HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

Our human development program helps students nurture a well-rounded, healthy individual personality that allows them to make good decisions for themselves.

Connections

Knowing that the middle school years are a dynamic and a developmentally-active time for young people, we are committed to helping our children sort through the personal, social, and moral challenges they face and enhance their sense of character, well-being, and personal responsibility. Our human development class, Connections, is designed to enhance self-esteem and teach a variety of techniques that enable our students to cope effectively with life's changes and to make healthy, life-affirming, and responsible choices in their own lives. While learning to understand the ethical nature of their own values and choices, students begin to accept responsibility for their decisions regarding family, friendship, personal privacy and safety, school, sexuality, drugs, alcohol, and tobacco use, as well as the wide variety of other choices that confront them at this time in their lives.

In addition to teaching techniques for focused listening and speaking, working cooperatively, and behaving with respect toward themselves and others, Connections asks young people for their honest attention to the deeper questions and mysteries of life within the context of a safe and confidential environment. Students further develop these skills by interacting with their peers in class.

HEALTH & WELLBEING

Course Overview:
Health and Wellbeing is a class that will cover nutrition, fitness, drug and alcohol awareness, sex education, communication, emotional awareness, meditation, and self-defense.

Course Objective:
The main goal of this course is to help pre-teens and young teens to become more aware of who they are authentically and separately from their peers and family. We want students to find their confidence and their own voices so that they are able to make better choices and decisions about their lives. Students will begin to think about how their personal thoughts, feelings, and behavior can both positively and negatively impact themselves and others around them. Students will have an opportunity to see how choices they make about how they treat their physical body can either positively or negatively affect their behavior and their relationships at home, school and in the community.

Course Content:
Nutrition: You are what you eat! How eating a clean diet can help you to look, feel, think and behave in a happier and more energetic way. We will explore what types of foods make us feel good and which ones make us feel bad. We will try some cooking and bring in some samples and send home some recipes.
Fitness: You are stronger, faster and fitter than you think! How exercising, strengthening and stretching your body will make you feel calmer, stronger and more focused. We will do a variety of different kinds of fitness from sports and games, cross fit, yoga and pilates and more. 
Meditation: Although we've known this fact for more than 4000 years, current scientific studies have proven the benefits of meditation. We will look at different forms of meditation, then begin to infuse Mindfulness meditation into the course. 
Self Defense: Confidence is a very important character trait for all people, but most importantly tweens and teens. The study of self-defense not only develops self-confidence but is a very practical tool to help defend someone or their loved ones in a life-threatening situation.
Communication: We will work with students on communication skills. We will address questions such as: How do you recognize and stop conflict before it starts? How does what you eat affect how you communicate? How can you let others know what you need, so conflict doesn't arise? 
Drugs and Alcohol: How do drugs and alcohol affect your brain, bodies, and behavior. How does addiction affect our community?
Sex Education: Although this can be an embarrassing topic for both parents and students, we will have a professional educate our students about puberty, hormones, anatomy, the effects of media on teen sexuality, peer pressure, and sexual abuse. 
Emotional Awareness and Values: Emotional Awareness is when you know what feelings are happening in ourselves and others. We will ask students to work on learning how to label feelings with specific feeling words. We will also ask students to think about the following questions: What are values? What are yours? What things in life are meaningful to you as a pre-teen or young teen? What types of people and behaviors stress you out? What types of people make you feel happy or inspired? The ultimate goal with this unit is to guide students to the point where they can predict how they and others might feel in various situations and how this skill can prevent conflict within oneself and others. 

Course Content Sources:
Books, articles, movies, websites, field trips and guest speakers

Skill Acquisition:
Students will develop these skills throughout the year: • awareness of how our environment affects us and others around us • awareness of how what we intake into our bodies affects our mind, spirit and behavior • awareness of how different types of fitness affects our emotional and physical well-being • Use of digital tools & resources • Active Listening • Organizational skills