Canadian Institute of Sathya Sai Education
Excellence through Education in Human Values
Seema Poddar at her Awards ceremony with Board members
It is my great pleasure to inform all of you that two teachers from our Faculty received Awards for Teaching Excellence.
Seema Poddar received her Award from the Peel Board of Education on April 15, 2019 while Sai Amrita Kaul received her Award of Excellence from the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario in August 2018. Both serve as dedicated teacher training facilitators for the Canadian Institute of Sathya Sai Education (CISSE) and continue to apply the principles of Sathya Sai Education in Human values (SSEHV) in their professional lives as teachers in the public domain.
Graduating from York University with a Bachelor of Arts (Specialized Honors) with a major in Psychology (1998) and a B.Ed (Primary and Junior Divisions with a specialization in Urban Diversity), Seema Poddar was the first Canadian to receive a Diploma in SSEHV from the Thailand Institute of Sathya Sai Education in 1999. She joined the staff of the Sathya Sai School of Canada when it opened in September 2000 and went on to serve as teacher and Vice Principal. Of her 13 years long years of service at the school, T. R. Pillay, the Founding Principal, said it was an absolute pleasure working with her as a partner together with Mrs. Kouchi Premachandran and Ms. Edith Recht, as they laid the groundwork for the first character education school in Canada using the principles of Educare as expounded by the Founder of the School, Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The school owes much of its success to her dedication, commitment, creativity and hard work in those early years. When the school celebrated the opening of the new building, she invited Dr. Jumsai and Ms. Angela Burrows, her mentors from Thailand, to address staff members at her current public school on SSEHV. On that occasion, they saw first hand her contribution to the school’s character education program and the warm respect she commands from her public school colleagues. At the Awards ceremony she was described “as a beacon of light in the school, as a lamp and dedicated educator who empowers both staff and students to look beyond the curriculum.” Her varied contributions to the well-being of staff and students included forming a network of French music teachers, organizing breakfast for students, donating generously to the nutrition break program after school, and supporting various worthy causes in the local community. The testimonial to her concluded warmly with: “Her efforts to help is evident in her actions on a daily basis.”
Sai Amrita Kaul with fellow recipients
Like her mother and Aunts before her, Sai Amrita Kaul was fortunate to receive part of her education from the schools founded by Sri Sathya Sai Baba in Prasanthi Nilayam, India. After completing Grades 6-12 there, she returned to Canada to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and History with a minor in Economics as well as a B.Ed with a specialization in Special Education from York University. In 2007 she completed her training in SSEHV under Carol Alderman of the British Institute of Sathya Sai Education. Currently she is a special education resource teacher in Kindergarten as well as in grade 7 and 8 with the York Regional School Board. Committed to providing a quality education both in the classroom and beyond, she runs student govt, the eco team, and social justice leadership activities for students and staff. She is also the Teachers’ Union steward for her school. At the Awards Ceremony she was lauded as “a deeply dedicated and enthusiastic educator, recognized for her ability to connect and engage with students at all levels especially those with high needs. Amrita is deeply committed to promoting social justice and equity in her teaching and actions.”
Hearty congratulations to both of them as they continue to hold high the flaming torch of character education in their personal and professional lives.
T. R. Pillay
Canadian Institute of Sathya Sai Education (CISSE)
Camp Summer Stars 2018 was a fantastic success once again!
After taking feedback from previous co-coordinators as well as from the parent community at the Sathya Sai School, Camp Summer Stars decided to try out a slightly different format this year.
In an attempt to make summer planning a little more convenient for parents, we expanded the scope of our camp to be four days long rather than the two day format done previously. The program ran from Monday, July 30th until Thursday, August 2nd, leading into the Civic Holiday Long Weekend.
The youth facilitators and high school volunteers planned several fun and exciting activities for the children with a focus on team building, co-operation, global citizenship and good sportsmanship. There was lots of laughter, lots of ideas shared, and a great deal of learning that happened for everyone involved.
We even went on a field trip to Loblaws, where we met with a dietician who planned a fantastic scavenger hunt around the grocery store for our Summer Stars! She noted that we were amongst the very best group she’s ever worked with! Our trip was a real adventure for many campers since this was the first time they travelled on the TTC!
