Adjusting to Covid Protocols in School

The two month mark of being back at school is rapidly approaching. For some of our students this will be their inauguration for being back in a large-group setting for this first time in a year! You may be wondering how the students are handling all of this?

Our directors of the Lower, Middle, and Upper school as well as the boarding student supervisor reflect on how the kids are doing at this point in the year.

Kaye Jacob, Middle/Upper School Director

“This year we plan to launch a Middle School Student Council—and also hold regular MiddleKaye Jacob, Academic Director, Maharishi School
School assemblies. Our goal is to create as much opportunity for leadership experience, active
learning—and fun—as possible. We are also looking forward to being able to take students on
field trips—to outdoor locations such as Wilson’s Orchard as well as to museums and
performance venues, depending (of course) on our capacity to maintain Covid-safe protocols.

I think students are overall less anxious this year about the Covid protocols because they are accustomed to them and, more importantly, I believe that they are convinced that wearing masks and getting vaccinated (as the older ones have) actually have worked to keep our covid mask middle schoolcommunity safe and almost entirely Covid-free all last year. When students see the logic and meaning behind what they are doing, they tend to fall naturally into the routine of it. Not ONE student that I have seen so far has even hesitated to wear a mask–and wear it properly–so far this year.”

 

Lynn Shirai, Lower School Director

Lynn Shirai Lower School Director Maharishi School“The children are accommodating easily to our Covid protocols, and mask wearing seems second nature to them now. There’s a lot of handcovid mask lower school washing and social distancing going on also. Thank you for reminding your children of the importance of following all of our safety guidelines during this time. Everyone seems contented and so full of happiness being with their friends once again.”

David Pohlman, Boarding Student Supervisor

“Like previous years, the boarding students have shown great flexibility with adapting to the pandemic safety protocols. We saw this during the initial days of this school year when students had to follow an “isolation” procedure upon moving into the dorm. Students had to eatdavid pohlman boarding in their rooms and wear masks at all times when outside of their dorm room.
Interactions with others inside the dorm were limited, but encouraged outside. Each of these students needed to complete a final Covid test before joining everyone for regular activities, including in-person school.
We actually have fewer protocols in the dorm than when the pandemic started– mainly because we all have a better understanding of how the virus is transmitted than before.
For example, we no longer emphasize sanitizing surfaces as a strategy for prevention. Also, last year, we were able to have all but one dorm student fully vaccinated at the request of their parents. This year, we currently have a mix of vaccinated and un-vaccinated. We will need to consider what this means for the mask covid kidsliving environment and mask usage there.
Overall, the boarding students go with the flow and show respect toward each other and the safety guidelines we have established for the well being of everyone.”
To read our blog about “What the pandemic has taught us,” click here.

Want to read more about our Return-to-Learn plan, 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.

What the Pandemic Taught Us

Learning from a crises

With the Fall school year rapidly approaching, it seems like a good time to reflect on the past and what we’ve learned. One of the biggest lessons of the last year for parents and school administrators alike is how hard teaching is during a pandemic! Not only did teachers have to be creative and engaging in the classroom but the last year required them to become experts in newmiddle school pandemic mask technologies as well. The next hurdle for teachers to overcome was creating the strategies for getting students to participate in coursework from the comfort of their homes as well as in person. The challenges were endless but so we’re the rewards. Some of which might actually surprise you!

Online learning pros and cons from our teachers

I spoke with Maharishi School’s Third and Fourth-grade teacher Diane James about her experience, “I realized how deep my devotion and commitment was to have my students thrive academically and emotionally through this pandemic.  I moved into action and by the end of the year they truly ‘graduated” from their grade. I introduced Padlet, Google Classroom, Flipgrid, and Jamboard and surrendered to the technical genius of nearly the whole class to master each online program.  These programs connect the hybrid learning situation we were in. We danced and exercised every day.  We went outside whenever we could.”

The struggles that children experience in the classroom often indicate that a student may be having difficulties at home. In the case of the pandemic many members of our school community, students, and adults have experienced hardships.

Diane goes into further detail about this in her classroom, “I allowed myself to be vulnerable.  I cried in front of them (her students). I had to share the times I felt extremely sad and impatient.  I felt them as well. And yet, there was a class consciousness that said,” WE GOT THIS.”

