Bal Vikas (Sai Spiritual Education)

“Bal Vikas is the primary basis of the great movement to restore righteousness (dharma) in the world. The ideal of the program is to raise a generation of boys and girls who have a clean and a clear conscience”

 ~ Sri Sathya Sai Baba

What is Educare?

Educare is a unique approach to education that has been fostered by Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Educare aims to elicit the inherent human values in children and translate them into action in daily life.

Sai Spiritual Education (SSE), also referred to as Bal Vikas, falls under Educare. It is a program that highlights the importance of values in raising today’s children into citizens and leaders of tomorrow. Bal Vikas means “blossoming of the child.”

The goals of the SSE program are to help children become aware of their divine nature, to encourage them to put into practice the five Human Values (which are inherent in them), and to prepare them to live a spiritual life in this world. The life and teachings of Sri Sathya Sai Baba (Swami), the five human values, and the essential unity of all faiths comprise the substance of the SSE program.


SSE Program Details

SSE classes are held at the Sri Sathya Sai Baba Centre of Scarborough every Sunday in alignment with the school calendar.

Schedule: September to June every Sunday, excluding holidays

Duration: 1.5 hours during one of three time slots (please refer to the time slots by group below) 

Registration

Registration for the 2021-22 year will occur on the following days:

Saturday, May 29th 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Saturday, June 19th 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Curriculum


There are four SSE Groups in which students are enrolled according to age. In Groups 2 through to 4, boys and girls are placed in separate classes to allow for more comfortable discussions and greater ease of relaying SSE curriculum content.

Students of the SSE program engage in learning about topics that promote self-discipline, integrity, respect, empathy, and a range of other attributes that underlie aspects of a moral and productive society. The table below provides more detail:


PreBalvikas

Human Values & Sub-values

Life and Teachings of Swami

Religions & Festivals

Five Natural Elements 

Shlokas (Prayers) & Bhajans

Age 5

11:00 – 12:30

Group 1

 Pre-Balvikas Topics

Life and teachings of Swami 

Religions & Festivals

Five Natural Elements

Five Senses

Shlokas (Prayers) & Bhajans

Ages
6-8

11:00 – 12:30
1:00 – 2:30

Group 2

Group 1 Topics

Epic Stories (Ramayana)

Importance of Food (Vegetarianism)

Ceiling on Desires

Shlokas (Prayers) & Bhajans

Ages
9-11

1:00 – 2:30
3:00 – 4:30

Group 3

Group 2 Topics

Spiritual Transformation & Developing Faith in God

Social Responsibility

Importance of Culture

Self-Esteem & Self-Confidence- Unity in Diversity

Ages
12-14

3:00 – 4:30

Group 4

Group 3 Topics

Swami’s Teenage Years & Activities for the Welfare of Humanity

Seva without Expectation

Peer Pressure

Qualities of a Leader

Study Skills & Time Management

Community service activities

Ages
15-17

11:00 – 4:30

*Topics that are repeated from year to year either have a different focus or subtopics may vary. For example, Human Values & Sub-Values are learned each year: in PreBalvikas the focus is on honour and respect for parents and in Group 2 the Human Values are connected to the character of world leaders such as Mother Thereza and Nelson Mandela.

**Group 4 students engage in community service initiatives to allow for a widening of experiences. Such activities include but are not limited to: assisting in younger SSE classes, cooking and delivering food to shelters, visiting other religious centres to learn of their customs and rituals.


There are three components to the SSE Program:

There are three components to the SSE Program:

Direct Approach

Students engage in in-class learning about curriculum topics. The teacher uses a combination of the five teaching techniques as prescribed by Sri Sathya Sai Baba to draw out the inherent goodness and divine qualities that are within the child. They are namely:

Silent Sitting / Meditation

Thought for the Day (quotes by Sri Sathya Sai Baba and other great leaders)

Story Telling

Group Activities / Discussion

Group Devotional Singing (Bhajans) and Shloka Chanting (Prayers)


Indirect Approach

Students apply the knowledge gained in class to their everyday life. Some examples include:

