Health and Wellness
At the heart of lasting learning in Middle School, is an environment safe enough to stretch and grow in all kinds of ways while maintaining dignity, integrity, and unconditional positive regard for self and others. Students learn to take an active role in their own well-being throughout Middle School with the opportunity to engage in dialogue about community non-negotiables, dangerous and destructive behaviors, and how to be a positive peer leader as they face the inevitable daily challenges of negotiating relationships, school, and activities. Waynflete believes that success in and out of school requires social-emotional as well as academic skills. Middle School is a critical time to practice both.
Middle School health education is delivered through sixth and seventh grade seminars and advising groups, with a strong emphasis on the adolescent brain and healthy habits that will support its growth and development. Students take a critical look at choices around nutrition, relationships, screen time, sleep, and substance use and their impact on brain development. Teachers provide ongoing education around sexual health and gender diversity.
LEAP Week and Middle School Seminar
During LEAP Week (Learn-Explore-Appreciate-Play), students in Grades 6-8 embark on an exciting set of interactive learning experiences designed to foster a community mindset and ready them for engaging academics. Anchored by a different theme each year, students discover new skills and strengths while discussing their role as positive community builders in the Middle School. A global focus on empathy, responsibility, cooperation, and finding a voice continue throughout seminar, advising, and academic classes. Students are frequently given opportunities to reflect on the impact of speech and actions on their peer relationships, their own learning goals, and their willingness to persevere through challenges.
Small weekly sessions of 6-8 students foster an inclusive and cohesive culture where curiosity and careful attention become regular habits. Personal and community wellness topics are introduced each week along with group check-ins, experiential activities to integrate new material and time for reflection on the previous week’s “practice skill.” In addition to information about healthy living, the seminar introduces students to a powerful problem solving model that includes identifying the problem, brainstorming positive goals, and deciding on specific action steps to try. Advisors actively reinforce the Seminar curriculum and readily address emergent social and emotional concerns with students as they arise.
Grade 6 - "Building community, finding your voice"
Sixth grade is an important year to further development of self-esteem and resiliency, both elements of a vital social and emotional skill set for young people that is actively practiced and supported at Waynflete. Building on the values of L.E.A.P (Learn, Explore, Appreciate and Play) week in September, Grade 6 students embark on a year long journey of self-awareness, self-management, and social awareness. During this time of newfound independence and competence, we want students to recognize and identify feelings and emotions, practice the positive self-esteem necessary to choose challenges and overcome setbacks, and (strengthen important relationships) make friends and have strong working relationships with teachers in the community. Students find their voice, learn to appreciate differences, and are supported to live up to the best in themselves while developing empathy for peers and a clear understanding of ally behavior.
Grade 7 - "Deepening connection to place and each other"
The curriculum begins with the science of social belonging and its central importance in positive goal setting and risk-taking; finding one’s unique voice amongst peers; and developing the courage to expand and repair friendships as stewards of the Middle School inclusive culture. Learning strategies such as perseverance, effective organization and study habits, and prosocial behaviors of kindness and cooperation are actively practiced each week.
Grade 8 - "Leaders standing up and standing out"
Eighth graders have the opportunity to envision how their skills, hopes, and dreams could be applied to the world beyond Middle School through a purposeful leadership curriculum. Learning about altruism and using one’s skills to benefit others promotes engagement, confidence, and self-expression and connects students to a deeper purpose behind challenging academic pursuits. As they look ahead to Upper School, they are encouraged to reflect on their own cognitive growth through Middle School and set new dreams for their future.