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Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment

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Title: Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment  
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Subject: Ashley Deans, Transcendental Meditation in education, Bevan Morris, Transcendental Meditation, Maharishi School
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Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment

Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment
Knowledge is Structured in Consciousness
804 Dr. Robert Keith Wallace Drive
Fairfield, Iowa, United States
Type Independent School
Established 1974
Headmaster Richard Beall
Faculty 31 full-time, 18 part-time
Enrollment 220+ K-12[1]
Athletics conference Southeast Iowa Superconference
Mascot Pioneers

Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment (MSAE or Maharishi School) is an independent, non-denominational,[2] college preparatory school located in Fairfield, Iowa, USA.The school was founded in 1974, received state accreditation in 1986 and began single-gender classes in 1989. It is located on a 10 acre campus within the main campus of the Maharishi University of Management.

The school has an open admissions policy and its curriculum includes the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique.[2][3][4] Its curriculum includes traditional academic subjects as well as the Science of Creative Intelligence. The school and its students have received numerous awards in state, national and international competitions for science, the arts, creativity and athletics.


Entrance to the Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment

Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment is one of seven college preparatory schools in the state of Iowa[5] and began in 1974 as an elementary school with 12 students. It provided education to the children of the faculty of Maharishi International University (renamed Maharishi University of Management). Enrollment was then opened to children from the community and in 1981, the Upper School was formed.

In 1986, the school received accreditation from the Independent Schools Association of the Central States. In 1987, grades K-6 also received accreditation from the Iowa Department of Education. Grades 7–12 then received accreditation in 1987 from the Iowa Department of Education as a college preparatory school due to the high percentage of graduates being accepted at four-year colleges and universities.[3][6]

In 1989, the school began to offer single-gender classes whenever class enrollment was sufficient. In 2003, MSAE split into three schools with gender divisions that included the Boys‚ Middle and Upper School, the Girls‚ Middle and Upper School and the Lower School, grades K-6.

In 1996, after eight years of single-gender classes, MSAE and two Iowa school districts were advised to “discontinue gender-segregated classes”.[7] MSAE school officials rejected the state Department of Education’s order. The issue came under the review of the Iowa Attorney General who sent a letter warning MSAE of a violation of Title IX and of state civil rights laws. Despite possible loss of public accreditation and state tax money for textbooks and local services, the school decided to continue single-gender classes the following school year.[8][9] The school's website indicates that they are maintaining their single-gender classroom format and accreditation by the Iowa State Board of Education.[10][11]

The school received a visit from talk show host Oprah Winfrey in October 2011.[12] A show titled "America's Most Unusual Town" aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network on March 25, 2012 featuring Oprah's visit to the Maharishi School and other places in Fairfield.[13][14]


The Maharishi School campus consists of 10 acres (40,000 m2) located on the main campus of Maharishi University of Management (MUM).[6][15]

The Maharishi School's buildings are constructed according to the design principles of Maharishi Sthapatya Veda architecture. According to the school's web site: "The main, three-story building, houses the Lower School and the Girls School."There are two school libraries, three computer labs, three art rooms, a digital and a conventional photography lab, and two music rooms. There is also an auditorium"for performances and community gatherings." There is also a large courtyard in the center of the campus with the Boys School and Foster Hall located on the north side.[15]

The school has a large greenhouse, on the west side, which serves as a living classroom for four-season, organic gardening methods and environmental science.[15] The school's facilities are geared towards sustainability and include a rainwater catchment system, a solar-powered water system for the greenhouse; edible landscaping and Rodale Institute for their permaculture style of gardening.[16]

In 2009, the school received a grant from the Iowa Department of Management to construct the first Arbor Day certified Nature Explore classroom in southeast Iowa. A Nature Explore classroom is a model outdoor classroom for nature-based learning, designed to connect children to nature. Maharishi School "has access to large recreation facilities" at MUM including a "climbing wall, indoor track, cardio and weight training, tennis courts and a swimming pool." It also has a field house for state-wide, inter-school, sporting events.[15]


School sign with a list of scholastic and athletic awards.