On the whole, our four day camp received an overwhelmingly positive response from the participants, facilitators and families alike. The most meaningful feedback we received came from a group of participants who said that they learned about “a whole new way of practicing human values” in their day to day lives.
We look forward to next year’s camp. See you there!
Canadian Institute celebrates Canada 150!
2017 marks a milestone year for Canadians as we celebrate Canadian history from Confederation to today (1867 – 2017), marking 150 glorious years! In celebration, there were amazing events taking place coast to coast!
The Alumni, the Class of 2015, as Ambassadors of the Canadian Institute of Sathya Sai Education celebrated this event in the community by hosting a one-day event under the banner “Our Kids Matter”. Canada is a peaceful nation and we attribute this to our children (past, present and future) for the values they uphold and their commitment and contribution to nation building.
In Canada, we truly engage and empower our children. Our kids truly matter!
The day was filled with interactive workshops, fun-filled game shows, demonstrations of various art forms by local artistes (in poetry, music and dance), festive meals, birthday cake, streamers, balloons, loot bags and more. This event was well received by the children, their parents and the school administrators.
A congratulatory message was also received from Mayor John Tory who sent his regrets for not being present due to conflicting engagements.
Overall, it was indeed a memorable event on a momentous occasion! Happy Birthday Mama Canada!
Thank You! We are proud to be Canadians!
CISSE VOLUNTEERS USHA AND MOHINDER KAPOOR
RECEIVE SDSG CANADA 150 SERVICE AWARD
In celebration of Canada’s 150th Anniversary, the office of MP Lauzon created and launched calls for the SDSG Canada 150 Service Medal – a commemoration medal in recognition of residents in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry who have made outstanding contributions to their community. Nominations for this award were open to deserving individuals including educators, artists, athletes, scientists, coaches, entrepreneurs, emergency responders, community volunteers, activity organizers, and other every day heroes striving to make their community better.
Usha and Mohinder Kapoor (seen above with Sydney Lingros, receipient of the CISSE Awards for Kindness and Values) )will receive their medal on August 12th, 2017 at a special ceremony in recognition of their dedicated teaching of Sathya Sai Education in Human Values (SSEHV) for 6 years as volunteers at Eammers Public School in Cornwall. On behalf of the Canadian Institute of Sathya Sai Education we offer our heartiest congratulations to them.
2016-2017 CISSE Award for kindness and Caring
Sydney Legros of Eammer’s Corners Public School was this year’s award winner for demonstrating Kindness and Values. The award was presented by Usha and Mohinder Paul Kapoor, dedicated CISSE volunteers who taught SSEHV at the school for 6 years.
Sydney is most deserving of the award as the following teacher testimonial indicates:
Sydney consistently shows kindness to her fellow classmates. She is always looking out for all of them and is there at the drop of a hat to help anyone who needs help, with whatever them may need help with. There have been various little jobs that Sydney has fulfilled all year long in our classroom - jobs that could potentially even go unnoticed, but that help our classroom function on a daily basis - getting the lunch bin every day, handing out the hot lunch program orders, helping to hand out and collect technology, running errands around the school, remembering if someone was absent and needs to be notified of something or given something they missed while away
I regularly think of Sydney as a "mini-Mom" or "mini-assistant" in my classroom. She consistently makes positive choices that display respect and responsibility. She cares about her classmates and encourages others to make positive choices and to be the best they can be. She is empathetic to others and will advocate for someone who she believes needs support or assistance. Your peers are lucky to have you in their corner!
Congratulations Sydney for being an exemplar of values
An eye Opening Seminar on
Can you believe it?
Cyberbullying can happen to your child, in your own home, while you are at home?
Technology in the world of teenagers today is a fundamental way of life. It has the ability to help children learn, create, share, and connect. However, there is also a darker side to technology that can harm as well. Cyber bullying in particular, is one threat to children across the country that is being battled in significant numbers. Acknowledging this cyber bullying pandemic, CISSE identified a need: to help parents support their children in dealing with cyber bullying situations both proactively and reactively, and to educate them on ways to better communicate with their children to build a safer online experience.
