Montessori & Maharishi’s 16 Principles of Consciousness Based Learning

Have you heard of the 16 Principles of SCI?

Explore maharishi montessori preschoolAt Maharishi School our students have a unique interdisciplinary course called the Science of Creative Intelligence where they see underlying, universal principles that are common to the structure and functioning of life—their academic subjects, in nature, and in themselves. For example, we see how life is structured in layers: whether in the earth’s crust, our government, the analysis of literature, a math theorem, or one’s family and personality.

This is one way Maharishi School cultivates vertical thinking: making connections between all the details on the surface of life with the big ideas at their basis. In the table below you will see comparisons made with each individual principle and aspects of the Montessori education.

SCI and Montessori

SCI is implemented differently at various grade levels. Our Kindergarten through 2nd grade teacher Susan Harper has explained each of the sixteen principles in reference to aspects of the Montessori style education.

Maharishi SCI Principles                                         Susan Harper Montessori

The Nature of Life is to GrowWe encourage the child to learn and grow in every way.
Order is Present EverywhereThe Montessori classroom is very ordered. The materials are presented and displayed in the order of the scope and sequence of their use. Each lesson has a particular sequence that is followed to complete the task.
Life is Found in LayersEach lesson builds on the next. Seemingly unrelated materials prepare the child for things to come.
Outer Depends on InnerA child’s outer persona is determined by his inner feelings. We teach the whole child, inside and out.
Water the Root to Enjoy the FruitWe prepare the children for life. They will one day be in charge and we will depend on them to take care of us.
Rest and Activity are Steps of ProgressRest is crucial for our children to progress, grow and learn!
Enjoy Greater Efficiency and Accomplish MoreFinding joy in learning ignites a spark that leads a rich life.
Every Action has a ReactionEach child has power in the universe, our words, actions and deeds have power.
Purification Leads to ProgressBeing healthy in mind, body and spirit is important.
The Field of All Possibilities is the Course of All SolutionsWe choose our destinies.
Thought leads to Action, Action leads to Achievement, Achievement leads to FulfillmentThe process of working brings satisfaction.
Knowledge is Gained Inside and Outside We internalize information/knowledge and then we share it.
Knowledge is Structured in ConsciousnessThe world is as we are.
Harmony Exists in DiversityThe Montessori classroom is the inclusive classroom, each child is appreciated for his/her gifts.
The Whole is Contained in Every PartIn Montessori we teach the whole child. Whole child education understands the connections between the body and mind.
The Whole is More than the Sum of its PartsOur classroom community is a special place for children.

Montessori and the whole child

Dr. Maria Montessori talks about education for the whole child, this directly correlates with the concepts behind teaching Maharishi’s 16 Principles because there is no fragmented or compartmentalized knowledge montessori classroom at maharishi schoolin a child’s education.

For example in Montessori style of education incorporates both left brain and right brain learning, and values it equally, “Intelligence is not preferred over physical or spiritual development, and the emotional health of the child is at the forefront.” This idea is discussed in depth at the Spring Stone Montessori School. Whole child education engages the child by appealing to his/her natural curiosity and showing the purpose behind learning.

Together the 16 Principles of SCI and Montessori focus on the child as a fully formed human being rather than a blank slate. We appreciate and respect that a child is capable of all possibilities and that knowledge is intrinsic in each child.

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

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School in the Time of a Pandemic

Things are different this year…

sanitize hands students 2020 coronavirus pandemic

Students using hand sanitizer before each class.

It’s two weeks into the 2020 school year at Maharishi School and the students are just starting to settle into

their new way of learning in a pandemic. For some that means social distancing and wearing a mask inside the classroom with their peers, for others that means staying home and logging into Zoom on the computer.

We currently have 72% of our student population in person, who get their temperature taken each day, sanitize their hands before stepping into the classroom and wear masks while inside the building.

