Chinmaya Mission Chicago is pleased to offer Chinmaya Bala Vihar classes for children in grades pre-KG – Grade 12 at their locations in Grayslake and Willowbrook, IL starting on September 8 and 9, respectively. Chinmaya Bala Vihar is a time-tested program that is offered in Chicago area for more than 30 years. Last year alone over 1000 children benefitted from the structured program under the guidance of trained Sevaks and Sevikas and the mentorship provided by the resident Acharya, Swami Sharananandaji. Registration for Chinmaya Bala Vihar for the new session starting in September is now open – details provided below. Swami Chinmayananda believed that the health of a society depended on the individuals. If the individuals are healthy, the society is healthy. His strategy for building a new society was to “Catch them young.” Thus, he designed Bala Vihar; a forum through which children learn about the many aspects of Hindu culture, values and philosophy.
In Bala Vihar, the rich cultural heritage of India, with emphasis on spiritual values, are taught to the children and youth using the medium of stories, dramas, arts, crafts and discussions. Its main focus is to:
• Inculcate in our children and youth a reverence for our ancient culture, and inspire them to live up to it with correct understanding.
• Create self-confidence so that they are able to serve and act cheerfully.
• Generate personal discipline, dynamic leadership, and true affection in all their contacts.
• Develop a healthy resistance against temptations in the environment in which they grow.
The curriculum is carefully created and taught on age-appropriated levels. It includes, ABC of Vedanta, Ramayana, Introduction of Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Shrimad Bhagavatam, Mahabharata, Symbolism in Hinduism, Hanuman Chalisa, Festivals of India, Values from Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, and Rama Charita Manasa.
• Age 3 onwards; the very little ones learn through simple bhajans, stories, and coloring
• As they grow, they start learning values through songs, moral stories, games, arts and crafts
• Older children are introduced to the Ramayana, Bhagavatam, and Mahabharat with emphasis on character analyses to develop ideal role models for the children.
• At high school level children are taught through discussions about the philosophical aspects of Vedanta and its applicability in day-to-day life.
• At all age levels during the curriculum, the children celebrate all the religious and cultural festivals, and learn their significance.
• Language, chanting, and Continental Math classes for enrolled children.
• SAT/ACT classes for 8th-12th graders starting in January 2013
• Service Projects such as blood drives, health fair, Walk-a-thons to raise funds for the needy, volunteering at the soup kitchens and food pantries are conducted throughout the year, in which children and adults participate with a lot of energy and enthusiasm.
The Bala Vihars have been and continue to be the most popular and effective program at the Chinmaya Mission. It has already touched the lives of thousands of children all over the world and with many more to follow.
“Our children are our Future” and Bala Vihar ensures that the future is bright and luminous.
While children are in the Bala Vihar classes, adults are encouraged to attend the adult discourse and discussion groups. Adults study texts on Vedanta starting with “Kindle Life”, a primer on Vedanta, then going on to texts like “Tattva Bodha”, “Atma Bodha”, and “Bhaja Govindam”.
In Chicago-land area, Bala Vihar programs are conveniently offered at two Mission centers, namely, Badri center on every Sunday (11S80 Rt. 80, Willowbrook, IL 60527 www.chinmaya-chicago.org) and Yamunotri center on every Saturday (30877 N. Fairfield Rd., Grayslake, IL 60030 www.chinmaya-yamunotri.org). Both the locations offer morning and afternoon sessions to suit your busy schedule.
For additional details and registration please contact, Acharya Shanker Pillai (630) 886-6442 or Rajul Bhalala (847) 302-2383. On-line registration is available as well by accessing the links below:
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