Nania - Childhood Development for Life

Self realisation in our time
In present time, we are challenged to realise and affirm our respective personhood in an environment where new age experimentation juxtaposes with traditional norms and beliefs. What is ‘correct’ behaviour for some isencroachment of right of free expression for others. This is perhaps the inevitable condition of cultural evolution and co-existence of free will amidst beliefs and traditions.  How do we realise our respective individualities within a kaleidoscope of beliefs and traditions?  How can education assist?


The multi ethnic, racial, and cultural setting in Malaysia and our enrolment of local and expatriate children at Nania, mirrors the movement and cosmopolitan society of our global market economy.  What is fitting and relevant for a class of local Chinese, Indian and foreign Japanese and European children?  How can education assist children's realisation of their individualities within a kaleidoscope of beliefs and traditions challenges us at the preschool level.

A place of our time
Malaysia sandwiched between Buddhist Thailand (North); Muslim Indonesia (South); Catholic Philippines (East); Hindu India (West); whose political administration is Constitutional Monarchy British by tradition; whose major trading partner is Republican Capitalist USA and faces an emerging powerful Communist China in the region, has assimilated myriad of influences through history.  It has fashioned an identity of its own out of the internal and international influences that continues to-date.  There are invaluable lessons here.

Free in becoming and enjoy yourself
At Nania, we have an inclusive multi cultural curriculum, a mix of something personal, something common, something familiar and something new.  Typical of the Malaysian ‘Rojak’, a mix fruit salad with a piquant sauce that can be prepared according to taste.  Besides pre-school class work, we offer a social cultural environment that allows children to interact and establish relationships across national, ethnic and cultural boundaries.

Besides others, we work with pedagogical indications from Rudolf Steiner and the Waldorf Education movement.

Self initiated creative play

We emphasize artistic activity and creative play because play is basic to the life of pre-school children, it needs to be nurtured, just as their bodies need to be fed.  Play for children is Work for adults.

At Nania, we set the place to resemble a home with lots of simple toys of natural material.  Creative play require that the child be active in their limbs as well as their imagination.  The simpler the toy or play material, the more the child cultivates his/her own imagination. Creating different worlds and action, out of logs, cloth, stones, shells, etc.

The more creatively children play, the more they grow in a healthy way. Playful children tend to be more harmonious in their feelings and less aggressive towards others.  Creative play strengthens imagination, enabling children to be quick and eager to learn at school age.  Those who play creatively prepare themselves to become good scholars and well balanced people.  It is always fascinating to watch how different nationality, culture and mother tongue pose no impediment to children making friends with each other through play.

Their laughter from the tree house, the sand pit, the flower garden and rabbit hutch fills the whole garden with joy. Joy that builds their body, soul and spirit.  Laying the foundation for challenges in future years.

Celebrating diversity
Festivals are a big part of the education cultural life at Nania. We celebrate 15 events over the year. 6 as festivals with parents and siblings.  We include festivals from different cultures and nationalities present in Malaysia and in the classroom.  However, festivals are celebrated as cultural not religious events highlighting values akin to the festival which are agreeable to all.  The children sing festival songs in several languages, e.g. Chinese, English, Japanese and Malay.

A second home
The children take to the kindergarten as their second home. They participate in many housekeeping tasks, e.g. clearing up their classroom, setting tables for snack and lunch, washing their own cups and plates, hanging out the laundry and more.

Many children and parents keep in contact and visit after graduation.  They recall fond memories of making and decorating their birthday cake and festivals at Nania.  Days they harvest and enjoy the bananas, cikus and rambutans from the garden under the hot tropical sun.

Ong Kung Wai

Nania was founded by Ong Kung Wai and Junko Suzumoto as a home based kindergarten in 1997 with funding support from Freunde Der Erziehungskunst (a foundation based in Germany) and a Japanese friend. Kung Wai and Junko studied Anthroposophy at Emerson College, UK. Kung Wai studied Biodynamic Agriculture and Rural Development. Junko attended the Education course and Kindergarten training.

After 5 years as a single home-based class, Nania moved to a bigger premise (current address) and expanded to 2 classes in 2002.  As Nania became established, management was transferred from a sole proprietorship to a private limited company under name of Life Spirit in 2007.  Persons who have contributed to the development of Nania were invited to be shareholders, including staff members.

Besides pre-school classes, Nania also offer after class care and a Craft class (once a week on Fridays) for older children.  There is a playgroup with parents on Saturdays.  Mentoring and training to pre-school operators and teachers interested in adopting Rudolf Steiner's method and Nania's model can be arranged on request.

In 2012, Nania in collaboration with other Steiner inspired pre-school operators in Penang, started a year long training for pre-school operators and teachers interested in adopting Steiner's method.

Nania currently has a team of 8 full time and 4 part time staff.  Teaching staff include 2 class and 3 assistant class teachers.

Nania currently has two classes, one conducted in Japanese and the other in English. Both are mix age group classes of children from age 3 to 6.

Enrollment is capped at 52 children. The Japanese class enrollment fluctuate between 30 - 32 children. The English class enrollment between 20 - 22 children. Majority of the English class are Malaysian children.

Rhythmic life of Nania
Children's inclination to imitate is one of the key pedagogical principles we work with at Nania. They learn things naturally through their whole being through repetition. We recognise rhythm as important for development of the child's body, soul and spirit. Music and artistic activity weave through the daily life at Nania.

Children will experience a comforting expanding and contracting daily rhythm. They will be introduced to a host artistic activity, stories, songs and movements through a familiar but different weekly and yearly routine.

Daily rhythm
Nania's daily session is from 9.00 am to 2.30 pm, consisting of the following activities

  1. Artistic activity and creative play
  2. Snack time (with candle and grace) - children will be involved in snack preparation, table setting and washing up.
  3. Ring time (singing, verses & movement)
  4. Outside play
  5. Lunch
  6. Afternoon activity (including 40 mins of literacy classwork for 5+ year olds)
  7. Story time

Lunch is provided. Organic vegetables and products are used as available within budget.

Weekly rhythm
Different artistic activity conducted over the week include bread making, water color painting, drawing, modeling and various handwork.  A different story is introduced each week.

Yearly rhythm (Festivals and birthdays)

Besides individual birthdays, Nania observes a total of sixteen Malaysian and Japanese festivals over the year.

Birthdays are celebrated together with parents.  Children will make their own cake and decorate it with garden flowers. A special story telling about the child's biography created with the help of his/her parents will be done.

Festivals are celebrated as cultural and not religious events. Six are celebrated together with parents. The children present songs, poems and dances for such festivals.  Both classes will have ring time together to prepare. Teachers present a puppet show or other artistic presentation according to the festival theme.  Children receive handmade presents by staff related to the festival at the end of the celebration.

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