Bala Vihar is a weekly gathering of children (Preschool to Grade 12/Ages 0 to Ages 18) under the supervision of trained teachers. The aim of Bala Vihar is to help children bloom, grow, and inculcate values through fun-filled activities. Bala Vihar enhances the overall development of the personality of a child at all levels – physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual.
2023-24 Bala Vihar Session Information
At Chinmaya Somnath, we offer 3 in-person sessions and one on-line session across CMWRC via Zoom.
Friday in-person session: starts September 8th at 6:45 PM
Sunday morning in-person session: starts September 10th at 9:15 AM
Sunday afternoon in-person session: starts September 10th at 12:15 PM
Sunday online session: starts September 10th at 1:15 PM
Children are a major focus at Chinmaya Somnath. 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.
The Bala Vihar program offers weekly spiritual classes for children in their formative school years (Pre K to 12).
A complimentary Shishu Vihar program for children ages 0 to 3 years and Amruta Vihar program for differently abled children ages Pre-K to 12th grade are offered.
The classes are organized by age groups, start and end with Sanskrit prayers, and include chanting, bhajans, stories of devotion and morals, interactive discussions, and creative games.
The sessions are of approximately 90 minutes duration including the common assembly time, and are based on specially designed curriculum.
The idea is to provide an environment where the personality of the child blossoms in a spontaneous way. Good conduct, emotional refinement, intellectual finesse, social responsibility, and a spiritual awareness are developed by the teachers through story-telling from the Puranas and other scriptures, singing of bhajans, chanting of stotrams, games, arts and crafts, plays, and other fun-filled activities. The children are encouraged to be responsible, alert, and sensitive members of society.
Swami Chinmayananda believed that just as the strength of a wall depended on the quality of each brick, so too, the health of a society depended on the individuals. If the individuals are healthy, society is healthy. His strategy for building a new society was to “catch ’em young,” and that is what we are trying to accomplish at Chinmaya Somnath.
Chinmaya Somnath also offers additional classes and activities besides the regular Bala Vihar classes to help the children blossom and develop their multi-faceted talents.
The senior Bala vihar classes provide a forum for youth where they are provided an opportunity to discuss, debate, and understand the logic of our religion and its tenets and to become aware of their potential. After having gained this awareness, their potential is directed into creative channels. The high school students are encouraged to volunteer in the community and participate in social service activities. Additionally, different career choices are discussed along with what it takes to be a professional in those disciplines. The aim of these classes is to prepare today’s youth to be responsible and successful adults of tomorrow.
The annual session runs from September to June, parallel to the regular school calendar.
All Bala Vihar children participate in various activities, from the youngest Shishu Vihar class to the Chinmayam class for high school youngsters. The grade in which the child is enrolled in his/her school is the basis for placement in the appropriate Bala Vihar class.
For 2023-24, Chinmaya Mission Washington Regional Center is standardizing its curriculum across all regional chapters. A customized curriculum is planned that will be unique for only this year. It will encompass abridged coursework a student may have covered in a previous class and a more comprehensive inclusion of the academic book for their current year. You will notice two or more core books for each class, and it may appear that your child is repeating material they have already done. The topic listed in bold will be the major focus of the curriculum and will be supplemented by the other topic(s) listed.
We want our children to transition seamlessly and ensure this course realignment encompasses all the needed foundational concepts for their class grade.
Ages less than 3 years
Shishu Vihar is Chinmaya Mission’s creative initiative to include infants and toddlers (0 to 3 years of age) with a parent/guardian for an early introduction to spiritual education.
Shishu Vihar is all about combining fun and interaction with values and wisdom that the kids will develop as they grow. It is a wonderful bonding time for the parents and their toddlers.
Chinmaya Somnath’s Amruta Vihar is a special program tailored for children, who are differently abled, to come together for social interaction, spiritual growth and learning. The children are introduced to stories from our Puranas, taught how to chant shlokas and sing bhajans, along with art and craft activities, yoga, breathing exercises and group discussions.
Pre-K (Ages 3-5)
Stories, Bhajans, Activities: Children learn about Hindu Deities such as Ganesha, Shiva, Krishna, Rama, Devis through stories, activities, bhajans, celebrations and much more.
Text: Alphabet Safari
Children are introduced to positive values through the English Alphabet. For example: A for Ambition, B for Brotherhood etc. Each value is taught through a story or song.
