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.
Health Department Chair
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.
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.