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.
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.
Princeton Day School "nurtures the mind, the body, and the character of each student. Integrity, respect, and compassion are essential to the school's mission." -- PDS Mission Statement
The Student Service Team works closely with the students and faculty to ensure that faculty have the understanding and tools with which to work with various students and students have the emotional, educational, and physical support to be successful students.
Student Services Team
The Student Services Team collaborates regularly in support of students and faculty. In our effort to most efficiently meet student needs, the team works collaboratively: Samantha Dawson, Ph.D. is the Learning Specialist for Upper School, Dr. Cloey Talotta is the Learning Specialist for Middle School, and Casey Upson in the Lower School Learning Resource Center Coordinator. In addition, Nurse Nina Keller is available for Medical Support.
PDS provides a range of services for students who may need additional academic assistance.
In our 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.
Middle School/Upper School
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 Specialist screens students, consults with teachers and parents, works with students on specific short-term study strategies, advocates for learning-different children, and helps them to develop self-advocacy skills. The model is one of increasing independence as students move through the divisions.
To facilitate the medical care of student athletes in grades sixth through twelve, the school employs a certified athletic trainer who is responsible for the prevention, treatment, care and rehabilitation of sports related injuries and illnesses. S/he is available to evaluate any injury or illness that takes place during a practice or game and to either handle the situation at school or refer the student for further medical care. In the event of a serious injury or medical emergency, "911" will be called, and every effort will be made to contact the athlete's parent.
An athletic trainer is available on weekdays from early afternoon until all practices and/or home games have been completed, and on weekends during regular home games.
Medical Excuses from Sports:
All injuries to athletes, whether sports-related or not, must be reported to the certified athletic trainer. Any athlete under a doctor's care for an injury or illness will be required to provide a doctor's note to be excused from sports, and then a note allowing the student to return to sports. If the athletic trainer refers a student to a doctor for medical care, a doctor's note is required to return to sports.
An athlete who is unable to participate in games and/or practice due to injury or illness must be excused in writing by their doctor or the certified athletic trainer. The athletic trainer will modify the athlete's activity and/or provide therapeutic exercise if appropriate to assist the athlete in their return to sports participation.