Health and Wellness


The Health and Wellness Program at Princeton Day School 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 and social media.

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

Aligning our objectives in our class offerings, through our Peer Leadership programs, in the physical education curriculum as well as in athletic participation, we believe that every aspect of a student’s education focuses on the promotion of a whole and healthy lifestyle.

News & Events


This week's Peer Leadership evening for Upper School parents and students exemplifies the best in pro-active, student-led community-building at PDS. Director of Wellness Services Dr. Candy Shah, who was tasked by Head of School Paul Stellato with a leading role in coordinating leadership programming, shares about the School's distinctive and highly intentional student leadership efforts. "Student leadership at PDS is probably one of the biggest mission skills we try to impart on our students to prepare them for the world beyond graduation," notes Dr. Shah.

[ ...] about Eye-Opening Peer Leadership Evening for Parents and Students:

The 2018 Bridges Program culminated in a 7th grade on-campus retreat on Tuesday, May 3 under sunny skies on the Pagoda Fields. Director of Wellness Dr. Candy Shah shared that the Senior leaders planned activities that promoted cooperation, communication, problem solving, and team building in an active and fun way, and the 7th grade students spent all afternoon engaging in the same social and emotional skills they learned about all year.

[ ...] about The Bridges Program Retreat

Head of Middle School Renée Price, Director of Wellness Dr. Candy Shah, and many of our Middle School faculty members are currently in Worton, Maryland at Echo Hill Outdoor School with the entire 8th grade class for the annual 3-day class trip. This trip is a highly anticipated event that is not only a fun adventure for our students, but also has many goals, including supporting and enriching the 8th grade advisory program; enhancing class bonding; and developing teamwork and community.

[ ...] about The 8th Grade Trip: Echo Hill

Upcoming Events

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The Health & Wellness Program

Health and Wellness Curriculum Overview

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 five "S" topics: Stress and Sleep, Self Care, Substance use and abuse, Social Media and Human Sexuality. Small classes that meet once every cycle are in seminar format and encourage students to discuss relevant topics in a safe and supportive environment. Additionally, assembly speakers from the PDS community and beyond enhance the classroom curriculum, and opportunities exist those students who would like to try yoga, meditation and mindfulness through the DaVinci Electives offerings, our signature Middle School experiential learning block.

Upper School

In tenth grade health class (a graduation 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.

Student Leadership

Using a Peer Group model of teaching, important topics in wellness are covered in an innovative, interactive and holistic manner. After a rigorous application and selection process, leaders from the senior class are meticulously trained in order to teach younger students through either the Peer Group (ninth grade) or the Bridges (seventh grade) programs. Responsible for teaching their assigned classes for the majority of the year, seniors learn to prepare, execute lesson plans and critique their work. Faculty preceptors from each program, Peer Group and Bridges, act as supervisors and mentors for the seniors throughout their leadership training experience by providing feedback and support, and by cultivating leadership skills in each of them.

By using this model, both the ‘student’ as well as the ‘teacher’ benefit -- for the student, through learning information from a peer lens, and for the teacher, through providing actual context to that information and being a true role model and example.

Physical Education

The Physical Education Program is based upon the acquisition of knowledge and skills that are the foundation for engaging in an active lifestyle. This is a sequential educational program based on physical activities undertaken in an active, caring, supportive atmosphere in which every student is challenged and successful. Our aim is to empower all of our students to sustain regular, lifelong physical activity as a foundation for a healthy, productive and fulfilling life.


Athletics at Princeton Day School play an integral role in the overall education of each student. We believe in the classical ideal of mens sana in corpore sano: "a sound mind in a sound body" with a dedication to the lasting values of personal integrity, responsibility, commitment, teamwork and sportsmanship.

Princeton Day School offers an extensive interscholastic athletic program, which includes 25 sports and 90 teams. Over 50% of our students enrolled in the Upper School, and over 85% in the Middle School participate on an interscholastic team.

This robust program is fluid and meets the needs of those gifted athletes to prepare to compete at the college level, while at the same time ensuring that every participant engages in the lifelong benefits of athletics, physical fitness, competition and teamwork.

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