What’s in a Bal Vihar?
The Bal Vihar provides an opportunity for our children to discover their cultural bond with Bharat and develop pride in their Hindu identity. It is open to children 4 years and above
The Bal Vihar is a weekly 2-3 hours program (or bi-weekly depending on the local needs).
- Our Bal vihars are balanced in their approach: physical, intellectual and spiritual.
- There is a balance of games, yoga and other physical activities along with challenging intellectual activities.
- Develop volunteer spirit in the children
- Encourage them to think about the society
- Help identify and develop leadership qualities in the youth
- Stress on the fundamental concept of universal connectedness and a sense of belonging to the global Hindu society.In a Bal Vihar the activities are balanced.
- The goal is to encourage character building activities that will lay the foundations for developing future workers and leaders for the Hindu community in Americas.
Sample Agenda for Bal Vihar
7:00 pm Dakshaaram, Dhwaja Pranam, Prayer
7:05 pm Surya Namskar
7:10 pm Yoga
7:15 pm Outdoor, Indoor, Intellectual Games
7:35 pm Shloka, Onkar, Dhyan
7:40 pm Geet, Bhajan
7:45 pm Hindi Class [ or Art/Craft, or Festival ]
8:15 pm Story
8:25 pm Dakshaaram, Prarthana
Bal Vihar Network (BVN)
The aim of Bal Vihar Network (BVN) is to network bal vihars across the country and leverage our collective strengths to strengthen our programs. Lay the foundation to build a structure that will help us rise up together and better serve our children and our community. Pass on the timeless samskars and traditions taught by our forefathers and continue the legacy and sustain Dharma. Bal Vihar Network, a tool by which to share curricula, experiences, techniques and advice between organizations that impart knowledge to Hindu youth all over the country, and later all over the globe. It has the same goal, sustaining our Hindu Dharma.
Designing the Future of Bal Vihars
- Aim is to unite bal vihars across the country
- Leverage our collective strengths to strengthen our programs
- Lay the foundation to build a structure that will help us rise up together and better
- Serve our children and our community
- Pass on the timeless samskars and traditions taught by our forefathers
- Continue the legacy, sustain our Dharma
Things to Consider:
While learning about how other programs work, we ultimately realize there is no right or wrong answer to the learning process, it’s about steady growth and being able to adapt to the needs of the youth and society today. Balvihar network is a stepping stone in accomplishing a more united sense of our functionalities as such diverse groups. A next step to bringing these divisions together, face to face, to share, vent, contribute and bounce ideas off of each other. The curriculum that is being taught at the various Bal Vihars: what the organization teaches, what is not being taught by the Bal Vihars and what potentially should be added to curricula. For instance, teaching Indian history, culture, and current events, to name a few. The strengths and weaknesses of Bal Vihars, ranging from fees to structure, to issues of the lack of student interest, attendance and parental support.
- Curriculum Discussion – “our systems have developed, not because we have great wisdom, but to cater to our needs,”
- Strengths & Weaknesses – “we need to have a program that educates the teachers on how to educate the children”
- Role of Family – “We should create an environment where parents can sit with the children and learn at the same baseline. Treat parents as children.”
- Technology – implementation “We say every house should have a Bhagvad Geeta. Let’s also have every iPod have a Bhagvad Geeta!”
Ideas to Pursue:
Many solutions come out of these discussions. Aesha Mehta, a young bal vihar teacher in the Allentown, PA temple, summed up the session well in saying, “We are able to identify key issues facing many programs and establish strategies to eliminate the problems. Use technology to enhance the Bal Vihar programs. Potential of resources such as YouTube and social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook in the future of Bal Vihars, as well as some of the drawbacks of each method. Technology, publicity and operations: how a particular component would factor into the development of the Bal Vihar Network.
- Common Calendar – Bal vihars can share their events with all the groups and participants in the area
- Create a monthly “satsang” to keep in touch – One representative from each bal vihar: develop network further
- Participating in an existing event – Pre-existing cultural event
- SEVA – Informal gathering with other groups to serve your community
- Have a national newsletter – NETWORK
It is to be in an environment surrounded by similar like minded people all with a single goal in mind—to educate the hindu youth, our future leaders. The Bal Vihar Network plans such events in various regions all over the country, with the eventual goal being a unified community of teachers, students, parents, and administrators, all working towards sustaining the same dharma, and preserving our common rich heritage.
To learn more, or to become an active participant, contact The Coalition of Hindu Youth at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can find us on facebook at www.facebook.com/chynetwork.