Nurturing the Health and Wellness of Our Community
Relationships are at the core of Nightingale’s Health and Wellness program. A skills-based curriculum around social and emotional well-being incorporates students’ lives both inside and outside the schoolhouse. Each grade has its own health class. From Kindergarten, when students discuss trusted adults in the Schoolhouse, to Middle School, where students navigate identity in early adolescence, all the way through authentic discussions on real-life health scenarios for teens in the Upper School, skill development focuses is on four main areas: decision-making, communication, values clarification, and media literacy.
Caring for Both Body and Mind
In the Lower School, the focus is on mind and body and laying the foundation for a discussion on health and wellness throughout their Nightingale years.
Students learn the basics of mindfulness, good hygiene, and nutrition. They role-play to practice identifying and sharing feelings, establishing healthy boundaries, and seeking help from trusted adults. Students talk about healthy friendships, explore influences on decisions, and discuss healthy self-esteem. Throughout the Lower School, human sexuality is taught in a developmentally appropriate way, and the changes of puberty are part of the Class IV health curriculum.
Creating Healthy Relationships at a Critical Time
Middle School students practice good decision-making skills as they navigate the transition into adolescence learn to establish healthy communication in their relationships.
Students take a personal safety course to help them reinforce healthy boundaries. Health class in Middle School provides space for students to explore identity and establish personal values. In a safe setting, students practice decision-making around social media use, sleep hygiene, substance use, and sexuality as well as around friendships and partner relationships.
Taking Control of Their Physical, Emotional, and Social Selves
In the Upper School, there is a health and wellness committee on the student council and a Wellness Day where students opt into workshops like mindfulness or yoga, and take part in interactive sessions on adolescent health issues including sleep, sexuality, mental health, and consumer health. In health class, students discuss adolescent health including gender and sexuality, nutrition, mental health, sleep hygiene, and harm reduction around substance use. Personal safety classes are continued, and consent in relationships and an examination of intimate partner violence are discussed. Students gain ownership of their own health, physical and mental, allowing them to take control of their own well-being as they leave Nightingale.
Toward a Deeper Understanding of Student Mental Health
Nightingale partnered with the Child Mind Institute (CMI) to proactively increase our community’s awareness of mental health issues and support the overall well-being of our students. CMI educated faculty and staff, as well as parents, about mental health concerns and best practices for caretakers in a series of seven presentations over the 2019-20 academic year. At the end of the year, a common language around mental health was established, including identifying certain behaviors associated with mental health concerns and providing strategies for seeking treatment if needed.
A Healthy Approach to the World
Nightingale’s goal for its health and wellness program, which begins in Kindergarten and continues with required courses through senior year, is to empower our students with health knowledge and skills giving them the ability to confidently manage their well-being throughout their development. At its core, the program emphasizes relationships—with self, parents and guardians, with friends, teachers, and partners—and helps students make healthy decisions around those significant relationships throughout their lives.