Information Point
eco schools
aims & objectives
typical day
contact us
aims and objectives

Playgroup scoops coveted Eco award...

Wick and District Playgroup are celebrating their success at becoming the first independent Playgroup in Wales to receive the Eco-Schools Platinum Award for long term achievement, the highest award available from Eco-Schools Wales. The assessor had visited the Playgroup, spending time looking through all the evidence put in place by the Playgroup since joining the Eco-Schools initiative. She then spent time talking to the children, who were very knowledgeable of their Eco Code and Eco Job roles, finishing her visit with a walk around the Playgroup Wildlife and Learning Garden, situated in the adjoining Churchyard. She then returned on 10th March to present them the Award.

The assessor commented on the playgroups continued enthusiasm for the Eco-Schools programme, the embedding of the Eco-Schools topics over the years, the excellent examples of children’s work relating to Eco-Schools activities and the on-going development of the outdoor area that the playgroup utilises in a fantastic way.

This is a great achievement for Wick and District Playgroup, along with the successful renewal of their Fairtrade Schools Status last year. The Playgroup would like to thank everyone involved, past and present, in supporting them since their involvement with Eco-Schools and special thanks to our little Eco warriors, the wonderful Playgroup children!

The Eco-Schools programme, delivered by keep Wales Tidy, aims to inspire and empower pupils to be leaders of change in their community.

Keep Wales Tidy’s work does just that by working alongside not only schools, but local authorities, community groups and businesses in order to enable individuals to take responsibility for their local environment. Through volunteering, Keep Wales Tidy aim to make a Wales that is cared for and enjoyed by all.

From Glamorgan Gem

'Small Talk', Summer 2013 Issue

Article on Mathematics Outdoors
Follow the links to read it: page 1 / page 2

The Llantwit Major Gem
December 09

Aberthaw Power Station and one of their main contractors, Hertel, joined forces recently to improve the safety of children at Wick Playgroup.
The playgroup is based at the community hall in the village but suffered from a weathered car park. This had to be crossed by the children to reach their garden, located in the adjacent church yard.
Their award-winning garden is very popular with local residents and an important part of developing a wide-range of skills for the children from horticulture to bug hunts.
Following a large donation by Aberthaw Power Station as part of the company's landfill tax credit scheme and fund-raising events by the playgroup, Hertel stepped in to ensure the work could be completed.
"Hertel have a close working relationship with the site and provide extensive civil expertise," explains Operations Manager (South Wales) Andrew Short. "When we were told about the fund-raising and needs of the playgroup we were pleased to add our support."
"It is fantastic," says Playgroup Leader Chrys Thomas. "It enables safe passage for the children and will be a benefit to the whole community. It also enables us to further explore the possibilities of outdoor play for the children. We are very grateful to both companies for their support."
The car park was prepared, repaired and nearly 600 sq meters of tarmac laid down. The work was carried out over a weekend period to minimise disruption to the playgroup.

Wales Pre School Playgroups Association Magazine “SmallTalk”  November 09

Children, staff and parents from Wick and District Playgroup in the Vale of Glamorgan are  celebrating  gaining their second Eco Schools Green Flag Award. The Eco Schools Programme is an award scheme which promotes environmental awareness and sustainability. The scheme focuses on topics such as waste minimisation and recycling, litter, water and energy consumption, healthy living, sustainable transport, outdoor learning and conservation, and global citizenship. The Eco-Schools programme is a long-term activity, with the award being re-assessed and renewed every two years. The playgroup started working through the bronze and silver awards in 2006 and was awarded its first Green Flag in July 2007.

Playleader Chrys Thomas said, “The scheme aims to involve children from nursery through to secondary age  and encourages staff, parents and the wider community to become involved. We found it possible to adapt the scheme where necessary for our young age group. The main focus for eco activities is with our 3 and 4 year olds but it is amazing how much even the youngest children learn”

The children learn about recycling in practical ways such as junk modelling and have become expert at sorting any unwanted rubbish into their plastic, cardboard and paper recycling bins. They have found out about the dangers of litter to wild animals and are adept at spotting lights that have been left on or dripping taps.

Wick Playgroup’s Eco Schools Coordinator Anne Komor commented, “Having no outside play area, we approached our local vicar in 2005 to ask if we could develop a Wildlife and Learning Garden in the churchyard next door to our Village Hall premises. We were lucky enough to secure a number of grants for the work and received tremendous support for the project from church members and the local community. We included bird and animal boxes, planters to grow flowers and vegetables,  bird feeders, compost bins and a  recycling and composting area. As we began to include eco related topics in our planning, it seemed a natural progression to find out more about the Eco Schools scheme”

The playgroup has two eco committees, one comprising parents and staff and the other made up of the  second year children.  The three and four year olds love “committee meetings”,  being keen to contribute ideas and even to take their turn at producing “minutes” in emergent writing and drawing form.