CISSE's inaugural Cyber Bullying Workshop was delivered on Dec 3, 2016 with 30 parents in attendance at the Sathya Sai School of Canada. The workshop carried parents through five modules: 1) social media and cyber bullying education, 2) cyber bullying triggers and psychological factors, 3) identifying non-verbal signs that your child is being cyber bullied or is the bully. Followed, by an in-depth talk by an expert speaker (doctor, psychiatrist) on the subject, sharing valuable insights and analysis with the group of attendees 4) learning effective communication strategies to build trust, and 5) reviewing proactive and reactive measures to combat cyber bullying and educating parents on the legislation and policies around cyber bullying. A toolkit including important information, FAQs and resources for future references was also distributed to all participants.
To children, online life is real life. We've joined together to help parents explore and understand online life as kids know it. Let's keep kids safe online. Those in attendance were encouraged to become ambassadors, spreading this awareness and their new-found knowledge. Ultimately, the hope is that fewer kids experience the scarring effects of cyber bullying because parents will be able to take a more proactive stance and empathetic approach to helping their children stay safe online.
The seminar was a huge success. Here is what some of the participants have said:
“The Cyberbullying seminar was an excellent event. I am glad that I registered and attended it. It was an eye opener in some ways, and in other areas it reinforced what I was already aware of. Most importantly it was a ‘one stop shop’ for all relevant information related to this extremely important topic that impacts our kids and young adults…. the future of tomorrow. For me personally, it made me stop and think. Life is so busy that sometimes we miss out on the signals we get from our kids; even though we think we know everything about them. All panelists were amazing. The biggest take away for me was from Dr. Kamna Handa’s section and the interaction with her. The concept of NORMALIZING a situation/event before proceeding with any suggestion - I have indeed put that into practice right away, consciously. The second learning was in the section on Communication strategies. I would definitely register for any more of such sessions if made available.”
“I would definitely recommend something on these lines for the students of Sathya Sai School as well. I am not sure to what extent it is being taught in the curriculum right now. The kids are the one to actually face it. They have to be made aware of it – to take charge, to stand up and to be responsible. A parent educating their kids on cyber bullying is not the same as the information being passed to the kids by a third party of authority. (Most kids would think that their parents are just being over concerned)”
“I recommend it for even parents of grade 4 and 5. As kids these days have gadgets at a young age. And the younger they are the more vulnerable they are as well.”
“Thank you for the opportunity that CISSE gave the parents to attend this eye-opening workshop on Cyber Bullying. It’s a burning issue for the families with teenagers and we learnt things that are possible to implement in real life and was not just theory to read and discard. Dr. Kamna Handa’s cases and her suggestions really helped me as parent to understand from the child’s point of view. The video showed during the communications strategy session was also an eye opener because as a parent I do react emotionally first, even though I think it’s for the protection of the child. But it does backfire sometimes. I feel the workshop should be out there for all parents and if possible mandatory for teenager parents who use social media extensively. This certainly will help the parents empathize with their kids. It will help parents build positive relationship with their children. A Big Thank You to the team, and school for organizing this seminar.”
“We parents are really grateful and thankful to entire team of talented volunteers who were so thoughtful in enlightening us with lots of information. The event was well organized, planned and executed. We parents were so glued to the seats and did not feel like leaving even after the event was done. Having Dr. Kamna Handa, a child psychiatrist, on board was simply great. Salute her efforts for flying down all the way from States just for this event. Job well done!!”
First started by the Sathya Sai School of Canada this Walk is not a Fund-Raiser but a Walk dedicated to creating awareness in the community to practice human values and through individual transformation change communities to communities of character.
The Kapoors (seen in action below) who taught SSEHV at this school as volunteers, introduced this Walk to the school community several years ago. Teacher Phillips is seen below leading her students in the Walk. After the Walk the whole student body gathered to hold up their slogans and pledges to practice a value.
We applaud the City of Cornwall for proclaiming Nov 23rd, 2015 as Walks for Values Day.
