Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Maharishi School compare to other schools in the NAPLAN?

Maharishi School has participated in NAPLAN (National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy) since its introduction, regularly receiving outstanding results. In 2014, 2015 and 2016 a significant number of students received results which placed them among the top performing students for several aspects of the testing. The average class performance was above state average in all aspects of the test in all three years. The outstanding performance in these tests reflects the benefits of our unique teaching and learning programs, including the nurturing of natural inquisitiveness and curiosity by encouraging students to think, wonder and puzzle and then explore, investigate and seek solutions. This approach has been additionally strengthened in 2016 with the introduction of Individual Learning Plans.

We are proud of our students and the school’s overall achievements. It is reassuring to know that the results reflect the teachers’ own assessment of each student and that so many of our students are excelling in their academic development.

My child loves sport. Is there an opportunity at your school for her to participate in a range of sports activities?

Maharishi School is always looking at ways to enhance the student experience. Our grounds are designed in a manner that enables our students to choose from the quiet to the highly-active zones.

New facilities have been added in 2016 which has seen the purchase of an adjoining block of land and its subsequent development as a newly-grassed sport and play area.

Students participate in a range of sporting activities, including:

  • School-based Physical Education program
  • Swimming
  • Gymnastics
  • Athletics (from 2017)
  • Cross Country (from 2017)
  • Indoor Sports Program
  • Hoop Time
  • Tennis (after school, in partnership with Keon Park Tennis Club)
  • Sporting Schools Program (after school – basketball, soccer, hockey)

As our school grows, we will be pursuing involvement in the local Primary School Sports Association to enable us to participate in an inter-school sports competition.

I have heard that your school lost a number of students during 2015 and had some negative media.
How do you respond to this?

After a phase of significant growth, including having a construction site in the middle of campus for our beautiful newest building, our school went through a challenging period in 2015 dealing with concerns and pressure for change from some parents who had become unhappy with some elements of the school’s education offering, and how they felt it aligned with their children’s needs.

In seeking to resolve these concerns, some parents continued their conflict with the school, and regrettably this created a bitter environment within the school community. This was fueled further by an anonymous online blog operated by a few parents that was directed against the school and some negative media coverage also encouraged by those parents.

In the 20 years our small and unique school has been operating in Victoria, we have never faced such overt, aggressive behaviour from parents and unfortunately, we were ill-equipped to deal effectively with the situation at the time.

This created a great deal of disruption for many other school families, a number of whom decided to seek other education options for their children at the end of the 2015 due to the ongoing conflict.

Both school management and those involved in the school’s governance deeply regret that the situation escalated to a point where conflict developed and escalated within our historically close-knit community.

Pleasingly, this year a lot of great work has been done to address both the needs of our students and the concerns of our parents. We have made improvements in our management and governance capabilities and we continue to work closely with the regulatory authorities (Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority, VRQA) and our peak body (Independent School Victoria, ISV), as well as our own highly valued school community.

In 2016, our current community of parents, staff and students is again functioning harmoniously and working collaboratively with a revitalized PFA and an energetic new Principal – all of whom are committed to returning our school to the vibrant, close and successful community it was until mid-2015.

Maharishi School is a small school. What are the advantages and/or disadvantages??

Did you know that there are 208 Independent Schools in Victoria?

Forty-five of those schools have enrolments of less than 100, catering to 2632 students. That’s an average of 58 students per school.

Eighteen of those 45 schools, of which we are one, have enrolments under 50. There are 560 students in those 18 schools. That’s an average of 31 students per school.

Small schools exist for many reasons but probably the most important is to give families choice. There are independent schools with cultural foundations, religious affiliations, distinctive teaching and learning methodologies (Steiner, Montessori, etc.) or unique approaches to the holistic development of a child (like Maharishi School). The Independent School sector is acknowledged for the choice it offers families to identify a school that shares its own family values and a shared belief in the environment that best suits the development of children.

