Health and Wellness


Princeton Day School’s Health and Wellness Program seeks to empower our students to successfully navigate the ever-changing environment we live in by promoting a healthy physical, mental, and social lifestyle. The curriculum in all three divisions revolves around a number of core topics: nutrition, relationships, safety, sleep, exercise, stress and study skills, sexuality, substance use and abuse, social media, and sustainability.

Health educators, mental health personnel, and fitness, yoga, and movement instructors will work in conjunction with speakers from our greater community to share important information in their areas of expertise. It is our hope that providing students with this developmentally appropriate and clinically pertinent learning will inform their decision-making and provide the skills they need to build a productive and healthy foundation for living.

News & Events


Princeton Common Ground invites you to hear Dr. Richard Freed present "Reclaiming Childhood in a Digital Age" on Tuesday, November 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart. Dr. Freed, a child and adolescent psychologist, and author of the book Wired Child: Reclaiming Childhood in a Digital Age, will discuss strategies on how to build your child's bond with family and foster school success amid the allure of digital screens. Click the headline to read more.

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Princeton Day School was pleased to welcome to campus Ali Warren Rothrock, from Minding Your Mind (MYM) a mental health education and advocacy awareness group, to speak to our Middle School students in a special Health & Wellness assembly this morning. Director of Wellness Dr. Candy Shah, who organized the assembly which was open to parents as well, introduced Ms. Rothrock, who is a firefighter and author. She told her very compelling and heartfelt story of living through being bullied and finally finding the strength to stand up for herself and be successful and happy. Ms. Rothrock's story is a shining example of resilience and she offered our students advice and take-aways on how to recognize and honor the vital importance of mental health.

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On Thursday, May 12 at 7:00 p.m. in the McAneny Theater, Princeton Day School will host a special evening program for parents of students in 7th through 9th grade to address the rumors, misconceptions, and realities about the college admissions process, and to offer advice on planning for success in higher education while still fully experiencing high school life and developing healthy habits for the future. Co-hosted by Jason Robinson, Head of Upper School and Assistant Head of School for Academic Life; Sarah Graham, Director of College Counseling; and Dr. Candy Shah, Director of Wellness Services, the program will also include a presentation on how students can best prepare for a successful transition to college learning and life by Rebecca Bushnell '70, Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania and member of the Princeton Day School Board of Trustees.

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Upcoming Events

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Health & Wellness Departments at PDS

Academic Programs and Peer Group Leadership

Lower School
Grades PreK through four engage in a year-long program highlighting topics such as nutrition, safety, and self-awareness in an age appropriate manner through interactive lessons, group discussion and dynamic speakers. In the Lower School, students begin the journey of self empowerment and good decision making through example.

Middle School
Using a multidisciplinary method, Grades five through eight learn about the 5 “S’s”- Stress, Sexuality, Substance abuse, Social Media and Sustainability. The program, which is in seminar format, and includes community speakers and a “wellness practice” component, not only educates our children about current topics but also provides a venue for physical practices in yoga, meditation, heart rate monitoring and Eastern-influenced movement.

Upper School
In tenth grade health class (a requirement for each student), we again delve deeply and examine current topics in health and wellness, focusing on awareness of how this information shapes the decisions we make in our own lives. Health educators utilize several forms of learning, group discussions, and longitudinal projects, as well as external resources to continue the journey in wellness practices.

Peer Group Leadership
Peer Group is a long-standing Princeton Day School tradition utilizing the leaders of our senior class to facilitate frank discussion on pertinent topics with members of the freshman class. These individuals who are chosen after a rigorous application process, and who must complete an intensive introspective program and learn basic counseling techniques, prepare lessons weekly for the ninth grade with the close supervision of their faculty advisors. This peer-to-peer interaction has been shown to be beneficial to our newest members of the Upper School, often providing insight to real concerns our youth face today.

Physical Education and Athletic Training

Physical Education
Our Lower School and Middle School PE program is designed with a focus on teaching good habits both on and off the field, and also emphasizes the need for physical activity as a life-long practice. By learning different games, sampling different sports, bringing in technology to give usable feedback in the forms of heart rate monitoring and pedometer use, as well as introducing other forms of physical movement—including yoga, tai chi and qui gong—each student will understand that being physically active is a priority for a successful and “well” lifestyle at any age.

By incorporating such character lessons as good sportsmanship, team building, and effective leadership, PE also becomes an important venue for our students to realize gym class is not just about moving your body, but also maintaining a healthy mind and heart.

PE Department: Mark Adams, Jill Thomas, Leslie Hagan, Pete Higgins

Athletic Training
Our full-time athletic trainers ensure that our student athletes can play to their potential every season. They address the physical needs of our students, working intimately with the nursing staff and coaches, and executing individualized plans for each student. Their priority is injury prevention, but they are integral when it comes to injury recovery. Our trainers are also responsible for baseline IMPACT testing for each Middle School and Upper School student ensuring that there exists a baseline for each member of the student body for concussion evaluation. They are on site for practices and home games, fully qualified to evaluate and triage any potential injury sustained during those times.

Athletic Trainers: Henry Minarick, Hillery Lamb

Learning Specialists and Counseling

Learning Resources
Princeton Day School provides a range of services for students who may need additional academic assistance.

In the Lower School, our Learning Resource Center team consults with teachers and parents; screens students in language arts and math; and provides extra help for students who are having difficulty acquiring skills.

In the Middle and Upper Schools, teachers are available to meet with students during regularly scheduled resource periods (Middle School) or by appointment during free periods (Upper School). In addition, our Learning Specialists screen students, consult with teachers and parents, work with students on specific short-term study strategies, advocate for learning-different children, and help them to develop self-advocacy skills. The model is one of increasing independence as students move through the divisions.

Princeton Day School is fortunate to have a full time counselor available for the entire student body. Acknowledging that mental and emotional health are essential to student success, the counseling program promotes cooperation between, the individual, their families, faculty and other health professional in order to ensure a complete approach to being emotionally well.

Learning Specialists and Counseling Team:
Lower School Learning Resource Coordinator: Casey Upson
Middle School Learning Specialist: Carolyn Salgado, Ph.D.
Upper School Learning Specialist: Samantha Dawson, Ph.D.
School Counselor: Rob Tuckman

The Health Office

The Health Office
There is a health office at Princeton Day School in the main administrative wing staffed with registered nurses every school day from 7:45 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Our nurses are responsible for the physical well being of our student body through exhaustive medical record reviews, routine health monitoring (scoliosis screening, hearing and vision screening) and by providing immediate and acute medical care to those who require it. Fully able to evaluate and treat minor medical problems in school and to address more serious concerns until the proper channels are available, the nurses at PDS will do everything to ensure our community is healthy and happy.

Our nurses also actively participate as health educators teaching health and wellness in the Lower and Middle Schools and conducting a bi-monthly “girls program” in the Upper School—yet another way to promote dialogue about today’s concerns in students’ lives.

Please click here to be redirected to the Health & Student Services Web Page.

Our Mission Statement

The Mission of the Health and Wellness program at Princeton Day School is to educate our community regarding overall health and wellness, which includes the physical, psychological, emotional, and social aspects of a student. By investigating the factors that protect, as well as those that create risk, we encourage students to take responsibility for his or her health by living an active, healthy lifestyle. Our ultimate goal is the life-long commitment to healthy living by making informed choices for one’s own health.
Director of Wellness Maritoni Shah, MD
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