Introducing Gnaana.com: A New Line Of Developmental Toys And Cultural Educational Material For Children Of The South Asian Diaspora

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Gnaana.com offers busy families a way to incorporate elements of South Asian languages, traditions and histories into their everyday lives.

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Gnaana.com, a new retail website and online community center, is unveiling a new line of eco-friendly developmental toys and educational material to teach kids about South Asian cultures. The products, which range from alphabet blocks in 5 regional Indian languages (Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu), to puzzles, musical CDs, a recipe collection and child-sized aprons available for personalization in Indic fonts, are designed to inspire children to take interest in learning about one of the world's ancient civilizations. The products are geared towards children from birth to 12 years of age.

"We believe young children can benefit tremendously from being exposed to elements of the South Asian culture," says Aruna Hatti, founder of Gnaana. "This is a living culture which is over five thousand years old and infinitely rich in philosophy, science, literature, religion and art. There is a lot of ancient wisdom that's being lost between generations. I think that's a shame."

Hatti, an attorney who practices in commercial real estate and environmental law, was living in Bangalore, India when she came up with the idea for Gnaana. "I was pregnant with my son, and I looked all over India for toys and material that could help my children learn about and appreciate our Indian heritage. I found a few books and DVDs - but they were geared towards older children, and most were of poor quality. There was nothing that babies, toddlers or young children could relate to. I was very surprised."

Gnaana's products are inspired by the Montessori Method. The Montessori educational philosophy is built upon the idea that children are naturally curious and when given age-appropriate materials, absorb and learn from the things in their environment. The method emphasizes early learning - stressing that a child's mind is most receptive to learning specific skills and knowledge (such as languages) before the age of 6.

Although the initial launch of products focuses mainly on India, the company plans to soon have items that are relevant to the other South Asian countries (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal) and also the region's various religions (Islam, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism). "Part of our mission is to broaden children's cultural perspective, and you can't do that by limiting offerings that focus on just one country or religion," says Hatti.

In addition to the retail site, Gnaana.com features resources, links and a blog about the joys and challenges of raising multi-cultural children. The company also sends a monthly newsletter to subscribers with tips and ideas for simple, culturally-relevant projects to do with kids.

"We're providing a fresh new way for young children to connect with South Asian cultures," says Hatti.

For more information, contact the Press Department via email (buzz(at)gnaana(dot)com) or telephone (800-516-7794 ext. 3), or visit the company's website at http://www.gnaana.com.

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