Sevikas: Mamtha Rao and Jacqueline Gaines
Home Fun Work: Here is another little friend from our "animal series" — a mouse. Click here to print out the page and have your child draw this animal. Make sure to have your child practice saying मूषकः (mūṣakaḥ) a few times while he/she is admiring his/her finished art work.
For extra Fun Work: We have posted a "connect the dots" picture for your child to practice their Sanskrit numbers (1-20) with. Click here to print this page.
• Om saha naavaavatu (click here for text)
• Vakratunda Mahaakaaya (click here for text)
• Sarasvati Namastubhyam (click here for text)
• Shree Hanumaan (click here for text)
• Shree Krishnah (click here for text)
Quiet Time: 1 minute of some excellent quiet time! Nice shell counting, too!! (click here for game instructions)
Geeta Chanting: Chapter 11, Shlokas 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 (click here for audio and text)
Letter of the Week: "J is for Japa"
Activity: Made a Likhita Japa Painting (click here to view project sample)
Likhita Japa: See Activity above.
Comments: Well, word in the kindergarten scene is: "Angry Birds" is one awesome game!!! We spent the first few minutes talking about just how cool this game is. After posting this blog entry, this aunty is going to visit the app store to buy the game — I just gotta see what all the excitement is about.
Parents: You are definitely to be congratulated on how well your children are doing with their Geeta Chanting. We cruised through the first 4 shlokas, and barely struggled with the 5th. We will be starting shloka 6 in our first February class. Kids: we're nearly two thirds through our assignment — and you guys are unbelievable!! Keep up the good work!
Today's letter was "J is for Japa." Other than "B is for Brotherhood," this letter is probably one of our favorites! We posed the question "What does OM mean?" to the kids. Seeing that we say this all the time, we should probably understand it, right? Lots of really great answers were offered: "Peace," "Happiness," "Love," and "God." We then asked them "If we wanted to write one word for all the Gods and all the great things in the world, what would we write?" The room remained silent for a few minutes and then someone shouted out "OM!" That was the magic answer!! We talked about how OM is everything — all sounds, all Gods, the universe (and other universes) etc. OM was everything we could see, and everything we could not see.
We then talked about what Japa was (the recitation of the Lord's name with complete love) and what are all the great benefits we gain from performing japa. For example: we get a heart filled with love for God, tremendous peace, calmness, amazing concentration — and the ability to see the world clearly. After discussing the different ways we can perform japa (mentally, verbally and written) we settled down to do our activity. We made a likhita japa painting. (Please be sure to take a few minutes and view the children's work in the gallery above.)
Our activity began with a simple game: The children were asked to choose one pen color to write OM in their mandala with. However, when their mind shifted from saying OM, they were supposed to put that pen down, pick up another color, and continue writing. These kids were able to sit very quietly for about 10 minutes, completely focused on this activity before we heard any restlessness. Absolutely fantastic!! Some of the older kids can't even sit this long without talking :-) Anyway, this is an activity we will continue to do for the remainder of the year ... and hopefully, we will see the number of colors on the paper reduce with every week :-) We will be keeping a journal of this activity, and at the end of the year each child will be able to see how much stronger their concentration has become as a result of likhita japa.
We want to extend a very big "Hari OM!" to our new friend, Swathi, who joined us for the first time this morning. We are really happy to have her be part of our Sunday morning fun.
Okay, now it's time to go check out "Angry Birds."
Hope everyone stays warm — and we look forward to seeing you again at our next Party with God ...