We would like to place the spotlight on our Sustainable Little Learner Community Childcare Centres who are doing amazing things for our young people and are dedicated to minimising waste to create a sustainable environment.

This week we asked Nikki Gardyne from Oma Rāpeti Early Learning Centre about the amazing steps to sustainability they have taken in the past and how the children are taught respect for all animals and the earth throughout their time at the centre. 

What makes your learning environment unique?

We have a passionate highly qualified teaching team with low ratios and home-made food. We closely follow a RIE and Pikler philosophy and it runs strongly through the core of who we are. Oma Rāpeti follows a child led, free play, nature based curriculum, where we avoid chemicals, eat delicious food and get out and about in nature as much as possible.

How has using Little & Brave Eco Nappies changed your outgoing waste?

Actually it hasn’t, but only because we were a cloth nappy centre initially. What it has changed is the time and logistics of managing cloth. Using Little and Brave is as simple as disposables but so much better for our earth!

What memories of your centre would you like the children to take away with them when they leave?

The rituals and rhythms of life here at Oma Rāpeti; be it the foot spas, cups of teas, singing or gardening.

How can parents replicate some of the same learning at home?

Turn off those screens and get outside into nature. Practice being mindful around your children. Create your own family rituals… a Sunday morning walk or a Friday picnic dinner.

Do you feel that children are more environmentally responsible?

Absolutely – we speak of Papatūānuku often. The children are taught respect for all animals and our earth. They enjoy doing things like planting their garden and harvesting for their kai. We have compost bins and worm farms. We break our rubbish down multiple ways (paper/recycling/compostable nappies/food waste/general landfill) and produce limited landfill waste each week.

How have the children shaped your centre?

Our children completely guide and shape our day here at Oma Rāpeti. We have regularly hui’s to discuss what they are planning on doing, play they might like or places to visit.

Which kinds of changes have you seen develop within your centre in terms of sustainability?

We have always been very environmentally focused here at Oma Rāpeti. It has been a question of continuing with our environmental focus but making sure we have smart business practice as well. The biggest win here was bringing in compostable nappies to replace our cloth nappies. It was a no brainer.

Is gardening or composting a part of your centre learning?

Yes absolutely – a huge part of what we do here. We run a couple of compost bins, plus a worm farm. All our gardens are organic (no sprays) and our children are very involved with the picking/recycling.

Respect for ourselves, our children and our earth are the core principals within Oma Rāpeti. You can find them at 1 Pratt Street, Freemans Bay, Auckland, 1011

Oma Rapeti was the first childcare centre to come on board with Little & Brave Eco Nappies taking the leap early. We are so grateful to have them on board in partnership with what we are doing at Little & Brave.

If you have an early childhood centre, daycare or local kindergarten and would like to learn more about how Little & Brave can help you become more sustainable, please email hello@littleandbrave.co.nz