Ashley Deans is the Executive Director, Bevan Morris is Chairman of the Board of Trustees[17] and Richard Beall is Head of School.[18] Maharishi School has an open admissions policy and any child who has at least one of their parents practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique may enroll.[3] Standardized test scores or Grade Point Average (GPA) are not a factor in admission. Financial aid is offered to families with demonstrated need.[19] A 2012 news article reported that the school also accepts boarding students that are situated with local host families that are supervised by the school. Boarded students come from around the world including parts of the USA, China, Germany, South Africa and Mexico.[20]

The Upper School curriculum includes the traditional core subjects of math, science, English, and social studies.[3] The curriculum also includes speech, art, music, writing, senior thesis, photography, History Fair, physics, sculpture, painting, world history, and yoga.[21] Students may study Sanskrit, which is offered as a foreign language.[21] Students also study the curriculum known as the Science of Creative Intelligence (SCI), which is said to be the study of universal principles of natural law governing the universe. The principles of SCI are integrated into all academic course content. The school describes its curriculum and educational philosophy as Consciousness-Based Education.[22]

Awards and competitions

MSAE students have won a number of awards in state-wide, national and International competitions.[7][23][24] In 2004, officials said that over the past ten years their students have "scored in the 99th percentile on standardized tests", that 95 percent of their graduates attend college and "the school graduates 10 times the national average of National Merit Scholar finalists" "Critics contend that most private schools that charge $12,000 a year for high school tuition likely would be able to post similar numbers".[25] As of 2010, 34 students at the school have become National Merit Scholarship finalists and 40 students have been semi-finalists.[26][27]

The school leads the state of Iowa with six championships at the Destination ImagiNation competitions and has won six world championships through 2010.[26][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36][37] At the 2005 global finals, MSAE students took more first and second-place awards than any other school, according to a Maharishi School press release.[38][39]

In 2011, MSAE students received 40 of the 205 awards given at the Eastern Iowa Science and Engineering Fair, had eight finishes in the top three at the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa, won a gold and bronze medal at the International SWEEEP Olympiad, fourth place at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and won the state championship at the U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize National Competition.[40][41][42][43][44]

Fine arts

The Arts Department consists of Visual Arts and Music. Vocal and instrumental music are offered during school hours and as extracurricular programs. Maharishi School is a member of the Photo Imaging Education Association (PIEA). Middle and Upper School students have won awards in many of the PIEA International Student-Teacher Photo Competition and Exhibition events, including Grand Prizes in 2002 and 2004.[45][46]

In 2009, students won seven out of the eleven awards available in Iowa's Second Congressional District in the Congressional Art Competition, a nation-wide event sponsored by the members of the U.S. House of Representatives.[3][47] In 2010, Maharishi students again "dominated" the competition in the Congressional Art Contest by taking the first and third place awards as well as "three of the six honorable mentions" in Iowa’s Second District. Senior Kenzie Wacknov received the top award.[48]


Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment competes in the south division of the Southeast Iowa Superconference. School sponsored sports include cross-country, basketball, track, tennis, golf, boys’ soccer and girls’ volleyball. Any student can be a member of an interscholastic sports team. Varsity coaches attribute the success of their teams to the players’ practice of Transcendental Meditation.[49][50][51]


Maharishi School tennis program began in 1988. Since then, the boys’ tennis team has won 16 state singles, doubles and team championships, a state record. The team won consecutive triple crowns in 1999 and 2000, taking the singles, doubles and team championships in both years.[49]

MSAE's tennis coach, Lawrence Eyre has been featured in Sports Illustrated and was the Iowa Tennis Association's Coach of the Year in 2000. Eyre was the 2007 Central Sectional Coach of the Year selected by the National Federation of State High School Associations and the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) 2008 Missouri Valley Coach of the Year in 2008. Eyre was selected by the USPTA as National High School Coach of the Year in 2009.[49]

Student life

Students learn various practices designed to promote good health. The schools natural health program includes self-pulse assessment, yoga postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama) and guidelines for a healthy diet and daily routine. The school also serves organic vegetarian food and has a policy of prohibiting tobacco, [52]

