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.
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.
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.
Dr. Candy Shah, Princeton Day School Director of Wellness, has been invited to be a part of the Planning Committee for a Mayor's Summit on Student Stress in Princeton organized by Mayor Liz Lempert. "We are organizing a planning committee to help develop the framework for a Summit to address both youth and parental concerns," states a letter from Gary DeBlasio, Director of Youth and Community Services, about the initiative. The task force includes representatives from Princeton University, Trinity Counseling, Corner House, two members of the Mayor's Youth Advisory Committee, Mayor Lempert, Steve Cochrane, and representatives from each of the four area high schools. The first meeting of the Mayor's Task Force on Teen Stress will take place on Monday, October 30.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.