David Pohlman is the Consciousness, Connections, and Life Skills (CCLS) teacher as well as the Residential Life supervisor for the boarding students at Maharishi School. Here is his reflection on what the pandemic has taught him.

“I’m impressed by the adaptable and responsible planning of our school leaders and my teaching colleagues who made a year of hybrid learning safe and successful. The students showed the same level of adaptability and responsibility and it created a sense of normalcy to the school year and whether in-person or online, the students progressed academically with hardly a blip.”

“When I see, too, the divergent responses to the pandemic on a national level, it has made me even more aware of the need to teach critical thinking skills to help students navigate the field of information and misinformation.”

I also talked to Kaye Jacob who is the Academic Director of the Middle/Upper School as well as an ELA and English Literature teacher. She goes into greater detail about the learning curve of last year, “It is by sheer determination, dedication, and professionalism that the Maharishi School teachers

kaye jacob administrator of maharishi school

and staff were able to offer a hybrid model of education for students, essentially letting them choose the mode of delivery that made them feel the safest, even if it meant (as it regularly did) teachers on Zoom calls at 10:00 pm at night with students in Korea, or accommodating just one or two students on Zoom in the classroom while attempting to create interactive, hands-on activities for those attending in person.”

“It was a challenging year, to say the least, and I honestly hope that parents and students appreciate the level at which we were able to ensure that students were, for the most part, meeting or exceeding the curriculum standards in all subject areas, across all grade levels–and even participating in activities, when it was safe.  It is a tribute of course to the resilience of our students themselves and their tremendous level of cooperation and even compliance with the safety standards we implemented, however restrictive they would have felt.”

The curve of online learning

mask pandemicA situation in which a student may be struggling can pivot quickly from containable to critical, especially if the student is already in a vulnerable group. What’s different about the last year for us is that our “vulnerable group” included every student, teacher, parent, and member of our community.

One of the biggest lessons of this past year is to be ready for the unexpected. This is why Maharishi School has put practices in place that ensure the safety of everyone.

We believe that in-person learning is the most effective and that the remote approach to learning is not ideal.  However, our desire is to support each family in the way they believe best supports their children which is why we are offering both learning approaches.

While some of our students have taken to screen school with aplomb and even a greater degree of confidence, others have reported that it is stressful and tiring to be on computers all day long—and that meeting their friends only virtually makes them feel their isolation more acutely.

Emphasize engagement

As an institution, we are committed to supporting our families and students.  Please communicate if your student needs time with our mental health counselor or if you need an alternative tuition payment plan.

“Learning is, or at least should be, a social activity, as students exchange ideas and contribute to activities, building on the divergent skills and aptitudes in the group. It is much more challenging to attempt to simulate that exchange through online learning, although I am amazed at how resourceful our teachers were this year at getting students to be active learners even online, through clever apps and features available to them.” -Kaye Jacob, Academic Director

 

Want to read more about our Return-to-Learn plan, 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.

How to Prepare for School: Fall 2021 Edition

What should you expect?  And who decides?

The Maharishi School Leadership Team make the hard decisions that keep our school in a constant state of improvement. They provide a vision for our future and take the action necessary toRichard Beall execute that vision. When it comes to issues such as the covid pandemic, our Leadership Team gets its cues from a lot of different authorities:

  •        Iowa Governor Reynolds
  •        Iowa legislature
  •       Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  •       Public Health officials
  •       Maharishi International University
  •       Our Board of Directors

Sometimes that input is informational; other times the decisions are made for us, like when the Governor closed in-person schooling in March 2020 or disallowed mask mandates in May 2021.

 

leadership team covid masksWhere do we get information from?

Our Leadership Team is monitoring CDC sources daily for COVID-related developments as we consider our options for 2021-22. We strongly recommend reading the Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools as a guideline.

In this guide you will find that the CDC recommends:

  • In-person learning
  • Vaccination
  • Masks for vaccinated persons

PLEASE NOTE: We have not adopted these recommendations at this point. Everything is still under consideration.

 

What can we prepare for?