Maintaining a Sai Spiritual Diary for self-reflection

Ceiling on Desires (not wasting time, energy, food, and money) – students use money saved from these initiatives to contribute towards the annual Christmas Toy Drive

Narayan Seva – cooking and delivering food to shelters (Group 4 students only)

Community Service activities (Tree planting, Blood Donor Clinic)



Extra-Curricular Approach

An important and valuable component of the SSE program at the Sri Sathya Sai Baba Centre of Scarborough is the Annual Class Performance. Students collaborate with their classmates to display their learnings of a particular topic through a performance, which can take the form of a dance, drama, song, or other presentation. These are performed on important occasions and celebrations at the Centre throughout the year. Students work together outside of the class setting, allowing them the opportunity to strengthen relationships and to develop important skills such as public speaking, team-building, and performing for a live audience.

Students have the opportunity to join extracurricular activities offered by devotees at the Centre. These occur outside of the regular SSE class time, and include the following:

Youth Band

Bhajan (singing) Classes

Shloka-chanting Classes

Students and their families are also encouraged to participate in Centre activities such as weekly bhajans.

Along with knowledge, it is important to have character also. Then only can you enjoy perfect balance in life. What is the use of acquiring any amount of knowledge available in the world if one does not have character?

~ Sathya Sai Baba – Summer Showers 1990, Chapter 4

Dynamic Value Parenting

An integral part of the SSE Program is the Dynamic Value Parenting (DVP) Program, a set of interactive workshops designed to enhance awareness in parents of the important role they play in their child’s development. First-time parents of the SSE program are required to enrol in the DVP Program, which is delivered during the first term of enrolment.

DVP recognizes that the growth and success of children depends heavily on a Tri-Partnership between parents, Gurus, and the child themselves. It is imperative that all three be on the same page and be working towards similar goals so that children can be moulded into caring citizens of tomorrow’s world.

This DVP Program gives parents the opportunity to turn theory into practice by asking them to become aware of their child’s developmental needs. Through open discussions, brainstorming, and role-plays, parents explore parenting challenges, thus providing insights about their own parenting styles and the need to replace unhealthy parenting practices with better approaches.

The goal is to equip parents with the necessary tools and skills to integrate the human values of love, peace, truth, right conduct and non-violence into their basic character and the character of their children. Emphasis is placed on having strong family bonds and a loving atmosphere in the home.


Parental Involvement

Parents are encouraged to get involved in the Centre by joining the Parent Council. Parent council members help with the running of the SSE Program in several ways: administration duties (calling other parents to inform them of important dates and events related to the SSE program), help with stage set-up for annual class performances and arrange prasadam/food for special bhajans in which SSE students perform

Join us! Supporting the program supports the future

History & Growth of the Program

ALUMNI

Many SSE Graduates come back to be SSE Assistant Gurus and then eventually become Gurus with their own classes. This helps to provide perspective and continuity to our flourishing program. 


the start

The SSE Program at our Centre started in 1987 with five students and one Guru (teacher). Over the past 35+ years, the program has grown significantly. There are currently about 600 SSE students and over 60 volunteer teachers and coordinators who dedicate their time and energy to create a purposeful program for the students. 


Training

New SSE Gurus are required to attend Training Workshops and all Gurus attend Annual Refresher Workshops. Workshops focus on the following:

promoting growth of students through a value-based curriculum

learning of current teaching techniques to increase student engagement

providing an opportunity for Gurus to collaborate 



Adaptations During COVID-19

Due to the pandemic, classes are currently running virtually. Gurus conduct synchronous classes for approximately 1 hour each Sunday using Google Meet. Each Guru uses Google Classroom as the learning platform through which they communicate lesson material and announcements with their students.

Our Gurus are knowledgeable on a variety of online tools that allow them to engage their students and elicit discussion on aforementioned curriculum-related topics.

The end of wisdom is freedom. The end of culture is perfection. The end of knowledge is love. The end of education is character.

Summer Showers 1991, Chapter 1

 

For more information please contact Educare@saicentre.net