Barrie Prep: Health, Wellness, and Athletics
At Barrie, our philosophy about health and wellness centers around promoting the social, emotional, and physical well-being of all of our students. In both the Montessori and Prep divisions, we dedicate time to formal health education and health-related discussions across disciplines and we embrace the simple fun and joy of physical activity. These relevant discussions and lessons take place in class, advisory sessions, School Life classes, and extra-curricular activities. They emphasize awareness and skills in self-advocacy, communication, treating themselves and others with respect, managing relationships, decision-making, mindfulness, and healthy attitudes towards their abilities, such as the capacity to improve and help others improve).
A healthy existence is dependent on the unique balance of social, physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and environmental components within each individual’s lifestyle. While we cannot prescribe how each student should organize and conduct themselves through life, it is incumbent upon us, as educators, to model and provide opportunities for students to learn and experience a variety of healthy practices from which they can make healthy choices as they become independent.
The Health, Wellness, and Athletics curriculum is designed to help students develop the attitudes and behaviors of a “health-literate” person; that is, someone who:
- Understands the basic nature, causes, and prevention of diseases.
- Can obtain, comprehend, and evaluate basic medical information.
- Has respect for self, others, and the environment.
- Practices health-enhancing (e.g. good nutrition) and risk-reducing (e.g. regular physical exercise) behaviors.
- Can understand the influence of culture, media, technology, and the environment on health.
- Can set goals and make decisions that enhance health.
- Practices mindfulness to improve personal health and relationships with others.
- Advocates for personal, family, and community health.
While Barrie strives to provide athletic options for its students, it still encourages and allows students to seek their own passions and engage in other extracurricular activities (for which they receive credit). Most recently, students have advocated for: mixed martial arts, rock climbing, and traditional Thai dancing.
In addition, the Health, Wellness, and Athletics program at Barrie School, provides opportunities for students to experience a variety of healthy activities before they graduate. We encourage students to accept challenges, discover new talents, and other ways to redesign their lifestyles. Upon graduation from Barrie School, it is hoped that each student has enjoyed the experience of: riding a horse; peddling a bicycle; dancing; rock-climbing and rappelling; hiking and camping in wilderness; meditation; yoga; martial arts; skiing down a mountain; rafting on whitewater; and playing in competition as individuals and with teammates. The outcomes of these experiences are: a curiosity to try new things; confidence and skills with which to meet new challenges; and a perspective and attitude to make good choices toward a long and healthy life.
The Middle School (6th grade through 8th grade) has athletic team practices during the school day. If students opt to not be on one of the seasonal teams, they would be in a group that works on conditioning, strengthening, and cooperation. The team coaches are responsible for running practices and games. The students that are not on a seasonal team have an instructor to lead their physical activities.
Students in Grades 9 through 12 take a year-long health class that follows Maryland’s spiraling Health Curriculum. Students discover how they can control aspects of their physiology such as breathing rate and response time by practicing with biofeedback technology using the cutting-edge software program. Students participate in class discussions centered on distinguishing between myths and truths as well as answering student questions. Finally, students complete a year-long group service project, which are Health Public Service Announcements. These projects involve research and multimedia music/stage/poster presentations to the Barrie community. Students are also offered a number of classes serving their health and wellness, including Yoga and Dance.
Middle School Life (MSL) and Upper School Life (USL) are 45-minute classes meeting once every 6-day cycle that support student emotional, social, and academic development. Both are taught by members of faculty that rotate trimesters or years. Current teachers include Riki Weeks, Shannon Needham, and Lisa Clarke. Middle and Upper School Life, Advisories, and assemblies become the tripod of support students need to reach their full potential as learners, leaders, community members, and healthy individuals. Advisories include small group discussions and activities around diversity and inclusion, MindSet (a growth-oriented outlook), and the sixth grade advisories practice a minute of mindful silence every day. Assemblies sometimes cover Anti-Bullying and other health topics vital for the Barrie community.
Beginning in grade 6 and continuing through grade 8, MSL class is designed to develop a strong foundation in students’ understanding of community membership, neurodevelopmental studies, and mind-body wellness. This foundation empowers students to make healthy life choices, engage in healthy risk- taking, and know themselves well enough to self-advocate and make a positive impact in communities large and small. During the first trimester, each grade will focus on the theme of “Setting up for Success,” which will cover many areas such as transition to Middle School, making new friends, or learning how to get started on a project or paper. Second trimester, the theme will be “Taking on Challenges” such as difficult conversations, advocacy, or risk-taking behavior. Third trimester is where students will be “Taking Stock”. This is where each student will focus on reflective work: who you are and how you have grown, assessing what worked really well and why, and what kinds of goals you want to set next.
The focus of USL course varies by trimester and is designed to support grade-specific student needs that lie outside of academic coursework. The course includes tailored activities that support the growth and development of the student’s studentship and professional skills, as well as opportunities to learn, complete, and reflect on Barrie’s curricular and co-curricular programs, including our Community Service and Internship programs, the college application process, and individual and group preparations for graduation.