The goal of Bala Vihar is to “wake up the sleeping giant” in our children and inspire them to reach their maximum potential by imparting a value-based education through a specially designed age appropriate curriculum that have been created by our Chinmaya Acharya’s.
To understand the value of the Bala Vihar classes for children, we paraphrase the words of our Guruji Swami Tejomayananda:
To teach children about our ancient culture and heritage, so they understand their roots
To create self-confidence and leadership skills to serve and act cheerfully
To provide a loving atmosphere where children grow with noble ideals, healthy emotions and the ability to put these ideals into action
Here is a wonderful video about Bala Vihar by Swami Sarveshananda:
The children are taught by a team of trained and dedicated volunteer teachers, many of whom have been through Chinmaya Bala Vihar in their childhood.
Children are not vessels to be filled, but lamps to be lit – Swami Chinmayananda
Ramya grew up in Chennai, India as a Balavihar kid and then a CHYK. She has been teaching Bharadwaj class (Kindergarten kids) since 2015 when she moved to Seattle with her husband.
She is passionate about teaching kids and enjoys telling stories to them. The kids never stop surprising her with their questions and feedback.
Their energy and creativity has been more than enough motivation for her to go to class every week and engage them.
Ajita, along with her husband Gopi and her two sons, has been part of the Chinmaya Mission Seattle family since 2009. She has the privilege of teaching stories from the Ramayana to the first and second graders of the “Dhruva class”. Each lesson, she is amazed by the questions and insights the children bring to the discussion, and suspects that they might be the ones who are teaching her!
Ajita was brought up in Perth, Australia and moved to the US in 1995. She feels blessed to walk alongside so many dedicated and knowledgeable Sevaks on her spiritual journey.
Prathibha has been a part of Chinmaya Mission Seattle since 2009 and teaches the Dhruva class. Growing up, she was a Bala Vihar student while her mother was a Bala Vihar teacher. She loves spending time with kids. Outside of Balavihar she has two young kids of her own and is learning to manage her controlled chaos!
Anupama (goes by Anu aunty) teaches our Sandeepany class (Grades 3-5). She has been with Chinmaya Mission for several years and was a Balavihar student herself when growing up in Mumbai & Chennai. She enjoys teaching our texts in a relaxed and fun environment and especially loves singing and teaching bhajans as well.
Gopi grew up in Kerala, India where he was fortunate to be able to attend Gurudev’s annual Geeta Yajnas along with his family. The spiritual learnings received during those interactions had a lasting impact on him. After completing his engineering studies, he took a job in Ann Arbor, Michigan where he observed first-hand the positive impact of a vibrant Chinmaya Mission chapter on the local community. In Seattle Gopi, his wife Ajita and his two boys have been attending Balavihar since 2009. Gopi started teaching the Chinmayam class for high school students in 2015. He has also been serving as the treasurer for the last two years. Gopi continues his spiritual learning with the rich opportunities provided by Chinmaya Mission Seattle.