HomeInfo4youLearning, Culture, Fun – Hallmarks Of Chinmaya Mission’s Pre-School Program

Learning, Culture, Fun – Hallmarks Of Chinmaya Mission’s Pre-School Program


Photo: Alumni return for a reunion with their parents for a reunion with Swami Ishwarananda at Chinmaya Mission.


 By Jay J,  Parent, Chinmaya Pre-School Program, Class Of 2019 And 2020


As parents, we all aspire to give our kids things we ourselves did not have.

Growing up in the DC suburbs in the 1980s and 1990s, I had a wonderful education. But between preschool and the time I became a professor, I could count on one hand the number of classmates or teachers I had, who shared my religion, traditions, or cultural heritage.  I could not even imagine a world where Diwali was mentioned in school.

 When I found the Chinmaya Early Education Program for children between the ages of 2.5 – 5 years,  I realized I had found a treasure.  My two kids could start their education with a different foundation than I did—one that celebrated their heritage of Vedic traditions and made them feel proud and confident instead of feeling different.

Although we are Gujarati, my kids had the opportunity to experience traditions from all over India. In CEEP, they celebrated Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, Navaratri, Shivratri—and also Christmas, where Swamiji briefly became Santa Claus!  The teachers lovingly prepared modak, payasam, and ladoos.

The kids learned shlokas, prayers, and yoga. They made Shivlingas out of clay and decorated photos of Durga Mata.  They saw bananas growing on the banana tree outside, and a teacher cooked banana flowers for them.  That was the first time I saw a banana flower!  By the end of CEEP, my kids had been exposed to traditions, music, etc. that I had never learned myself.  Students often brought traditional Indian food for lunch—unlike the preschools I attended, where anything that wasn’t a sandwich was suspicious.

My kids’ exposure to their heritage was in addition to rigorous academic work.  The CEEP teachers were loving but also created discipline, patiently teaching them letters and numbers; reading and writing.  In show and tell, the kids got to practice public speaking.  My kids were very well prepared for kindergarten and ultimately entered Irvine Unified School District’s academically advanced program.

We had a wonderful experience with CEEP, and recommend it to other families.  Honestly, CEEP is worth doing regardless of whether your school district offers pre-K, TK, or anything else.  For those families who settle in the US, as mine did, our kids will spend the rest of their educational and professional lives in environments that center on Western values, history, and tradition.  What CEEP offers is a brief—but formative—period of our kids’ lives where they can also celebrate their heritage.  CEEP lets us plant the seeds of our children’s education in the Vedic tradition; then let the branches grow in the California sunshine!

CEEP is an environment full of love and warmth in which children benefit from thousands of years of culture and heritage, while also getting an education that prepares them for academic success.

Thanks to the generosity of Chinmaya Mission, the cost is affordable, making CEEP accessible to families of various circumstances including families who might be just starting out in the US.

CEEP is more than a school; it is a community.  Along with my kids, I myself learned so many new things and I made friends whom I still see.

We are lucky to live where we do, and we are lucky to have programs like CEEP.  We remember CEEP every day! For more: https://chinmayala.org/ceep/