1st & 2nd Grades
Text: Bala Ramayana, Hanuman
Bala Ramayana teaches us many important values that we can apply to our lives. The children will learn the values of courage, loyalty, compassion, and righteousness through the story of Lord Rama. Some key teachings that Bala Ramayana include are – respect for elders and parents, the power of friendship, the consequences of greed, courage and bravery, etc. This Bala Ramayana curriculum has these teachings so beautifully woven together in the form of stories, that it instills into children a reverence for life, a sense of moral beauty, and spiritual alertness in life.
‘Superman Hanuman’ is a valuable resource for children, where they will learn important life lessons through the adventures of Lord Hanuman. The curriculum teaches values such as courage, selflessness, perseverance, determination, devotion, service, humility, and knowledge that can inspire children to become better individuals.
3rd & 4th Grades
Text: Bala Bhagavatam, Krsna, Krsna Everywhere, My Twenty-Four Teachers
Morals of Bhagavatam stories will be taught which will instill devotion in children. It will also reinforce Hindu values and philosophy. Children will also learn about various avatars of Lord Vishnu and “why” does God come as an “avatara.” They will travel through the blissful journey of studying nine modes of Bhakti (devotion) and will know that to accomplish anything in life, they must be like “Dhruva”(firm) in their resolve. Bhagavatam teaches us to be good and that one rises or falls according to one’s own actions.
Important episodes of Krsna Lila from the 10th canto of Bhagavatam will be covered, which will inspire children to be virtuous and introspect. The goal of “My Twenty-Four Teachers” (adapted from the 11th canto of Bhagavatam) is to teach children that anyone or anything can be our teacher if we have humility and the right attitude to recognize them. Children will get a synopsis of precious teachings learnt by Saint Dattatreya from these twenty-four teachers.
5th & 6th Grades
Text: Symbolism in Hinduism, Sacred land of India
Symbolism plays an important role in Sanatana Dharma, as it is used to convey complex philosophical and spiritual concepts through images, objects, and gestures. Each symbol has a rich meaning and is often used in conjunction with other symbols to convey deeper spiritual truths. Here is one example:
Om is the most sacred symbol in Sanatana Dharma and represents the ultimate Reality. It is often chanted during meditation or recited at the beginning and end of spiritual texts.
India, The Sacred Land: Students will learn more about our land, India’s struggle for freedom, Indian emblem, and much more in the curriculum.
7th & 8th Grades
Text: P.O.Box Mr.God, Vibhishana Geeta (Key to Success), Hindu Culture
An abridged version of P.O.Box Mr.God & Vibhishana Geeta (Key to Success) will be covered, followed by a deeper discussion about Hindu Culture.
‘Vibhishana Geeta’ is a message from Lord Rama to Vibhishana on the battlefield. It outlines the necessary tools for human beings to safely complete life’s voyage and attain spiritual progress and mental purification. Vibhishana Geeta emphasizes the importance of faith, values, and devotion. We will follow this with a comprehensive and complete analysis of the Hindu culture and its salient features, varied facets, and fullness. Skillful definitions, gifted quotes, and striking illustrations carry the reader on a pilgrimage to India’s holy land and religious culture. Our children will learn and appreciate Indian culture and our heritage.
9th & 10th Grades
Text: Bhagavad Geeta (Chapters 1-9), Yato Dharma Tato Jayah (Mahabharatha)
Bhagavad Geeta, when taught to children in their early childhood alone can again and again inspire them in their future years of life and supply them with the courage to face their problems. Understanding the timeless principles of the Bhagavad Geeta can give both adults and children deep insight into the hows and the whys of life.
The emphasis will be on the following life lessons from the Bhagavad Geeta
Development of right perspective
Understand that change is the law of nature
Tolerance and forgiveness is essential
Change the way you think
You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions
(Plus) Key concepts of Hindu Culture: Reiterating the values of our culture will lay the foundation for samskaras and give the children an understanding on why we do what we do and not follow rituals without proper understanding.
11th & 12th Grades
Text: Bhagavad Geeta (Chapters 10-18)
Bhagavad Geeta, when taught to children in their early childhood can inspire them in their future years of life and supply them with the courage to face their problems. Understanding the timeless principles of the Bhagavad Geeta can give both adults and children deep insight into the how’s and the why’s of life.
