What do you teach in the program?

Loosely speaking, we teach “Hindu Religion” or Sanatana Dharma. Strictly speaking, we teach the rich heritage that was born out of, and nurtured by, Vedic scriptures and principles; in other words, the Vedic Heritage. The program nurtures within the children a pride in their Hindu identity. “Purna Vidya” means “Comprehensive Learning”.

The curriculum was designed by Swamini Pramananda and Sri Dhira Chaitanya, disciples of Swami Dayananda Saraswati. It is divided into 13 grades, corresponding to the PYC thru 12 grades of school. Slokas as well as stories/theory are taught in classes. The curriculum is designed to be age-appropriate and especially targeted toward children growing up outside India, and the method of instruction is very simple. For a full synopsis of the material taught in each class, please look at the curriculum. A shorter description appears below.

What do you cover in each of the 12 grades?

The PYC class is for children who are in PYC in school. Children must be able to stay for an hour away from their parents. They are taught slokas (mostly two liners). The teacher may also read stories from Amar Chitra Katha s aloud to them. Children also color pictures of deities, their vahanas, etc.

The first two grades consist mainly of stories, either from Pancatantra or from our Puranas. The next three grades are the epics: Ramayana, Bhagavata Purana and Mahabharata. The books have descriptive pictures that can be colored. In some cases, children can come up with their own captions for the pictures.

After the fifth grade, the stories almost cease, as do pictures in the textbooks! Henceforth, the material is theory rather than story. The sixth grade subject matter is “Values”. The characters and situations in the stories/epics learned in the previous years are used as foundation for teaching Values. The exercises frequently use examples from the stories and epics.

In grade seven, the important concept of Isvara (or Bhagavan) is introduced. Seventh graders also learn about Religious Discipline. Eighth grade students are taught our rich Religious Culture. In the last four grades, the subjects discussed are “Sanatana Dharma”, “Human Development & Spiritual Growth”, “Vedic Knowledge” and “Introduction to Bhagavadgita”. Yes, we admit, they are rather dry and profound!

The slokas taught over the twelve years comprise of several popular four-liners (e.g., suklambaradharam visnum), the various Vedic Santi Mantras, songs, slokas like Annapurna Stotram, Hanuman Calisa, and selections from the Bhagavadgita. Again, the exact slokas taught in each class are listed in the curriculum.

What are the activities on a typical day?

  • Most families arrive anywhere from 9:50 AM to 10 AM; children put their books, coats, etc. in their class location, then mingle and socialize. All of us assemble for prayer at around 10 AM.
  • At 10:02 AM (sharp), we start chanting OM followed by Sahana Vavatu, and applicable prayers for any special occasions.
  • This is followed by announcements (if any), and typically, a thought for the day. Parents are strongly urged to attend the assembly.
  • Children and teachers go to their individual classes. The rest of the 60 minutes or so is split into two parts: 15-20 minutes of sloka instruction and 35-40 minutes of story/theory depending on the class. The order of instruction is left to the teachers’ convenience, and other factors like availability of rotating sloka teachers, etc.
  • At 11:10 AM, the class is dispersed. For 11th and 12th grades alone, classes go up to 11:30 AM.
  • If there are any special programs (e.g., Christmas program), class finishes early as needed, and all of us assemble again to conduct/participate in the program.

What do you do in a typical year?

Other than the regular school, we have certain special activities, e.g., two hands-on pujas towards our deities such as Lakshmi, Hanuman, Narasimha. We also have a short Christmas program, a Mothers’ Day program, and of course the Graduation Day and the associated cultural program.


When do the classes meet?

The classes run from 10:00 to 11:10 on Sundays (however, please see punctuality policy below). Each season starts on the Sunday after Labor Day and ends on the Saturday before the Memorial Day weekend. We like to say we are open when the amusement parks are not! We are closed one Sunday during Thanksgiving and one/two Sundays during Christmas /New Year.

Where do the classes meet?

The location for the classes in the 2015 season is
Indian Springs Elementary School
3828 Home Rd, Powell, OH. (MAP)


How old must my child be, to join?

In general, your child must be 5 years or older AND they must be in PYC or higher in the fall of the desired year. However, you can apply years in advance. We will contact you when it is time.

A word about the PYC class: Attendance requirements for PYC (67%) are less than the regular classes (80%). But please note that this is not a baby-sitting service!


How much do you charge for all this?

There are no fees for the actual education. This program is run by donations alone, which help us meet the expenses such as rent and insurance for the premises where we hold school. In response to families’ question about their “fair share”, the following is the suggested donation amount for the 2018 season. It will vary slightly each year depending on school location,enrollment, rental rate, etc.

$ 125 per child per year

Further, there is a $10 charge per child per year towards incidental expenses that is NOT a donation to the Gurukulam but will be used by us here for mats and other supplies for puja, cake for graduation, etc. .

What about books?

Each class has its own (one) textbook/workbook. There is a flat price of

$10 per book for grades 3 thru 12.
$15 per book for grades 1 and 2.

There is no book for PYC.

Each child should have his/her own book to make his/her own notes and do his/her own homework. We do NOT encourage reusing an older sibling’s book.

