The Enviroschools Foundation is a charitable trust that provides support and strategic direction for a nation-wide environmental education programme. The Foundation comprises a governing trust board and small national management team based in Hamilton. The Enviroschools concept was developed in the Waikato in the 1990's, it has since been extended into schools across New Zealand. Implementation is on a regional basis, along regional council boundaries. The national team works with a number of national and regional agencies to support the creation of a network of sustainable schools.

In enviroschools students learn informally through the messages and meanings hidden in the physical surroundings, operational practices and organisational principles of a school. This learning can either reinforce or undermine the formal curriculum. Modelling sustainability in all these aspects of school life reinforces environmental education and can provide opportunities for student action. Creating a physically sustainable school is a tangible way for students to explore other dimensions of sustainability such as peace, diversity, cooperation, kaitiakitanga and democracy

All NESTS Centres aspire to becoming an enviroschool as soon as practicable.

Enviroschools Guiding Principles

Five main principles guide the Enviroschools Programme. They are derived from emerging understandings about how environment, ecology, education, society and culture each contribute to creating a sustainable world. Schools are encouraged to develop these principles and continually check for signs that they are growing and visible

Sustainable communities act in ways that nurture people and nature, now and in the future.

Education for Sustainability
is an action-focused approach to learning that engages us in the physical, social, cultural and political aspects of our environment.

Genuine student participation is from their own unique and creative perspective. Including young people in decision-making and action empowers them to be active environmental citizens for life and enriches the development of the whole school environment.

Māori perspectives and knowledge of the environment offer unique insights built up over time in this country. Including Māori perspectives enriches learning and honours the status of indigenous people in this land.

Respect for the diversity of people and cultures
is integral to achieving a sustainable environment in New Zealand that is fair, peaceful, and co-operative and makes the most of our rich cultural traditions

Physical Surroundings

Ecological and participatory design creates:

  • A centre environment in harmony with its place and culture, incorporating local ecosystems & wildlife
  • Healthy and environmentally friendly rooms
  • Places for recycling & composting
  • A range of stimulating and special places for students
  • Recognition and preservation of significant local landmarks

A Living Curriculum

Integrating all aspects of centre life with the curriculum enables children and teachers to:

  • Make use of all learning experiences including play
  • Draw on the combined wisdom of their multi-cultural community
  • Create opportunities for student environmental action
  • Promote critical questioning on resource use and lifestyle
  • Promote reflection on personal value and behaviours

Organisational Principles

Participatory and democratic centre management enables people to:

  • Communicate more with others
  • Carry out self auditing and monitoring
  • Consider equity and diversity when making decisions
  • Have a sense of belonging and ownership

Operational Practices

Sustainable conservation practices in the day-to-day running of the centre enables children & staff to:

  • Reduce waste and create ways to reuse and recycle
  • Save energy, water and other resources
  • Choose environmentally friendly products
  • Be more aware of nature
  • Improve the quality and health of all forms of life