The emphasis will be on the following Life lessons from the Bhagavad Geeta
Development of right perspective
Understand that change is the law of nature
Tolerance and forgiveness is essential
Change the way you think
You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions.
Friday PM Session – 6:45 pm – 8:20 pm
|6:45 pm – 7:15 pm||Assembly in Auditorium (Parents & Children participate) -30 min assembly||In-person|
|7:20 pm||Adult and BV classes start||In-person|
|8:20 pm||Adult and BV classes end and dispersal.||In-person|
|6:50 pm – 7:30 pm||Shishu Vihar Class||In-person|
Sunday AM Session – 9:15 am – 10:50 am
|9:15 am – 9:45 am||Assembly in Auditorium (Parents & Children participate) -30 min assembly||In-person|
|9:50 am||Adult and BV classes start||In-Person|
|10:50 am||Adult and BV classes end and dispersal.||In-person|
|9.30 am – 10:00 am||Amruta Vihar||In-person|
|9:50 am – 10:30 am||Shishu Vihar Class||In-person|
|11:00 am||Shloka, Yoga, and other enrichment classes start (except Language)||In-person|
|12:00 pm||Shloka, Yoga, and other enrichment classes end, and dispersal||In-person|
Sunday PM In Session – 12:15 pm – 1:50 pm
|12:15 pm – 12:45 pm||Assembly in Auditorium (Parents & Children participate) -30 min assembly||In-person|
|12:50 pm – 1:50 pm||Bala vihar Class||In-person|
Sunday PM ONLINE Session – 1:15 pm – 3:00 pm
|1:15 pm – 2:00 pm||Virtual Assembly (Parents & Children participate) -30 minutes assembly||Online|
|2:00 pm – 3:00 pm||Adult Class||Online|
|2:00 pm – 3:00 pm||Bala Vihar Classes||Online|
For Bhagavad Geeta, only registered families will receive the link.
|Sunday||11:00 am – 12:00 pm||Shloka Class||In-person|
|Sunday||3:10 pm – 4:10 pm||Shloka Class||Online|
|Sunday||11:00 am – 11:50 pm||Art Class||In-person|
|Sunday||11:00 am – 11:50 pm||Performing Arts(Bharatanatyam) Class||In-person|
|Sunday||11:00 am – 12:00 pm||Yoga(For all ages)||In-person|
|Sunday||11:00 am – 12:30 pm||Youth Leadership Program(YLP) (90 min class)||In-Person Meet (2nd and 4th Sundays)|
|Sunday||12 pm – 1 pm||Hindi Language Class||Online|
|Saturday||12 pm – 1 pm||Telugu Language Class||Online|
|Sunday||12 pm – 1 pm||Tamil Language Class||Online|
|Tuesday||7 pm – 7:45 pm |
7:50 pm – 8:35 pm
|Gujarati Beginner Language Class||Online|
|Wednesday||8:30 pm – 9:15 pm||Gujarati Intermediate Language Class||Online|
Important Notes For Parents!
The dress code for Bala Vihar is provided on the “Rules of Conduct” Tab. Parents are encouraged to follow the dress code and set an example for children. In winter, children are urged to wear sweaters and socks to class.
Both parents (if not, at least one parent) must attend the Vedanta Class while the Bala Vihar classes for children are in session. An attendance will be taken during the Vedanta class.
Chinmaya Mission will use e-mail to convey information about schedule changes, weekly newsletter, other programs, or snow dates. Please login to registration system and update the information. If you have any difficulty updating the details, please submit the details via Contact Us page.
Please notify the teacher(s) before class if your child is going to be absent. In the event of sudden illness or emergency, please notify the teacher(s) as soon as possible. The telephone numbers and email addresses of teachers provided may be used for this purpose.
Please ensure that children come to class prepared with their Bala Vihar notebook, My Prayers book, and other books in their syllabus, pencil, and crayons (for younger children) or colored pens.
All children should be well rested and have a nourishing meal before attending Bala Vihar. This fosters better learning.
Once or twice a year Bala Vihar teachers will hold a parent/teacher conference. The teachers will update parents on class progress and the topics covered. The purpose of the parent/teacher conference is to facilitate ongoing parental involvement with the child’s learning.
During Mission programs other than Bala Vihar (monthly Bhajan nights, etc.), parents are responsible for their children’s behavior. Please teach children to respect the sanctity of the facility by maintaining silence during these programs, not running in the building, dropping trash in trash cans, putting books and games away, etc.