How do the kids feel?

indie in school learning kindergarten during pandemic

Indie Picard

I’ve gotten feedback from several parents and students about what they’re going through with this new hybrid learning. Emmy Auge is the mother of Indira Picard, a 5 year old who just started Kindergarten and is doing in-class learning.

 “Indie is doing better with her mask than I anticipated, she’s definitely understanding the safety precautions of wearing it. Her class size is so small that it seems less scary for her than if she was in a class of 20 or 30 kids. I’m happy with her being in school because I know she missed the stimulation and routine of school. Seeing her friends, even if it’s from a distance, is so beneficial for her happiness.”

Lily Fenton is 16 years old, in 11th grade and participating in both in-class and online learning, here she talks about these changes;

lily in school and online learning during pandemic

Lily Fenton

    “I’m doing well with in school learning, although it is weird having half of my class online. I like having a schedule and a place where I can have face-to-face connections. Before coming to school in-person, I thought that online school was my preference, however, I have found that I am more productive when I have the feeling of physically going somewhere. Additionally, during our first days of school, I thought that the masks and new protocols were hard to deal with because it was something I was not used to. Now, the masks and protocols have reached normalcy and have integrated well into my day to day life.”

 

What’s it like learning online?

Natalie Kahiu is 9 years old in 4th grade and her mother Mala Markowitz talks about how she’s currently doing with online learning;

      “Natalie wakes up enthusiastic and eager to learn remotely from the comfort and ease of home. She loves to go outside in her new

natalie online learningneighborhood during recess or writing to reflect on the world around her. She likes to draw and write about what she sees. So much to learn! She loves remote learning. Her next big adventure is global learning where she gets to travel in an RV and move around from state to state learning about different cultures, food and people. She wants to study anthropology in college and she wants to be an anthropologist when she grows up.”

Return to learning during a pandemic

At Maharishi School we believe that in-person schooling is the priority for the holistic health and development of our students. In-person education allows greater social-emotional experience with peers and teachers, more hands on learning, and more easily facilitated group projects.

We are still accepting applications for the 2020-2021 school year. Our Admissions Team is available to connect and we encourage you to reach out to us at admissions@maharishischool.org

To learn more about how Maharishi School has responded to the coronavirus pandemic, click here.

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

To learn more about school events and student life, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

NY Times Article: The 2020 Back-to-School List for Teens’ Emotional Well-Being

Forget backpacks and binders. Here are the essentials teenagers will need for the strange school year ahead.

By Lisa Damour

In a sea of Covid-19 confusion, this seems certain: The pandemic will disrupt school this fall. Attending school part-time, sporadically as viral outbreaks allow, or completely remotely may make excellent medical sense. But learning from home, or being constrained by in-school safety protocols, will reduce students’ exposure to the ordinary magic — the woven-in forces that promote healthy adolescent development — that happens at school.

Can parents help compensate for what will necessarily be lost? Yes. Forget the backpacks and binders. Here are the essential supplies teenagers will need for the strange school year ahead.

The healthy adolescent trajectory toward independence involves loosening emotional ties to parents and strengthening ties to peers. This critical transition almost certainly happens best when teenagers can get together in person. While communication technology has been a welcome asset for many adolescents since the pandemic began, a recent survey found that 61 percent of teenagers reported feeling more lonely as a result of the pandemic.

Given that adolescents cannot, at present, count on hanging out with peers during the school day, we should make sure that they still have ways to see their friends. Unfortunately, teenagers often fail to observe social distancing guidelines, even if they start off with the best of intentions. They may need supervision or specific guidance, such as having them meet outdoors or go on bike rides with friends — wearing masks when appropriate.

When teenagers bristle at our rules for socializing, as they understandably will, we can explain that we are not trying to be at odds with them. Rather, we are on their side against the shared enemy of Covid-19. As such, we can also invite and take seriously teenagers’ suggestions about how they might visit with their peers while keeping themselves and others healthy.

