The Infant class enjoyed learning shlokas using hand gestures as well as bhajans and the little ones swayed to the beats of the various taalams taught in class – Adi Talam and Mishra Chaappu were the favorites. For the very active, the soothing sounds of the repetitive mantra chanting in various ragas helped calm them down while the older students picked their favorite Swara Pallavis in Shankarabharanam and Hamsadhwani to do actions for. The children are very receptive and quickly absorb raga, tala and laya at this young age and like sponges remember the nuances of each new item they learn be it Nottu Swara Sahitya or raga identification. Little hands beat talam and heads sway in time to catchy beats as they begin their journey in this world being exposed to the sights and sounds of a typical Hindu household.
While we sadly bid adieu to our graduating children – Anagha and Vaishnavi Masti, Ashwath Balaji, Shivam Walwadkar, Arinjay Ashok and Sangamitra, we look forward to seeing our other charmers Shiven Sharma, Pranav Balasubramaniam, Pranav Gangula, Srishti Praveen and many more new children in the new year.
This precious age is one where children are innocent and full of life. While they start out anxious of the new surroundings, they quickly latch on to our caring teachers who instill in them the love of God. Even at this tender age, the teachers help to inculcate reverence for our culture through coloring, simple prayers, and fun songs and dances
Through creative means, the children readily identify our
Gods and the qualities they represent. They begin to see that there are many forms for the same lord.
After a hiatus of 4 years I resumed teaching at bala vihar last year. As
the year passed by I realized how much I had missed teaching. Kinder
garten has always been my favourite age group to teach due to many
reasons. The unconditional love and affection that the kids shower on me
is my biggest motivation. Also, I’ve discovered that children are extremely receptive and curious at this age. I started teaching thinking that I was going to impart so much knowledge to my students but at the end of the year I was truly humbled that my KG class had taught me so much more, whether it be to honestly question concepts, or to come up with a brilliant alternative or to just show pure love and kindness. I’m truly grateful to poojya Gurudev and Chinmaya mission portland for giving me the opportunity to serve and God willing will continue to do so.
Our syllabus in KG is the Vedantic Alphabet and the Chinmaya Mission pledge.In the Vedantic Alphabet each alphabet stands for a value.For example instead of “A is for apple and B is for Ball” we teach that “A is for Aspiration,B is for Brotherhood, C is for Cleanliness and so on”.
By imbibing and living by these values we get a sweet mind with which we can see God.The concepts in the pledge are also explained with stories and fun activities.The hope is that our students will get a strong foundation upon which they continue to build during their sojourn in Bala Vihar.
A great opportunity of walking through a meadow of flowers has been granted to us, the fortunate ones. This year (2017-18) we are experiencing spring time. Yes, our little ones are in their final stages of being buds – Grade 1. What kind of spectacular, colorful, fragrant flowers they will open up to, is yet to be seen!!!
Every Balavihar working Sunday morning begins with great expectations and ends with even greater anecdotes and episodes.
The class has 18 children and every week usually lands up with at least 12 to 14 of them. The assembly line up usually is not the sure sign of the final attendance, about a next half definitely appear by the end of the class. Kudos to the children who wake up, get dressed and show up on time for the class as this is a huge sacrifice and discipline on their part.
We wondered if they sometimes had gummy worms for breakfast – their postures and listening capacity spoke of it surely. Then there are some who pose thoughtful questions and others who couldn’t wait to speak their minds out. All interesting things that happened through the week were also shared but had to be cut short sometimes due to lack of time to cover the syllabus that has about 40 chapters. We tried hard to do as much justice as possible to the book and most importantly to their questions.
The best part of the year was when it was announced that we were going to do a summarized play of our topic of the year ‘Bala Ramayanam’. The children were accommodating of their roles, no arguments and some even memorized their parts so well that they could recall it after a break of about three weeks – amazing!!! So, there was no doubt that what was being talked about in class was reaching their little hearts. Yay! We’ll take that as a feather in our hats!!! But there was one child, who having practiced her role so well, had to suddenly move to India for good.
Nevertheless, this has been a great experience for us and hope it was for them too. Thankful to the parents who made this possible. Looking forward to another great year!!!
Shri Hanuman The Super Superman visits 2nd Grade Balavihar class every sunday morning to help our children develop values with FUN to DELIGHT like MOON and SHINE bright like the SUN. Kavitha my co-teacher and i have grown within immensely with Chinmaya Balavihar making a positive contribution to society working on Inner Transformation of our children early in life that results in a ‘happy world’ around us! Come attend our Balavihar assembly at 9:20am to check this for a fact :). You will find our VANARSENA sitting in discipline crisscross and alert utilizing the metaphor of Hanumanji-s backbone ~ a strong backbone allows one to stand tall and erect, we humans also have a mental backbone that allows one to face and stay tall and erect under all circumstances. Children received the vitamins that help develop this mental backbone through 8 virtues that make one human to Hanuman via Hanumanji-s grace invoking this beautiful verse that is chanted daily at Sandeepany Sadhanalaya (College of Vedanta) since its inception by Pujya Gurudev:
Buddhir-Balam Yashodhairyam Nirbhayatvam Arogata,
Ajadyam Vakpatutvam ca Hanumat Smaranad Bhavet.
