|“To help children learn
Values with fun
To delight like the moon
And shine like the sun”
Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda
Chinmaya Mission conducts classes and activities for adults and children from Kindergarten to Grade 12 on Hindu culture, based on the universal philosophy of Advaita Vedanta (Oneness). We welcome all students to all our classes and activities that focus on the art of righteous living, meditation, self-unfoldment, dynamic and inspired leadership, and lasting friendships.
Balavihar (also known as “Bala Vihar”) is a forum through which children learn about many aspects of Hindu culture and philosophy. Children are taught according to their level of understanding. See curriculum for age-appropriate splits and subjects. The little children learn about the Gods through simple bhajans, stories, and coloring. As they get older, they start learning values through songs, moral stories, games, arts and crafts, and the Balavihar values alphabets. Next, they are introduced to the Ramayan, Bhagavatam, and Mahabharat. An emphasis is placed on character analysis so as to develop ideal role models for the children. Along with this, the children celebrate all the religious and cultural festivals, and learn about their significance. Here they get into the symbolism in Hinduism, including behind all the rituals, Gods, Om, etc. At this point, they begin to learn the practical applications of the moral and ethical values (i.e. from the Bhagavad Geeta) in their daily lives. Then, when they reach high school, they are taught through discussions and reading sessions about the philosophical aspects of Hinduism, or Vedanta. After completing the full course, the children are then trained to be Balavihar Sevaks/Sevikas (group leaders). Finally, they become teachers, inspiring the younger generations, and strengthening their own understanding.
While the children are in their respective classes, the parents attend a session of their own. Here, the parents have the opportunity to discuss issues that arise when raising children in America. The adults also learn the basic philosophies of Hindu Dharma through the studygroup with a prescribed curriculum, enabling them to reinforce the Balavihar teachings at home.
The Chinmaya method of teaching has been repeatedly proven to work in Balavihars and recognized widely as the most successful program for children by acclaimed Hindu organizations around the world. Children who go through the course not only learn all the values fundamental to Hindu beliefs, but also know how to apply them to their day-to-day challenges. These kids are able to successfully resolve their identities in this dual culture and go on to be strong leaders with integrity and pride in their rich heritage