On Tuesday July 14th and Wednesday July 15th, 2015, the Canadian Institute of Sathya Sai Education (CISSE) conducted its 2nd Annual Camp Summer Stars at the Sathya Sai School of Canada, located in Toronto. Camp Summer Stars is a value-based 2 day summer camp for children, integrating the values of respect, tolerance, team-work and compassion into popular and fun camp games and activities. The camp is open to students from the Sathya Sai School of Canada, as well as children from the wider community.
This year's camp provided 16 boys and girls aged 7 to 11 a vibrant, energetic, and intellectually stimulating summer escape. Seven Sai Youth from Sai Centres across Regions 1 and 2 volunteered their time to facilitate the camp activities for both days as Camp Councilors. Games such as Spot the Change, 36 Squares, and a Memory Game put the campers' brilliant minds to work, teaching them the importance of concentration, discipline and teamwork.
Sports such as soccer and volleyball, and running games like Octopus and Coco kept the campers physically active, dynamic and full of life, while teaching them cooperation, friendship, and teamwork skills. In all games the children demonstrated knowledge and familiarity with the 5 Human Values of Love, Peace, Truth, Right Conduct, and Non-Violence. They actively practiced inclusivity, while demonstrating perseverance, courage, consideration, trust, and intuition.
This 2nd Annual Camp Summer Stars ended with wishes from children and parents alike for a longer camp next year with more children. With the Sathya Sai School's new and permanent building project set to be completed next year, the Camp Summer Stars team has set their sights on expanding to 50 children in 2016! With Swami's grace, this will undoubtedly become a reality.Amar Lad, Youth volunteer
This Walk is not a Fund-Raiser but to create awareness in the community to practice human values and transform.
This year marks a major milestone for the Walk for Values, as an official Ignite Partner of the Toronto 2015 Pan-Am Games this summer.
The Walk includes music, marching bands and colorful floats, guest dignitaries, and people carrying banners and placards with messages about values. Around the square, there will be fun games, food, a PanAm Games booth, a CISSE booth, and a medical booth promoting healthy living and disease prevention. Come and walk shoulder to shoulder with fellow citizens who wish to bring positive change, one step at a time. The Walk starts and ends at Nathan Philips Square. Following the Walk, there will be a cultural program showcasing community talent, along with addresses by dignitaries to encourage everyone on their journey of transformation.
We encourage you to please extend this invitation to your families, friends, co-workers and neighbours as we walk to make a positive impact in our community and raising the Character of the City.
CISSE’s first Award for Character was presented to Mia Bakker-White, a grade 6 student at Eamers Corners Public School, a JK-Gr 6 school in Cornwall, Ontario under the jurisdiction of the Upper Canada District School Board.
Mia received the Award at the school’s award ceremonies in June 2014 for the Practice of Kindness and Caring from Mohinder Paul and Usha Kapoor who sponsored the plaque pictured below.
Pictured with Mia above, proud mother Ms. Chantal Bakker was elated with the news.
Retired public school teachers, Usha and Mohinder Paul, provided volunteer service teaching Sathya Sai Education in Human Values at two schools in this school district for over seven years. In appreciation of their dedicated and selfless service in the cause of character education at Eamers Corners, Principal Kieran Kennedy kindly accepted the plaque in the name of the Canadian Institute of Sathya Sai Education. The Award will be presented annually.
A highly successful community summer camp was arranged by the Canadian Institute of Sathya Sai Education for children aged 8-11 in Scarborough on July 15 and 16, 2014 at the Sathya Sai School located on Ellesmere Road, near Birchmount Road, Scarborough (Toronto). The purpose of the camp was to inculcate human values and team-building skills through fun activities for the 25 children who participated.
According to one facilitator, “The 2 day program was neatly structured with the facilitators paying close attention to details. During the initial planning stages, many details had to be considered such as permission and consent forms, number of participants and volunteers, dietary restrictions and emergency case scenarios.” After much planning, flyers went out to churches, community centres and libraries in the neighbourhood. Registration was open to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The intense level of planning and debriefing sessions helped in the smooth flow of activities. Five facilitators supervised and led a group of 5 students each through the planned activities and games. Each of the groups represented one of the 5 values (Truth, Love, Right Conduct, Peace and Non-violence) and worked closely to understand their own value and share their learning with others.
