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HINDU AMERICAN TEMPLE SCHOOL (HATS)

Curriculum for Grade PreK through Grade 12 and for Adult School
Grade

Age

PreK

4-5

Curriculum
Curriculum Description
Name
Devas and Asuras Visual introduction to Hindu Deities, Asuras, Festivals

5-6

ABC of Dharma

Introduce some key moral values through the alphabet and


stories from Hindu scriptures.
Teach the recitation of OM, Gayatri Mantra.
Teach the Om Jai Jagadish Hare Arati.

Kids start learning the alphabet in their regular school.


Note: This class introduces children to content of
grades 1-4

6-7

Hindu Parables

Instructive narratives from Panchatantra, the Puranas,


Hitopadesha, Jain scriptures etc.
Use the game Snakes and Ladders.
Learn the general Shlokas used in the Temple Liturgy.

Kids become more familiar with numbers in this grade.


Note: This class reinforces the values that they learned
in the earlier religion class.

7-8

Ramayana

Use the animated Ramayana DVD to start the year.


Cover the main episodes in the story of Ramayana. Each class
should have an activity.
Teach the Hanuman Chalisa.

The sacred narrative of Ramayana is simple and does


not have too many sub-plots. The characters are also
black and white. This makes it easy for students to
distinguish Dharma from Adharma.

8-9

Bhagavata
Purana and Shiva
Purana

Devoted to teaching about the 10 Avataras of Lord Vishnu


and the major episodes from the Shiva Purana (including the
deities Ganesha and Karttikeya).
Teach simple Mantras connected to different deities such as
Om namah shivaaya;

This class acquaints the students with the major sacred


narratives from Hindu sacred literature.
Note: Time permitting, narratives of the Devi could
also be incorporated (e.g., battle with Mahishasura)

through videos, art and crafts.


Class teaches kids to recognize basic patterns and
conventions. E.g., Krishna is painted blue, but his clothing is
painted yellow.
Each class starts with the Namaste gesture and recitation of
Om!

Pedagogical Rationale / Assumptions/ Notes


Children do not know alphabet or counting. Short
attention span. They like to color and do fun activities.
They also like to differentiate between good guys and
bad guys.
Note: This class has no chanting. Classrooms for this
grade need not have a board and kids can sit on the
floor.

Om namo bhagavate vaasudevaaya

9-10

Mahabharata

Give a connected account of this scripture covering the major


episodes. Use these episodes to reinforce moral values and to
highlight evils to be avoided. Long didactic sections such as
the Shanti Parva should be avoided.

The Mahabharata is much more complex than the


proceeding scriptures and is best taught after them.

10-11

Living Hindu
Values & Lives
of great Hindus

Note: Use of Power Point and other professional


presentation means in this and all higher grades is
desirable.

11-12

God in Hindu
Dharma

Inspiring life stories of Hindu/Jain Sages and Saints (such as


Mahavir Swami, Tulsidas), Kings (e.g., Shivaji), political
leaders (e.g., Mahatma Gandhi).
Use these biographies to teach Hindu values such as Ahimsa,
compassion, Bhakti and so on.
Students should also learn how the different Pauranik Deities
are related to each other, their hierarchy, main sacred
narratives about them.
Explain the symbolism of each Deity.
Explain how different Deities are aspects of the same
Supreme Being.
Students will memorize the main shlokas for each Deity.

12-13

Hindu Religious
Ceremonies and
Festivals

Explain the origin of festivals as they come during the year.


Celebrate them in the class through crafts.
Students of this grade play an active role in temple
celebrations and major worship ceremonies.
Explain the different steps of Puja, and their significance.
Explain other forms of Hindu worship such as Homa, Japa.
These should be taught in between the festival classes
(depending on the timing of festivals that year).
Students should memorize Samkalpa Mantra and
Shodashopachaara Mantras.

Grades 7-8 are crucial years because kids become


busier with their regular schools. Involving them in
temple worship will give them visibility and enhance
their enthusiasm.
Note: Teacher will have to consult the religious
calendar and the schedule of temple activities for that
year.

13-14

History and
Geography of
Hindus

Description of different parts of India, Nepal, Bangladesh and


other parts of the world where Hindus live or have lived.
Covers history (including the Aryan Invasion theory),
geography, pilgrim centers, prominent temples, major
monuments, historical figures etc.
Hinduism should be taught as a global spiritual tradition.
Explain how we can live as good Hindus in the United States.
Teach major shlokas enumerating holy rivers and pilgrimage
centers.

