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School creates peaceful students
by Sue Brown

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Melbourne, Australia
15 May 2004

A school bus driver in Melbourne, Australia, was astonished when a group of students he was driving back to school after an excursion suddenly became silent and peaceful.

'One minute they were lively and having fun like any children - next minute, they were completely settled,' says Maharishi School principal Frances Clarke. 'The bus driver had never experienced anything like it. 'How did you do it?, he asked.'

The answer he heard is that these students practise Transcendental Meditation as part of their school curriculum. For ten or fifteen minutes at the start and end of each day, Maharishi School's fifty students - and their teachers - close their eyes and meditate.

'It's a simple, natural technique that has huge educational benefits,' said Mrs Clarke. 'In addition to lowering anxiety levels, it enables the students to experience heightened alertness and creativity. Studies have shown distinct improvements in academic performance - because students are using more of the full potential of their brain functioning.'

Parents of students who had experienced bullying at other schools are delighted that their sons and daughters are growing in confidence. 'Their meditation gives them more inner strength and resourcefulness,' says one parent.

Maharishi School in Melbourne is so far the only school of its kind in Australia. However, the principal and teachers would like to see their educational approach - called Consciousness-Based Education - included in the public school system as well so that many more students could benefit.

'This would be beneficial for the student', says Mrs Clarke, 'and also for the society as a whole. Young people need to be gaining skills for dealing with stress and developing tolerance, so that they can help create a peaceful, progressive world.'

The bus driver agrees. Having experienced many school groups, his parting comment was that every school should offer this to their students.

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