School News

Maharishi School Presents at World Forum

Beginning October 17, and continuing for three days, Dr. Richard Beall, School Head at Maharishi School, and Laura Bordow, Lower School Director, attended the Connecting Children with Nature World Action Forum in Nebraska City, Nebraska. They were asked to be among 5 teams to present “Celebrations of Inspirational Projects." Dr. Beall and Mrs. Bordow shared the story of Maharishi School’s new Nature Explore Classroom within the context of the Consciousness-Based Education School, University, and Fairfield community.

Other presenters included Lt. Governor Barbara O’Brien from Colorado; Bishnu Bhatta, organizer of the Partnership for Sustainable Development in Nepal; Toni and Robin Christie, founders of Childspace Early Childhood Institute in New Zealand; and Maryam Beena, member of the Afghan Institute of Learning’s “Greening of Afghanistan” project.

The Arbor Day Foundation hosted the Nature Action Collaborative for Children at its magnificent Lied Conference Center. Over 250 delegates from six continents and a wide range of professions gathered to share ideas on how to reconnect children around the world with nature.

Dr. Beall and Mrs. Bordow were deeply moved by the stories they heard. Dr. Beall commented, “Many of the participants represented rural populations trying to help their people rebuild their lives. Some live without the basic necessities of water, electricity, food, and buildings. Others are unable to access education and health services. We felt honored to share our story within the context of our unique, innovative community: how our Nature Explore Classroom evolved with the benefit of the Transcendental Meditation program enhancing our thinking, energy, and creativity. We were honored to be recognized among such great individuals and projects, and appreciated the tremendous receptivity to our approach. We're really excited about continuing our connections with several of these leaders.”

By beginning to educate future generations, organizations like the World Forum are helping today’s young children develop positive emotional connections with nature inspiring them to take action on behalf of their environment as adults. Mrs. Bordow commented, “For three days, we worked side-by-side with dedicated professionals seeking solutions to environmental challenges. These were some of the best minds and best efforts I have ever had the honor of working with.”

Maharishi School Chosen for Educational Research Project

In addition to being asked to present at the Connecting Children with Nature World Action Forum, the Dimensions Educational Research Foundation will be collaborating with Maharishi School to become a research site to evaluate the change in a child’s worldview when immersed in healthy ecosystems.

Maharishi School’s Arbor Day certified Nature Explore Classroom already helps children develop learning skills through interaction with natural elements in the play space. Now, with the guidance of permaculture designer Fred Meyers, Director of Backyard Abundance in Iowa City, the Nature Explore Classroom will be enhanced through the addition of perennial food-bearing plants that mimic patterns found in healthy ecosystems.

Children and adults who frequently use the space will help design and implement these features. Food-bearing plants will be selected to increase children’s connection with the landscape. A baseline research study will be conducted before commencing the project to understand children’s current affiliation with nature. Additional research will be conducted during and after the project to understand the change in children’s nature affiliation.

By helping design and implement the landscape, and through immersion in the space, children will gain opportunities to deeply observe and learn about the complexities of nature. The experience of eating food they picked themselves will help children more deeply appreciate nature’s bounty. This interaction will increase system-thinking skills and help to create a stronger desire to protect and enhance our environment.

This new addition to Maharishi School’s Nature Explore Classroom will be funded by a grant from the Arbor Day Foundation.

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