Welwyn Garden City nursery school grabs top environmental award

PUBLISHED: 16:00 12 November 2017

Pupils and staff at Rowan Tree Day Nursery have attained a top green accolade. Picture supplied by Rowan Tree Day Nursery.

Pupils and staff at Rowan Tree Day Nursery have attained a top green accolade. Picture supplied by Rowan Tree Day Nursery.

supplied by Rowan Tree Day Nursery

A Welwyn Garden City nursery is making others green with envy with its new Green Flag Eco-school award.

Rowan Tree Day Nursery in Guessens Road is one of only 53 nurseries nationwide to achieve the award for environmental awareness and conservation.

Rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, the nursery is powered by green electricity, contributes almost no waste to landfill, and involves pupils of all ages in eco-friendly projects.

Day nursery manager Claire Ovenden said the award was the culmination of years of sustained effort by staff, children and parents working together in the global Eco-schools programme.

“Respecting and protecting the environment is an important part of our commitment to give our children the best possible future but we have been surprised by just how many children are fully engaged in these projects,” she said.

Ideas are explored in the school’s Children’s Council and pupils are appointed as ‘eco spies’ to help ensure their friends don’t waste resources such as paper and tap water.

“The fact that children as young as three can talk competently about how and why we need to protect the environment is cause for celebration and optimism for the future,” Claire added.

The older children grow their own food and even address food waste by weighing the lunchtime leftovers to help the nursery’s cook adjust quantities.

Food scraps are added to the nursery wormery or compost bin, or are collected by specialist contractors.

“All the children love the activities and are learning so much about maths, science and the environment as they go,” said Claire.

“We are excited about the levels of collaboration we are seeing and how these projects are contributing to children’s self-confidence, development of communication skills and their general understanding of the world.”

To attain its Green Flag, Rowan Tree Day Nursery first had to get Bronze and Silver status.

The school set up an eco-committee of deputy manager Rachel Clarke, practitioner Thomas Paine, and five of the pre-school children, to follow a seven-step programme that was vetted by independent inspectors.

The Eco-schools programme is a global programme operating in 64 countries for the last 20 years.

Over 18,000 schools have registered in the programme in England, but only 1,042 have attained the top Green Flag Award.

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