Health

Think, Talk, and Learn About Crucial Topics

 

The Six Pillars of Health and Wellness

Waring’s Health program aims to support the wellbeing and growth of our student body. From Core through Group 5, students meet once a week with their entire class to study Health. The program’s structure rests on six pillars—sex and intimacy, substances, mental health, relationships, self care, and staying alive—areas which we visit every year in every class, though at different, age-appropriate levels. In each area, we blend pre-existing curricula with specific lessons we’ve developed ourselves over the years, and we use a host of different approaches, including guest speakers, role-playing, videos, discussions, readings, and a multitude of activities ranging from team building to art-making to anonymous written questions to serial testimony.

Students Learn Self Defense

The Health program, in line with Waring’s mission, takes an interdisciplinary approach to the subject, integrating wellness education, leadership and team building, and health information into the curriculum. Because research has shown that adolescents make healthy lifestyle choices based not only on information but also on relationships with their families, peers, coaches, and teachers, the health program sets out both to inform the students of the possible outcomes of different choices they may face, and to help students examine and understand the influences and relationships which affect them. We make space for students to think, talk, and learn about crucial topics, including intimacy and sexuality; relationships with family, peers, and romantic partners; substances and addiction, including drugs, alcohol, and social media; mental health; and what we call “staying alive,” which includes everything from exercise and nutrition to self defense and first aid.

Course Descriptions

 

  • Core Health
    Core Health focuses on topics such as friendships, self-confidence, basics of nutrition, introduction to sexual education and puberty, basic anatomy and physiology, the brain, addiction, hygiene and self care, team-building, movement, meditation and mindfulness, and other interests that students have. The program strives to create an environment where all students feel that their opinion counts and that what they say will be heard. Students often find that speaking publicly about their feelings and personal experiences is difficult at first, but becomes easier through the year as their comfort with their classmates and the setting increases and their trust in one another grows.
  • Group 1 Health
    Each year Group 1 Health uses the overarching question, “Am I Normal?” to deal with a wide variety of topics ranging from advertising and media influences, personal identity, and family structures, to academic and personal ethics, bullying, sexuality, nutrition, peer pressure, and drugs and alcohol. There is also a focus on mindfulness, meditation, and happiness. The units on sexuality, nutrition, and drugs and alcohol are usually presented by outside professionals with specialized experience in the subject matter.
  • Group 2 Health
    Group 2 Health continues and expands on the topics addressed in Group 1 and continues to cover sexuality, including consent, gender, and healthy relationships; substance use, including addiction, and recovery; relationships with peers, family, and romantic partners; mental health including anxiety and depression; and self care, including nutrition, exercise, first aid, mindfulness, and use of social media. The course employs a variety of approaches, including discussion, small group work, lectures, guest speakers, videos, radio, and role playing.  Students also learn stress management, with an emphasis on mindfulness and meditation as they prepare for group travel and adjusting to the upper school.
  • Group 3 Health
    Group 3 Health continues and expands on the topics addressed in Groups 1 and 2 and covers intimacy and sexuality, including consent, contraception, gender, LGBTQIA+ related issues, and healthy relationships; substance use, including addiction, and recovery; relationships with peers, family, and romantic partners; mental health including anxiety and depression; and self care, including nutrition, exercise, first aid, mindfulness, and use of social media and technology. The course employs a variety of approaches, including discussion, small group work, lectures, guest speakers, videos, radio, podcasts, readings, and role playing. Classes typically begin and end with guided group meditations and students are encouraged to bring their experience and information gathered from external resources to larger group discussions.
  • Group 4 Health

    Group 4 Health meets during the first semester and continues the topics which students have been discussing in Groups 2 and 3. The course is largely driven by the students. They decide which topics they need information about, and through discussion, reading, research, and submission of anonymous questions which we answer as a group, the class raises their own and others’ awareness about the nuts and bolts of staying healthy. Topics include intimacy and sexuality, relationships (peer, family, romantic), social media, substance use, mental health with a focus on stress management, leadership, and meditation and mindfulness. Team building activities are also a part of class as students prepare for group travel.

  • Group 5 Health
    Group 5 Health meetings during the second semester and continues the topics which students have been discussed throughout their time in Health at Waring. This course is largely driven by the students. They decide which topics they need information about, and through discussion, reading, research, and submission of anonymous questions which we answer as a group, the class raises their own and others’ awareness about the nuts and bolts of staying healthy. Topics tend to include intimacy and sexuality, relationships (peer, family, romantic), social media, substance use, mental health with a focus on stress management, leadership, and meditation and mindfulness. This course also focuses heavily on current events related to health and wellness and brings media into the classroom with a focus on utilizing appropriate resources to gather information.