Through the worship of Sri Hanuman, one will be blessed with budding (intelligence), balam (strength), yeshas (fame), dhairyam (Courage), nirbhayatvam (fearlessness), arogata ( free from diseases, good health), ajadyam (alertness), and vakpatutam (eloquence).
Over the year we have chanted and analyzed the 40 verses of Hanuman Chalisa, and the 3 dohas learning there meaning in depth utilizing 43 verbs… so that it will be easier for the children to remember it and practice it through out their lives :). Each child is the owner of a book of Hanuman Chalisa. This children’s book has pictures that depict each verse and a simple meaning easy for them to understand. See below is our list of “Verbs” unique for each verse which are like a pointer for the kids to remember what each verse of Hanuman Chalisa teaches in a nutshell. These verbs are also being utilized at various Balavihar/Youth/Adult camps at various Chinmaya Mission Centers World Wide.
We bow down in reverence to the GuruShishyaParampara whic inspires us to strive to share that ~ only respecting something remains a value only, bringing it to LIFE makes it the VIRTUE.
Kavitha and i thank the Chinmaya Haridwar BV co-ordination team and parents for this opportunity to teach our children our rich culture.
The 3rd grade curriculum highlights important aspects of Bala Bhagavatham. Students started off the year with learning the names of the important 10 avatars of Vishnu. During each class we shared a story from Bhagavathgam with the class. Stories further highlighted the fact that Lord Vishnu’s avatars are not limited to 10. We covered Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Vamana and Narasimha avatars in detail.
After opening prayers, we usually start off with chanting stotrams. By March of 2018 the students became well versed in Gurustotram and Dashavatarastoram. The students by the end of April requested to learn Madhurashtakam as well. We had the entire 3rd Grade students perform Gurustotram during assembly :).
We also did a variety of interesting projects with the students. We made them do word search which kept them focused for the remainder of the class.
We also got Usha Ramanujam, a lovely art teacher to help the students make two beautiful paintings as a group. These were signed and blessed by Vivekji during his visit to Portland for the Balavihar camp this year. This project was a big hit with the students.
We end the academic year and welcome 2018 summer by making special kites that are decorated by the kids.
This year has been fun not only for the children but also the teachers.We had a very enthusiastic class that came with lots of questions along with beautiful smiles. As teachers we not only found it enriching to teach these lovely children but also very fulfilling to know them personally. Each one of them has a kind and fun loving soul within them. All of them showered us with their laughter, love and regard throughout this year.
In 4th grade, we continue the study of Srimad Bhagavatam that was started in grade 3, by exploring chapters 10 and 11 of the ancient book.
Chapter 10 of Srimad Bhagavatam is about the Krishna avatar. In “Krishna Krishna Everywhere”, we learn stories from the life of Lord Krishna, starting from His birth, to the time He fulfills a prophecy by killing the tyrant Kamsa. Through the stories of Lord Krishna’s childhood, we learn the values that will bring us closer to Him. These values, like kindness, forgiveness, sharing etc., will be useful throughout our lives, and will be what makes our lives easier and happier.
“My Twenty-Four Teachers” is based on the 11th chapter of Srimad Bhagavatam. We find out that anyone and anything can be a teacher, as long as we have humility and the right attitude to learn. Who we are and what we know is because of our teachers, and we are indebted to them.
We also learned to chant the “Govinda Damodara Stotram”.
First we studied about a Symbol? which comes from the Greek word, ” sum- ballo”, meaning to throw together, to put together one’s own concepts to represent an object. Symbols make communication easy and effective
We practice seeing the all- pervading God in at least one image and then slowly expand our vision.
Then we studied who is a Hindu? One who does not indulge in Baser things.
Last concept we studied was Upasana. It means “worship”, or literally ” sitting near”. Through Upasana of the Lord we slowly imbibe His qualities and become like Him.
We started by learning the Symbolism of Lord Ganesha followed by Lord Vishnu, Shiva, Rama, Krishna and the 3 Goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. We also did a Shiva Linga making project before Maha Shivaratri which the kids could take home and do the puja. As a class we learnt Shiva Panchakshara Stotram and Ganesha Pancaratnam taught by Sumaji.
Lastly we did the 16 step puja in class which was led by Ramkumarji. Parents also joined the puja session.
In 7th grade, students explore three key questions, Who is god? What is god? and Where is god?. They explore these questions by reading through excerpts from Rama charita manas, a famous composition by Sri Tulasi Das.
At the begining of the year, students create an envelope addressed to god. They then capture their discussions, thoughts into the envelope. By the end of the class, they understand that god is everywhere, god is love, god is in everyone. Now they know where to send the envelope!.