Imagine you’re a student again. What if you could start every school day with clarity? What if you could begin your classes feeling completely grounded and focused? What if you could tackle new subjects using more and more of your individual potential? At Maharishi School—where the Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) technique is the cornerstone of a unique learning model—these are central educational goals.
Twice a day, students, teachers, and administrators at this PS-12 independent boarding and day school in Fairfield, Iowa, practice the TM technique. They experience a state of rest that is deeper than sleep and brain wave functioning that is highly alert, orderly, and synchronous.
The result is higher personal and academic performance for everyone, as illustrated by this short list of selected achievements:
- Ranked #1 Best Private High School in Iowa for 2019 by Niche.com,
- 2018 DestiNation Imagination Global Finals competition for Maharishi School two teams.
- 7th and 10th place at the Team America Rocketry Competition out of 800 teams; only school to place two teams in the top 10.
- One of 14 High Schools invited to participate in the NASA Student Launch Program.
- In tennis, 2018 District Triple Crown Winners, 2018 Team State Runner-up, and 2018 Doubles State Runner-up.
Self-Knowledge and Restful Alertness
Maharishi School strives to give students a world-class education in academic subjects as well as in the most important subject of all—knowing one’s self.
Students take part in a program that is part theory, part practice, to become the best version of themselves. By truly knowing who they are, they lay the foundation for academic success and prepare themselves for all areas of future life.
“Our students and teachers take time to transcend twice a day, with the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique and yoga,” says Richard Beall, Ph.D., School Head. “This allows everyone at the school to gain deep rest and dissolve stress before it accumulates.”
The unique state of restful alertness gained during the TM practice has been shown through hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific studies to improve brain functioning and health.
As Dr. Beall points out, “In a world of nearly incessant outer stimuli, this special rest gives students a respite of inner silence and a connection with their own true self.”
If students enter the classroom stressed, fatigued, or distracted, how much can they actually learn? “This is why, at Maharishi School, the foundation is optimizing student alertness,” says Dr. Beall.
Total Brain Development
Modern science is starting to understand the power of neuroplasticity—that is, that the human brain adapts and transforms with each experience. With the experience of the TM technique, the brain starts improving from the very first meditation.
How does this happen? Normally, when you perform a task, you use only a portion of your brain. For example, if you play the guitar while your brain is hooked to an EEG machine (to scan brain waves), the section of your brain that’s activated is very different than if you’re doing yardwork or learning to swim.
But with the TM technique, research shows that the entire brain gets activated. Instead of different areas being isolated for different tasks, all areas of the brain start to work together in a more unified, powerful, and creative way. (See “Higher Levels of Brain Functioning” in this overview of scientific studies.)
The longer you practice the TM technique twice a day, the stronger those connections become and the deeper those feel-good and good-for-you brain wave patterns get established—during meditation and activity. Brain connections get stronger with time, and more coherence, mental strength, and emotional balance develop spontaneously.
Expanding Consciousness Is a Game-Changer
When the body is rested, powerful chain reactions are set forth. Blood pressure normalizes. Heart rates slow down. The brain gets more oxygen. Big problems become small problems, and stress becomes manageable.
“When our bodies and brains are functioning optimally, it’s like driving on a bright, sunny day as opposed to a dark, rainy night without headlights—you can see with clarity, move with purpose, and travel beyond your comfort zone without losing your center,” says Dr. Beall.
“We don’t just fill students’ heads with information,” he adds. “We systematically expand the container of knowledge, the student’s own consciousness. With this expansion, absorbing new ideas becomes simpler, friendships deepen, and you start to understand how you are connected to and interconnected with the world. We call this Consciousness-Based EducationSM, because expanding consciousness is a game-changer.”
Tapping New Reservoirs of Intelligence and Creativity
Like other schools, Maharishi School prepares students for college-level work with AP exams and promotes original work with honors classes. Alumni have gone on to prestigious universities such as MIT, Stanford, Middlebury, and Georgetown.
At the same time, students awaken hidden potentials and accomplish audacious goals. They boast achievements in renowned, international competitions like INTEL Science and Engineering Fair and Destination Imagination’s Global Finals. Some of their biggest achievements are in sports and the Iowa High School Speech Association competitions.
The Maharishi School faculty is focused on helping their awake, dynamic students unleash their creativity, through project-based learning. Every day, students have 70 minutes to explore their passions during “Project Period.”
As Academic Director Kaye Jacob says, “Students problem-solve, experiment, falter, and keep trying.” They exercise real-life skills in areas of interest, supported by teachers and community experts. “The Project Period is another doorway to finding oneself. It’s another place where individuality is honored and encouraged.”
Making Connections—the Science of Creative Intelligence
Students also take a unique interdisciplinary course called the Science of Creative Intelligence. This course helps them see underlying, universal principles that are common to the structure and functioning of life—in their academic subjects, in nature, and in themselves.
One principle, for example, is that every action has a reaction. In science, this principle is at work in everything. If temperatures rise on our planet, that means drastic changes for many species. In our lives, every action has a reaction: The words we use, the actions we take, and the education we embrace all have an affect.
By understanding this principle in depth, students are able to better understand the mechanics not only of the physical world but also of their behavior and life. They learn these simple but powerful truths starting in kindergarten.
Being Valued in a Unique Community
Maharishi School is small, with just under 200 students. All the students know each other. All the teachers know all the students. Small class sizes create a learning environment where every relationship matters and every voice is encouraged and expected.
At Maharishi School, the world is truly one’s family. Young people from 30 countries allow for a rich mosaic of perspectives and preferences.
Beyond the doorsteps of Maharishi School lies Fairfield, a small, safe town with progressive values and people from all over the world.
It’s also a community where thousands of people practice the TM technique. With parents, family members, faculty and staff, friends, and residents—from Mayor Ed Malloy to health practitioners, supermarket employees, and more—all meditating, the school and town offer a unique place for a child to grow.
Given all this, it’s not surprising that Smithsonian Magazine named Fairfield one of the “Top Small Towns in America to Visit.” This intimate and inclusive setting makes Maharishi School’s boarding program for 9th to 12th graders a special home away from home.
Where Students Discover Their True Selves
Maharishi School’s vision of holistic education encompasses not just an array of academic subjects and extracurricular pursuits but also the discovery of who you truly are and what you can be. Teachers are committed to drawing out the phenomenal gifts and potential in each person’s inner self.
“Cognitive development doesn’t happen from rote memorization and data dumps of important facts. It happens from changing what the brain experiences on a daily basis,” says Dr. Beall. “At Maharishi School, we are deeply invested in the growth of our students and want to teach them the lifelong skills that will not only prepare them for the future world but also empower them to shine as they are.”
Maharishi School students are as diverse a group as you can find at any school, and they express the full range of their unique personalities in a supportive and harmonious environment. Says Dr. Beall: “When conformity isn’t socially mandated, when self-expression and love are encouraged, when opportunities are afforded to learn about, expand, and share what makes them shine, that’s when you see kids who are able to grow towards and fulfill their highest potential.”