Students took turns responding and interacting in a positive way. As the camp continued and the children got to know each other, their level of energy and enthusiasm rose, providing the facilitators with increased motivation. The facilitators were also encouraged by the request from parents and participants to continue the camp for more than 2 days adding they would be happy to return for a second year if the camp were to take place again.
This Camp was yet another promising program that continues to motivate and inspire the team of facilitators to keep going.
A three day conference on Sathya Sai Education was held at Puttaparthi in India from July 6 to 8, 2014. Eminent educators including two hundred and eighty-four teachers from over 55 countries came together to participate in this landmark conference organized by the Sathya Sai International Organisation.
Representatives from 28 Institutes of Sathya Sai Education and 40 Sathya Sai Schools worldwide spent 3 days discussing Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings on EDUCARE and the Sathya Sai Education in Human Values programme. The Canadian delegation was led by T. R. Pillay, Director, CISSE.
With a view to taking further Sathya Sai’s vision on Education, several areas were deliberated in the conference. Talks and Workshops explored a variety of best practices for delivering Sathya Sai Education, including Training Programs, Quality Assurance, Accreditation, School and Community Partnerships, Ideal Parenting, and many other topics.
Delegates agreed that whether they are in South Africa, Indonesia, Brazil, China, United States, Canada, Fiji, or Australia, all are focused on the same goal of promoting education based on the five human values of Truth, Right Conduct, Peace, Love, and Nonviolence. They are unified in their objective of promoting world peace and prosperity through love and the practice of the human values. Furthermore, the delegates affirmed that this vision of a better world can be achieved only by working cooperatively to share innovative ideas and transferable resources that can be adapted to their local cultures and conditions. All acknowledged that the key to sustainable success is based on their own dedication and practice of the five core human values.
The Canadian Institute of Sathya Sai Education(CISSE) is encouraged by the entries received from schools across Canada in the first year of the Contest.
Finalists were chosen on the basis of originality of design; clarity of theme message; emotional impact; and artistic merit.
The three judges were (left to right) Justine Janus-Miquel , Gee Kucy and Christina Lukomsky(Ananda) from Edmonton. Artists with many years of experience, they were pleased with the entries received and confessed having a difficult time choosing the winners.
As one of the people who helped select the winners of the Canadian Institute Of Sathya Sai Education’s “Art From The Heart” national Art Competition, I want all you children who sent your artwork to know that it was a very deep “heart experience” for me to behold your lovely efforts. I not only admired each precious unique entry, but also found myself connecting with the emotions each of you conveyed. I felt your joy, excitement, wonder and love as you painted us some wonderful impression or influence on your young lives. I felt like writing each and any one of you (not only the selected winners), a little note, telling you what I personally loved about your artwork. Please, dear ones, do imagine that I did so. I also admire you all because you all took up the challenge to take part in CISSE’s very first national art contest. Thank you. Keep dreaming your visions. Keep creating your heart’s truth. I love you all. – C. Lukomskyj
With my background in Graphic Design and having worked as Art Director in diverse media, I thought it an easy enough task to judge art work of Canada’s youth who participated in the contest. I could not have been more wrong! It was a difficult task because of the overwhelming variety of truly good art that was presented to us three judges. It was difficult not only to ‘find’ the one who pictured most perfectly the contest theme, but also to put aside so many which were amazingly artistic. To all the ones who were not chosen, it does not mean you were less of an artist…-Gee Kucy
In this competition, many of the youth showed the beauty that they have within. It was a gift to experience the beauty of many of the paintings. Even now I contemplate one in particular, when I look up at the sky, and reflect on that child’s visual expression of a “Happy Day.”. That painting made me appreciate every moment of looking upward, to see what that child saw. My gratitude goes out to every child who participated in this very meaningful event, as many of the paintings touched me very deeply. Some of the artists in their sincerity, very clearly expressed what is most important in life …. simple, good human values.- Justine Janus-Miquel
The Prizes were: First Prize: $250 Second Prize: $150 Third Prize: $100 for each of the four groups. Plus Certificates. Honourable Mentions: Certificates
For a list of Award Winners and their art work, go to link
The Canadian Institute of Sathya Sai Education (CISSE) conducted a National Dynamic Parenting Facilitators’ Training Workshop from May 17-19, 2014. The nineteen participants, including two from Calgary, one from Montreal, and one from Cambridge found the sessions highly interactive and stimulating.
