Newcastle Kindergarten children are proud of all the work to achieve a Green-Gold Reflection.
Several years of earth-saving work has paid off for Newcastle Kindergarten which has reached the highest status in the Enviroschools programme.
The Ngaruawahia centre was presented with the Green-Gold Reflection certificate on Tuesday and is only the second kindergarten in the Waikato to be recognised.
Head teacher Tanz Podjursky said the centre had come a long way since entering the programme eight years ago.
"It's just become part of who we are."
Some of the children who were at the beginning of the kindergarten's Enviroschools journey attended the presentation along with Waikato District Council deputy mayor Dynes Fulton and Waikato Regional councillor Kathy White.
Podjursky said it was a "sense of empowerment" for the teaching staff and children to achieve the award.
"It's just practicing educating for sustainability and waste minimisation... but making it practical and age appropriate," she said.
The kindergarten boasts a worm farm and an orchard.
It also sources most of its products locally including materials for its new playground which has utilised a fallen tree from the Glen Massey mine.
Ngaruawahia architect Murray Wills created the design.
"Everything is coming back into our economy and it's about building relationships in our community."
This includes working with Ngaruawahia Community House and Twin Rivers Art Centre on different projects.
The children also participate in Bush Kindy once a week at the Pukemokemoke Reserve to learn about flora and fauna.
And one of its proudest accomplishments is assisting with the Hakarimata planting project run by Waikato District Council. Once a term the children will visit the site.
Initially the children helped with planting and now most visits involve maintenance.
"We care for the plants and we just spend a couple of hours out there," Podjursky said.
An ultimate goal is to become a zero-waste centre, which the kindy is well on its way to achieving.
Working with the Paper 4 Trees scheme, the centre's paper consumption is monitored through the discarded paper.
"It was one[bag] a week and now we put it out once every three weeks."
By saving paper, the centre is given trees to plant.
While the kindergarten had completely transformed the way it worked, Podjursky said there was always room for improvement.
"We've got another three years before our reflection and we've just started on a sharing shelf, a trading centre... we want to start a harvest festival."