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Virsa box: A new Sikh education initiative for children

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh!

Guru (111K)

As parents we are sometimes concerned about whether our children are learning enough about Sikhism? Whether they are interested in that learning or if they find it something hard to relate to? Whether they find concepts from Sikhism meaningful and adoptable or if they are too complicated for them to understand?

To help parents with these concerns there is a new initiative called Virsa box (www.virsabox.com) - a monthly subscription service for Sikh parents in US, Canada and UK. The box includes interesting learning material to teach children about Sikhism and Punjabi language and is delivered to homes in the beginning of the month for those who subscribe. It is a unique concept and an attempt to make complex things simple, an attempt to make things convenient for the parents. It is a tool for the parent to not only build their children's knowledge but also an opportunity for them to bond with their children.

What does the box contain?

It contains books, crafts, learnings, collectibles and many more engaging activities for children to develop interest in Sikhism's concepts and learn Punjabi. Designed for age groups 4-12, the material is curated to help with 2 levels of learners- Beginner; those who are new to teachings of Sikhism and Advanced; those who have some basic knowledge about Sikhism.

GuruSikh (377K)

Calender or simplified jantri: We often do not even realise and miss out on so many important dates marking Sikh history and a Jantri is quite complicated for kids to understand. So this box comes with a calendar which highlights the significant events of that month for Sikhs with a brief description about each event and talks about how we can recognize that day more meaningfully. Every month a new theme is selected based on these significant events for Sikhs for that month. For example, as the month of November marks Guru Nanak Dev ji's Gurupurab the learnings in the box will centre around his teachings, bani, gurpurab celebration etc. Likewise, the December box will have focus on Chaar Sahibzaade and Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib ji.

Books: The box consists of books, which tell stories about Sikh Gurus and other aspects which a Sikh child is familiar with or can relate in his/her daily lives such as their unique identity, bullying in schools, principles of Sikhism amongst many others.

Crafts, projects and games: Virsa Box has exciting crafts and games to keep the little fingers engaged while learning about Sikh concepts. Activities such as design and send a greeting card for Gurupurab to your grandparents or friends, makes this box creative yet meaningful. It also has worksheets and projects giving children the opportunity to apply these learnings. For example, when they learn about Vand chakna they are encouraged to share their belongings with the underprivileged and may be set up a fundraising event in a Gurudwara.

Bookmarks: The box comes with bookmarks explaining some interesting facts about our religion to awe children every month as they see its magnificent and glorious existence.

Collectible: Every month children also get a collectible based on a Sikh artifact such as Nishan Sahib sticky or a Khanda key ring.

Punjabi Learning: Punjabi language is a very critical element of our rich heritage and plays an important role in promoting Sikh learnings. It enables children to read Gurbani and the vast Sikh literature that exists. The box includes Punjabi learning material such as books, sandpaper cut outs, worksheets with detailed instructions and English translations to help with self learning the Punjabi language.

Who is behind Virsa Box?

The box is designed by practicing Sikhs who are also child education experts with several years of experience working with children. They are passionate about promoting Sikhi, especially in children and thus came out with this unique idea. The project is headed by Harnish Singh and Gurdarshan Kaur, a Toronto based young Sikh couple. Gurdarshan is a Child Development practitioner and an Education expert who holds a MSc. and a M.Phil. degree in her field of expertise. She has worked extensively with children of different age groups and has designed curriculums in past. An author of 10 curriculum books, she also created teaching learning material such as games, manipulates or interactive white board contents to enable hand-on and collaborative learning in children. She now wants to use her skills and experience to promote Sikh learnings in children. Through Virsa box she sees the potential to engage children in a fun way yet providing them with learnings so deep and meaningful.

Harnish is a technology expert, who is an engineer and completed his MBA from University of Toronto. He is a Sikh enthusiast and a digital marketing expert with a vision to create educational platforms for Sikh children where they are provided with opportunities to not only learn but apply these learnings in their lives and voice their opinions. He feels that it is time that Sikh religious education is packaged in a way that children feel connected to it and thereby are able to contribute to this Virsa. Thus Harnish's efforts are directed towards networking, building visibility for this project and creating online and other technological support and infrastructure needed for smooth functioning of the Virsa Box project. Having an extensive project management experience, he is also responsible for operations and logistics.

It is worth taking a look at this project if you are looking for something meaningful and exciting for your children. It might be a nice gift for your child to learn about their religion but with interest!

Visit at www.virsabox.com or https://www.facebook.com/VirsaBox/

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