Teenagers benefit from spending time with adults who aren’t their parents; it’s not easy to establish independence and take guidance from one’s folks at the very same time. Thankfully, adolescents will accept the same advice from a mentor or boss that they would reflexively rebuff from their parents. And though they can be quick to dismiss praise from their parents on the grounds that we cannot possibly be objective, they’ll take to heart compliments from teachers, coaches and advisers.

But many adults who work in schools are already expressing concern about their ability to make meaningful connections with students online or in classrooms where everyone is wearing a mask and contending with safety rules. So we should look for ways to help teenagers put caring adults in their traffic patterns if they have to miss out on in-person time with the grown-ups they usually see at school.

Now, more than ever, raising children may take a village. Include your teenagers when finding socially distanced ways to spend time with adults they like. Barter mentoring with your friends: Offer to engage their teenager around a shared interest and see if they can do the same for yours. If your adolescent can safely hold a job, volunteer in the community or be active at your place of worship under the watchful eye of a trustworthy adult, help make that happen.

Routines are the best way to ensure that critical needs get met. They are good for everyone, including teenagers. A reliable daily schedule with designated time for learning, leisure, physical activity and sleep promotes overall well-being and reduces the stress of making plans on the fly. Under normal conditions, going to school forces students into routines that usually keep them busy, growing and active. In contrast, during the unstructured time of weekends and summers young people are more likely to use screens, be sedentary, eat poorly and fall into irregular sleep patterns.

 

Missing Maharishi School Tennis? We Have Too!

History of Tennis

maharishi school tennis champions

Tennis is one of the predominant sports at Maharishi School. Our Pioneer tennis program is renowned in Iowa for 20 State Championships–singles (9), doubles (6) and team tennis (5). Maharishi School is the only Iowa high school to win three Triple Crowns (1999, 2000, 2014) winning State Singles, Doubles, and Team titles in the same year. It’s also true that Maharishi School is the only Iowa high school to win consecutive Triple Crowns–1999 and 2000. Needless to say we love tennis!

Our four indoor courts and our outstanding coaches provide a path to excellence and several of our graduates have gone on to compete at the university level.

On-court success can be measured in another way, beyond wins and losses. We have a proud tradition of exemplary sportsmanship, of demonstrating our school’s Core Values of Respect and Responsibility, even in the heat of competition. That is social and emotional fitness, another factor in a well-balanced, integrated life.

Tennis tournament in Fairfield

Maharishi School didn’t get to have a spring tennis season at all this year due to the coronavirus, so our Head of School Dr. Richard Beall organized a fun and competitive tournament! This way everyone who missed out on the previous season could join together with the addition of teachers, alumni and community members. Here are some pictures of those  who participated in the event.

 

maharishi school girls sportsmaharishi school alumni tennismaharishi school boys sportsmaharishi school tennis

Click here to see more pictures from the event on our Flickr account!

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

Find out about our school events and student life, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

How to Shift Teens from a Complainer to a Reformer?

Learning to command change

Teens today can often be misunderstood. Their dialogues are quick to get emotionallyempowering teens charged and the older generation could describe them as complainers.  I would not argue with that label at times, but, as with all characteristics, it has a flip side that can be embraced. We have to ask ourselves, how do we as adults help to empower teens to become reformers and not complainers?

Teens will at times find complaints about life inside their social circles, family life, or at school. As parents we wish we could tell our kids to demand a higher expectation or outcome for their life and from their friends. Instead of complaining we want to shift their perspective to the status of a reformer who can take charge of their life and do what needs to be done. So how can the change be made from a complainer to a reformer?

How to become a reformer

The definition of a reformer is a person who makes changes to something in order to improve it. As a teen this can be done by becoming highly alert to your surroundings and its context.

“When you start to feel yourself wanting to complain or are unhappy with your current situation, stop and examine those feelings. Ask yourself, what can I do to change this?

empowering teensIf it feels like something is out of your control, find someone with a higher amount of control and approach them to make the change.”

Even if the teen is unable to physically make the change, that doesn’t mean they can’t start a conversation with people who can!