At present we can foresee three different types of scenarios for the fall:

 

Scenario One: COVID cases decline, vaccination rates climb, masks become unnecessary. We’re pretty much back to “normal.”covid masks kids in mask

 

Scenario Two: COVID variants prove threatening, some precautionary measures continue, like mask wearing and social distancing.

 

Scenario Three: An upsurge of COVID cases, perhaps due to a variant, requires stronger preventive precautions, ranging from online-only classes to mask wearing mandates.

 

In other words, stay tuned. A survey will be sent to you in early August to solicit your perspective on the situation.

In the meantime, we are open to your input and will respond to questions, to the best of our ability.

 

 

To read about our Coronavirus guidelines, 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.

Newsletter Team Introductions

Meet the team

While the entire CCLS class contributes to the newsletter there are three main editors who decide the content for the newsletter—for example, the funnies, puzzles, and articles.

Faeven Gebremariam

My name is Faeven Gebremariam, and I am a sixth-grader at Maharishi School. I have been at Maharishi School all my life, and I learned Transcendental Meditation in fifth grade. I love to dance, sing, bake, draw, read, hang out with friends, and play the violin too. We worked hard on this newsletter, so I hope you enjoy reading it!

Antariksha Sharma

My name is Antariksha Sharma, and I’m in 7th grade. I like to read, dance, cook, and have fun. I want to become an Emergency Surgeon and an Oncologist when I grow up. One of my favorite quotes is: “People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.” – Winne the Pooh.

Dharma Sumithran

dharma newsletterMy name is Dharma Sumithran, and my family and I moved to Fairfield a few months ago. I learned Transcendental Meditation and joined

the seventh grade in Maharishi School. I like to dance, bake, read, and play the flute. I have enjoyed making this newsletter, so I hope you like it!

 

 

If you have any questions or comments about this newsletter please contact Josephine Ruffin, jruffin@maharishischool.org

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.

Middle School CCLS Newsletter: Quilt Tales; Warming Ourselves with Positives of 2020

By Dharma

dharma newsletterDid we ever think there were many positives in 2020? Probably not. Well, in our classes for CCLS, we realized that there actually were: 2020 was an extraordinary and positive year in many ways for all of us. The 6th, 7th, and 8th graders came together and started to work on a quilt. The purpose of the quilt was to show that even though 2020 was tough, because of Covid 19 and other events such as the wildfires in Australia, the US elections, and the stock market crash, we learned and grew a lot.

The process of making the quilt had many steps. First, everyone was given a square, and we needed to think deeply about what was important and meaningful to us, and what positive experiences we got out of 2020. Then we drew and colored a picture that represented our experiences on the fabric.

Next, an accomplished quilter, Roseline Woods, and a proud parent of a middle school child, Danielle Wallace volunteered to help us quilt the cloth squares. We got to use regular sewing machines and a special sewing machine to write our name, grade, and where we were from, on the cloth. Then Ms. Woods took all the squares and put them together to form one coherent quilt. The quilt now hangs in our school corridor, available for people to see and reflect upon.

Making the quilt helped us understand 2020 more deeply and find joy in it. We learned that everything has a plus side; it just takes a little time, effort, and intention to find it.

Poem inspired by the Quilt by Dharmanewsletter quilt middle school

Twenty-twenty is now long gone,

And in all of us, new qualities were born.

In the pandemic, the new “out was in”,

Giving us time to learn, and be with kin.

At home where we had to be,

Our creativity we could see.

We did and we discovered

Things that had to be uncovered.

We tried and we failed,

But each time, determination prevailed.

In the ups and downs, we were crafting history,

And when this time ends, we can share the victory.

The principle Dharma chose to represent in her quilt piece and poem is

Harmony exists in diversity

 

If you have any questions or comments about this newsletter please contact Josephine Ruffin, jruffin@maharishischool.org

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.

Middle School CCLS Newsletter: Better Sleep, Better Life Part 2

By Kate, Kyran, Poojita

newsletter middle school

When you don’t sleep it can make your attitude change. For example, you could get frustrated or mad. It doesn’t only affect you, but it affects other people. For instance, if you don’t sleep enough, you can get lazy and get on other people’s nerves. For example, if someone asks you a simple question or is trying to talk to you, you might answer in a rude or unmannerly way.

