To transfer values to the next generation we need to imbibe them ourselves. The best preaching is in your own perfect action.
- Swami Chinmayananda
The Curriculum for Chinmaya Bala Vihar® has been refined over the last 50 years. It is structured and based on our scriptures, with a focus on how scriptures apply to our daily lives.
Continue reading to learn more about what we do in each grade. Also, take a look at our Bala Vihar Brochure
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. At the end of the year, both teachers and students have tears borne out of the bond that was created between them.
We all know that ‘A is for Apple’ and ‘B is for Boy,’ but in Balavihar, the children learn that “A is for Aspiration, B is for Brotherhood, C is for Cleanliness,” and so on. Simple, but fundamental, values are taught and emphasized through stories and coloring. The children are introduced to the wonder of Vedanta in an age-appropriate manner through hands-on activities and demonstrations. They learn that just because something is not seen does not mean that it is not there. Therefore, our minds need to be focused to see the beauty within all of us.
Through the Ramayana, the world’s oldest epic, Lord Rama teaches us the values of the perfect person. The children track the path of Lord Rama from childhood to marriage to exile to the war with Ravana, culminating in his crowning as King. Embedded in the story is so much symbolism. How are the 3 pairs of brothers in the Ramayana different? What attracts Vibhishana, Ravana’s brother, to Lord Rama? Why is HanumanJi the greatest devotee, and how can we be like him? The children will amaze you with their deep appreciation of the glories of Lord Rama.
GRADE 2 AND 3
“Have a backbone like a ruler and rule the world.” This metaphor describes the foundation of this class as students learn from the Lord’s great devotee, Hanumanji. The values of courage, strength, fearlnessness, alertness, and eloquence are highlighted as those that make our backbone strong. Through these qualities, children are shown how they can develop a majestic personality and how, through discipline, they can earn merits in the world. Students study Hanuman Chalisa and its beautiful meaning, and they, in turn, will teach their parents.
GRADE 4 AND 5
Where can we find our Guru? Lord Krishna is the source of so much inspiration and teaching. Cantos 10 and 11 of Bhagavatam are covered during this class. Canto 10 focuses on Krishna lila stories through which children learn about sharing, self-discipline, and introspection. As they embark upon “My 24 Teachers,” the students learn that Mother Earth teaches us patience, the mountains teach us patience, the arrow-maker teaches us concentration. In this wonderful class, students begin to realize that our Gurus are always present, if only we are ready to see them.
GRADE 6 AND 7
Why is Bharat (India) sacred? India provides us with a rich history and culture with so much to be proud of. The heritage of Bharat with its saints and sages are a treasure from which we can learn the glory of this ancient culture. India has offered so much to this world, and in this class, as children begin to get exposed to the history of the United States in their schools, they can also begin to appreciate the rich history of Bharat. What more can we ask for than for our children to develop a pride in what Bharat has offered and continues to offer the world.
Mahabharata is an epic narrative of the Kurukshetra war and the fates of 2 sets of cousins, who enter into the battlefield. This is a Dharma-Yudha or the war for Dharma. The epic is full of various characters from warriors, to devotees, from ruthless kings and princes, to brave women. It offers so many valuable life lessons, as Lord Krishna, a key character in the epic, goes about guiding everyone on the path of Dharma. The Gita class being the next year, the children will get a good understanding of the entire story and its characters and the deeper symbolism.
GRADE 9 AND ABOVE
High school is a time of serious preparation as students ready themselves for college and beyond, entering a world where they must make more independent decisions. A beautiful and profound book by Swami Chinmayananda, Self-Unfoldment provides the foundational knowledge that students will not get through normal schooling…how to properly prioritize goals, how to persevere through life’s challenging moments, how to contribute to society, and how to maximize their own sense of self-worth. Self-Unfoldment can be the catalyst for students to lead dynamic lives full of meaning and purpose.
Mark Twain once said, "India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition." Few countries can boast of the diversity in array of languages, and through our many sevaks/volunteers, we offer instruction in several of them. Our language options for this year include: Sanskrit, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, and Marathi.
We offer SAT preparation, aimed primarily towards students in Grades 6-9. Through this instruction, we begin to introduce concepts covered in the SAT to students beginning at an early age so that they can become familiar with the test and concepts covered.