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Region 5 - SSE Training Day

The SSE Basic Training for Region 5 was conducted on the 24th March 2012 at Warrington. Five Balvikas teachers travelled from as far as London and East Bourne to conduct the training. The day began at 10:00 am and went on till 6:00pm and was attended by Balvikas teachers, helpers, parents and alumni from various parts of Region 5. This event was hosted by the Warrington Sai family, who made everyone feel at home.

The day began with the invocation prayers and bhajans. This was followed by Vidyulatha Narayan, the National SSE co-ordinator, giving a presentation on "The Gift of Balvikas".

Sister Vidyu, reiterated the fact that Swami gave SSE a special place in His mission and that today’s children are tomorrow`s leaders. She then mentioned the 5 teaching techniques which help in attaining the goal of being a good human and leading a moral life. The teaching techniques are: Silent sitting, Story telling, Group devotional singing, Prayers and Group activities.

Each of these teaching techniques were dealt with in detail by the trainers.

Silent sitting was presented by Uncle Chunmugavel, an experienced Bal Vikas teacher from London. Uncle Chun began by highlighting the importance of silent sitting and went on to speak about meditation and its impact on our day to day life.

The whole module was done in a professional way and yet had the humour and light-hearted fun to hold the interest of the audience. Uncle Chun, not only inspired us by his meticulous presentation skills, but also practically demonstrated the positive impact of meditation by making all of us follow some simple procedures.

The second module was taken up by Uncle Rajasingham from London. Uncle Raj is one of the pioneers who started the Merton Sai centre and has also been a Bal Vikas Guru for many years. He dealt with the topic “The Tripartite Relationship”.

Swami has always said that for a child, the most important influences are the parents and the teachers. At the tip of the Tripartite relationship is the child and at the base are the parents and the teachers. Uncle Raj poured forth his heart and soul into the time given to him and educated all of us present, in the various methods of character building and giving the child the right tools to deal with things like peer pressure, bullying and such other practical problems faced by children today.

He then went on to talk about the importance of SSE in the Sai organisation and that it is like the heart of a human body and that SSE was most dear to our lord. Kids make a Sai centre or any other place for that matter, lively and happy. He added that SSE has to be taken up by all the centres and given a special place in everyone’s heart. This was followed by lunch and once again the food was divine.

Lunch was followed by Group Devotional singing, one of the modules that was taken up by myself. Music is divine and it appeals to all age groups and categories. Swami, the master musician, enjoys singing and listening to bhajans and other devotional songs. Bhajan singing helps concentration, relaxes the mind and body and encourages social skills. It is a vehicle to achieve oneness with the divine by creating positive vibrations. Children enjoy Bhajan singing as it enables them to sing the praise of God and also gives them a sense of achievement. Children should be taught to sing with Bhava (meaning), Raga (melody) and Tala (Rhythm). A unison of all these three aspects results in elevating the mood and enhancing devotion. Then we all sang different bhajans, some in a call and response method and some in unison, which filled each one of us with a sense of devotion and positive energy.

Dr. Mahesh Narayan from Eastbourne, an ardent devotee who has been associated with SSE for several years was the next presenter. He discussed the significance of Prayer as a teaching technique. He explained the meaning of Prayer and he shared with us many anecdotes and experiences to illustrate the power of Prayer. Prayer is a powerful instrument to communicate with the Divine. We can pray to God in different ways and for different things. The pronunciation, time of prayer, the melody is all very important for God to enjoy our prayer. Brother Mahesh made the whole experience extremely interesting and memorable by using apt incidents, substantiated by stories. The energy levels were very high and brother Mahesh inspired one and all with his humour and honesty.

This was followed by the next module, Story- telling, by Uncle Chun. He began by stressing the significance of good story telling skills, which are vital in making a story interesting for the children. Story telling is an art and we should all master it as SSE teachers. Stories are the best vehicle to convey great morals to the kids in a simple and practical manner. Swami was a master story teller. He, as the master of the universe, had the capacity to narrate great truths in a lucid and simple way.

Uncle Chun then narrated a small story about a Lion and a mouse. He used visual aids (puppets) to enthuse and entertain the audience. He also used voice modulation as technique to generate interest in the kids. Children are innocent, simple and honest. We, as teachers, should have the skills to make the class interesting and inspiring. A moral lesson conveyed through a story is seldom forgotten!

Pravinaben, an experienced SSE teacher from Leicester, was the next person to share her immense knowledge and wisdom. She dealt with the module on Group Activities.

She started the presentation by talking about the importance of group activities and how they help a child to relate to the Bal Vikas class. Group activities increase social skills in children and adults as well. They improve the skills of team work, leadership and friendship. Kids love doing things involving a group.

She then made all the people participate in various group activities. One was to put together a jigsaw, which had the sloka Vakrathunda Mahakaaya on it. This activity not only makes the kids work together towards a common goal, but also makes them learn the words of the sloka.

She then divided the audience into two groups and asked each group to make a News letter about that day`s events, including some pictures. All the participants eagerly took part in this very interesting activity and we managed to make the News letters with all the information and some caricatures as well! This, we found, to be very helpful in improving team work, and communication skills. Hats off to Pravinaben and her fabulous activity box which she got with her, which were full of surprises. I think I can call it the Pandora’s box!!!!!!!

This was followed by Sister Vidyulatha giving away certificates of participation to all the people who attended the training. Then there was arathi to our beloved Swami and everyone could feel His presence which ended the eventful day on a tranquil note.

Mrs Gayathri Nadella
Region 5 SSE Coordinator