Please bring your children to Bala Vihar classes regularly and on time. To maximize learning and to respect the significant effort teachers put in to prepare for class, please ensure that children attend class regularly and that absences are few and far between, and only due to unavoidable reasons such as illness or other emergencies.
To facilitate effective learning, parents are NOT permitted in class unless pre-arranged with the Teacher and the Bala Vihar Coordinator/Director.
The Bala Vihar Coordinator/Director may routinely attend Bala Vihar classes to evaluate the curriculum and for teacher training.
Feel free to discuss your child’s progress or needs, or any concerns or questions you may have, with the Bala Vihar teacher(s) or Coordinator. We encourage and value parental involvement and input.
At home, please help children practice and memorize assembly prayers they are learning in class.
Each classroom needs at least two parent volunteers to help organize occasional field trips, socials, and other special activities. Please contact the classroom teacher if you would like to volunteer.
2023-2024 Bala Vihar Book List
|Bala Vihar Class||Curriculum|
|Shishu Vihar (Below 3 yrs)||TBA|
|Amruta Vihar (Special Education)||TBA|
|Madhuram (Kindergarten)||Alphabet Safari|
|Satyam (Grades 1, 2)||Bala Ramayana and Hanuman|
|Shivam (Grades 3, 4)||Bala Bhagavatam, Krsna, Krsna Everywhere, My Twenty-Four Teachers|
|Sundaram (Grades 5,6)||Symbolism in Hinduism, Sacred land of India|
|Shivanandam ( Grades 7,8)||P.O.Box Mr.God, Vibhishana Geeta (Key to Success), Hindu Culture|
|Tapovanam (Grades 9,10)||Bhagavad Geeta (Chapters 1-9), Yato Dharma Tato Jayah (Mahabharatha)|
|Chinmayam (Grades 11,12)||Bhagavad Geeta (Chapters 10-18)|
Suggested Book List for Additional Learning
|Bala Vihar Class||Optional Book List||Price|
|Ati-Madhuram/Madhuram/Satyam||Krishna Loves you|
Krishna (Butter bash, Invisible friend, Rocks, Photocopies)
Go Hanuman Go
Hanuman Big Gig
Shiva Shiva Namah Shivaya – $8
Shiva’s Fish Swish
Ganesha Goes to Party
Boogie woogie Ganesha
|Shivam/ Sundaram||Tarangini Series|
Tell me a Story Color Series
Bala Vihar Guru Devs tales
Amar Chitra Katha of Swamiji
|Shivanandam||Conflicts and Confusion|
Not too Loose, .. Tight, Just Right
|Tapovanam||Storm to Perform|
Hindu culture an Introduction
Transforming Indians to transform India
Journey of a Master
Hinduism Frequently asked questions
|Chinmayam||Srimad Bhagavad Gita|
Gita for Children
We expect all children and parents to follow the rules of conduct!
Everyone must follow the directions set by sevaks for entering, exiting, and transitioning to other classes.
Arrive early and settle down in your class. This will allow everyone to enter the facility and be prompt for your class.
The Bala Vihar classes start promptly at the scheduled time. Children are requested to be punctual; they should be seated and ready for Hanuman Chalisa followed by Arati.
Dress code for Bala Vihar Children:
Boys – Kurta Pajama or full pants with kurta. No hats, jeans, or shorts.
Girls – Salwar Kameez or long skirt with a blouse. Wear a bindi.
Children or Youth who are attending some other activity after Bala Vihar may bring a change of clothes with them.
Respect for self is respect for others. Children should be attentive and respectful in class, and raise their hands and wait their turn before speaking.
Children should come to class prepared, and with their own material such as pen, Bala Vihar notebook, textbooks, pencil, and a box of crayons or colored pens (for younger children).
Children are expected to exhibit good manners and maintain discipline at all times. Running in the building, or disturbing any of the books or materials in the classroom is not permitted.
Chewing gum, drinks, or food should not be consumed in the classrooms.
We promote best safety practices to ensure the safety of our Bala Vihar children. In ensuring the safety practice, we request all children to bring to the notice of their teacher or parent anything that concerns their safety.
Use of smart devices (mobile phones, tablets, etc.) is not permitted during any classes. If the child(ren) is found using any of those devices, the teacher will take the smart device from the child(ren) and parents will have to collect it from the teacher.