroschools enable children to become in the educator in the home, sharing their new found knowledge and skills with their family.
- Teachers need the curriculum support, professional development and resources to effectively teach environmental education. They cannot adequately deliver this programme without external support from the government.