To read part one of this feature click here.

 

 

If you have any questions or comments about this newsletter please contact Josephine Ruffin, jruffin@maharishischool.org

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.

Middle School CCLS Newsletter: Better Sleep, Better Life

By Rahini, Yo, and Faeven

Sleep is an important function of the body that helps us rest and recharge for activities ahead. Enough sleep also wards off chronic diseases.middle school newsletter Your lifestyle could damage your body.

Many people take sleep for granted. Sure, you might need to stay up a little later to study for important schoolwork, but if you can, try to avoid staying up all night by not using your electronics or watching TV. It can seriously impact your health, both physical and mental, in the long term.

If you have any questions or comments about this newsletter please contact Josephine Ruffin, jruffin@maharishischool.org

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.

Middle School CCLS Newsletter: Gratitude

By Phoenix, Antariksha, Max, and Makayla

A simple “Thank you” can mean much more to someone than we actually think. In CCLS this year, we learned many valuable lessons, including how to clearly express our emotions, be clearer with our words, and connect with other people.

One big takeaway was one lesson on gratitude, for being grateful leads to your understanding of how to be a better version of yourself. One point that really stuck with us was that a “thank you” couldn’t be forced. It has to be genuine because the person receiving the “thank you” would be able to tell our emotions. Properly expressed real gratitude could really make someone’s day.

middle school kids

Other people aren’t the only ones we can express gratitude to. We can express thankfulness to ourselves, nature, and opportunities for anything that we think is deserving. Before this class, we might have thought that thanking an object was a bizarre practice. Who does that, right?

But the truth is that when we go out of our way to recognize somebody, it makes us feel good about ourselves. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an object or a person. Just that we can appreciate someone else without expecting anything in return except for the feeling of fulfillment we get.

Being grateful is a human thing, here is what some 7th graders are grateful for:

Makayla, for the new shoes she got for Christmas; Max, for his parents allowing him to build a PC; Phoenix, for being able to win level 44 of a game; and Antariksha, for the opportunities in America she has in her life.

Consider being grateful for any of these things: pets, family, education, travel, fun, sunny day, technology, laughs!

 

If you have any questions or comments about this newsletter please contact Josephine Ruffin, jruffin@maharishischool.org

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.

From the Desk of the CCLS Middle School Teacher

Written by Josephine Ruffin

It was a great joy to be offered the opportunity to teach the CCLS class in Maharishi Middle School this year. You might ask: “What is CCLS?”

The Consciousness, Connections, and Life Skills course (CCLS) has grown out of the Science of Creative Intelligence (SCI). All around us in Nature and in human life, we see patterns of orderliness or intelligence. Every field of knowledge studies some aspect of orderliness in Nature. Maharishi’s Science of Creative Intelligence is unique because it studies intelligence itself. Like any science, it has a practical aspect and a theoretical aspect.

First, students learn and practice the Transcendental Meditation technique.

Then they study other sciences and arts appropriate for their level of development and connect them to their experience of pure awareness.

For example, in CCLS class they studied the art of giving and receiving an apology. This raises their awareness of the importance of letting an individual know when you recognize you have done something wrong, and that you are genuinely sorry. This clears the path for moving forward, healing, and improving relationships. It shows how our words and actions can nourish the fine feeling level. This demonstrates the Life Principle: Purification leads to progress.

They also studied the life science of AyurVeda (Ayur means life, Veda means knowledge). This included selecting the appropriate diet and exercise regimen for themselves, sleep, meditation, and how to detect imbalances in their body by taking their own pulse.

We also created a colorful quilt to focus their attention on the positive aspects of 2020 when Covid-19 had such an impact on their lives. They related their experience to a principle of Creative Intelligence and illustrated it on a cloth square. These were then integrated into a quilt.

They learned the anatomy of an effective email—the receiver, subject, salutation, body, and closing—and how to connect with the consciousness of the recipient to uplift them and inspire them through communicating at a profound level.

This quarter we are working on connecting with cities and countries, to reinforce the principle: “The world is my family.” Our students have connected to those in Maharishi schools in Canada and Australia. They discovered how similar our experiences really are.

