Tiaki Early Learning Centre

Rotorua, NZ

Workshop title: Tiaki i te Taiao / Walk Softly on the Earth

Tiaki Early Learning Centre, based on the outskirts of Rotorua, has a warm, welcoming, home-like atmosphere based on the values of love, care and respect for each other, the community and environment. They are leaders in the field of creating a harmonious, nature-based education for children, in a bicultural environment underpinned by te ao M?ori and te reo; an achievement that gained them recognition with a New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO Award for Global Citizenship Education.

They make all their own cleaning products, use cloth nappies, grow vegetables, make compost and food-shop using their own containers. The centre supports the children to spend most of their time outdoors - playing, sleeping, tending the garden, planting the local wetland, swimming in the lake etc. Regardless of their ethnic background the children and their families are welcomed as tangatawhenua of the local marae.

Underpinning Tiaki's culture is their drive towards para kore / zero waste and going vegan. "Growing our own veggies and fruit has been a great way to reduce waste, as well as making things like crackers, bread, hummus, biscuits, plant milks, etc from scratch to avoid packaging." says Kaya Sparke, Tiaki chef. "It's been quite a journey to get our kai to where it is today, zero waste, vegan and nutritionally sound, whilst still appealing to two - six year olds! So we are very proud of what we've accomplished." It can take three weeks to fill one rubbish bin.

This is the 1st time they have offered to share their secrets, philosophy, experience and much more in a workshop. Join Head teacher Katherine Maud and owner Gayle Croft for a powerful, inspiring, insightful and transformative session as they share the centre's journey towards para kore/zero waste, home cooked vegan kai and creating a plastic-free environment for the children.

Tiaki Early Learning Centre