Wellness (LS)

Kindergarten meets once weekly for 20-minutes; whole class.
Grades 1–2 meet once weekly for 30-minutes; whole class.
Grades 3–4 meet once weekly for 40-minutes; whole class.

Classes are taught by the school counselor with participation from the homeroom teacher, and strategies are practiced throughout the week. Additional curriculum is introduced outside of the wellness classes.

The wellness program helps students practice self-reflection and teaches everyday conflict resolution and emotion management skills. Students also learn valuable lessons surrounding consent, body safety, and identity. Through a sequenced wellness curriculum, students develop intra- and interpersonal skills. They think reflectively about themselves as individuals, as members of a small community (their classroom), and as part of the larger communities of Maret and the world.

The lower school wellness curriculum builds students’ capacity in five main areas: social awareness, relationship skills, personal decision making, self-management, and self-awareness. These competencies are at the core of each wellness lesson, which is designed to meet students at their developmental levels. Throughout Lower School, the curriculum spirals through these main areas, providing students with opportunities to revisit topics and address age-appropriate challenges. The wellness curriculum is responsive; it allows the flexibility to address particular issues or social dynamics that arise within a class or grade.

Wellness classes meet weekly and are taught by the lower school counselor with participation from the homeroom teacher. Through guided discussions and well-planned lessons, students learn how to identify and manage emotions, address the bullying cycle, resolve conflicts, build pro-social behaviors, and learn about the benefits of mindfulness. Every grade has two lessons on appropriate physical boundaries and consent. All students spend six weeks each year exploring their personal identity surrounding a variety of topics, including race, gender, socioeconomic status, family structure, religion, ability, and ethnicity. Children practice effective communication skills and teamwork through games, videos, stories, and discussions. Homeroom teachers support community building by creating norms and expectations with their students. Skills and strategies introduced during Wellness lessons are reinforced by the homeroom teachers throughout the school day.

Throughout the grades, students learn about, use, and deepen their understanding of Maret’s lower school problem-solving model, STOP, which stands for Stop, Talk, Own Up, and Plan.

Kindergarten

Students learn to understand themselves as individuals while learning to get along with each other. There is an emphasis on Maret’s norms for social interactions (e.g., sharing, kindness, empathy). Through these lessons, kindergartners learn to identify and regulate their emotions, calm their bodies, resolve conflicts with classmates, and assert boundaries. Students begin to learn about STOP. Kindergarten students explore how human beings are both the same and different. They learn about different family structures, how to be a kind friend, and how to respectfully say “no” to a friend.  

First Grade

Students learn how to identify the way others might be feeling by looking at their face, body, and the situation. They use these valuable skills to practice empathy, kindness, and compassion towards others. First grade students develop conflict resolution skills with peers in the hopes of relying less on adult intervention to become independent problem solvers. First graders grow their understanding of STOP. Students practice the skills they learn in the classroom through games, stories, and role play. Students explore the concept of identity by learning the definition of “stereotypes” and how they relate to Halloween costumes. They learn the difference between a situation being “unfair” and “discriminatory” through  the story of civil rights activist Ruby Bridges.

Second Grade

Second graders reflect on how they are feeling and how they can recognize the feelings in their bodies. They practice recognizing, naming, and expressing their emotions. Active listening, empathy, and building connections with classmates are also emphasized. Students continue to learn about STOP and use personal examples to help solve problems at school and home. Second grade students continue to explore diverse family structures and spend several lessons exploring gender stereotypes. 

Third Grade

Third grade students use games, activities, and friendly competition to practice teamwork, cooperation, and communication skills. As they solve problems collaboratively, they learn good sportsmanship. There is also a focus on building healthy relationships and interpersonal skills, such as active listening, conflict resolution, inclusion/exclusion, and managing emotions. Students review Maret’s problem-solving model STOP. They take a deeper dive into learning about the social construct of race, the power of words, and how it feels to be “different.” They also learn the difference between equal and equitable.

Fourth Grade

Students deepen and expand upon their prior knowledge. They continue to explore boundaries and the complexities of emotions; they think about how, when, and why they may feel more than one emotion simultaneously, and they consider why some emotions are harder to express than others. Children practice problem-solving skills and work with the concepts of escalating and de-escalating conflicts. Passive, aggressive, and assertive communication styles, and the messages they send, are explored. Students continue to deepen and grow their understanding of STOP. Fourth graders explore serious topics, such as sexism, racism, prejudice, and microaggressions. They learn valuable skills on how to interrupt racism and respond to microaggressions. 

Each spring, Debbie Roffman, a nationally renowned sex educator, visits the fourth grade to begin the conversation about sexuality. The school nurse follows up with information on body changes; science and homeroom teachers continue these discussions.

 

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