Our classrooms are microcosms of the larger world and spaces where tremendous growth can occur. Students engage with content specific curriculum, learn how to navigate and balance school work and a social life, and also have the opportunity to develop healthy habits that will continue to serve them throughout their lives.
As educators, we can share information through direct instruction and demonstrate the practicality of ideas through our actions. These tips and tools for incorporating health and wellness into the classroom should be implemented throughout the school year and not simply during the dreaded cold and flu season.
Define + Discuss
Defining health and wellness for students should be an ongoing conversation and is most effective when partnered with practical applications for their daily lives. Incorporating discussions around health and healthy practices can deepen their connection to themselves and to the choices they make every day.
Health encapsulates our physical and mental state.
Wellness is the pursuit of taking care of ourselves and an ongoing journey.
Health and wellness require us to be active participants on the journey to being our strongest, and best selves.
We all benefit from an open dialogue in which everyone is invested, able to share their perspectives, and voice their questions and/or confusions.
When discussing these important topics, it is necessary to acknowledge different individual perspectives and various cultural attitudes and traditions. We can all learn from what others have done to achieve better health or a more peaceful state of mind.
Prior to having students engage in a whole-class discussion, I reiterate the expectations that will allow all participants to feel respected and heard.
Suggested discussion starters
Developing healthy, sustainable habits takes practice. Each of the activities listed below is designed to engage students in ways that build their self-awareness and provide them with alternative options for managing stress.
Understanding ourselves is a critical component to navigating life’s demands and finding a sense of balance and peace. Developing a student’s sense of self will allow them to identify their own needs and to better advocate for their own health.
Put it into Practice