Sant Bani School
|Sant Bani School|
Be Good; Do Good; Be One
|Sanbornton, NH, United States|
|Type||K-12 Coeducational Independent Day School|
|Headmaster||Kent Bicknell, Ed.D.|
|Color(s)||Blue and White|
|Athletics||Fall, Winter, Spring|
|Website||Sant Bani School Website|
Coordinates: The Sant Bani School is a private K-12 day school located in Sanbornton in the U.S. state of New Hampshire. The school was founded in 1973. It currently enrolls approximately 170 students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. The school is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools; and is recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization.
In the decade after its founding, the Ashram attracted a number of families with young children. They wished to create an educational setting which would support a spiritual perspective as well as provide sound scholastic training. From the beginning the school has encouraged the enrollment of students of any background, and the early rapid growth (from six to thirteen to thirty-five in three years) demonstrated interest from the broader community.
By the early 1980s the school had grown so much that it became apparent it should operate independently of the Ashram. In 1983, the school became a separate legal entity from the Ashram, created a new board of directors, and came to own the land on which its buildings stood.
The meaning of the name "Sant Bani"
There are several possible interpretations of the name from the Sanskrit original. Sant can mean "holy", "pure", or "saintly", and Bani can mean the sound current, hymn, teaching, or Word. An Ashram is a holy place of retreat, prayer, and service. Thus Sant Bani Ashram could be defined as a retreat place (Ashram) dedicated to the holy (Sant) sound (Bani) or Word of God. Master Kirpal Singh Ji once defined it as "a place where the teachings (Bani) of the Master (Sant) are put to work."
The work of the ashram is spiritual, whereas the school is dedicated to giving a sound all-around education in the context of and in support of a spiritual way of life. The governing body and the faculty of the Sant Bani School view the two as having distinct purposes which nonetheless are not exclusive of each other.
Sant Bani School is built on the belief that we have something to learn from everyone. Surrounded by nature, we create a diverse community where respect for all living things is central. Our mission is to provide a high-level, comprehensive educational experience while also recognizing the value of the spirit. With small classes, committed faculty, and an emphasis on collaboration and service to others, Sant Bani School teaches students to Be Good, Do Good, Be One.
The students at Sant Bani School come from a wide variety of backgrounds and are encouraged in their own personal growth. The school teaches the equality of all under God, a reverence for life in all its forms, and a dedication to the ideal of service to others. Inspired by the life and works of Kirpal Singh (former President of the World Fellowship of Religions) the school presents teachings that are part of a universal tradition which has expressed itself through all religions and is taught without any denomination.
The guiding principles of the school are set forth in Kirpal Singh’s talk “Toward the New Education,” given June 21, 1972: “The real aim of education is to develop the character and individuality of the pupil, his mind, will, and soul power. The best education is that which teaches us that the end of knowledge is service. This ‘service’ is another name for love and fellowship, which constitute the very essence of personal and social life…. We envisage such an atmosphere where persons will be able to grow and develop integrally without losing contact with their souls.”
Sant Bani School does not apply pressure on anyone to accept a certain set of beliefs. There are no distinctions made regarding who is or is not associated with the spiritual precepts of the Ashram. Students and faculty of all backgrounds are welcome; the school believes that truth can thrive only when there is freedom of thought and expression.
Classes are small by design, with fourteen students as an ideal maximum in the lower grades, and sixteen in the upper grades. Younger and older children interact frequently; this way of life in the school fosters an attitude of cooperation. Sant Bani stresses an ongoing commitment by the students to use their education for the benefit of others.
At the secondary level, the curriculum is a blend of traditional and innovative course choices, designed to prepare students for college or university enrollment. Several specialists work with students one-on-one and in small groups to accommodate a limited number of students with mild learning disabilities.
Art, music, and crafts are integral parts of the daily schedule. Students have the opportunity to participate in activities such as ceramics, weaving, stained glass, photography, printmaking, dance, drama, choral singing, jazz band, and the recorder. Private instruction is available in many instruments including flute, guitar, piano, drums, trumpet, and voice. Elementary and high school students present drama and music programs several times each year.
Sant Bani School competes inter-scholastically in Alpine and Nordic skiing, Basketball, Cross-country, Equestrian, Field hockey, Soccer, and Track. Recreational sports available to the entire student body include cycling, touch football, hiking, skating, skiing, swimming, as well as organized physical education for grades K-6.
After Sant Bani
Sant Bani School enjoys a 100% college acceptance rate and nearly all have chosen to enroll and matriculate in college - many have then continued for higher degrees. Sant Bani School alums have gone on to attend and graduate from colleges and universities such as MIT, Dartmouth, Cornell, Stanford, Middlebury, McGill, Smith, Mount Holyoke, Oberlin, Bowdoin, Williams, West Point, the Air Force Academy, and the University of New Hampshire.