Posts

Summer Ideas & Activities from the Lower School

Looking for things to do with your kids this summer? Lynn Shirai, the Director of the Lower summer School, has provided a list of ideas that can appeal to everyone. Check it out!

Outdoor Ideas

  •  Road Trip: Pack food and drinks, camping gear and head out to a spot away from it all
    where kids can explore and learn on their own. Teach them how to build a fire, set-up a
    tent, etc.
  • Creek stomping in Jefferson County Park: so many creatures and beautiful rocks and
    fossils to find.
  •  Animal track creations: Bring a water bottle, small sack of plaster of paris, paper cup
    and popsicle stick. Go out to the woods and find tracks as you walk. Mix up the plaster
    with water and pour a little into the tracks. Continue walking and finding tracks. Make a
    loop around and return to your first track and pop out of the ground. Make it a game to
    find your other tracks. At home, rinse molded tracks off and identify them. Best tracks:
    raccoons and opossums.
  • Bike around the Loop Trail (helmets, water, snacks and sunscreen a must).
  •  Older kids can help an elderly neighbor with lawn mowing, weeding and other yard work.
  •  Painting rocks; one year my daughter painted rocks to look like small strawberries to
    keep the birds away from the strawberry patch. It worked! One peck on the faux
    strawberry and they never returned.
  •  Create a fairy garden in your backyard. Use sticks and branches, rocks and other
    materials from nature and hot glue or tie with pliable branches and create furniture, tiny
    houses, swings, etc. Plant flowers around the garden.
  •  Planting: Start a flower or vegetable garden and care for it throughout summer. If you
    plant perennials you can keep adding to the garden every year. Lots of memories.
  • Take walks with friends while you social distance. Just getting out and having social
    experiences like this helps.
  • Make a BINGO card of activities for your kids. Have them fill it in and
    get a special prize.
  •  Organize a small group to meet at the park. Bring empty pizza boxes, a
    clip, paper and drawing materials. Use the boxes as an easel. Enjoy the outdoors with
    friends while social distancing and creating artwork.

feministsClick here for a great list of PE type activities you can do easily at home with your kids!

Other Ideas

Click on some of these links to find even more great ideas for summer fun!

https://wideopenschool.org/
https://campkinda.org/welcome
https://www.artcamp504.org/
https://www.pbs.org/parents/
https://jeffersoncountyconservation.com/events/

 

 

To learn more about why Maharishi School would be good for your kids, click here.

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

Top 10 Tips for Creating a Balanced Teenager, click here.

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.

 

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.

Top 10 Tips for Creating a Balanced Teenager

What is a balanced teenager?

When we think about what we want for our children, it’s nothing less than the best whether that’s in school or quality of life outside of school. But when those teenage years come around it healthy teensalmost seems like our kids want the opposite of whatever we want for them, even when it’s for their benefit! This can be an extremely frustrating period for both the parents and the children. I believe it’s important to empathize with what teens are going through and this blog will give some helpful tips from Ayurvedic Health Coach Sankari Wegman. Ultimately you can’t protect your children from everything, and you shouldn’t try to! During the teenage years the best thing you can do is hold space for your teenager and be there when they need you.

 

The individuation process

Some may call it ‘teen angst’, but the scientific term is the individuation process. Carl Jung (a Swiss psychologist who founded analytic psychology) describes this process as;

 “Individuation is a process of psychological differentiation, having for its goal the development of the individual personality. In general, it is the process by which individual beings are formed and differentiated; in particular, it is the development of the psychological individual as a being distinct from the general, collective psychology.”

If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, then it’s very likely your child is going through the individuation process.

individuation process in teens

  • Has your teen been spending more time isolated in his/her room?
  • Has your teen dyed their hair or drastically changed their outward appearance/style?
  • Is your teen not opening up like they used to?

What’s going on in their brain?

As adults we think with our prefrontal cortex, the rational part of the brain that responds to situations with good judgement. Our prefrontal cortex also provides us with an awareness of teenagers brainconsequences in the long-term. However teens process information with the amygdala, the emotional part of the brain. As you can only imagine, when you’re acting purely out of raw emotion, there can be less “thinking” and more “feeling” types of behaviors. This is very normal because the connections between the emotional part of the brain and the decision-making center are still developing and not always at the same rate! That rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until age 25 or so.

Top 10 tips for creating a balanced teenager

  1. Sleep: Create a regular sleep routine. As hard it might be to establish, going to bed before 10pm is ideal.
  2. Screens: Monitor use of computer/device screen time. Studies are showing screen time increases anxiety and focus.
  3. Volunteer: Encourage your teen to serve others. This will cultivate empathy and inspire your teen.
  4. Eating: Regular meals – no skipping allowed. Healthy, nutritious breakfast and a hot lunch.
  5. Yoga: Start the mind-body connection. Experience feeling good and connecting back to yourself. Once you see the progress, confidence increases. Yoga is great for cardiovascular health, click here to find out all the health benefits of yoga.
  6. Meditate: We recommend the Transcendental Meditation technique. It works like a charm!
  7. Avoid Caffeinated Beverages: Have your teen monitor their water intake (50ml per 100 pounds of body weight).
  8. Abhyanga: Encourage your teen to give themselves a daily massage before their shower. It’s a great way to purify any stresses out of their physiology. Click here to watch how to do this.
  9. Create a Vision Board: Get to know your child’s vision and passions by making a vision board. Parents can help their teen connect their actions with reaching their goals. If the parents make their own board, it can also help the teens make connections that help them relate to their parents.
  10. Consequences: Establish a set of rules or consequences that your teen needs to follow. This way if there is a misbehavior, your teen will know exactly what to expect in terms of disciplining from you and there won’t be any surprises.

maharishi school student doing yogateen exercising teens happy and being silly at winter formal

 

To read more about our stress management, 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.