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Children's Sikhi Class Syllabus

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Wahegurujikakhalsawahegurujikifateh,

Children's Sikhi Class Syllabus

If you were to design a syllabus for children (8-14) attending a weekly, 30 minute sikhi class what sort of syllabus would you have?

When you were a child what did you want from your weekly Sikhi Class? What did you feel was missing? What were the main problems/failings?

To address these:

Where would you start?

What are the key themes you would cover?

How would you hope to cover sikh theology, philosophy, history, maryada, and relevance?

How would you go about assessing their understanding?

Are there any key resources that you would recommend?

What methods could you use to further engage the children?

I hope by the end of this thread we can have developed a basic syllabus - I have a group of children at the Gurudwara Sahib who would be willing volunteers for a Sikhsangat.com experiment.

Wahegurujikakhalsawahegurujikifateh

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hey bhai, eh angreja da syllabus sulabus chadoo, pyare vale gursikha banao - pyar naal baitho ikathar ho ke, naam japo, guru dian pyaree gallan karo, guru bare socho, ucha sucha jeevan bare socho. keertan karo, naam japoh, bani aapi karegee sabh kuch. bas pyar paida karo.

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Wahegurujikakhalsawahegurujikifateh,

Thank you for your response. I completely agree with you.

No doubt when you went to school/college/university and the teacher/lecturer/dean began to speak or ask for feedback you said, "bas pyar paida karo."

We need to bring structure to anything we do. What's more is we need to have overall aims and objectives which are clearly defined otherwise how on earth will we know where we stand in 5 years time? How can we possibly gauge our progress? How will we know if we have reached our end goal? How can we grow and evolve? How will we have any accountability?

We need to have a drastic change in our mentality. And this needs to occur first in our religious institutions/schools and homes and then elsewhere. When we go to work we are very professional and forward thinking and have all sorts of ideas but when it comes to things that really matter - our future generation - then we are happy to sit back and say chadoo yaar.

Wahegurujikakhalsawahegurujikifateh

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sakhian and history of sikhs would be a good way to start...

and teach atleast one pauri of japji sahib a week...that way they would memorize it too...they have an excellent memory and its the best time to memorize bani...

if they are a bit older like 10, 11, 12 tell them about good morals and what sikhi says about it....

just my suggestions but i could be wrong too :)

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Wahegurujikakhalsawahegurujikifateh,

Thanks for your suggestions. Hanji they are already memorising Sr Japji Sahib.

Wrt "sakhian and history of sikhs would be a good way to start..." - Where would start? Would you cover the whole life of Guru Nanak Dev Ji including the reasons why maharaj manifest physically? Why this is the tisarpanth? What the social/religious circumstances were at the time? And then progress through Maharaj's interactions/parchar and ucharan of Dhur ki bani?

The main failings at sikhi classes when I would used to attend were:

1. Too much emphasis on Sakhian

2. No exploration of morals/how to relate history to your own life

3. No discussion - interaction

4. Difficult to ask questions/share your own opinions in a large group

5. No real structure - very ad hoc and intermittent. No syllabus or spiral ladder curriculum.

6. Teacher was frequently unprepared and didn't really know what they were 'teaching' all that well.

7. No real effort to teach sikh philosophy and theology at a basic level to children. No real understanding of why we do abhiyaas/nitnem/bani.

8. No explanation of why we do what we do at the gurudwara sahib - what is so special about langar, degh, gutka/pothi sahib's, Nishan Sahib, seva, Panj Pyaare, Amrit.

9. Did not encourage children to develop debating skills, leadership skills, problem based learning.

10. No real homework or encouragement to research topics and come back to present to the class.

11. No activities to engage in as a group. Very one dimensional method of teaching/learning I.e lecture based.

12. Not provided with other resources such as books, interactive software, sikhitithemax etc

I don't want the children to come in 10 years time and list the same failings so would appreciate the sangat's input on how we can address these.

Wahegurujikakhalsawahegurujikifateh

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pyar and understanding not like in my day a danda and a slap, put me right off going now i feel i have missed out big time !!

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Wahegurujikakhalsawahegurujikifateh,

Thanks for your suggestions. Hanji they are already memorising Sr Japji Sahib.

Wrt "sakhian and history of sikhs would be a good way to start..." - Where would start? Would you cover the whole life of Guru Nanak Dev Ji including the reasons why maharaj manifest physically? Why this is the tisarpanth? What the social/religious circumstances were at the time? And then progress through Maharaj's interactions/parchar and ucharan of Dhur ki bani?