One of the Eco School topics is global citizenship, so after gaining their first Eco Schools Green Flag it seemed a logical step to find out more about the Fairtrade Schools Scheme.

This is run by the Fairtrade Foundation and Wick Playgroup became the first playgroup or nursery school in the country to gain the Fairtrade Schools Award last July. It certainly proves that you are never too young to be green!

You can find out more about Eco Schools at www.ecoschoolswales.org

Information about becoming a  Fairtrade School is available at www.fairtrade.org.uk/schools

Wick Playgroup’s £5,000 Cheque for their Green Work

Aberthaw PowerStation manager Clive Smith recently presented a cheque for £5,000 to Wick andDistrict Playgroup, which has carried out extensive work on an ecological area in the adjacent churchyard.

 It requested funding to extend this wildlife area and for the resurfacing of the car park, to ensure safer access for the children from the Village Hall where the playgroup is based.

 “The cost of the work will be £9,000, so we were very pleased to receive this generous donation”, said playgroup leader Chrystine Thomas. “The hall is well used so many more people will benefit from the safer surface.”

Seaside News, Summer 2009

Wick and District Playgroup get Top Marks

Following their recent Estyn Inspection, Wick and District Playgroup was awarded the highest possible score of a 1 in all fifteen of the report categories.

The Inspector spent two mornings with the playgroup in March and assessed standards achieved by the children in the seven areas of learning in the Foundation Phase curriculum.

The inspector commented in the report that “Wick and District Playgroup is exceptionally well managed and led” and “the staff are extraordinarily experienced and well qualified”. She continued by saying that “the children’s behaviour is exemplary” and found them to be “happy and confident” while demonstrating “excellent independent thinking and learning skills”. She also commented that “the children’s Welsh language development was good with outstanding features.”

The inspector crucially felt that the bond between the adults at the playgroup, the children in their care, together with that of their parents was also outstanding. The playgroup was commended for the projects and work done in the Wildlife and Learning Garden, and the fact was highlighted that the playgroup became the first in Wales to obtain the Eco Schools International Green Flag Award and was the first in the country to achieve Fairtrade Schools status.

A representative from the group’s committee said, “ We are all delighted with the inspection report and that the quality of care and education at the playgroup was recognised. “The playgroup has been operating for 40 years in the local village hall and has built up a reputation of offering high quality care and education which is second to none, with families prepared to travel some distance to enable their children to use it”.

Vale of Glamorgan "Vale Waves" Spring 2008  

Entries are being invited for this year's Vale of Glamorgan Biodiversity Awards. Now in its fourth year, the award rewards practical projects that promote biodiversity by creating, enhancing or managing sites for wildlife. There are two classes for schools, education centres or children's groups and for voluntary groups or industrial or commercial businesses, including farms. Class winners each receive £100 and a wooden trophy, with prizes of £50 and £20 for second and third places.

Throughout Wales there are many threatened species that everyone's heard of such as dormice, nightjar, lesser horseshoe bats and otter. But what's just as important is the conservation of all our other wildlife from slugs to slowworms and blackbirds to bumble bees.

Local wildlife areas such as those on schools grounds, farmland or industrial sites can be managed for these plants and animals.

The overall winners in 2007 were Wick and District Playgroup and Dow Corning - both sites that are making a positive contribution to local conservation and are working hard to raise the profile of our wildlife.

Work on the wildlife and learning garden at Wick began in 2005 in a corner of the local churchyard, and the dedication and hard work has created an outstanding area that benefits local wildlife, the children and their community.  

South Wales Echo February 29 2008

Yummy way to learn about Fairtrade goods

Yummy! These youngsters had a delicious time making cakes for Fairtrade Fortnight.

The children from Wick Playgroup in the Vale of Glamorgan put their mixing bowls to good use, making cakes and biscuits using Fairtrade ingredients, The playgroup, which gained an Eco-Schools International Green Flag award in July, has been teaching the children about Fairtrade.

Anne Komor, Eco-Schools coordinator at the playgroup said: "We began introducing the children to Fairtrade and they have been really interested in finding out where their fruit and vegetables come from. They have become quite expert at spotting the Fairtrade mark"

"We are very pleased to have been the first playgroup in Wales to get the Eco-Schools Green Flag award. Our nest aim is to work towards becoming a Fairtrade School. The cake and biscuit bake was organised by parents, and children opened a Fairtrade shop to sell their items."

"We will discuss with the children how they would like to spend the money, Buying equipment and seeds for communities abroad may be an option"

"Croeso"  November 2007
(Croeso is the newsletter for the Diocese of Llandaff)

Little Green Fingers - Big Green Flag!    

A Wildlife and Learning Garden at Saint James Church, Wick, has won this year's  children and schools  section of the Vale of Glamorgan Biodiversity Awards. The garden has been made by members of Wick and District Playgroup with help from members of the village community.