MSAE students participate in a variety of athletic, performance and visual art programs. The school also offers a summer day camp program for children 5–10 yrs old.[52] Students are required to wear a school uniform, which consists mainly of a white shirt and tie for boys and a white blouse and plaid skirt for girls.[53]

Many of the parents of MSAE students came to Fairfield to practice the TM-Sidhi program in the Golden Domes. Becoming a Sidha and doing Yogic Flying seems to be a rite of passage for the students, according to headmaster Ashley Deans.[54]


Parents of students support the mission of the school and the concept of Consciousness-Based Education. Some families have moved to Fairfield so their children may attend Maharishi School.[55] The school has been showcased as a "Cool School" by Teen People magazine.[56]

The May 2004 issue of Worth Magazine featured Maharishi School, along with seven other private schools, as representing some of the "finest alternative private education options".[57] Maharishi School was featured in a 2006 edition of the television show, CBS Sunday Morning.[3][58]

Notable alumni

Other Maharishi Schools

Another Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment is located in Wheaton, Maryland, USA.[61] In addition, there is a Maharishi School in Skelmersdale, UK, one in Reservoir near Melbourne, Australia.[62][63][64] and a Maharishi Secondary School for Girls in Mbale, Uganda.[65]


  1. ^ "Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment". Independent Schools Directory. Retrieved September 18, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Independent Schools web site". Retrieved December 12, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Admissions". Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment. Archived from the original on September 11, 2010. 
  4. ^ MSAE website FAQ
  5. ^ [1] 2010 FEDA Report, Retrieved June 2011
  6. ^ a b "Student Edge: Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment". Peterson's. Archived from the original on September 11, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b "Maharishi School to Defy Rule on Same-Sex Classes". Omaha World – Herald (Omaha, Neb.). Associated Press. June 12, 1996. p. 1. 
  8. ^ "The gender enforcers". Wall Street Journal (New York, N.Y.). June 25, 1996. p. A14. 
  9. ^ "Single-gender classes again available at Maharishi school". Cedar Rapids Gazette. Associated Press. August 30, 1996. p. 8. 
  10. ^ "Single Gender Classes". Maharishi School. Archived from Gender Classes the original on September 17, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Accreditation". Maharishi School. Archived from the original on September 17, 2010. 
  12. ^ Garlock, John (October 19, 2011). "Oprah and her jet land in southeast Iowa". Heartland Conenction/KTVO. Archived from the original on October 20, 2011. 
  13. ^ Sundays at 9/8c on OWN #Nextchapter, Retrieved 27 March 2012
  14. ^ "Fairfield's fame levitates after Oprah's meditation" Des Moines Register, March 24, 2012
  15. ^ a b c d "Facilities". Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment. Archived from the original on September 11, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Gallery of Gardens". Archived from the original on 2005-02-17. Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  17. ^ Governance MSAE web site
  18. ^ Message from Head of School MSAE web site
  19. ^ Self-Study Report for the Independent Schools Association of the Central States. April, 2006.
  20. ^ Vance, Diane (November 9, 2012) Maharishi School gains larger international student base, Fairfield Ledger
  21. ^ a b Private Secondary Schools 2008. Google Books. Retrieved December 12, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Maharishi School: Consciousness-based education". Archived from the original on September 11, 2010. 
  23. ^ [2] Heartland Connection, Senior's science skills rewarded, May 19, 2011, KTVO Newsdesk,
  24. ^,three Win Best of Category Awards, May 27, 2011, Richard Springer
  25. ^ Condon, Patrick. Spokesman Review. Associated Press TM in Schools,3629043&dq=maharishi+school+iowa&hl=en TM in Schools . Retrieved September 17, 2010. 
