taekwon-do training in the morning


children at play


nature walk


daily school assembly


walking the ducks


children's art mural designed by Ethel




Special Activities at Shanti Bhavan

Sports & Games

John Anthony, a trained physical education teacher, has taken over the sports and games program for the children and staff of Shanti Bhavan. The Preschoolers have spot jogging, jumping, action songs and free play. The Kindergarten children do the same exercises as the Preschoolers with the addition of free arm exercises. First graders learn jogging, warm-up exercises and mass drills. They also learn a few soccer skills like push pass, goal kick and catching the ball. Time is allotted for free games. Second graders practise the first grade skills but they learn double leg dribbling and zigzag passing as well. Third graders are introduced to atheletics - starting for a run. They have marching two days in a week. They are picking up line formation - single, double, triple formation, and turning to the left, right, and about turn. They are learning hoop drills. Their soccer skills include speed kicking, trapping the ball, and passing the ball on the move. Fourth graders move on to single leg dribbling, goal catch and goal kick. They are using dumbbells for drill.

Higher grade children (above grade 2) play soccer, tennis, roller-skates, volley ball and basket ball.

Spiritual Formation

Shanti Bhavan is a non-sectarian institution where all religions are respected and no particular religion is propagated. We have a common prayer hall shaped like a triangle with its apex pointing North. Holy books of all the major religions in India are kept in the prayer hall. A tree made by the tribals of Madhya Pradesh in bell metal is the center piece. A traditional South Indian brass lamp is lit everyday. Staff members go to the prayer hall to pray, meditate, or reflect during their free time. Festivals of Hindus such as Ganesh Chathurthi and Divali, Eid of the Muslims and Christmas of the Christians are celebrated, as also seasonal festivals such as the harvest festivals of Pongal and Onam. Children say the Children's Prayer mornings and evenings, at school assemblies, and before and after meals. Staff say the Staff Prayer each morning at assembly, in the presence of the children.

Staff Prayer

God, Creator of the Universe, help us remember that you are present in each one of us. May we respect each other, and be tolerant of our differences. May we be good and caring towards each other. May the teachings of all the great world religions direct our thoughts and actions. Grant that we may be spiritual in our interaction and zealous in our work and play. Help us discover different ways to serve our fellow humanity. Guide us to discover the treasure hidden in each one of us, and to uphold what is right, cherish what is beautiful and revere what is divine. As we journey through each day of our lives, give us the grace to accept whatever you have in store for us. Be with us in our joy and our sorrow. Help us build Shanti Bhavan into a haven of peace and let this peace touch the lives of all we meet. We salute the divine in each other. Namaste.

Children’s Prayer

God, thank you for this day. Bless our families, our friends, our housemothers, our teachers and everyone at Shanti Bhavan. Let us be happy and give us your love. Help us to know right from wrong, to be honest and truthful, kind and peaceful. Help us to do our best each day, and to love, honour and value all that we have. Namaste.

Prayer before Meals

God, thank you for this breakfast/snack/lunch/dinner. Spontaneous prayers for special events are also said, such as surgery of a child, death in a family, the wedding of a staff member, farewell for a volunteer, a national or world crisis or disaster such as floods, earthquakes or drought. Prayers were said daily for the victims of the bombing of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon after the 11th of September.

Wildlife awareness

Mr. M.K. Srinath, former director of the Wildlife Education Fund-India, takes fortnightly sessions with our children on various topics such as deer, tortoise, rabbit, elephants, insects, snakes, rats and environments such as the Andaman and Nicobar islands. Mr. Srinath has brought live specimens of tortoise, rabbit and snake. He also showed the children a video about dumping waste. The children have gained awareness about animals and how to treat and study them. The third and fourth graders have benefited most. The younger children have enjoyed parts of the videos and seeing and touching the tortoise and rabbit.

Shanti Bhavan Art Show

Ethel Caldwell, a volunteer art teacher from Latter-Day Saints Humanitarian Services put up an excellent art show of children's work on 7th October 2001. Every child's work from Preschool through Fourth Grade was shown. The art works on display were drawings and paintings with different mediums, sculptures of wooden blocks and clay, and paper mosaics.

Ethel started her classes by giving each child a mirror to look at, and draw herself or himself. "Look at Me" had some amazing resemblances to the children's faces! The Preschoolers used crayon and paint, and also cut and paste. Kindergarten children learned to paint with one colour, two colours and three colours. Children learned techniques like cross-hatch, perspective - "Near and Far" and patterns displayed in "Beautiful Numbers." Ethel taught them how to draw "Y" trees, using the letter Y. She introduced the children to works of artists such as Vincent Van Gogh - "The Colour of Sky" and Piet Mondrian - "Abstracts." Georgia O'Keefe and the Shanti Bhavan flowers provided the inspiration for "Life Studies." The children coloured lizards and their backgrounds in warm and cool colours. They painted over wax crayon drawings, "Wax Resist" drawing from the tradition of batik. The BYU Dancers' Company presentation, "Walking" gave the inspiration for "Cave Paintings" done with paint and markers on brown paper.

The piece de resistance was a magnificient mural designed by Ethel. Ethel was inspired by the art she saw at the Mysore Palace. It is a composite work that includes the artistic impressions of the children about Shanti Bhavan. There are different scenes bordered by ornate margins. The children's and staff's signatures, including Ethel's and Dr. George's signatures, are in these margins. It is Ethel's genius that has incorporated the children's work to make a very unique and striking piece. It is placed facing the main entrance of the school so that everyone can get an impression at a glance of the daily life of Shanti Bhavan seen through children's eyes. Please visit www.shantibhavanonline.org for more details.


[ home | projects | news | volunteer | donate | contact ]