In addition, each family must get one Puja & Prayers book, also called Sloka Book ($10). The sloka book can be shared by multiple children in the family. If you want additional Sloka Books, you may order them from us or directly from Arsha Vidya Gurukulam.

Starting 2015, all class-specific slokas (both audio and lyrics) have been made available on the web site. They can be played directly or downloaded. Unlike past years, no CDs or laminated sheets will be distributed.

Any other supplies?

Please just have your child bring crayons/markers/pencil/pen according to age, and most of all, their dedication! Of course, children should bring their workbooks and laminated sheets, and any material distributed by the teachers from time to time. And oh, a bag to carry all their stuff!


What is your Attendance Policy?

A minimum of 80% attendance during a season is required for consideration to the first round of readmission next season. If you have less than 80%, it does not mean that you will not get readmission, but you will be placed on the waiting list behind new applicants.

The attendance requirement for the PYC class is at least 67%.

What if my child(ren) cannot attend on a given day(s)?

If you cannot attend a particular day or days due to any reason (vacation, illness, function in the family), please click on the “Notify Absence” link on any page, and fill out a SHORT form. Click on “Forms” at the top of the home page to see this form.

Please make sure you fill out the form properly, spellings of names, etc. as the processing is automated, and any error will result in the notification being discarded.

This should be submitted BEFORE the absence. Under certain circumstances, if it is not possible to do so, then submit it within 24 hours after the class. After that, you will not be able to update it for THAT absence. While any e-mail, phone calls, etc are always welcome, the notification through the web is necessary.

Under certain circumstances, if it is not possible to do so, then submit it within 24 hours after the class. After that, you will not be able to update it for THAT absence. While any e-mail, phone calls, etc are always welcome, the notification through the web is necessary.

On special occasions such as Puja and Diwali celebration, when advance planning is required by volunteers/us, your notification must come in by Saturday 10 PM to be valid (except in the case of unexpected illness, in which case it should come in by Sunday 9 AM). If these deadlines are not met, it will be counted as TWO absences.

If the absence notification is rejected due to coming in time (as defined above) or due to data not matching our database, the absence will be counted as 1.5 days.

If you submit a notification, but your child is able to attend, do not worry. The presence will automatically override any notification.

Whoa! 80% attendance? Aren’t you setting your bar too high?

Not really! For instance, in the 2013 season (32 weeks), among the 136 children registered in 1st to 12th grades:

  1. The average attendance was 91%!
  2. 22 children had perfect attendance!
  3. 28 children missed only one class!
  4. Only three children were below 80%!
  5. NO child was below 75%!

We hear you have a Punctuality Policy?

Your information is correct. Students are expected to be punctual. All teachers lead by example by being present well in time for the assembly. The assembly hall door is closed at 10:02AM and is not opened until the end of the assembly. Children arriving during this time must wait in the lobby until assembly is over. They are marked as Tardy, and they and their parents miss the assembly. Children arriving AFTER the assembly are marked Late. Chronic tardiness and/or lateness is addressed with parents individually.


You sure have lots of policies! Any other discipline/neatness expectations?

Just like in our Indian homes – we expect the children to respect others and not disrupt the peace. Also, the parents and children leave their shoes neatly at the entrance of the inside building just like we do in our homes (and unlike some people do in public places!)

Any dress code?

Starting in 2015, acceptable clothing for children is as follows:

  • Boys in grades 5 and below: Shorts, pants, jeans, Indian clothes
  • Girls in grades 5 and below: Shorts, pants, jeans, skirts, Indian clothes – when wearing skirts, must wear tights or shorts under the skirts.
  • Boys in grades 6 and above: Pants, jeans, Indian clothes (NO SHORTS!)
  • Girls in grades 6 and above: Pants, jeans, Indian clothes (NO SHORTS!)

We recommend, but don’t require, that children wear Indian clothes as much as possible. And since children do what parents do rather than what parents say, parents may want to do likewise. We do ask that adults don’t wear shorts. Basically, think of that place of learning as a temple.
The school is maintained at a comfortable temperature throughout the year.

How do you ensure the safety of the children during pick-up?

There are special pick up requirements for very young children (see below). Classes for younger children typically tend to get dismissed earlier, typically between 11:00 and 11:05; therefore, parents are expected to be in the school hall at 11:00 AM, and watching for dismissal of their class.

Children in the PYC class:

  • Must be picked up by their own parent only. No exceptions.
  • Parents must physically go to the respective class and pick up the children. Children will not be allowed by the teacher to “spot their parents and run to them”

Note: If you are not able to come on any given day, please let your child enrolled in the PYC class miss school that day. Attendance requirements for this class are substantially less. Also, as stated earlier, this is not a baby-sitting service.