Participants were unanimous about the loving atmosphere and the excellent role modeling of values demonstrated by the team facilitators, which they would like to emulate.
Throughout the workshops, participants felt highly energized and fully motivated to continue providing service to parents by becoming facilitators. As a follow-up, the Greater Toronto Area participants will be undertaking practical intensive training sessions during the months of June and August/September 2014.
In support of character and values education in Canadian schools, the Canadian Institute of Sathya Sai Education (CISSE) is pleased to announce an Art Contest ArtfromtheHeart 2014 for students from Grades 1 -12 . The objective of the Contest is to nurture positive attitudes in students by providing stimulating themes for an imaginative and creative artistic expression of the goodness students see around them.
In addition to the themes, the attractive prizes for all four groups and the motivational You Tube presentation http://youtu.be/ZvbvXFp4xAc is certain to encourage participation.
We hope that Principals and teachers will make use of this National contest as an appealing enrichment activity.
Sathya Sai School teachers gave up eight days of their holidays to take part in an activity-filled workshop on Sathya Sai Education in Human Values (SSEHV) organized by the Canadian Institute of Sathya Sai Education (CISSE) at the Sathya Sai School, Toronto from August 18-25th, 2012.
Of the 22 who registered for Course 1 of the Diploma in SSEHV offered by the Institute, there was a sizeable number from the school: 5 teachers currently on staff; 3 new teachers; 2 school volunteers; plus the principal, Dr. Revathi Chennabathni.
“This was a great opportunity for our new teachers to learn about the Philosophy of Sathya Sai Educare which underpins all that we do at the school,” she said. “I was also pleased with the way the staff bonded with the new teachers and with each other. It is a great start for the new school year.”
It was a positive experience for all. The older staff wished they had done this before and the non- teacher participants from Toronto, Edmonton and Montreal benefited from the lively and active participation of the teachers who shared their ideas on effective lesson planning for values and character education.
In this Introductory Course in SSEHV, participants covered various topics such as: the life and teachings of Universal Teacher Sathya Sai Baba; the philosophy of Sathya Sai Education: EDUCARE; the Five Human Values; the pedagogy of integral education; the relationship of the human personality and human values; the five teaching techniques; curricular and co-Curricular Models for Implementing SSEHV; the importance of an environment and culture of love; teacher as exemplar of human values; and the core tenets of SSEHV. (See web site: cisse.ca for information on programs of the Institute)
The presenters were Seema Poddar (Teacher, Sathya Sai School; Praveen Muruganandan (Coordinator, MBA Program, York University; Jaya Chawla (Educator, Montreal); Roopa Reddy (Lecturer, University of Waterloo); Rishima Bahadoorsingh (Public school teacher, Burnaby); Ahalya Ganeshan ( Teacher, Toronto District School Board); Gunjan Sahni (Teacher, Peel School Board); Teep Menon(Teacher, Montreal District School Board); and T.R. Pillay (Director, CISSE).
The eight day course concluded with fun group presentations on model lessons on selected values and sub-values and on the key elements of SSEHV. Participants will receive certificates on submission of their Field Projects by February 2013.
A participant from Edmonton shared the following:
I want to congratulate the entire team of facilitators for delivering a superb 8 day Introductory Course. I must say I was a bit worried about being in a course for 8 full days. The facilitators made the 8 days go quickly making it fun with varied activities and thought provoking discussions. Through all this and the music and skits, I feel that we learnt the material well. Even the work- related conferences or consultants-delivered courses I have attended in the past, were not as flawlessly delivered as the 8 day CISSE workshop. My congratulations to the whole team. I am very proud to be part of a team of such high calibre.
I plan to integrate the 5 teaching techniques in my weekly Sunday classes with high school students. Thank you once again. I look forward to moving ahead with this work.
"The Course was certainly transformational and inspiring," concluded Edith Recht, School Secretary, who did the course last year, and acted as auditor and monitor for the Institute which is planning to offer the Course again next summer in Vancouver.