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US: Principal's experience with Consciousness-Based Education featured in conference 'Quiet Time in the Classroom'
by Global Good News staff writer
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1 November 2008
The third annual National Summit on Student Health and Education, 'Quiet Time in the Classroom', held in New York City on 16 October, featured a presentation by Carmen N'Namdi*, founder and retired Principal of award-winning Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse in Detroit, Michigan—the first school in the US to implement Consciousness-Based Education.
Presentations from the conference were replayed on the Maharishi Global Family Chat 23 October.
Please also see Part I and Part II of this article.
Ms N'Namdi said that as one of the pioneers of this programme she wanted to share her experience establishing it in her school.
She and her husband have been practising Transcendental Meditation since 1973, so they knew from personal experience that the programme would benefit the students**. In 1996, when she presented the idea to her school board, she found that three members of the board also practised Transcendental Meditation and were enthusiastic about offering the programme.
That same year, the Transcendental Meditation Technique was first offered to the students at her school—which had just recently become a Charter School, a public school not part of the Detroit public school system. Nearly all of the 168 students at the time—there are now 450 students—chose to participate.
Transcendental Meditation was offered as part of the school's 'Wellness Programme'. Ms N'Namdi emphasized that it was important to make sure everyone understood what the programme was and what were its benefits.
'We talked about how important it was to develop skills in children where they really were able to listen much better, able to comprehend much better, to be more patient, to sit still. . . .' She also explained that 'if you get a deeper rest, [through Transcendental Meditation] then of course you are able to do all of these things much better and then you perform much better in school, which was a real hit with the parents.'
Ms N'Namdi also noted that this programme is not just for schools that have 'problems' to resolve. Her school was doing well. However, she emphasized that especially in today's fast-paced, inherently stressful lifestyle, it is important to offer something more to students—'another type of rest and another type of internal maintenance'.
'When my husband and I started [Transcendental Meditation] in 1973, it was just the best thing that ever happened to us,' Ms N'Namdi continued. She described how it helped them through a very difficult time, and how their family and friends were so impressed that they learned to meditate as well.
'So when I instituted it in the school . . . I just wanted this because I want my children at the school to be healthy. . . . But what was wonderful was that they all began to tell me stories about how they felt, and how they felt so much better, and they didn't feel so irritable when things happened. That is really the true measure of it,' she said.
In conclusion, she said, 'we still introduce it [Transcendental Meditation] in 5th grade,' and when former students of Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse—now in high school—come back to visit, they say they are still meditating.
*Carmen N'Namdi has also served as the Chair of the Board of the National Charter School Institute and as a member of the Board of the Michigan Association of Public Schools. In 2007 she was named 'Michiganian of the Year' for a high-achieving Detroit school and for innovative teaching techniques.
**Extensive scientific research has also shown the many benefits of Transcendental Meditation for students.
Replays of the 16 October conference webcast are available at: www.stressfreeschools.org.
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