This is Chinmaya Mission’s newest creative device to ‘catch them young’; a forum for anyone aged below 4 years. Shishu Vihar is an assemblage of infants, toddlers and young and new mothers for early introduction to spiritual education.
Indian tradition being familiar with the significance of sowing ethical seeds early, even as early as the pre-natal stage – Shishu Vihar strives to provide opportunities for this, thereby enabling spiritual development through cultural education. Classes follow a modern structure of play groups where children learn through song, stories, arts and crafts, appropriate to their age and development. For effective learning outcomes, several props, music and an extensive use of colours, shapes and forms are utilised to relay information to the infant.
Swamini Supriyananda who conceptualised Shishu Vihar and first implemented it in Hong Kong, says ‘The little ones have strong retentive power and are quick to learn. The double benefit of mothers also learning is that the rhymes and stories get strongly embedded in the minds of the children. Even three-year-old children can chant the Hanuman Chalisa!’
Afterwards, from the ages of five years, Bala Vihar continues to nurture the seed of spirituality in the child.
Shishu Vihar classes have been running successfully in America, Australia and South East Asia for the last two years. A training course for Shishu Vihar Sevaks was conducted in August 2013, at Chinmaya Sagar, Mumbai by Swamini Supriyananda. This was attended by 25 Sevikas from Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kalyan and Thane with the aim of starting Shishu Vihar classes in Andheri, South Mumbai and Matunga. A very first in India, the plan is to encourage guidance in other zones throughout the country thereby promoting an all-round development from infancy itself.