Educating from the Heart: Encouraging Connection Through Nature


Trained in early childhood teaching, Janelle Gardiner is the proud founder of Nurture@Home, a childcare and education service based in the Tasman region. Inspired by the philosophies of Magda Gerber and Janet Langsbury, and believing in the importance of Nature Play, at Nurture@Home they focus much of their attention on developing relationships and attachments with children in their early years, and creating authentic partnerships with parents and families. They have been operating their NatureEXPLORERS for over 5 years, meeting weekly in the outdoors to provide children with opportunities to connect with nature and explore local environments, developing a sense of belonging in their community and an attachment with nature. 

The passion: What inspired you to set up your business? 

Being a trained early childhood teacher and having experience working as a homebased Educator when my own children were young, sparked the love and passion for small group care. When I returned to centre-based care when all of my children were at school, I longed for the wonderful teaching moments and the real-life experiences for children that homebased care provided. It was life events that presented me with the opportunity to start the business. It was certainly not something that I had planned to do but as circumstances changed, I found I was given the push and was made to step out of my comfort zone, which I am now so grateful for. 

The launch: How did you start out in the beginning? 

I started by working for a provider as a Visiting Teacher. I quickly realised that I had found my niche in the early childhood world and absolutely love what I do. When the opportunity presented itself, setting up Nurture@Home involved many nights working to 1am typing up policies etc. and lots of excited conversations with others in the sector. The plan was to start slowly and build on a number of things, however we quickly grew and were blessed to be surrounded by a wonderful team.

The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?  

I would have to say being recognised by the local Ministry of Education office as a reputable and quality education and care provider was a huge breakthrough moment. This has enabled me to be part of numerous opportunities including being a representative on the local Kahui Ako board.

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