Harford Day employs a School Counselor to work with children on a variety of topics from managing anxiety to mastering study skills to dealing with divorce. Individual and small-group counseling is available. Families can access the Counselor by contacting her or may be contacted by the Counselor, at the suggestion of a child’s teachers.
The Middle School Health and Wellness curriculum is focused on helping students develop skills to live a healthy life now and in the future. The curriculum is focused on wellness beyond physical health, focusing on mental, social and inner health, too. Each grade focuses on similar topics with a difference in specifics and depth based on the age range.
In sixth grade, we focus on understanding the importance of taking care of the whole self, not just physical health but a balance between emotional, physical, intellectual and social health. Through a variety of topics, students practice skills to help them manage the stress of middle school, make healthy choices for their body and mind, and communicate effectively with others.
In seventh grade, students build on these topics by learning more about stress and mental health challenges, practicing refusal skills for alcohol and other drugs, and building self-advocacy skills.
In eighth grade, students work on building skills to help them make safe and healthy choices as teenagers. Students learn skills to help with managing the stress of transitioning to high school. Students also dive into a deeper understanding of alcohol and other substances and conflict resolution skills. Students learn about sexual identity, healthy relationships, and sexual safety.
The goal of the curriculum is to help students develop the skills to make healthy choices for themselves as they grow up. Teenagers by nature don’t want to listen to lectures from adults on healthy choices. They think we couldn’t understand what it’s like to be them, and they are programmed to take risks. I’m a product of the DARE generation, and scaring kids into taking care of themselves didn’t work for a lot of people my age. This is something I circle back to a lot when thinking of activities to teach concepts in Health and Wellness. Rather than scaring them into feeling like they “have” to make the right choice or their brain will fry on a pan, I want to empower them. I want students to get the knowledge and develop understanding while taking ownership of their own health. I want them to have the skills to evaluate effectively what would or would not be a healthy, safe choice for themselves.
Harford Day considers bright and motivated children for admission who may have learning needs. As a private independent school, Harford Day determines what learning accommodations it can offer, on a case-by-case basis. We will consider, but we are not required to adhere to, public school Independent Education Plans (IEPs).
The School has worked with children who have ADD, ADHD, and problems with executive functioning, but is not equipped to, for example, work with children who have language-based disabilities. The Learning Specialist manages files on students who receive accommodations and is the first point of contact. Teachers are required to know and employ all approved accommodations.