June 12, 2024

Religion

Current News

Religion/Dharma Class: 10:30 to 11:30 – The children progress through four levels

Grades: K through High School

Objective: The objective of our Religion or Dharma class is to get the children initially familiarized in the study of the various deities and basic religious terms. We have taken a building block approach when it comes to introducing a topic.  When we describe an incident or narrate a story from our Scriptures, we always emphasize the underlying moral value and its relevance today. This will hopefully lay a strong foundation for the children whether they want to do further study of Hinduism in their adult years or even in their day to day life. Attending Dharma classes, learning Šlokas and bhajans and practicing the same, will help build a strong individual. Our Temple would like to build a good youth group, who can in turn build a better Hindu community

 

Our religion class is divided into four levels organized by grade : Level 1- KG & 1, Level 2 – grades 2 &3, Level 3- grades 4,5 &6 and Level 4-grade 7 and above.

 

The curriculum is accordingly designed in a building block approach so the very young kids in Level 1 will be taught using more visual and activity oriented approach gradually progressing to more discussion oriented methods in the higher levels. The core topics include Deities, Festivals, cultural cues, Purãnãs, Itihãsas, Saints and Sages, Values, Beliefs and Practices and the relevance of Temple worship and religion in our daily lives.

 

Level 1 Dharma Class

Grades: K and 1

Length of course: Two years, 37 weeks per year

Objective: The objective of this introductory level is to generate and sustain an interest in learning about our religion – Sanãtana Dharma.

With this objective in mind, the following course has been established:

  1. Introduce the young children to our Dharma, explaining with words and terms beginning with A (AUM) and ending the year with Y (Yajna), covering everything in-between.
  2. Various values to build their character are introduced through interesting stories with moral messages. Dasãvatãram is also taught to them in an interesting and engaging manner.
  3. Major deities and teachers of our religion are also introduced and the children color in their line drawings. A folder will be maintained for every kid in the class and all the art activities will be saved in this folder. The art work can be displayed at the end of the year. This will be a source of enthusiasm and pride for both the children and their parents.
  4. Parent Visiting Day Activity: Every week one interested family will be given an opportunity to take home a small vigraha. The kid will use the vigraha for praying daily and the kid, along with the family, will share their experience during the next religion class.
  5. Periodic visits to the Temple and participating in the Temple activities such as Šloka chanting, mantra japas and bhajan singing further enhances and solidifies their knowledge of our Dharma.
  6. Participation in special events of the Temple, including Diwali, Holi, as part of their religious and cultural experience.

 

Level 2 Dharma Class:

Grades: 2 and 3.

Length of Course: Two years – 37 weeks per year

Objective: This level builds on the knowledge gained in the previous level. The objective of this level is to enable the children to get to know the Temple, the rituals that are taking place, the deities that are housed in the Temple, and the festivals that honor these deities. Scriptures are also introduced with emphasis on Rãmãyana and Bhãgavata Purãna on alternate years. Prominent ãchãryas and other leaders are also introduced

With these objectives in mind, the following course has been established:

  1. The core course is the in-depth discussion of Rãmãyana or Bhãgavatam as a continuing story each year with emphasis on the values that can be learned through these stories.
  2. The second core is the detailed discussions of the various Gods and Goddesses installed in the Temple – along with their festivals that glorify them
  3. Description of the various rituals that are performed in the Temple, and their purpose
  4. Discussions about the sages, prominent teachers, and larger-than-life personalities such as Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhiji,.. Their childhood is especially emphasized in order to learn from them.
  5. Periodic visits to the Temple and participating in the Temple activities such as Šloka chanting, mantra japas and bhajan singing continues, which further enhances and solidifies their knowledge and foundation of our Dharma.
  6. Participation in special events of the Temple, including Diwali, Holi, as part of their religious and cultural experience.

Level 3 Dharma class: 

Grades: 4, 5 and 6

Length of course: Three years – 37 weeks per year

Objective: The great seers of our tradition said, “Knowledge is never created, rather, ignorance is removed“. Keeping this in view, a course has been created to teach the children growing up in the modern global society, so they can study the teachings of our Vedic culture and take pride in their rich heritage. Eventually the study will help them in leading a life of harmony and peace, and encourage them to pursue self knowledge. Another objective of this level is to build on the knowledge gained in the previous level.

With these objectives in mind, the following course has been established:

  1. Introduction to values, such as non-injury, truthfulness, friendship, desire, jealousy, anger firmness in resolve etc. Emphasis is placed on basic concepts, conflict resolution, compromising values, etc.
  2. Major scriptures:  Rãmãyana and Mahãbhãrata: story value and character analysis.
  3. Main deities of the Ganesh Temple, their significance and special festivals and celebrations.
  4. Hinduism beliefs and practices, including frequently asked questions.
  5. Introduction to Isvara, value of prayer, purpose and types of prayer, results of prayer and a prayerful life.
  6. Isvara as elements: One God, many forms.
  7. Great gurus, and sages of our culture: Šankara, Rãmãnuja, Madvachãrya and others such as Rãmakrishna, Vivekãnanda etc.
  8. Other major religions and their beliefs.
  9. Growing up as Hindu in America, identity: self and cultural
  10. Periodic visits to the Temple and participating in the Temple activities such as Šloka chanting, mantra japas and bhajan singing continues, which further enhances and solidifies their knowledge and foundation of our Dharma.
  11. Participation is debates, quiz programs, skits and other presentations.
  12. Participation in special events of the Temple, including Diwali, Holi, as part of their religious and cultural experience.

Level 4 Dharma Class

Grades: 7 through High School.

Length of course: Three years – 37 weeks per year

It is assumed that the children have at least a working knowledge of Rãmãyana, Mahãbhãrata, Bhãgavata Purãna, Hindu Beliefs and Practices, and Temple Deities and Festivals

Course Objective: To prepare the students to be able to hold their own mainly with their peers during informal but intellectual discussions about their respective faiths.

A secondary objective is to get the young people to be more open to speak about their faith in front of people.

Description of the course and the Teaching methodology and practices: The class starts with chanting OM and a couple of Šlokas and then we try to discuss current events of relevance to students of religion class.

The lesson plans are divided into two parts:

Core Section: These include but are not limited

  1. Frequently Asked Questions
  2. Values embedded in Rãmãyana, and Mahãbhãrata,
  3. The Glory of Ganesha and Ganesha Chathurthi
  4. The teachings of Swami Vivekananda and the foundation of all Hindu values namely Ahimsa.

The Supplementary Portion of the course includes:

  1. Values
  2. Various Scriptures
  3. The different Deities installed in the Temple and what they represent.
  4. The various symbols associated with the Deities and the spiritual messages behind them
  5. The various rituals in the practice of the faith

During some classes, informal Q and A sessions are conducted to gauge the level of knowledge of the students

There are periodic visits to the Temple and participating in the Temple activities such as Šloka chanting, mantra japas and bhajan singing, which further enhances and solidifies their knowledge and foundation of our Dharma.

Children are also encouraged to participate is debates, quiz programs, skits and other presentations, and also in special events of the Temple, including Diwali, Holi, etc.