Growing leader organises lagoon clean up
It’s a sunny Saturday morning in November, and amongst the dog walkers and joggers, a small clutch of children with flapping plastic bags can be seen picking their way through the bushes and trees around Onehunga Lagoon.
In less than an hour, the bags are filling up with an impressive array of plastic wrappers and other litter they’ve collected – then it’s onto Taumanu Reserve to do the same. The clean up is taking place thanks to the efforts of nine year-old Nate Glover, who came up with the idea as part of Onehunga Primary School’s Growing Leaders programme.
The programme was launched in 2016 for students in Years 4 to 6. Its aim is to encourage students to be self-motivated, develop a can-do attitude, and to encourage leadership. It’s also linked to aspects of the New Zealand Curriculum Key Competencies, which include relating to others, managing yourself, and participating and contributing. The school’s website says that while there are always, “the obvious leaders we all recognise, we also notice the quiet leaders – the children who support others to make the right choices and empower others to be the best they can”.
Nate says he started the programme because he wanted to develop new skills and “help others along the way.” He says one of his goals is to “to try to make better relationships with my friends, play with them more often and being more kind.” He loves animals and says he wants to be on the BBC making films about them. “I want to be the next David Attenborough.”
His mum, Cindy Zaitsoff, says the programme has had a good effect on her son. “It’s made him really consider other people,” she says.
“I think it’s fantastic to have opportunities like this at school, and to instil some of these qualities in young children is phenomenal. The great thing is they don’t have to be the smartest in the class to do this.”