Children in 1st and 2nd grades:

  • Must be picked up either by their own parent OR by their (i.e., child’s) own older sibling enrolled in 7th grade or above OR by another adult as described below.
  • Whoever picks up must physically go to the respective class and pick up the children. Children will not be allowed by the teacher to “spot their parents and run to them”.
  • If the child is to be picked up by an older sibling, please let that sibling know about the above point. However, if the older sibling is still in class, the younger sibling’s teacher may take the child to the older one’s class.
  • If a child has to be picked up by another adult or another older student not related to the child, the options are:
    1. If you want your child to be picked up on a particular day by a particular person (another parent in Purna Vidya), please print this very simple form, fill it out and send it along with your child or the person picking up your child. This is valid only for the specified date.
    2. If two or three families have a standing car pool arrangement, and the picking up responsibilities rotate strictly between the parents of those families, you can designate the people who will be picking up your child(ren) using this form. This will be a standing instruction, and is effective for the whole year OR until/unless it is revised by you. Please note, a form must be given for each child (for twins, a single form will do).
  • Please limit it to two sets of parents other than yourself (i.e., 2 moms and 2 dads) to make it reasonable for the teacher to remember the faces. We do not want to introduce ID verification, etc.


What do we need to do as parents?

We teachers can’t do this alone, therefore we depend on your active participation in the education of your children, by asking them what they learned, reading their book, making sure they practice at home the slokas that are taught in class, with the help of the sloka CDs, by helping them with their homework, etc.

We expect parents to be in frequent touch with their e-mail and read everything that we send. Occasionally, we ask for responses with a reasonable lead time. We expect responses to these e-mails in a timely fashion. We also expect parents to be familiar with what’s going on by visiting the web-site periodically

We expect parents to volunteer for activities or special programs during the year, e.g., bring flowers for Puja, bring sweets for Diwali, bake cookies for Christmas, cook for graduation, etc. You don’t have to do ALL of it, but you can’t do NONE of it either.

New applicants, please note: your admission will be based not only on how early you apply, but also on how well you read our mails, and how quickly you respond to our mails. Proper communication is essential to get (and retain) admission to this school.

We’d be bored stiff when the children are in class!

Well, a few years ago, there was a Gita Vicara program for parents. Parents who are interested got together and read from the Gita Study Home Course developed by Swami Dayananda Saraswati. There is no teacher, as such. The book is the teacher. Actually, the “book” is several volumes long. It is quite descriptive and elaborate. If there is enough interest, parents could get together and start such a program.

Can I volunteer to teach?

We truly applaud your enthusiasm! You can certainly let us know your interest in teaching any time. However, if you are a first-year parent, you may have to wait out the year before we even approach you. This will be primarily based on the commitment you display in the first year. We rate unflinching commitment higher than familiarity with the subject matter, teaching ability, previous experience, etc. We need to be able to count on you to be there week after week after week (at least 90% of the time), a few minutes before class starts (almost 100% of the time). We have found that if the commitment exists, teaching ability usually develops quickly.

Surely I can volunteer for other things?

Surely! We are always looking for people with energy, enthusiasm, talents and ideas to do the various things that need to be done to run a school, even if it lasts only for 70 minutes a week!

Volunteers will be recruited for each of the special events mentioned above (e.g., Puja, Graduation).

Volunteers will be needed each week to help the school custodian to arrange the school furniture.

Can I promote my business or favorite activity to the Purna Vidya community?

Sorry, but NO! Absolutely no solicitation is permitted in the school. Also, no flyers regarding spelling bees, accelerated math programs, music/dances classes/programs, cultural programs of various associations, your favorite charities, etc. If you have something that you think will benefit the families, you must propose it to the coordinators (Padma and/or Balkee) first. Their decision is final..


Hmmmmm…. I guess the teachers must be well-trained and highly paid!

Not necessarily (as far as training), and not at all (as far as being paid)! But they sure are exceptionally committed! They are volunteers: parents who have children in the program, like the other parents. They do this because they want to give back to the society in return for what they got from it.

Are you missing the “H” on your keyboard?

No. Why do you ask?

Then why are your Sanskrit spellings weird? Like “Pancatantra”, “Vicara” and “Isvara”?

Oh, that! Well, unlike English, Sanskrit is a phonetic language (i.e., a particular letter always has exactly one sound, regardless of context. And, unlike English, Sanskrit has many more letters. Therefore, for transliteration of Sanskrit into English, a certain special script has evolved and it is being used quite extensively. You can see it here.

In that script, “ca” stands for what you would normally write as the Hindi “cha” (1st) and “cha” would stand for the Hindi “chha”.

For example, the Hindi line of “chal chhaiyaan chhaiyaan chhaiyaan chhaiyaan”

will be transliterated as “cal chaiyaan chaiyaan chaiyaan chaiyaan”.

Oh, all right, all right, we realize that does not exactly qualify as a devotional song!

Don’t worry, ca will never be pronounced as ka, i.e., you will never pronounce pancatantra as pankatantra, because this is a phonetic script.

Isvara, sloka, krsna, etc. are harder to explain. We will talk about it in class.


Class Time & Address

Class Time:

Sunday 10:00 AM to 11:10 AM

Classes Conducted at:

Indian Springs Elementary School, 3828 Home Rd, Powell,
OH 43065.

Student Registration

You can apply at any time of the year. Each year, applications are processed in July & August for the season starting in September.

Register Now