  26. ^ a b Transcendence, Norman E. Rosenthal, MD, page 181, Tarcher Penguin, 2011
  27. ^ Local Students Named National Merit Finalists Sept 26 2009 Heartland Connection, retrieved Sept 16 2010
  28. ^ "Maharishi School: Highlights of Achievements". Archived from the original on September 9, 2010. 
  29. ^ "Destination Imagination Globals: 2007 Results, Challenge B". Retrieved December 12, 2011. 
  30. ^ "Destination Imagination Global Finals 2006". Retrieved December 12, 2011. 
  31. ^ "Destination Imagination Global Finals 2005 Live! Results: It's Radio DI!". Retrieved December 12, 2011. 
  32. ^ "2005 Results: Sudden Serendipity". Retrieved December 12, 2011. 
  33. ^ "Destination Imagination Globals: 2004 Renaissance Awards". May 29, 2004. Retrieved December 12, 2011. 
  34. ^ "Destination Imagination Globals: 2002 Results, It's Your Move". Retrieved December 12, 2011. 
  35. ^ "Destination Imagination Globals: 2002 Results, Dual Dilemma". Retrieved December 12, 2011. 
  36. ^ Alok Singh - Gilles Gomez. "Destination Imagination Globals: 2001 Photo Gallery". Retrieved December 12, 2011. 
  37. ^ Past Achievements[3]
  38. ^ Maharishi School Tops Honours The Press Trust of India Ltd. June 10, 2005
  39. ^ Destination Imagination Iowa Tournament Results
  40. ^ MSAE official web site, Academic Achievements, Retrieved July 2011
  41. ^ [4] EISEF official web site, Awards 2011, Retrieved July 2011
  42. ^ [5] SSTFI official site, click on link to download 2011 awards lists, Retrieved July 2011
  43. ^ [6] SWEEP official web site, 2011 Awards; Atreya Dey and Ralph Burne, Retrieved July 2011
  44. ^ [7] SIWI official web site, Winners, Retrieved July 2011
  45. ^ "Photo Imagery Education Assn. 2002 Results Summary". Retrieved December 12, 2011. 
  46. ^ "Photo Imagery Education Assn. 2004 Results Summary". January 4, 2004. Retrieved December 12, 2011. 
  47. ^ "Press Release: Congressman Loebsack Announces Winners of 2009 Art Contest". April 21, 2009. Retrieved December 11, 2009. 
  48. ^ Heartland Connection, KTVO, Maharishi students shine in art competition, Alex Halfmann, May 7, 2010 [8]
  49. ^ a b c Fairfield Iowa Radio web site, Sept. 24, 2009
  50. ^ Gray, B: "School Spirit: A Boys Varsity Team Claims a Winning Mantra", Tennis Magazine, April, 2003
  51. ^ Lidz, F: "Different Strokes", Sports Illustrated, December 23, 1996
  52. ^ a b MSAE Official Web Site, Student Life [9] retrieved Sept 16 2010
  53. ^ MSAE Official Web Site, Uniforms [10] retrieved Sept 16 2010
  54. ^ Mathiesen, Elsebeth Wedervang (December 18, 1996). "Record Number of New Yogic Flyers from Maharishi School". The Review 12 (5) (MUM). Archived from the original on August 2, 2011. 
  55. ^ Shanley, M: "A School Like No Other", The Iowan Magazine, Fall, 1998
  56. ^ Rabinovitz, K: "Cool School of the Month," Teen People Magazine, April, 1999
  57. ^ "Alternatives in Private Education". Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2004-04-08. 
  58. ^ "CBS Sunday Morning, Getting Into Our Minds, Sean Alfano, April 9, 2006". February 11, 2009. Retrieved December 12, 2011. 
  59. ^ Abel, Jude (November 15, 2009). "Exploring Lifes Darker Corners". The Boston Globe. 
  60. ^ "Under God: Maharishi's Mortality". Washington Post. January 18, 2008. Retrieved July 25, 2010. 
  61. ^ Buckley, Stephen (March 19, 1993) Meditating Students, This School Offers Readin', 'Ritin' and Mantras, The Washington Post
  62. ^ [11] Official web site, Maharishi School, Retrieved July 2011
  63. ^ [12] The Age, School Year to Start on a Meditative Note, Bridie Smith, Jan 28, 2008, Retrieved July 2011
  64. ^ Atkins, Lucy (April 14, 2009). "Should our schools teach children to 'dive within'?". The Guardian (UK). 
  65. ^ Forem, Jack (2012) Hay House, Transcendental Meditation: The Essential Teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, page188

External links

  • Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment – Homepage
  • Consciousness based Education Programs
  • Mead, Rebecca (March 22, 2004). "Maharishi Prep". New Yorker. 

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