Students study about the history and geography of


India in this grade in their regular school. The
preceding few religion classes have already covered
some reinforcing material.
Note: Peer pressure starts becoming important with this
grade and relationships matter a lot. Divide students
into pairs or small groups.

Note: Take tours of Mandir to show them each Deity.

14-15

Key doctrines
and important
symbols of Hindu
Dharma

Explain through discussion the key concepts of Hinduism


Purusharthas, Dharma, Karma, Caste, Rebirth, Samsara,
Atman, Paramatman, Brahman, Ishvara, Yoga, Moksha etc.
Followed by a discussion of important Hindu symbols such as
the cow, bindi, conch shell etc.

Students actively start dropping out after this grade.


They need to know these concepts before they drop
out. They have the intellectual maturity to understand
these concepts at this age and enjoy discussion and
arguments.
Note:This class foreshadows the last class in this entire
program in some respects.

10

15-16

The Bhagavad
Gita

Should start with situating the Gita in the Mahabharata and


explaining its popularity in the world.
Not a chapter by chapter study but a thematic study of key
concepts Karmayoga, Rajayoga, Bhaktiyoga, Jnanayoga,
Gunas etc. Suggested chapters for study are 2, 3, 6, 12, 13,
16, 17, 18 etc.
Key verses of the Gita should be recited and memorized
during this year.
Note: Each class should start with the recitation of Geeta
Dhyanam

This and the following classes are for the dedicated and
mature students. Enrolment is expected to be low as
students get busy with their regular school work.
Teaching the Gita in the sequence of the verses can be
confusing. Therefore a thematic approach is preferable.

11

16-17

The Sacred
Scriptures of
Hindus

Start with a description of the uniqueness and greatness of the


Vedic literature. Detail the praises of Upanishads by scholars
all over the world.
Explain the division of the Vedic literature into the Karma
Kanda, the Upasana Kanda and the Jnana Kanda. Teach the
shorter Upanishads or passages from them. Suggested texts:
Ishavasya Upanishad, Kathaka Upanishad, Sadvidya (from
Chhandogya Upanishad), Aitareya Upanishad, Mundaka
Upanishad (selections).
If the class is ambitious, the Shanti Mantras of Upanishads
may be memorized and explained by the teacher.
Explain the main contents of Agamas, Puranas, Itihasas,
Dharmashastras etc. Select portions from these scriptures may
be taught.
Give an overview of Darshanas. Explain the major tenets of
different schools of Vedanta.
Discuss selections from writings of Bhakti saints and modern
Hindu saints (such as Swami Dayanand and Swami
Vivekanand)
Give an overview of the sacred literature of Jains and teach

Classes 1-10 cover practically all the popular Smriti


scriptures of Hindus. This class should focus on Shruti
literature which is more difficult to understand.
Interrelationships between different scriptures and their
complementary nature can also be taught through this
class. Jain scriptures are also introduced in this class.
Notes: Guest speakers specializing in specific genres of
Hindu and Jain scriptures can be invited. In particular,
speakers who can recite Vedic scriptures with accents
should be invited to give a demonstration.

select portions from these scriptures.


17
12 &
Adults and
up

The Heart of
Hindu Dharma

Focus on giving an overview of Hindu Dharma to understand


the location of individual parts in the whole. Emphasis is on
whys - concepts, philosophy, rationales. Compare and
contrast Hinduism to other religions.
Class is taught largely through instruction supplemented with
discussions and debates, and a few class excercises.
It is recommended that guest speakers specializing in specific
areas are invited.

Second generation teenagers need to understand their


religion in relationship to the surrounding JudeoChristian environment. This is the last time we can
teach our Dharma to them from our own perspective.
Once they go the University, they may study Hinduism
from hostile outsider perspectives.
Many adults (even first generation immigrant Hindus)
do not often know enough about Hindu Dharma. This
class will cater to their needs as well.
This class fulfills the pedagogical principle that the
final stages of learning involve the ability to evaluate
and synthesize, and the ability to see different
teachings as complementary part of one whole.

References:
1. PURAVIDY Curriculum developed by Arsha Vidya Gurukulam
2. BLAVIHR Teachers Handbook(s) developed by Darshana Nanavaty of Chinmaya Mission
3. Chinmaya Mission publications such as Bla-Bhgavatam and Bla-Rmyaa
4. Garden of Life series of booklets
5. Explaining Hindu Dharma by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (UK)
6. Hinduism for Schools by Seeta Lakhani, Vivekananda Center (London)
7. What is Hinduism by Himalayan Academy (Hawai)