The parents role

Instead of complainers, I advise parents to see your teens as reformers. Meaning that they’re not satisfied with the way things are because they know it could be better and are willing to work to change them. Feeling powerless is often the source of teen angst. Therefore parents need to put them in a position of power in which they can solve their own problems, as set up and modeled by the adults.

You can start in the home. Interview your teen, or start the tradition of family meetings, to see what they’re happy and unhappy with in the family setting. Having power at home can give them that boost of confidence they need to make changes at school or even in their social circles. A teens observations and demands for change come from a passionate belief that life should be as good for everyone as it has been for themselves.

This can be done by demanding equity and compassion in all areas of life. Becoming areformer is a powerful position from which to approach the wider world that our teens inevitably enter. Teens today represent a cross-section of the world across all parameters—women and men of color, a range of religions and ethnicities, national origins and visa

healthy teens at a party, empowering teens

statuses, complex family dynamics, sex and gender roles.

Challenging teens to do the work

We have many teens today that are willing to do the work to make the changes.  We must present them with the right challenges to get them moving in a positive direction. We want our teens to work hard and take full advantage of any opportunity or challenge put in their path.

Your teen can go from being a complainer to being someone who is willing to jump in and work hard to make that change happen, not perfectly from the beginning but ideally in the end.

Learning to be a reformer is never a clean and perfect process but we take and celebrate each small accomplishment along the path. Our role as parents is to call it out and say “I see your power in action, keep building on that!” Teens are going through many changes on the physical and emotional level. Help your teen by adding a tool for releasing stress into their daily routine. Click here to learn about Transcendental Meditation for your teen!

Interested in learning about how the hero’s journey narrative can help your teenager? Click here.

To learn more about Transcendental Meditation at our school, click here.

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

Find out about our school events and student life, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Private School Profile: Maharishi School

Pop Quiz

Interested in learning more about a private boarding school in Iowa? Here are five questions and answers, that will introduce you to the world of Maharishi School!

  1. What will my child have to wear?

boarding students at Maharishi SchoolPrivate schools tend to have dress codes. Most are fairly simple, but some require clothing with the school logo. If the school your child is attending requires a specific logo or emblem on the clothing, they will direct you to the place you can purchase this article of clothing. For example, at Maharishi School, we go through Lands’ End for our school uniforms. We provide a special link to our uniforms.

2. Can I receive financial aid?

Definitely, over 70% of our students receive financial aid! Click here to find out more details on domestic and international boarding tuition and financial aid packages.

3. Will my child get the individual attention that they need?

Yes! Our teacher to student ratio is 1:5. This allows our teachers to make valuable connections with their students that last a lifetime.

4. If my child has a special skill, will they have time to advance in that area?

Our  Project-Based Learning Period gives students 70 minutes to explore their passions threerocketry project based learning at maharishi schooldays a week, whether in a teacher designed project or one they have proposed as an independent or small group project. They are exercising real-life skills in areas of interest, supported by teachers, community experts, and/or online resources. Project Period is another doorway to finding oneself.

5. What do you offer for stress management for my child?

At Maharishi School we invest in rest—of a special kind. Our students and teachers take time to transcend twice a day, with the practice of yoga and Transcendental Meditation. students meditate and release stressThis allows them to gain deep rest and dissolve stress before it accumulates. It improves brain functioning. In a world of nearly incessant outer stimuli, it gives them a respite of inner silence, a connection with their own individual true self.

Interested in learning more about why do people choose private schools? Click here to read our blog about it!

Click here to read our profile on Boarding School Review.

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

To learn more about our school events and student life, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Summertime for Boarding Students: Pandemic Edition

Have you been wondering what our boarding students are doing this summer?

Given the restrictions on gatherings of large groups, and considering the safety and protection of our summer in the dorms for boarding studentsboarding students, we’re still able to provide them a fun and active summertime experience! Read this blog to see how we’ve modified our summer schedule to suit the needs of our kids.

