This is a journey that began somewhere in my growing up story, where a seed was planted that would just simmer away… through nights and days of parenting, over the mountains of life and under, around and within the tears and joy of being me. It niggled and naggled, and popped up in words occasionally “One day, maybe one day, we could open an early childhood centre, something beautiful and peaceful, surrounded by nature, and animals and love”.
The younger me however, lacked some vital ingredients – courage, confidence, skills and knowledge. And so… the learning adventures began, 37 years in to life. Through wānanga I armed myself with knowledge of tikanga Māori, Te Reo Māori, and the taonga that has been handed down from my tūpuna, through my whakapapa. The Bachelors degree and a Masters Degree, they were like oceans of powerful crashing waves that I just about didn’t survive! As dramatic as that sounds, those years were a blur of wondering what the heck I was doing. Then I threw in a Small Business and Project Management Certificate, and just for personal growth, a Money Management Certificate. I have armed myself well.
So… courage and confidence have caught up with me, I am carrying the best skills I can have right now, with the most important knowledge of all – that I need to continue learning, that I need to stand up and make a difference x.
So here we are. I am actually going to take the plunge, jump in to this with my wholest of whole hearts- to be the voice, the champion, the advocate of those who are so vulnerable, yet so AMAZING, our youngest citizens, our hope for the future – our mokopuna tamariki. Nau mai, haere mai, ki te He Pounamu Early Nurture x.
Arohanui, Lauren x.
Te Ao Māori. We have a vision of a curriculum, where all tamariki can feel an authentic sense of belonging in both Māori and non-Māori ways of being. We will provide an inclusive environment, respectful of the knowledge that comes through pathways within Te Ao Māori, and allow the transfer of knowledge through passion and experience within genuine and loving relationships.
Te Tamaiti. Our aspirations are for all tamariki to become empowered global citizens. We understand that first they must understand who they are, so we need to let them be who they are, to explore through their own lens and their own agency. This underpins our kaupapa to nurture what already is the taonga (the tamaiti) to allow their wings to take them to wherever they need.
Te whānau. At the heart of He Pounamu Early Nurture is whanaungatanga, where connections and relationship guide our practice. Our environment is guided by aroha and inclusion, and with this kaupapa guiding us, our whānau will know that this is their place too.
Ako. We will ako (teach and learn) within generosity and aroha for tamariki, whānau, kaiako and the wider community. Our heart is to bring aroha, whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, kaitiakitanga, kotahitanga, wairuatanga and more, weaving it though every aspect of our curriculum and environment. Respect and acknowledgement will be given to the kete of knowledge and uniqueness that our tamariki bring with them. We protect the sacred urge to play, explore and express, within their own agency and voice. In partnership with our tamariki, the collective kete for He Pounamu will be enriched. Kaiako, whānau and tamariki will explore learning and play through the lens of sustainability, ecology, social justice, well-being, creativity, and imagination.
Te Hauora. We believe tamariki learn best within a mixed age group; within a peaceful, homely environment, which has uninhibited access to the whenua. We hope that opportunities for aroha, awhi, manaakitanga, rangatiratanga, whanaungatanga and tuakana/teina relationships flourish within our whānau-centered kāinga. Authentic ako and learning experiences will be encompassed within aroha, kaitiakitanga and manaakitanga for self, others, He Pounamu Early Nurture, and te taiao.
Te Taiao. Authentic connections to the nature will be built as tamariki spend time outdoors, exploring, taking risks and caring for te taiao. With this connection to nature, we believe we can grow together to become rangatira and kaitiaki for Papatūānuku, Ranginui and their children (the realm of earth, sky and all things between). This includes planting and nurturing our ngahere, tending our mara kai, caring for our kararehe, and doing meaningful mahi, alongside, with, and for, others.
“Take care of our children. Take care of what they hear, take care of what they see, take care of what they feel. For how the children grow, so will the shape of Aotearoa.”
Dame Whina Cooper.
Here at He Pounamu Early Nurture, we hold our mokopuna/tamariki as treasured taonga. Just like Dame Whina Cooper tells us, the shape of Aotearoa lies in the hearts and hands of the children, for they are our future.
Tāku kuru pounamu.
My precious treasure.
He Pounamu Early Nurture is underpinned by the understanding that the whānau is so important to the well-being of the tamaiti. We think that a child cannot be thought of as entirely separate from their whānau. With this in mind, we want to include the whānau, genuinely, and with love and care.
Whānau bring with them their own kete of knowledge, values and beliefs. This, along with their voice and contribution, will be woven into our environment. We hope to include each whānau; to connect with them, and together we will grow in our world view, our hearts and in our understanding.
Our world needs people who care for it; who want to support and nourish it. So, we aspire to lead our tamariki to become champions of te taiao/the environment. As we look through an Ao Māori lens, we see our connection to Papatūānuku as a relationship with a living thing. When we take from her, or leave rubbish to dirty her, we can see that it hurts her, we can kōrero about what it means and how we can help her. Just the same as connecting the tears of Ranginui to nourishing Papatūānuku with rain, we can bring life to concepts. Through this perspective, we give heart to being an eco warrior.
Our logo visually represents our story, culture and values. Within the design of the logo, there is a kōrero of who we are, where we’ve come from, and what we feel is important to us. We’ve combined this with a pair of Huia; our sacred treasure.
Our logo aims to keep the spirit of the huia alive, representing our ancestors while caring for our precious treasures; our tamariki and whānau. The Huia were social birds, with pairs mating for life. Huia feathers were given as tokens of friendship and respect (some of our core values).
The twist, or pikorua represents the path of life and symbolises the strong bond between two loved ones. It is a powerful expression of loyalty because the arms of the twist have no end point, just like lifelong relationships. It is the representation of love and the strong bond of fellowship we share with people. This aligns perfectly with our purpose statement, to create relationships where inclusion, social justice and sustainability is nurtured.
In the negative spaces of our logo are three koru. These represent new beginnings, growth and regeneration; caring for all people, our community and the environment.