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Top international award for Kettering preschool ‘eco warriors’

Windermere Day Nursery in Kettering is a deeper shade of environmental green after receiving the top award in an international schools scheme involving millions of children across 64 countries.

The prestigious Green Flag award for environmental awareness and conservation has been awarded to children and staff at the Ofsted-rated ‘Outstanding’ Windermere Day Nursery in Haweswater Road, which is powered by green electricity and has zero waste to landfill.

A delighted Windermere Day Nursery Manager, Jacky Bufton, said the award was the culmination of years of sustained effort by staff and children 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.

“You have to remember that this is predominately a schools programme involving older children. The fact that our children understand the importance of protecting the environment bodes well for the future,” she added. 

There are four growing gardens at the nursery; two for vegetables, one for fruit and a section for wildflowers to encourage insects and sustain bio-diversity. The children also collect their food scraps from snack breaks and take them to the composter which is also ‘fed’ by the Chefs.

A bird table, feeders and nesting boxes were introduced to encourage even more visitors to the garden and the children have a nature investigation table where they can record their observations and findings.

Crafting with natural materials like twigs, fir cones and sunflower seeds is popular amongst children who also create Eco project displays for their rooms.

“All the children love the activities and are learning so much about maths, science and the environment as they go. We are excited about the levels of collaboration we are seeing between all the children and how responsible they are in looking after their plants and eco projects,” said Jacky.

The Windermere Day Nursery Eco-Committee has five children from the preschool room who monitor recycling and help their friends ensure resources like paper aren’t wasted; taps are not left running and that knowledge about conservation is shared.

To attain Green Flag accreditation, Windermere had to first obtain Bronze and Silver status before a seven step programme led by the Eco-Committee of children and Mandy Coker, Team leader of Pre School.

Rigorous vetting of the projects was carried out by an independent inspector who was accompanied by Eco Committee members as they toured the nursery before the sustainable, eco-friendly Green Flag and certificate was awarded.