Waynflete is committed to the “the healthy development of the whole person: body, mind and spirit.” We believe mental and emotional health and wellness form the foundation of a student’s ability to reach his or her highest potential academically and personally.
The Upper School aspires to deliver the strongest health and wellness program possible recognizing the central role of health and wellness in fulfilling all aspects of our school mission. We want our graduates to become resilient, knowledgeable, competent and caring citizens in the world who are ready to thrive and to contribute to healthy communities their whole lives.
Advisors are the primary guide for students as they navigate their academic curriculum, co-curricular offerings, and personal lives. A student begins each day by checking in with his or her advisor and joins the larger advising group for lunch and discussion or activities with the advisor once a week. Designated times are set aside during the year so students have one-on-one time with advisors to measure progress, consider course selections for the following year, and explore new interests. These conversations help each student decide how to stay challenged as a learner. Beginning sophomore year, advising also helps support the college process which begins with informational programming and in earnest during the spring of junior year. Students may stay with their advisor for four years, investing in relationships that foster self-knowledge and mutual respect while growing and changing.
We begin each school year in Upper School with a signature four-day experiential learning program. Outdoor Experience forms a critical foundation for our rigorous academic program by intentionally building community and fostering a strong sense of belonging. Students learn best when they feel safe and supported to take risks and are encouraged to be in dialogue about the differences they each bring as individuals to our program. Through modeling by faculty, students are encouraged to invest in meaningful relationships with peers, teachers, and advisors as they look ahead to the school year and working together.
The bonds that are formed serve them well in the years ahead. In a wilderness or service setting, faculty members lead students to uncover new aspects of themselves and others, to discover their leadership potential, to set goals for academics and sports, and to take charge of their own learning. Whether taking in a pristine summit view in Maine’s own conservation lands or discussing the work in a complex urban setting, students discover what it means to be part of the Waynflete community.
Grade 9 Seminar Program
The ninth grade seminar program builds on the authentic relationships that begin to form on the the four-day Outdoor Experience and sets the stage for student-centered learning while introducing students to the skills required to thrive in Upper School. Topics include weekly check-ins, goal-setting for academic and personal well-being, time management, understanding diversity and overcoming stereotypes, and communicating with integrity on and offline. As part of this exploration of identity, discussions include learning about mindfulness and stress reduction, healthy relationships and sexuality, sleep and nutrition, mental health, and preventing substance abuse.
Seminar groups are small by design, emphasizing that each individual has a voice and a role in cultivating a sense of belonging and inclusion within the grade. In the fall, each student creates and shares their own unique Life Map as a way to understand each other better and enjoy one another’s life stories. Each spring, students have a day to role-play skills learned in seminar around supporting a struggling friend using the empathy and self-awareness learned during their risk topic presentations on teen health and safety. In concert with the advising program, Ninth Grade Seminar provides students with skills to achieve academically, thrive socially, and to find a sense of purpose in our community and beyond.
Grade 10 and 11 Wellness Discussions
Upon returning to campus after Outdoor Experience, tenth and eleventh grade student groups meet in their travel groups monthly for Wellness discussions designed to support critical social-emotional learning, personal decision-making, and healthy lifestyle choices. As a group, students discuss risks inherent in navigating life as a modern teen and complete a self-assessment survey on their own well-being. Topics include academic integrity, positive stress resiliency, active consent, and being proactive about their own mental health as well as recognizing signs and symptoms of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, or other concerns in themselves and peers. Discussions about avoiding vaping and prescription drug use, not texting while driving, and navigating digital lives are followed up in advising and assembly presentations with time reserved for reflection about lifetime habits for healthy living. The focus is on helping students identify and stay accountable to their own goals and make constructive choices while also being supportive to one another.
Grade 12 Seminar
Twelfth Grade Seminar follows after the college counseling program draws to a close in the spring of senior year and is designed as an interactive refresher course on relevant health topics before entering college. The four-week focus is on preparing and empowering seniors to make good decisions when facing social and emotional challenges that come with transitioning to more autonomy and responsibility. Topics include managing perfectionism, sleep, nutrition, sexual health, consent and boundaries, handling free time, balancing technology, and avoiding substance abuse. Small group conversations provide students with the confidence needed to advocate for their needs and access resources at their future colleges.