The children have planted up troughs with herbs and flowers and parents have helped to tidy the site and set up a recycling area with bins for plastic and compost. The garden now provides habitats for many different animals, with several bird  and insect boxes and a variety of bird feeders. Students from Atlantic College, Saint Donats, provided labour to lay a path through the wooded area at the edge of the churchyard which has now been planted with native species of wild flowers. As well as money from fundraising events, the project has also been supported by grants, including one from The Archbishop of Wales Fund for Children.

Playgroup Leader, Mrs Chrys Thomas said, "We were delighted when we were given permission to make the wildlife area and at the tremendous level of support and enthusiasm for the project shown by our local vicar and church congregation. We hope that the garden will not only be an excellent learning resource for our children but also a spot that can be enjoyed by everyone who visits the churchyard."

Earlier in the year the garden won the special feature category of the Vale of Glamorgan Best Kept Village Competition. It has also played an important part in Wick  becoming the first playgroup in Wales to gain the coveted Eco Schools Green Flag Environmental Award.

Cowbridge Gem October 18th 07


The children of Wick and District Playgroup are celebrating becoming some of the youngest eco – warriors in the country. They have recently been awarded the coveted Eco- Schools Green Flag, making the playgroup the only one in Wales to have attained this accolade.

The Green Flag assessors were “ very impressed by the nursery’s enthusiasm for Eco – Schools, and the level of staff, parent and children’s involvement with the environmental issues raised by the programme”. They made particular mention of the high standard of curriculum planning and the keen interest in recycling and litter prevention shown by the group’s two, three and four year olds.

Playgroup Leader Chrys Thomas commented on the tremendous level of support for the group’s eco activities, not only from parents, but also from the wider village community, such as the local church, village hall, horticultural society and students from nearby Atlantic College.

Playgroup Eco Coordinator, Anne Komor, said “The children gave the Eco – Schools team a tour of our Wildlife and Learning Garden, acted out a play about the dangers to wildlife of dropping litter and showed how they recycle and conserve water and energy at playgroup. Their enthusiasm for eco issues never fails to amaze us. They certainly demonstrate that you are never too young to be green!”.

Cowbridge Gem October 4th 07


The success of this year's Vale of Glamorgan Best Kept Village Competition has been recognised at a special civic reception. …

The chairman singled out for particular mention the Special Features Section, which is only awarded occasionally, when the committee feel it is of particular merit.

Such an occasion occurred this year and the recipients were the Wick and District Playgroup, for their Wildlife and Learning Community Garden. This was developed on a derelict site, overgrown and with a rubbish site alongside the church. Parents and children worked together to transform it into an area of recreational and educational beauty, consisting of such things as bird, butterfly and ladybird boxes as well as wild flowers and a nature walk. Basil Watkins, competition chairman, said "At the time, competition judge, Sir Brooke Boothby, commented that there must be many such derelict areas in the Vale, which with a little tender loving care could be transformed into such a haven to bring joy to the community"

Cowbridge Gem Thursday, July 26th 2007


Anne Komor of Wick and District Playgroup describes the growth of the Wick Church and Nursery Wildlife and Learning Garden which won the prize for a special feature in this year's Vale of Glamorgan Best Kept Village Competition.

We first began work on the Wildlife and Learning Garden in 2005 and have been developing it since then. It has been made by parents, staff and children from Wick and District Playgroup with help from other local organisations and members of our village community.

We were given permission by our local vicar and church wardens to develop and improve a corner of the churchyard. Our children did a survey of the site and identified the need for a recycling area to deal with the problem of rubbish and litter. From this starting point plans for the garden began to form.  

Children and staff had input into the design of the garden with the help of a parent who was a landscape architect. The plans for the Wildlife and Learning Garden were approved by our local vicar and church congregation.  A major clearance of rubbish from the site was carried out by parents, staff and other volunteers and then the garden began to take shape.

We secured grant funding for the first stage of the project from Environment Wales and received advice from their development officer.  We subsequently secured another grant from The Archbishop of Wales' Fund for Children. We also fundraised ourselves for skip hire and other materials and continue to do so to further develop the project.  All materials are sourced locally wherever possible and the garden is organic.

The garden now contains a recycling area, areas planted by parents with wild flowers, three large planters, bird boxes, a bird feeding area, a log pile, stone pile, hedgehog, butterfly and ladybird boxes, seating for use by the local community, a small container vegetable garden and mini greenhouse, many established trees and a young crab apple.

The garden has added a completely new dimension to our group. The children now learn about the cycles of nature, grow their own flowers and vegetables, observe animals and birds, and recycle and compost waste. The garden has encouraged a respect for the environment generally,  and for their local community in particular. Visiting schools have also started to use the garden as part of their studies on the differences between town and country environments.