Parents often worry that their child does not have enough friends to play with or that there are not enough children in the school. We sincerely believe that children adapt to the situation they are in. A larger school has its advantages too but it does not automatically mean that children will have lots of other children with whom they can play. If there are fewer children, then children learn incredibly important skills about cooperation, give and take, working with different personality-types and those with different learning styles. They are put in situations of experiencing so much more across genders as well as across ages from Prep–6.

In addition, we should also consider the opportunities we give our children with out-of-school activities and the friendships made and socialisation that occurs within many of these activities. School is not the only avenue for developing friendships and social skills. Diversity and variety in the people with whom we mix should be encouraged.

It is a heart-warming experience to watch our students play at school during their breaks. What we see is interaction between children of all ages, from Prep–6, and the care that exists between them. We see no disadvantage at all. What we see is opportunity and ultimately, happy children.

How do Maharishi School students handle the transition from Year 6 to Year 7?

The transition of our students from Year 6 to a range of secondary schools, diverse in population and size, has reinforced to us the value our school has in setting a sound foundation for the young people in our care.

There are countless success stories of transition involving Maharishi School students throughout our school’s history – including when the school was even smaller in number than it is today. Some include children of staff members – or former parents who have become staff members – others are siblings of current students who are now in secondary school. And then we have the young people who stay in touch through our alumni network, via email or phone call and those who return to visit.

The common traits of these children who make a seamless transition into secondary school are:

individuality, confidence, positive self-esteem and outlook, knowing of self, resilience, empathy and care for others, persistence, calmness, well-balanced thought and emotion, an ability to be articulate and socially adept and to handle diversity. There are so many more traits, of course, that reflect each person’s individuality. The advantage of having these traits is that they are most of the key elements that we, as adults, recognise as forming the strong foundation that young people need as they move through the most important stages in their lives – from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. These are the traits that help them make good choices and handle the challenges of peer pressure during their adolescent years.

We all love our children for who they are. Having a happy, well-rounded and balanced child should make any parent beam with delight. It is these children who, as research and anecdotal evidence have shown, are more likely to succeed in life, presuming we all agree about how we should define “success in life”.

We are proud to be part of a school community that values the holistic development of children. There is, in our opinion and experience, too much emphasis today on measuring success by a child’s reading level, their NAPLAN results or eventually, the ATAR score they receive at the end of Year 12. These aspects of learning are undoubtedly important but they do not define us. What should define us all is who we are as people and how we contribute to our world in our own personal and professional capacities.

These are the qualities that contribute to students making a successful transition from primary to secondary school.

What is the school’s philosophy on gender-based school programs?

Schools in the Government, Independent and Catholic Sectors offer boys-only, girls-only and co-educational environments which families may choose for their children.

There is a place for all three, and one is not necessarily better than the other. What is important is the environment which better suits the child.

Boys and girls often naturally segregate themselves, especially at school, because of the games they play or other activities they have a preference to do. There is an opportunity at school for girls and boys to mix in different situations, both in and out of the classroom. There is also a place for both single and mixed-gender activities. Many credible studies over the years have endorsed the provision of single-sex classes in particular areas of the curriculum to acknowledge the different learning styles of males and females and the need to sometimes minimise the disruption to the learning of one sex over the other. In consultation with parents, Maharishi School will occasionally focus specific learning activities according to gender if we feel the outcomes achieved will be enhanced by doing so.

In recent times, there have been several shocking and distressing examples in our society of young men and boys vilifying women and girls. As parents and teachers, we need to do as much as we can to develop friendship, respect and cooperation between boys and girls, especially at such an impressionable age.

I have heard of parents who worry about their child not having enough fellow-students of the same gender in their class. Our answer is to see it as a great opportunity. Imagine your son or daughter working in a small group and developing mutually satisfying friendships with each other. The friendship, respect and admiration that can develop between these children are so valuable for them. Boys respecting and valuing their relationship with girls is more likely to develop into men respecting and valuing their relationship with women.

Do you have Out-of-School-Hours Care?

Our school has introduced a “Before and After School Care Program” in 2017.