The main failings at sikhi classes when I would used to attend were:

1. Too much emphasis on Sakhian

2. No exploration of morals/how to relate history to your own life

3. No discussion - interaction

4. Difficult to ask questions/share your own opinions in a large group

5. No real structure - very ad hoc and intermittent. No syllabus or spiral ladder curriculum.

6. Teacher was frequently unprepared and didn't really know what they were 'teaching' all that well.

7. No real effort to teach sikh philosophy and theology at a basic level to children. No real understanding of why we do abhiyaas/nitnem/bani.

8. No explanation of why we do what we do at the gurudwara sahib - what is so special about langar, degh, gutka/pothi sahib's, Nishan Sahib, seva, Panj Pyaare, Amrit.

9. Did not encourage children to develop debating skills, leadership skills, problem based learning.

10. No real homework or encouragement to research topics and come back to present to the class.

11. No activities to engage in as a group. Very one dimensional method of teaching/learning I.e lecture based.

12. Not provided with other resources such as books, interactive software, sikhitithemax etc

I don't want the children to come in 10 years time and list the same failings so would appreciate the sangat's input on how we can address these.

Wahegurujikakhalsawahegurujikifateh

This is a really good topic and I'd like to give suggestions later when I have more time but one quick thing I wanted to mention was these Sikh Comics designed for children which you can find here http://www.sikhcomics.com/

Even though they are meant for kids, I quite enjoyed reading them myself and you can even download them via the Amazon Kindle app on to iPads and other tablets. I think there are 4 Comics covering the life of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, two have already been released, and the first one briefly mentions the reasons for Guru Ji's physical manifestation on this earth. Also I like that the comics include quotes from Gurbani in English when touching on points or explaining sakhis and then the ang number is given for easy reference which is something I was not expecting from a comic. I think something like this will complement Sikhi classes for children quite nicely, as kids between 8-14 want something a bit 'fun' and need something stimulating. Also, if they read these themselves at home, or say in groups of 2-3 during a class, then they are actively learning themselves and not being 'talked at' or 'lectured' which will just turn them off.

Another good starting point would be introducing them to Mool Mantar, explaining its meanings and origins as this would allow them to begin to understand the importance of jaap of Mool Mantar and gurmantar. I think you are raising really important points and the structure of current Panjabi/Sikhi classes need to be overhauled. I don't really know much about what Sikhi Classes are like as I've never been to any but if it's anything like what some of my old Panjabi classes used to be like then a lot needs to be changed. Most teachers were just uninterested aunties who couldn't relate to the kids on a personal level and then there's the communication issue as a lot of them didn't have great English. Whilst it's important to promote Panjabi, we also need to remember that a lot of children may lack confidence in speaking Panjabi or they just don't know much so it's important to strike the right balance between the two languages- use both English and Panjabi in class and also make them understand the importance of learning to speak/read/write Panjabi either through attending separate Panjabi classes or just simply speaking it more at home.

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Vjkkvjkfateh

With the blessings of Dhan Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee, Oadby Punjabi School, Leicester has been blessed with Punjabi and Sikhi classes for children and young people aged 5-17. The aim is to present a unique, interactive and educational way of learning how to read and write the Punjabi language in class 1. Furthermore, the school's aim is to empower Sikh children with the knowledge of Sikh history in class 2 through a holistic and individualised approach. Our mission is to inspire a generation with the beautiful, blissful and blessed teachings of Dhan Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee.

To ensure that children born in the UK can understand, appreciate and relate to the importance Sikhi still holds today, the Sikh History class is taught in English. The teachers taking this class have previously been involved in organising Sikhi Camps run in Leicester over the last few years, some of whom are professional GCSE and A Level Teachers.

The major task of all teachers is to enable students to achieve their full spiritual, social, emotional, physical and intellectual potential by developing in them relevant skills, competencies, attitudes, concepts and knowledge of Sikhi. Teachers alongside the students journey seek to develop self esteem and self-fulfilment within the framework of Sikh ideology.

For any queries or to partake in Seva please contact: sikhiresources@hotmail.com

Year 1 Resources & lesson plans available from: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ws9dy0as0jk15a7/sqZz9XY5fR/Year%20One

Also like and follow our facebook page: www.facebook.com/sikhiresources

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Wahegurujikakhalsawahegurujikifateh,

Excellent suggestions - please keep them coming.

MKD89, thanks for the link. The comics look great and I will be placing an order for all 9.

Leciestersikhs - the year 1 resources and lesson plan was just what I was looking for. Do you have year 2's resources as well? I think having a central resource like this is a great idea and would benefit the many sikhi/punjabi classes across the globe. Just think how this could grow if everyone contributed their content?

We were also thinking of recording video/audio of the classes to place online for children and their parents to go through again so that key points could be revisited and emphasised.

Most rooms inside the Gurudwara Sahib have projector screens, besides wifi so will definitely be looking to use PPT as much as possible.

Wahegurujikakhalsawahegurujikifateh

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The syllabus could include major topics of Sikhism. The Instructor should throw some light on each topic in every class and then ask children (may be make pairs) to do search on it and next week have discussions and clarify the doubts and mis-understandings. In the first or second class, children should be made aware with the names of anti-sikhs & missionaries & their agendas, then they should be introduced to major Sikhi sites, so they know where to search and who not to beleive. Also it would be nice to ask them the topics they might be interested in.

Topics:

  1. How did Sikhi develop from Guru Nanak Dev ji (Nimrata, parupkar, naam jap, kirat kar, vand shak), to Guru Gobind Singh ji(Sant & sipahi)?
  2. Who's Khalsa? What was the need for it? Other related important details and aspects like rehat etc.
  3. Introduction to all Nitnem Bania and other bania. Imporatance of Sehaj path. Also how to keep sucham & maryada of Guru sahib's saroop, pothis and Gutka sahib.
  4. What is Santheya? Why is it important? Resources to be provided like Giani Thakur Singh jis' Santheya videos or links.
  5. Daswand, Nimrata, par-upkar, naam jap, kirat kar, vand shak and their importance
  6. Whats "Maya"? Effect of Ninda, chugli, lobh, moh, hankaar, ego, kaam, krodh etc? How to overcome these.
  7. Importance and benefit of "qualities" like daya, dharam, santokh, forgiveness, contentment, compassion, being co-operative, humble, hard work, responsible etc.?
  8. What's Simran/meditation? Importance and info on some techniques to do
  9. Why is doing "sewa" important? How's it connected to "simran"?
  10. Importance of "sangat" or "Satsang"
  11. Importance of Amritvela, nishan sahib, langar etc.?
  12. Importance of "jat", "sat", "sanjam", high moral values and character in Sikhi?
  13. Name major Gursikhs & shaheeds of Sikh Panth and why did they do so? (Including ghalughares)
  14. Some detail on 1984 and Sant Jarnail Singh ji Bhindrawale - To bring the truth forward and clear any doubts they might have.
  15. Who are Sants? Importance & Introduction to the names of some sant mahapurkhs and their lives. Difference between real (Guru naal jorhe)& fake sants (Guru ton torhe).
  16. What are the benefits and importance of listening to katha & keertan & reading books on Guru sahiban, bhagats & mahapurkhs lives?
  17. What is Politics? Why is it important from Sikhi propective?
  18. How should sikhi parchar be done? How would children do it, if asked or they have to now & in future?
  19. Why being born in a "Sikh" family is a blessing?
  20. What was the need for "Sikhism"?
  21. Why & How's Sikh Identity different from Muslim (in terms of physical appearance, often misunderstood and becomes victim of hate crimes)?

Many other topics can be added to the list. Children should be involved by giving the opportunity to speak in the presence of whole class.

Bhul chuk maaf.

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Wahegurujikakhalsawahegurujikifateh,

Thanks tuhintuhin veerji. Those are very good topics that will definitely need to be covered.

You make a very important point regarding guiding children toward the right set of resources - books/websites/articles. These will need to be vetted for content and then a suitable list of recommended resources provided to the children.

One problem I've found is that children are too shy to let you know what they want to cover - so perhaps an anonymous box at each class would be a good idea.

To help reinforce learning I think it would be good to have some display boards in the Gurudwara Sahib that would host a monthly exhibition ( chatanga's idea) on a particular topic/historical event that has been prepared by the sikhi class children. That would allow not only the sangat to benefit but would also encourage the children to take a more active role in educating themselves becoming parcharaks in their own right.

Wahegurujikakhalsawahegurujikifateh

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One problem I've found is that children are too shy to let you know what they want to cover - so perhaps an anonymous box at each class would be a good idea.

anonymous box idea is great.

Also Santheya DVD's of Giani Thakur Singh ji Patialewale's should be distributed amog them.

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WJKK WJKF

We have nine illustrated books depicting Sakhis of Guru Sahibs supported by Gurbani quotes. Three of these are also available in Gurmukhi so that kids can read them to improve Punjabi comprehension. In about a month we are releasing our first title for 3-8 year olds. This is not based on Sakhis but introduces them to Sikh virtues by relating to their everyday life. Some exciting new titles are also on the drawing board. We expect to add Please contact us at http://www.sikhcomics.com/pages/Contact-Us.html

Thanks

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