What is an average “day in the life” of a boarding student during summertime?

Many of our boarders are involved in enrichment courses with the Maharishi School faculty– to strengthen math and language skills. This prepares them for the upcoming school year.
Other students are taking regular tennis lessons. Each week a new activity is available as hosted by the boarding student supervisor’s; for example this week, a couple of boarders are doing the Laser Tag Camp.
Monday through Friday we have a delicious catered lunch from the Golden Dome Market and our local HyVee caters lunches on the weekends. Sushi remains a regular weekend favorite of boarding students being sillythe boarding students.
Our students take regular walks and trips to the stores/cafes on the Fairfield Square.
We can accommodate any special requests by our boarding students as long as they are within the guidelines as designated by the CDC and the administrators of Maharishi School.

What are some fun weekend activities that are available during the summer for boarding students?

Under normal conditions we would be going to movies, shopping at the mall, eating out, seeing performances at Sondheim, going to Adventureland, trampoline park, water park, pool, etc. Because of the pandemic this creates various limitations, however we host game and movie nights in our dormitory for the kids!
boarding students fun summerAnother perk of summertime for the boarding students it that they get to sleep in for as long as they are comfortable, but bedtimes remain the same as during the school year. Click here to see what the daily routine is for a boarding student during the school year!
To read more about boarding at Maharishi School, click here.

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

Want to know how Maharishi School responded to the coronavirus, click here.

Who is Speaking At Graduation?

Jessica Hawthorne-Castro to speak at 2020 Graduation Ceremony

We are honored to have Maharishi School Alumni Jessica Hawthorne-Castro as our distinguished guest speaker for the 2020 graduation ceremony! We will be having an “outdoor (in person) – online” hybrid, using event our spacious courtyard to accommodate the 10 graduates who’ll still be here, while the other five students will be tuning in online from China, Korea, and Mexico.

graduate

We wish we could share it with everyone but it needs to be a private event to maximize safety, everyone will be wearing masks, sanitizing hands and practicing social distancing. A video of the full graduation ceremony will be posted on our Youtube channel at a later date.

About Maharishi School Alumni Jessica Hawthorne-Castro

A Fairfield native and proud Maharishi School graduate, Jessica Hawthorne-Castro is currently based in Los Angeles and the CEO and owner of
Hawthorne Advertising, an award winning technology-based advertising agency specializing in analytics and accountable brand

maharishi school 2020 graduation speaker alumni jessica hawthorne

campaigns. Hawthorne Advertising was founded in Fairfield, IA nearly 35 years ago by Tim Hawthorne, and now has offices in Fairfield, Los Angeles and employees in several other states across the country.

Hawthorne Advertising has a legacy of ad industry leadership by being a visionary in combining the art of right-brain creativity with the science of left-brain data analytics and neuroscience. Many of the company philosophies can be tied back to the curriculum she studied at Maharishi School. Jessica’s role principally involves fostering long-standing client relationships with the company’s expansive base of Fortune 500 brands to develop highly strategic and measurable advertising campaigns, designed to ignite immediate consumer response. From strategy, creative and production to media and analytics, Jessica is committed to premium quality and innovation throughout all agency disciplines.

CEO of Hawthorne Advertising

As CEO of Hawthorne Advertising, Jessica has prioritized company culture and corporate social responsibility and is a Climate Change Reality Ambassador. Today, Hawthorne is a certifiedwoman-owned business by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), a Great Place to Work®, and on the Inc. 5000 list. She is a member of the Forbes

maharishi school 2020 graduation speaker alumni jessica hawthorne

Agency Council and Ad Age’s Agency Collective, invitation-only organizations for senior-level executives in public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. She is the incoming Chair of the Board for the  ANA ECHO Board of Governors, the elite group behind one of the most coveted prizes in marketing as well as a participant in TED International, TED Women communities and Vistage International. She is also a member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), the global organization empowering more than 28,000 members in more than 130 countries and is the Chapter Chair for YPO Los Angeles and on the YPO Pacific U.S Regional Executive Board.

