Sikh Summer School

In light of the recent post on Punjabi classes in California high schools, I ran into this article in the Chronicle Herald about Sikh summer school:SundaySchool.jpg

A couple of years ago Aman Tuts seven-year-old daughter asked her if she could wear a Christian cross. Tut was surprised because she and her husband are Sikhs… So they enrolled their girls in summer school at the Golden Triangle Sikh Association temple near Petersburg, just west of Kitchener.

The Tut family works weekends and isn’t able to attend the weekly Sunday services and school programs at their gurdwara. The local gurdwaras have come up with a really interesting model to augment their typical “Sunday school” courses.

Four years ago, organizers started a weekday program that runs from 4 p.m. to about 9 p.m. each day. Unlike most vacation Bible school programs that run for a week or two at many churches, kids attend the Sikh program from early July to the end of August… At the beginning of each class, about a dozen students take music lessons on instruments that are used during Sikh worship services. The boys learn to beat rhythms on tabla drums, and girls are taught the basics of the harmonium, an instrument resembling both a tabletop organ and an accordion. By 5 p.m. the majority of students have arrived for classes in Punjabi language, Sikh history and religion.

I don’t know if, as an adult, I would be able to make it to a class every day, but I really liked how the organization had set up their summer school classes, and I wonder if it could be extended or expanded into a “night classes” model for adults during the rest of the year, as well. It seems like a really helpful and interesting alternative to Sikh youth camps, which are often too short or lack enough context to help kids build long-term knowledge and skills. It also has the added benefit of being close to parents who may be concerned about sending their kids away but still want them to benefit from a religious education. What do you think, readers? Between high school programs and night courses, what model of instruction (and time commitment) would work for you, individually, and possibly for your child?


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12 Responses to “Sikh Summer School”

  1. Singh says:

    Sounds like a nice system. I hope they don't actually separate girls and boys into harmonium and tabla classes respectively. Talk about anti-Sikh gender-biased segregation.

  2. Singh says:

    Sounds like a nice system. I hope they don’t actually separate girls and boys into harmonium and tabla classes respectively. Talk about anti-Sikh gender-biased segregation.

  3. Camille says:

    I actually wouldn't be surprised if they did; when I was a young girl at kirtan classes (after Sunday school, but still at the gurdwara at Sunday) girls were FORBIDDEN from being taught the tabla, despite high interest. Boys were allowed their choice of tablas, vaajaa, or both :(

  4. Camille says:

    I actually wouldn’t be surprised if they did; when I was a young girl at kirtan classes (after Sunday school, but still at the gurdwara at Sunday) girls were FORBIDDEN from being taught the tabla, despite high interest. Boys were allowed their choice of tablas, vaajaa, or both :(

  5. JSD says:

    Seriously Singh and Camille, is that all you guys think about? The Gender Issue? Its an article that talks about something alot more grand than your little personal beliefs. This article discusses the importance of learning about Sikhi yet we get you two who would rather talk about gender differences. Annoying.

  6. Camille says:

    JSD, is gender equity a "personal little belief"?

    As the author of this post, my focus was on the educational model, but I am more than happy to respond to a subcomponent, as Singh highlighted. Is there something about "the Gender Issue" (as you call it) that makes you uncomfortable?

  7. JSD says:

    Seriously Singh and Camille, is that all you guys think about? The Gender Issue? Its an article that talks about something alot more grand than your little personal beliefs. This article discusses the importance of learning about Sikhi yet we get you two who would rather talk about gender differences. Annoying.

  8. Camille says:

    JSD, is gender equity a “personal little belief”?

    As the author of this post, my focus was on the educational model, but I am more than happy to respond to a subcomponent, as Singh highlighted. Is there something about “the Gender Issue” (as you call it) that makes you uncomfortable?

  9. Singh says:

    JSD, there is a sizable portion of the bani in Guru Granth Sahib ji particularly dedicated to "the Gender Issue" (as you call it), but I hope you don't find your Guru annoying.

  10. Singh says:

    JSD, there is a sizable portion of the bani in Guru Granth Sahib ji particularly dedicated to “the Gender Issue” (as you call it), but I hope you don’t find your Guru annoying.

  11. Bible Verse says:

    First-Class post.Sustain the cool work,You must definitely have to keep updating your site

  12. Bible Verse says:

    First-Class post.Sustain the cool work,You must definitely have to keep updating your site