Haukåsen Outdoor kindergarten in Trondheim was the first education building to achieve BREEAM-NOR certification. To demonstrate management’s commitment to the environment & sustainability, they have included BREEAM on the educational programme for the eldest children – The Superheroes!
“The commitment by the children has been enormous”, says educational director Anne Mari Bjørnstad.
“The environment is something this kindergarten has as a theme in both the children’s group and the staff group. We are an Outdoor Kindergarten and it is quite natural for us to focus on the nature around us – and to also respect the environment we are in”.
Haukåsen Outdoor Kindergarten was completed in autumn 2013 and received a BREEAM Very Good rating. The building has woodwork as the main building material both inside and out. The solar cells and the energy wells help reduce the energy consumption.
The Superheros needed a challenge
Bjørnstad, who has been promoting the BREEAM project, says that the kindergarten would challenge this year’s Superheroes in new areas, and that the BREEAM kindergarten was a natural starting point for just that:
“The first BREEAM session for the children was held in August 2017, and it was a big success straight away! The interest in solar cells, energy wells, materials selection and the environment in general was enormous. We had to plan for two sessions on BREEAM during one week “.
PHOTO: Haukåsen Kindergarten
What is the kindergarten made of?
“Throughout the project period, we have looked at what materials the kindergarten really is made of. We looked at the wood and have learned about glass”.
“We looked for energy wells when we went outdoors, and considered where energy wells might be located in the Kindergarten. We went up to the ceiling to look at the pipe system to understand more of it. We also used Youtube to see how energy wells are actually made, and the children made sculptures of their observations after the session. Energy wells were popular!”
Modeling of Recycled Materials
The kindergarten has been conscious of using recycled material and wood in connection with modelling, and for communicating what is environmentally friendly. The children themselves have come to the conclusion that environmentally friendly means to be kind to the environment.
The BREEAM sessions have been based on the children’s starting point and their curiosity, says Bjørnstad, who admits that she often had to put away what she prepared for the day, so she could meet the children’s enthusiasm to find answers to other questions they have had in connection with BREEAM.
“It has been overwhelming to see how much interest the children have shown! And it has been very educational to be with them on this journey. The environment is fun, and it also shows in practice when the children bring home what they have learned with them at the end of the day”.
“However, I must admit that some things have been difficult to explain, but they take it for what it is – and do their utmost to try and understand – and then they also ask at home”.
“It has been an exciting project” she concludes.
Written by Siri Dobloug