Prior to joining Hawthorne Advertising, Hawthorne-Castro was a successful TV literary agent with William Morris Endeavor (formerly Endeavor), one of Hollywood’s top full-service talent agencies representing writers, directors and producers for television. As the agent for an maharishi school 2020 graduation speaker alumni jessica hawthorneimpressive list of WME’s top TV talent, she identified and negotiated opportunities for shows airing on all major broadcast and cable television networks. She also packaged key elements necessary to develop shows, working regularly with executives from ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, HBO, USA, Bravo and others.Jessica Hawthorne-Castro graduated from Maharishi School, then moved to Los Angeles and received a Bachelor’s degree from UCLA’s School of Arts and Architecture and then several years later went back to obtain her MBA from Loyola Marymount University. When Jessica isn’t busy with the company, culture, and board participation, she enjoys spending time with family, friends and traveling back to Fairfield and all over the world (over 50 countries so far and can thank Fairfield and its diverse roots for her love of travel). She resides in Los Angeles with her husband, 7 year old son and newborn daughter.

Click here to read, “A conversation with Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, CEO of Hawthorne,” and learn more about our graduation speaker.

Helping Teens Grow in Times of Crisis: The Hero’s Journey 

How can heroic narratives help teenagers?

We can look at “the hero’s journey” as a framework for what we are collectively experiencing as a society today.  Joseph Campbell is perhaps the world’s most renowned expert healthy teens at a partyon mythology and advisor to the likes of George Lucas, who based Star Wars on this archetypal journey. As adults, we need to help our students/children find their own archetypal journey amidst the grief and loss they are experiencing. We seek to reframe these challenging times in a way that is realistic, while observing quarantine protocol, but also give them hope for the future.

I want to talk about what has become an important topic during this time of isolation: the social-emotional well-being of our students. The stress and anxiety that adults experience are felt even more intensely by our adolescents. They may express their feelings in ways that are hard to interpret and even downright exasperating. That’s why the Hero’s Journey  can be a useful template to young adults and I am including a diagram of the journey, as I think it might be helpful for you to share with your children.

The Hero’s Journey

The Hero’s Journey is a classic story structure that’s shared by stories worldwide. Designed by academic Joseph Campbell in 1949. Many author’s draw on it to illustrate a wide-ranging category of tales in which a character ventures out to get what they need, faces conflict, and ultimately triumphs over adversity. The Hero’s Journey can be broken up into 4 main parts.

heros journey for teens in crises

Part 1: The ‘Call to Adventure’

The journey begins with some event that pulls the hero away from the comforts of home into an unknown world. Resistance to the call (the pull to remain in a child-like state) is normal as venturing out into the unfamiliar can be a daunting task. According to Joseph Campbell there could be a supernatural guide or mystical item that encourages the hero to go forward.

 

 

Part 2: The Initiation

Once the call to adventure is accepted by the hero, the journey will be the ultimate test and reveal  their true nature. The trials experienced on this road will force the hero to lose old coping skills and be pushed to new levels of self discovery. All energy in this phase is concentrated on resolution. A humbling of our hero occurs when there’s successes and failures, discovering new values, beliefs, and gains a deeper wisdom because of this. In this phase our hero may find a mentor or seek guidance from a higher power to aid on their journey

One example of the therapeutic use of the Hero’s Journey is by the CRC Health Group , which includes a wildlife treatment program that helps over 30,000 people every day overcome addiction and related issues. Meghan Vivo reflects on this issue in her blog “Slaying the Dragon: Teens Embark on the Hero’s Journey in the Wilderness.”

“Although the mythological road of trials is made up of ogres, demons, and three-headed monsters, today’s teenage hero faces obstacles like overcoming his use of alcohol, drugs, or other addictive and high-risk behaviors. His battle is with himself.”

