Keeping it Clean and Green

By Morgan Educare Centre Ltd

I Heart my Hood

Morgan Educare Ltd is an early childhood centre in the suburb of Flaxmere, Hastings. It is licensed for 29 children, including nine up to the age of two. The centre cares and provides education for children, most of whom identify as Māori or Pacific. To provide access to early childhood education the governing board has …

Morgan Educare Ltd is an early childhood centre in the suburb of Flaxmere, Hastings. It is licensed for 29 children, including nine up to the age of two. The centre cares and provides education for children, most of whom identify as Māori or Pacific. To provide access to early childhood education the governing board has purchased a van to transport children to and from the centre. A large number of the children identify as Māori. There is a strong focus on supporting them to be successful as Māori. Appropriate links with Ngāti Kahungunu, the local iwi, has prompted the development of a more natural environment. Teacher’s knowledge, the environment and resources assist in the development of a culturally responsive curriculum. The philosophy, which underpins all aspects of centre operation is child centred, acknowledges the diverse cultures of the children and values the contributions of family and whānau. Morgan Educare has a Strategic Plan strongly focused on sustainability and conservation.
The Morgan Educare Centre Team is a dedicated community of Pāpātuanuku guardians for the Flaxmere and Hastings area. Over the last 12 months we have hosted a number of clean-ups of our local Ngaruroro Awa and presented our concerns about the litter at our awa to community organisations. The aim of the presentations has been to make our community aware of the dangers and damage litter is creating and to encourage responsibility among individuals to change their habits and actively play a role in creating positive change.
19th September, 2015, “Morgan Educare Keeps New Zealand Beautiful 2”
We (the staff, tamariki, whanau, geocachers and community) gathered over 50 bags of rubbish (an average weight of 7ks each) and we also filled a trailer. Other items we found not included in the bags were many car tyres, a back car seat, a tv, and a wind screen. Unusual items discovered were a stolen wallet, a chimney flu, a number plate, a collection of unopened vitamins, community services cards, gas cooker, drug paraphernalia, and a towel rail just to name a few.

April 23rd, 2016, “The Fourteenth Annual Cache In Trash Out Week”
7 months later at the same spot we organised the above event and found 25 bags of rubbish, 10 kilos of large items and 20 litres of hazard waste.

May 3rd, 2016, “Clean-Up with Morgan Educare”
Our most recent clean up event where we decided even after our efforts the area is too dangerous for everyone use. We only made a tiny dent in the enormous clean up that needs to happen.

September 17th, 2016, our planned next event, “Listen to the Taniwha”
As a Centre, we wish to write and publish a children’s book to use for educational purposes to empower awareness and action in caring for Pāpātuanuku.

At each clean-up event we have been particularly focusing our efforts on the river side and lately it has been necessary to wade in and clean up the river. We use this area regularly with whanau and tamariki of the centre.
On our weekly trips to the library we always have gloves and bags handy for the children to pick up rubbish along the way. This also is an educational experience when we walk around our neighbourhood and visit the park.
We have had consultation from two local Kaumatua: Willie Swan and Papa Tom to obtain advice, guidance and support for our environment. Willie is helping us with future projects. Papa Tom has taken us to harvest watercress and shown us his litter concerns around the local awa. We have an on-going reciprocal relationship with the Hawkes Bay Regional Council and the Hastings District Council to help with educating the community on our litter concerns. Facebook and local media are our main promotional providers. Regular updates, concerns and projects are promoted using these sources. We have also created some promotional posters using photos from our clean up events and watercress harvesting experiences. These posters are used when promoting environmental care at hui and educational presentations.
Another initiative in place is participating in the Paper4trees campaign encouraging our tamariki not only to pick up rubbish paper and cardboard but collect it for recycling or reuse it for art and construction, saving it from the landfill.
In recent years, the Morgan Educare Team has become more focused on sustainability in their philosophy which has meant the addition of chickens, a worm farm, efficient composting including running a compost workshop to learn the correct technique, providing food for the pig bucket, contributing to the Te Aranga O Heretaunga Community Garden and it’s revival. Contributing to the Community gardens up-keep encourages our whanau to utilise this local resource.
In our daily operations the tamariki are playing with natural clay (no longer using play dough) which is not toxic and damaging to our environment.
Our other initiatives to reduce our waste, unwanted items are offer to the community to make use of through the “Pay-it-Forward” website and clothing donations are taken down to the Flaxmere Market. We have collected clothing no longer wanted and donated clothing parcels to whanau in need.
We are a member of the Hawke’s Bay Heart Foundation teaching our tamariki to grow their own food. Using bulk buying practices, our centre is providing healthy meals to each child in our care and eliminating packaging waste. We renew our certificate of participation with Sport Hawke’s Bay and the Heart foundation on a regular cycle to insure we continually improve our practices and meet the guidelines.
We have purchased a van to enable us to car pool the children to and from the centre saving fuel and environmental impact on pollution.
We have saved carefully in the last year’s budgets to enable us to purchase and install solar power at the centre. The benefits have started to pay off immediately.
Future initiatives planned include writing a child’s story book “Listen to the Taniwha”. The aim of the resource is to raise awareness of the consequences of littering, encouraging environmentally positive practices and to empower the individual to make a difference in their local community. Focussing on the local Ngaruroro awa and the taniwha that resides there, the text will be culturally and contextually appropriate.
We also plan on establishing a water catchment from our guttering to recycle water. The water will be used in our gardens, sandpit and to run a water feature (our own mini awa).
Over the last 12 months our centre has taken action on implementing sustainable practice by not only physically cleaning up our community but using our initiative to promote and save our local Taniwha, encouraging life long guardianship.
Morgan Educare based in Flaxmere was finalist in two awards for Keep New Zealand Beautiful. The first award was The Tidy Kiwi award for all the efforts involved in organising river bank clean ups along the Ngaruroro river. The last clean up involved 81 people collecting over 1.5 ton. The second award was for School of Sustainability. Morgan Educare was recognised for their environmental programmes and involvement in the community.
The centre also attends the Flaxmere Market, donating clothing and other items, giving back to the community what may otherwise have been used for landfill instead of recycling. We are so proud of all the projects we have been involved with including the Habitat for Heroes programme run by The department of Conservation.
The Hawkes Bay Regional Council have been supporting the efforts achieved by Morgan Educare providing resources including the rubbish bags and gloves used by the staff to make formal outfits to wear to the awards dinner. Only three finalists from around the country made it to the finalist and Morgan Educare was the only Early Childhood Centre. Auckland won the Tidy Kiwi award after breaking the Guinness Book of Records having the most people attending a clean up in New Zealand. Morgan Educare has plans to attempt to break this record.