Once upon a time, there was a forest. Among the many trees that grew there, were two beautiful bucida trees. They grew side by side and they grew big and tall. As time passed and the landscape changed, they remained by each other’s side. Unwavering in the face of nature and time. Their roots dug deep and they grew strong. One day, a royal entourage was passing by. When the queen saw the two magnificent bucida trees, she knew that this was the spot where she would build NatureKids. “These majestic trees will become the symbols to spark young imaginations and inspire journeys of creative discoveries and they will represent the solid unshakable foundations of a child’s early education at NatureKids,” she declared.
NatureKids today is a magical place teeming with amazing ‘out-of-the-box’ ideas and programmes, well trained and experienced teachers plus a management team jointly led by Madam Wan Aznida and its principal Madam Sharmini whose boundless energy and passion knows no limits. Indeed, they speak and present their views with such conviction and enthusiasm that the listener becomes spellbound and is drawn into a world where children and nature are one.
“NatureKids was conceived in 2010 by my mom and started its operations in 2013. Inspired by the traditional teaching approaches of Waldorf, Reggio and Montessori, NatureKids aims to develop the children’s connection to nature and love for mother earth and to excite and inspire children to love the learning experience and find joy in their discoveries,” explains its co-owner Madam Wan Aznida.
While “Nature Inspired Learning” is the over-riding theme of NatureKids, its curriculum has been carefully designed to provide a happy balance between the traditional instructional learning and Natural learning, structured setting and unstructured setting. The three main building blocks of its curriculum are, social and emotional development, sensory and brain stimulating activities to promote optimal brain development and fine motor, literacy and numeracy skills development. What this translates into is that subjects such as grammar, counting, phonics and languages are taught via Nature inspired themes. NatureKids children will join the “Green Journey” through their unique Nature ABC programme where they will be made Aware of the wonders and beauty of Mother Earth, other living beings and their interdependencies. They will also Bond with Mother Earth through nature inspired activities and learn to Care for Mother Earth through practicing ‘green culture’ (3R – reduce-reuse-recycle).
NatureKids provide two main programmes that run from 8:00 am to 12:30 pm, the Angelfish Programme and the Starfish Programme. The Anglefish Programme is designed to help children from ages 2 and above develop their independence and confidence in a nurturing setting while adapting to routines and rituals. This programme is designed for a play-based-learning experience, incorporating various sensory and brain stimulating activities. The Starfish Programme is for children who are ready to tackle tasks that require an attention span and focus of more than 15 minutes. This programme will afford the children more assistance and lesson time to prepare them for entry into primary school. There is also a Daycare Programme that runs from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
“By removing the academic pressure and expectations and allowing the children to enjoy the simple things such as movement, music, sensory play, engaging with nature and free play, we are laying the foundations for their future intellectual capacity, memory, problem solving, language and even motor capacity,” says Madam Wan Aznida.
NatureKids has been designed, laid out and equipped with such meticulous care and thought that the children could be roleplaying Indiana Jones one day and exploring the oceans and the creatures in the sea as Jacques Costeau the next. Nature themed learning is so easy and such fun at NatureKids. They have their very own purpose built Sensory Lab, water play area, messy play area, water wall, fairy garden, vegetable garden and even a mini market onsite.
Madam Wan Aznida and her principal Madam Sharmini are so knowledgeable and passionate about NatureKids, its projects and activities and the environment in general that without really noticing it, a couple of hours have passed since we arrived – there’s so much to see and explore at NatureKids! Soon, parents will be arriving to pick up their precious little ones.
Write-ups alone do not really do justice to the myriad programmes and activities that NatureKids has to offer. I wish I were four years old again and spending my formative years at NatureKids!
As the setting sun casts its fiery fingers across the land, we realise that another day is almost done. A calm prevails as darkness slowly descends. Silence blankets the night and the only sounds you hear are the chirping of the crickets and cicadas and the soft even breathing of children in peaceful slumber.
And the gentle rustling of the leaves of the two bucida trees.
Find out more about NatureKids, Damansara Heights