Sevikas: Mamtha Rao and Jacqueline Gaines
Home Fun Work:
• Click here for the next drawing in our animal series
• Click here for राम tracing sheet
• Click here for Vedic OM tracing sheet
Extra Home Fun Work:
• Click here for our "Sponge Art Animals" Flashcard Set
• OM Saha Naavavatu (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 silence followed by our shell counting game (click here for game instructions)
Geeta Chanting: Chapter 11, Shlokas 1-8 (click here for audio and text)
Letter of the Week: "U is for Unity"
Story: "Stone Soup" by Jon J. Muth (click here to view book cover)
Likhita Japa: Continued working in our journals and learned how to draw a Vedic OM (click here for the tracing sheet)
• OM PoornamidaH (click here for text)
• Chinmaya Pledge (click here for text)
Comments: Boy, did we have a busy class!!! We tried to stay very focused for all of our morning disciplines so we could move on to our letter of the week. The aunties must say that these kids did great — their Geeta Chanting is coming along very nicely, they stayed with the pebble count during our quiet time (nearly everyone got the right number!), and they recited the alphabet letters we have learned thus far — with complete definitions. Gee, if only the aunties had studied the Vedanta alphabet when we were their age :-)
Now comes the juicy part ... today's letter was "U is for Unity." We asked the kids if they knew what the word meant. It got quiet for a few seconds, and then someone shouted out "Being Together!" That was exactly what we were looking for — "togetherness." But then we asked, "Does it mean that we should all be doing the same thing at the same time?" A lot of the kids shook their heads yes. This was a great opportunity to elaborate on this very complex word. We talked about how we have only one body, yet our body has many different parts that need to do separate functions in order to make the body work. For example, our eyes cannot smell, our ears cannot taste, our hands do not pump blood, etc. In the same way, if people are united and work for a common (and greater) goal, then that is unity -- and everything will function just as it should!
A few raised eyebrows caught our attention. At this point, we decided to read our much loved book, "Stone Soup" by Jon J Muth. If you are not familiar with this very rich and beautiful children's story, definitely put it on your list to borrow from the library. Jon J. Muth has taken this traditional European tale and turned it into a true treasure. He shows us that unity and sharing is what happiness is all about. This story is set in an old Chinese village with three monks on a quest to find out "What makes one happy."
After our story time, we moved on to our likhita japa segment. In the spirit of our letter of the week, we spent some time talking about the many different OMs that are written throughout the world. We saw the Tamil OM, the Telugu OM, the Malayalam OM, the Balinese OM, the Tibetan OM, the Sanskrit OM and the Bengali OM. Oh yes ... and the coolest one of all was the Vedic OM. We studied the many differences in their appearances, yet we all agreed that they all represent the same thing — unity with God. The kids then settled into their journals learning to write the Vedic OM with a tracing sheet. And they did extremely well!! (We will try our best to have some made for the other languages, too.)
And so, it looks like we are on another mini-break. Next class is scheduled for April 3. In the meantime, don't forget to go outside and play. And, even more importantly, don't forget to "Keep Smiling" — remember, this is an instruction from our Pujya Gurudev! In fact, why don't we leave "being serious" to the ol' fuddy duds — it's just not fun!
Lots of hugs to our young friends.