Part 3: The Hero’s Transformation

The actions taken thus far on the journey have deeply changed our hero. There’s an inner and perhaps outer transformation that takes place when all tasks have been completed. This is necessary before the hero can return home with an expanded vision of life, a matured understanding of self, and lessons that will enrich the family as well as the boarding students at Maharishi Schoolcommunity.

Part 4: The Return 

The hero has a transformed perspective and is therefore “reborn” into an evolved version of self. Meaning has been found in the hero’s life where before there may have been a sense of purposelessness. Our hero has triumphed over the enemy and has returned with the freedom to live.

Life slows down and growth speeds up

You may be wondering what all of this has to do with being a teenager during a pandemic. Well many who study Joseph Cambell have related the coronavirus to a similar catalyst in the Hero’s Journey, the dark night of the soul. Here is an article by Vogler that he wrote a number of years ago explaining the hero’s journey. The website actually includes a new article that specifically likens Covid 19 to the “dark night of the soul.” Vogler explains in the following paragraph what that means.

“If it (coronavirus) really is the global darker night where the self-destructive complexity became as bad as it could get and in order to survive we had to hit a wall, then the virus is going to remain long enough to complete what it needs to do to create the circumstances needed to complete our transformation.”

Today’s experience of isolation can push us to the brink of what we previously were comfortable with in our minds. Perhaps we are forced to examine unhealthy habits of eating, or parts of ourselves that need closer work. This anxiety and/or depression that people are experiencing can be channeled into a drive for growth, adventure and challenge. One way that inner growth can be achieved is through the Transcendental Meditation® technique. To transcend, by definition, means to go beyond human limitations and to break boundaries. At Maharishi School, we teach you a technique to break internal boundaries and to sink deep into yourself, to tap into your essence and live in a state of flow.

Consciousness-based education

To learn more about the Hero’s Journey during the coronavirus click here.

To learn about Transcendental Mediation at our school click here.

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

To learn more about school events and student life, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Maharishi School in the Southeast Iowa Union 4/30/20

Classes have continued over Zoom for Fairfield’s private school

FAIRFIELD — While most schools in Iowa have opted for voluntary distance education during this quarantine, Maharishi School has not. The private school in Fairfield specializing in consciousness-based education has made its coursework mandatory.

That means the school can do everything it would during a normal school year, like give grades, which schools doing voluntary learning have offered options of giving students a “P” for passing instead of typical letter grades.

Maharishi School Head Dr. Richard Beall

Dr. Richard Beall, Maharishi School Head

Richard Beall, co-head of the school, said there were a number of reasons Maharishi School chose to make its classes mandatory, one of which was that administrators believed the students would benefit from sustained structure to their days. But first, the school had to determine whether its students had access to internet and devices to allow for online learning.

“We had to troubleshoot solutions for some families, and there are still instances where signal strength or other problems occur,” Beall said. “But generally our students and families have been able to connect and adjust to this different type of learning.”

Beall said most students strongly prefer the traditional, in-person style of education. Some students actually prefer the online model, while others are struggling with it.

“That is definitely a downside to this, but we’re trying to make adjustments — in collaboration with our teachers, students, and parents — to help these students succeed,” Beall said.

Parental investment

Another reason that Maharishi School is requiring participation is that parents have made a financial commitment to the school, and the school wants to fulfill its responsibility by finishing the academic year to the best of its ability. Academic director Kaye Jacob said a number of parents from other countries have sent their children to Maharishi School to prepare them for entry into U.S. colleges and universities.

“They have entrusted their children to our care and we want to provide them the best support we can, from keeping them safe in the dormitory on campus to offering them a full academic experience even under these circumstances,” Jacob said. “For those students who went home early, that even means setting up synchronous tutorial sessions for them when it is evening here and morning there, just to be sure they are able to keep up with their classes.”

Kaye Jacob, Academic Director, Maharishi School

Kaye Jacob, Academic Director, Maharishi School

The school’s enrollment director Carol Chesnutt said those boarding students who returned home to China or Korea last month are expected to complete their work just like everybody else.

