Janet Rosenbury, principal of Brooklyn Urban Garden School, New York, received the Consciousness-Based grand tour of Maharishi School and MUM on April 6. Joining her was Brooklyn Urban’s (BUGS) on-site TM teacher and Quiet Time site leader (and 2008 Maharishi School graduate) Owen Blake. Oh, and he’s also the school’s basketball coach.
Brooklyn Urban Garden School, which opened in 2013, is a charter middle school that was founded by a group of Brooklyn local parents, educators, and community volunteers. The school’s focus is on sustainability. “We recognize the impact of our actions on the planet, our community and ourselves, and we pursue viable long-term practices and big-picture thinking,” the school states on its website. It’s pursuit of sustainability is embodied in the acronym “CARES”: Community, Awareness, Reach, Exploration, Student Voice.
The Quiet Time program and Transcendental Meditation is an excellent fit for the school. The community is actively seeking to expand the awareness of its students, to have them “stretch” to expand their potential, and to assume responsibility for exploring their potential. Currently, 95% of the student population practices TM twice a day as part of their educational program. Principal Rosenbury said that TM was a great aid in helping students create a settled atmosphere conducive to learning at the school.
From its inception, BUGS has been part of the David Lynch Foundation’s Quiet Time program. According to the DLF’s website, “the success of the Quiet Time program has generated a demand that far exceeds our available resources. Right now, there are literally hundreds of schools with tens of thousands of underserved students who are waiting to learn to meditate.”
The Quiet Time program, as described by the DLF, “is a practical, evidence-based approach to reduce stress and dramatically improve academic performance, student wellness and the school environment. Quiet Time provides students with two 15-minute periods of Transcendental Meditation each day to help balance their lives and improve their readiness to learn. This schoolwide program complements existing educational strategies by improving the physiological underpinnings of learning and behavior.”
Brooklyn Urban Garden School services a student body of 200 students at this time. Next year its enrollment will expand to around 300, about a hundred students for each grade, 6-8. About half its students meet the federal definition of living in poverty. Twelve different languages are spoken at home. Maharishi School graduate Owen Blake and the David Lynch Foundation are part of the success of the Brooklyn Urban Garden School in New York.