The program provides a safe and stimulating environment for the children of the school. The After School Care Program also provides children with healthy snacks and engages them in a variety of activities.

The programs operate as follows:

Before School Care:

Monday                    8.00am – 8.45am
Tuesday                    8.00am – 8.45am
Wednesday              8.00am – 8.45am
Thursday                  Not Available
Friday                        Not Available

After School Care:

Monday                    3.30pm – 5.30pm
Tuesday                    # 4.30pm – 5.30pm

(#Please note that this requires all After School Care students to be registered as participants of the Sporting Schools Program which will run between 3.30pm – 4.30pm)

Wednesday              * 3.30pm – 5.30pm

(*Please note that this requires All After School Care students to be registered as participants of the Tennis Coaching Program at the Keon Park Tennis Club)

Thursday                  3.30pm – 5.30pm
Friday                        3.30pm – 5.30pm

We aim to make this accessible to everyone and a value-added service from our school that families would not hesitate to use when in need. We charge only $5/hour for each student.

 

How do you promote leadership qualities in young people?

Development of outstanding leadership qualities is a priority throughout the entire seven years of education at Maharishi School.

In addition to regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique, leadership is cultivated in all students and every senior student is given the opportunity to accept a leadership role. Together with a term-by-term Class Captain program, every student at the school experiences an opportunity to develop a range of skills to enhance their personal traits and characteristics.

Our Young Leaders program is an important feature of the senior school curriculum. The students are given the opportunity to develop public speaking, responsibility, team work and confidence in their role as Minister of a specific portfolio (e.g. Ministry of Celebrations, Ministry of Sport) at the school. Our Year 5/6 student leaders attend a Leadership Conference each year to explore leadership opportunities, develop leadership plans and implement their new ideas and skills.

Our leadership program provides the opportunity for students to make that valuable contribution to the school. Leadership at Maharishi School is about giving service. Our school leaders have organised fun activities including a Spring Festival and Harmony Day; caringly supported younger students; been excellent role models; and generally improved the quality of life and enriched the school experience of all students.

An important springboard for preparation for leadership is the Aurora Award Program for Year 5 students. The successful completion of tasks in seven categories – Growth of Consciousness, Leadership, Responsible Learning, Health and Fitness, Community Service, Creativity and Personal Challenge – will result in students being awarded a gold medal.

One enjoyable area of responsibility for our leaders is the care of the Prep students through the Buddy Program. This brings a sense of security to our youngest students and many positive relationships are cultivated during the year.

At the end of the year, we conduct a Celebration Evening for the entire school community, where the beautiful qualities of each student are acknowledged.

As a small school, what co-curricular opportunities do you provide for children throughout the week?

Our aim is to provide our students with a range of opportunities to enhance their involvement at school but also to develop themselves as individuals with a broad foundation of experiences. As an example, there is an overview below of the Term 3 activities that were enjoyed by our students in 2016. These initiatives, activities and events helped us achieve our aim of an inclusive, active and welcoming environment for our entire school community.

The activities included:

  1. National Tree Planting Day activity with Bunnings staff establishing a new garden
  2. Parent/Teacher Interviews
  3. School choir’s performance at the Melbourne Town Hall
  4. Student Lunchtime Downball Tournament
  5. Chess Masterclass Incursion with Northern Star Chess
  6. Lunchtime Chess Club each day and off-site Chess Tournament
  7. Library open for students on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday lunchtimes from 12.30-1.00pm
  8. Play Project incursion offering practical information and activities in relation to healthy living for children
  9. Sporting Schools Program after school from 3.30-4.30pm each Thursday
  10. Science Week incorporating a Student Science Expo
  11. CERES Excursion for Years 3-6 classes
  12. IMAX and Fitzroy Gardens Excursion for P/1/2
  13. Book Week offering a Scholastic Book Fair during the week, Storytime for Kindergarten children and Character Dress Up Day and Parade
  14. Family Life – Parent Information Session followed by student classes
  15. HOOP Time Basketball Day
  16. School Production
  17. School Disco