“Of course, we don’t expect them to stay up until 4 a.m. to attend all the classes but they do need to arrange a separate time to meet with the teacher during the early morning or evening,” Chesnutt said. “This has stretched the workload for many of our high school teachers, but we do what we have to do to get these students ready for college.”

Maharishi School students will receive a full semester’s credit for their work, and most importantly, Jacob said, they will be ready for their next adventure. The school’s seniors have gained admittance to demanding colleges such as Oberlin, Sarah Lawrence, Princeton, Agnes Scott, the University of Iowa and Iowa State University.

“A significant number of our students are taking AP exams in a total of 11 different courses this spring and of course we want them to be fully prepared for those exams also,” Jacob said.

Jacob said the school has worked with families to set them up for distance education, whether by helping them get internet connectivity and even dropping off resources at their homes.

“For us, there really has not been a disadvantage to making school mandatory,” Jacob said. “I think our parents appreciate it also, as their kids are productively occupied all day long.”

Getting ready

In March, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that classes would be suspended beginning March 16 to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Even before this announcement, Maharishi School was busy preparing for distance learning. It used a professional development day to make a plan, and rolled it out two days before the school’s scheduled Spring Break. The school and its students took that break as planned, from March 23-27, during which time its teachers were preparing for online courses once the break ended.

Explore maharishi preschool“The next big reality check was when we knew this wasn’t a stopgap but would be our mode of instruction the rest of the school year,” Jacob said. “That called for some additional changes and adaptations, especially in preschool and Lower School.”

Online learning

Chesnutt is teaching an AP economics course to upper school students, and she’s found plenty of material on the internet for her students to study. She said she has made use of the “flipped” classroom model, whereby students are asked to watch a video or read an article at home, and then she will recap the concept and discuss the more obtuse issues during class time.

“Because I only have seven students in my class, I can easily attend to each student and be mindful of who is leaning out rather than leaning in,” Chesnutt said. “In Zoom, you can read a student’s face or expressions much more readily than in a physical classroom. As some students are digesting a new concept, they lean in to the screen, tilt their head, and within seconds they are raising their hand with a question. This close-up view on the learning process is a thrill to me.”

Laurie Eyre teaches two mathematics courses in the upper school. The classes last just 30 minutes each, which means Eyre must be “well organized and efficient.”

“Every minute counts,” she said.

Maharishi School Screenwriting project- online learningThe students meet once a day, five days a week. Eyre said she’s fortunate that her classes are relatively small, which makes it easier to interact and communicate with all the students.

“Zoom has wonderful features like ‘chat’ where I can send a message to all students, a few or one,” she said. “The breakout room feature allows for group work or private meeting time with one or more students without disturbing the others.”

In addition to being head of middle and upper schools, Jacob teaches an 11th grade English class. Her students are working on a literary analysis paper, a major assignment, and that means she often holds video conferences with each student individually as well as in a group.

The school’s physical education teachers are assigning homework, too, in the form of a scheduled fitness regimen. Zara Colazio, who teaches PE along with health and math, remarked “While they are doing their fitness routines on Zoom, I can mute their moans and groans if I want to and just watch the workout.”

Lower school

Lynn Shirai is director of the lower school, covering grades 1-6, and she also teaches third-grade writing. The lower school began its distance education using learning packets from March 18 through April 10, but since then has transitioned to remote online learning through Zoom like the other grades.

The students are receiving instruction in reading, writing, science, social studies, math, physical education, art, and the Science of Creative Intelligence. Shirai said the school is

Lower School student makes bird feeder at home learningtrying to keep parent-assisted homework to a minimum since so many parents are also working at home.

Shirai said teachers are constantly coming up with innovative ways to incorporate hands-on activities with the students, something that is not easy when they can’t meet in person. For instance, many of the grades performed hands-on projects for Earth Day. Second-graders made their own bird feeders.

 

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