I hope you enjoy this newsletter that the students have created. Special thanks to the editors: Antariksha, Dharma, and Faeven.

Maharishi said to the press: “Watch, and report what you see.

josephine teacher maharishi school

If you have any questions or comments about this newsletter please contact Josephine Ruffin, jruffin@maharishischool.org

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.

Consciousness, Connections & Life Skills (CCLS)

What is CCLS?

This subject, originally called SCI or the Science of Creative Intelligence, has been part of the school since its inception and has gone through many changes over time. Eight years ago, there was a major overhaul of the curriculum based on alumni response. In 2018, the curriculum underwent a further change with the addition of SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) and Comprehensive Health lessons to the curriculum. The name of the subject changed from SCI to CCLS (Consciousness, Connections, and Life Skills) to reflect this change. To expand on the name: Consciousness (the understanding and experience of consciousness through Transcendental Meditation), Connections (between different areas of life; interdisciplinary), and Life Skills (practical skills useful to everyday life, including SEL and sexual health).

The mission statement of the school is: To create an innovative, consciousness-based educational environment, where students think deeply and become creative,project period maharishi school compassionate, contributing citizens of the world.

There are four components of CCLS that directly teach to this mission statement: SCI (Science of Creative Intelligence), SEL (Social and Emotional Learning), the Comprehensive Health Curriculum (called Rights, Respect, and Responsibility), and Positive Discipline. We also have incorporated Restorative Justice talking circles.

What is SCI?

SCI (Science of Creative Intelligence) is the study of creativity and intelligence and principles found in everyday life that allow us to make connections between different fields of study and human experience. SCI deals primarily with the experience and understanding of consciousness.

  • The experiential part of this subject is that all the students practice Transcendental Meditation as part of curriculum every day in the morning and afternoon. (Students begin practicing TM starting in 4th grade. From ages 4 to 10, the students practice a simpler technique that is preparation for sit down meditation. Included in this program is a series of yoga asanas (postures) and a simple breathing exercise which serves to prime the nervous system for meditation, pranayama.
  • The theoretical or intellectual component involves an examination of the nature of consciousness, the relationship of consciousness to the physical world and the laws of nature. This exploration of consciousness is age-appropriate and occurs at all grade levels throughout the school, beginning in Preschool with more concrete activities and becoming more complex and theoretical in upper school.

What is SEL?

SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) in our Upper School consists of five main competencies as formulated by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). SEL is implemented differently at various grade levels, including the Preschool, Lower School, Middle School and Upper School.

  • Self-Awareness: the ability to accurately recognize one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior.
  • Self-Management: the ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations.
  • Social Awareness: the ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
  • Relationship Skills: the ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups.
  • Responsible Decision-Making: the ability to make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions.

Comprehensive Health Curriculum

We use the K-12 curriculum from Advocates for Youth called Rights, Respect, and Responsibility. This curriculum includes age-appropriate lessons that cover a wide range of health areas, including relationships and consent, STDs and contraception, dating abuse, etc. In Preschool, the students are taught early consent, boundaries, and becoming comfortable with using anatomically correct words to describe their bodies. In upper school, we do a couple lessons a month and design our own slide presentations to supplement the materials.

Positive Discipline

Positive Discipline is designed to teach young people to become responsible, respectful, and resourceful members of their communities. It teaches important social and life skills in a manner that is deeply respectful and encouraging for children and adults. In the summer of 2018, the school adopted Positive Discipline as part of our professional development program and invited a specialist to provide in-depth training. Our overall goal for positive discipline is to culture mutual respect between peers and adults, and to make sure all children are heard, respected, and intrinsically motivated.

  • In Preschool, the focus is on conflict resolution, but also includes understanding feelings, recognizing their own voice, making sure every child is heard, and maintaining boundaries, with class meetings or circles to facilitate communication.
  • In Lower School, the emphasis is on classroom management and conflict resolution.
  • In Middle School, communication skills and conflict resolution are the main focus.
  • In Upper School, many aspects of Positive Discipline (such as effective communication and problem-solving skills) are covered in the SEL curriculum and practiced in the classroom. Upper school also utilizes Restorative Justice talking circles and practices, which are much in line with Positive Discipline.

 

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.