Our target focus for Middle School Wellness is to normalize the developmental challenges with which students face and help our students further develop their social and emotional learning skills to help them navigate the content of their lives. Our work is intended to help our students be connected and engaged members of our community.
All Middle School students will be guided through a nine-session wellness series that will include:
- 4 classes with Tammy Graham, Middle School Counselor
- 3 classes with Whitney A. Koch M. Ed., ISEE Educator & RYT 200, Upper School Science Teacher
- 2 classes with Will Slotnick from Wellness Collaborative
Over the course of a student’s middle school experience, they will participate in sessions that cover the topics below. Each year, the content is presented with developmentally appropriate depth and builds upon itself with layered skills and messaging.
Interpersonal relationships: communication & boundaries.
Making and nurturing friendships, empathy and practicing acts of kindness, conflict resolution, dealing with rumors, teasing, and bullying. Discussions about communication style and personal boundaries will also be included.
Decision-making and self-awareness.
Students will be engaged by in-depth scenarios involving social media, relationships, peer pressure, substance use, and mental health. During these discussions, the topics of expectations, boundaries, harassment, and consent are reinforced while students hear examples and suggestions from each other and the instructor on how to handle challenging situations they may face in the future.
Responsible media usage.
Checking in and checking out & digital citizenship. Students will focus on internet safety, navigating social media, digital dilemmas and decision-making, cyber-bullying, and developing healthy limits with technology usage.
Understanding the bio-psycho-social model of anxiety and depression.
Students will continue to develop a working understanding of the normative effective process as well as expand their understanding of the bio-psycho-social model of anxiety and depression. Students will continue to develop a working understanding of tools and strategies for self-regulation as well as how to access resources when in need of support.
Boundaries/consent in healthy relationships.
Consent is introduced as a right and an essential value in safe and respectful relationships. Issues around consent and boundaries will be addressed in classroom activities and discussions involving age-appropriate sexual and non-sexual scenarios.
Anatomy, physiology, and puberty.
These sessions include detailed and science-based explanations of sexual and reproductive anatomy using accurate terms. Myths and misperceptions that are commonly held by individuals will be addressed. Students will learn the processes of ovulation, menstruation, conception, and reproduction. Additionally, there will be a focus on the many physical and emotional changes that youth find themselves going through at this particular point in their lives. The fact that puberty is a normative developmental stage that all individuals go through will be emphasized.
Sex, gender, attraction, and orientation.
This session is about understanding gender and sexual diversity and the way that our assumptions about sex and gender influence how we act in the world, how we treat others, and how we behave in relationships. The class will discuss the relationships between assigned sex, gender, sexual orientation, and attraction.
Substance use prevention and healthy coping skills.
The program is supported by the most current prevention research and uses strategies proven to be most effective in changing unhealthy attitudes and behaviors and in reducing the risks associated with substance abuse. Through a framework that supports and encourages non-use, students will learn facts about alcohol, tobacco, nicotine, marijuana, and other drugs. The group will discuss risk factors for abuse/dependency/addiction and students will gain a deeper understanding of the connection between stress and substance use/abuse. Students will explore stress management & mindfulness techniques as well as mindful decision-making and refusal skills while reinforcing protective factors.
For any questions about our Wellness program, please contact Tammy Graham, Middle School Counselor.