In line with its overall objective of promoting South Indian culture, MACA has established two schools called Madras Cultural Academy (official name of MACA School) to teach Heritage and Tamil language classes, one in the East end of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and another in the West end of GTA to cater to the needs of our widespread community. The schools are being conducted during weekend and are meant for children & youth. The objective of these schools is to promote learning of Tamil language (reading/ comprehension, speaking and writing), and to promote an understanding and awareness of Indian culture, heritage and moral values in children to help their cultural, spiritual and overall personality development. The schools are staffed by dedicated volunteer teachers who are passionate and committed to this mission. The schools are targeted at children in the age group of 8 to 15 years.
The West end school is conducted every Sunday from 11-1pm at the South common mall community centre in
In the Tamil class (one hour every week) the teachers use stories, structured lessons, exercises and games to allow children at different levels to gain a good understanding of the basics and help them to communicate effectively in Tamil. Students are divided into groups (based on age) to allow a smaller student/teacher ratio as well as customization for each age group.
In the culture and heritage class (one hour every week), the class begins with a brief meditation to break the student’s pre-occupation and help calm down to develop focus. Following this is a discussion of either a moral story or a specific festival or function depending on the week. Students discuss how they celebrate a festival, how it used to be celebrated back in , the spiritual or mythological significance and how to explain the same to local friends from other faiths. After this part, students work on their respective “Poorna Vidya” workbooks (a set of 12 books to be completed in sequence, published in under the guidance of Swami Dayananda Saraswathi) with some assistance from the teachers. These books contain lessons on universal/religious values, Hinduism, Hindu scriptures, Indian ithihasas, puranas and mythological stories; each lesson is followed by simple exercises (fill in the blanks, match-the-following etc.) which facilitate testing/assessment and retention of key concepts learned. Work completed by students is corrected by the teachers to additional guidance provided as needed. The medium of instruction is in English. From time to time students work on interesting hands-on projects to do their own research and produce posters and other displays and speak about their findings.
As part of the schools, students are taken on Field trips to nearby temples. The objective of such visits is to explain the significance of temples and temple architecture, idols of gods and rituals in the temple and benefits of temple visit and prayers. Students find the school an excellent way to network with others and form a sense of community and support system right from that young age. The same students often also participate in MACA’s annual programs to display their skills and learning.
At the West end school, MACA has been conducting Yoga classes for its members for the last two years. The classes are limited in size and are held every Sunday from 10 to 11am.
If you have children in this age group, MACA highly recommends that you enroll them in one of the schools to take advantage of MACA’s investment in the schools.