We are Anja, Kimberley and Tessa

The creators, tinkerers and kind humans behind The Heart School.

Our Story

When Kimberley and Anja met something magical happened. Whilst coming from different philosophical backgrounds, there was a real connection founded by the heart-centred believes and approach they shared. It's this mix of Pikler, Montessori and their own values and believes about heart-centred teaching that brought them together. Tessa, who is also Montessori trained and had been our support behind the scenes from the beginning joined us later.

Each one of us search far and wide, as well as deep inside ourselves. We make use of all we know, be that Montessori or Pikler or any other ‘philosophy’. We look beyond any ‘guide book’ and beyond one defining ‘label’ such as Montessori or Pikler. 

We were working in different centres, creating homely environments that are a feast for the eyes, heart and soul. We started creating magical Anniversaries of the Heart and precious memories, sprinkling kindness, love, beauty, care, and respect around our places. We were applying all we knew and all we learned, and continue to learn, about staying in the heart as we are working with our beautiful children in our care. 

When we saw the tremendous benefits of planning and preparing for our more authentic environments, in our centres we decided to share this goodness and The Heart School was born.

We are who we are, and we are all of the above and more. There is more to learn when we take the limits off. We can learn from the ‘giants’ we admire in each field, and have the confidence to question what it is our children are experiencing and exposed to. Our strength lies in our ability to not be just one thing, but to have a strong living identity that is anchored in our hearts. The Heart School is just that!

Parenting and teaching is about love, kindness, family and care. We feel that these values easily get overlooked, in our parenting and in our teaching. We want to bring the kindness and passion back. 

We have packaged up our ideas and experiences into beautiful resources and services to help you infuse your space with kindness and love.

We are so glad you are here. Whether you are already a heart-centred teacher, or whether you are just starting to think about it, or are somewhere in between, we hope you find The Heart School helpful. We have posters, articles, toolkits, workshops and newsletters ready for you. Grab a cuppa and have a quiet moment, enjoy the readings.


Meet the team


Anja Geelen

Curious creator, free-range child at heart, bonfire builder, nature devotee, beach walker, mountain seeker, traveler, proud mum of three and solopreneur.

Anja is a trained early childhood teacher and Montessori guide with a passion for connecting children with nature. She is the founder of two enviro-nature Montessori preschools in the Wellington region of New Zealand, with beautiful natural environments and sustainable practices. Anja is currently taking a sabbatical from teaching to spend more time with her family.


Kimberley Crisp

Hands-on facilitator, passionate believer, flower picker, bohemian at heart, charismatic speaker, candle burner, animal lover and earthling.

Kimberley is a trained early childhood teacher and has trained at the Pikler Institute in Budapest. She has founded, and manages The Nest, a Pikler inspired kindergarten in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. Kimberley is passionate about heart-centred teaching practices and creating beautiful early childhood environments with a homely feel. 

Tessa - The Heart School

Tessa McTaylor

Passionate parent educator, juggler with words, madly in love with infants and children of all ages, great sense of humour and doting mum of two.

Tessa is a trained early childhood and primary/elementary teacher and a Montessori guide. Tessa has a passion for parent and infant education and writes beautiful articles about parenting and teaching from the heart. Tessa is currently raising her family of two young boys, infusing Pikler and Montessori as well as her own heart language.




Anja's goldie Koda was raised the ‘piklersori’ way, if there is such thing.

He is an unconditionally loving dog. Unlike his human companions, he doesn't live in the past, nor does he live in the future. Koda only lives in the moment in simple happiness. He shares his zentails wisdom with us while frolicking at the beach and dunes where he spends most of his time chasing rabbits and seagulls.

Lincoln - The Heart School


Lincoln or Linc was found by the SPCA when children were throwing rocks at him.

He believes he won the doggie lotto when he got adopted by Kimberley and family. Linc joins Koda in his zentails wisdom, throwing a younger playful twist in the mix. In his short time at Kimberley's home and the Nest he has already won over many hearts. 


We are here to help you

Whether you’ve been teaching for one day or 15 years, we started The Heart School to help you keep the Heart at the Heart of teaching.

We help carers at grass root level to teach from the heart with practical ideas and resources.There are plenty of goodies on here. Have a look around our site.

We also share our best advice in our newsletter. If you haven’t already, we do hope you’ll subscribe and join our community of heart-centred teachers: