Bal Vikas is not just a programme. It is a noble movement that took roots in the year 1968 with the founding of Sri Sathya Sai Mahila Vibhag. Swami instructed Mahila Vibhag in 1969 to start Bala Vihars for the children above six years of age and they were imparted education from the content drawn from ancient scriptures with Divine guidance, through the methodology of storytelling, enacting plays and singing Bhajans etc.
Bhagavan later changed the name of Bala Vihar into Bal Vikas in 1971, redefining the education system created by Him as the system aiming at the Blossoming of Human Excellence. As time passed by, slowly and steadily the Bal Vikas Programme designed by Bhagavan for children between 6 years to 15 years of age, in three groups, took shape and with the formation and expansion of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization, Bal Vikas spread far and wide. Training modules were developed, research went in deeper, and with Bhagavan’s active and continuous guidance Bal Vikas was crystallized into a 9 year non-formal education system for children enhancing their learning to become role models in character and also in academic performance.
Swami Says “Children’s minds are innocent and pure. Each child is like white marble for the teacher and the parents to sculpt into an image of God, a bud to be helped to blossom in all its Divine glory so that it becomes a worthy offering to God. Sri Sathya Sai BalVikash (SSS-BV), the programme of Education in Human Values (EHV), has proved to be the ray of hope for the future as it promotes that each child is unique, unrepeatable and creative being and when treated as such, learns to recognize his or her own worth and to give respect to all.”
Sri Sathya Sai Balavikas has been a loving catalyst in development of the personalities, making each one of them who completes the 9 year programme spanning over the formative years of life from 6 to 15 years, blossom into beautiful flowers in His lovely garden.
The schools of today provide physical, intellectual and emotional growth of the child but Sri Sathya Sai Balavikas provides all-round development of the child so that he can face the challenges in life with dignity, confidence and strong character.Sri Sathya Sai Balavikas aims at inculcating good habits in the child so that he grows up into an ideal citizen – an asset not only to his parents but to the society, nation, and world at large.
Objectives of Bal Vikas Programme
Sri Sathya Sai Bal Vikas classes are conducted with the main objective of initiating the child into a course of character building by developing self-discipline, providing healthy association, inculcating such habits of reading, listening, studying, and reciting as will sublimate the Childs growing mind. This course commences with small children (Group I) between 6 and 9 years of age for creating interest in the Childs mind, for the collective discipline and instruction that is to follow when the child moves on to Group II between the age 9 to 12 years. During 5-6 years of this training, the child is expected to have derived the following benefits:
- Having due respect for parents and other elders at home
- Pay due attention to school studies and proper respect to the school teachers
- Show good physical orderliness in respect of dress, behavior in school, society etc.
- Develop self-confidence
- Develop good manners, humility, speaking obligingly
- Develop good moral character
- Make good use of time by planning it in a balanced way between play, study, prayers etc.
- Have spirit of service for those who need his/her help
- Have love for God who expects us to be truthful, honest, good, loving, kind and helpful to all fellow beings
After completing this course, the student is considered fit for the Group III, conducted for the children between 12 to 15 years. At this stage the student, besides getting a firmer grounding in theoretical and practical syllabus, receives further training (Unity of faiths, Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man, Project work) which will widen his/her outlook on life, inculcate higher and nobler values of life.
A pre Sevadal activity and training course is conducted for children between 15 and 18 years of age. At the end of this, the student is considered fit to undergo training programmes as a Bal Vikas Guru or Sevadal which will equip him/her to serve according to his/her aptitude, abilities and aspiration in Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organizations.
The Bal Vikas programme is conducted on every Sunday in Sri Sathya Sai Mandirs/Schools/Devotee Houses for 1 Hr 30 minutes only through the use of five teaching techniques – Silent sitting/ guided visualization, Story-telling, Prayers, Group singing, Group Activities.
Bal Vikas Gurus are well trained as per the guidelines issued by the All India President, Sri Sathya Sai Organizations, India.
The main stakeholders of this beautiful program are 1) BV Children, 2) BV Gurus, and 3) Parents