Academic Program
Middle School

Health Education

Health Education Curriculum

Building on a foundation of knowledge and skills developed in the Lower School, students learn that good health is an integrated state of physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being—much more than simply the absence of illness.
The program aims to provide responsible health education that promotes self-respect, respect for others, regard for parental values, and encourages communication between students and their parents on health issues. All courses present students with developmentally appropriate information and teach them the decision-making skills that they need to make choices central to their own health and well-being.

Middle School Health Sequence

List of 4 items.

  • Grade 5: Dimensions of Health

    Through multimedia, discussion, and interactive class activities, Grade 5 health classes address issues of self-awareness, social relationships, diversity, decision-making, nutrition, health and human sexuality, and strategies for coping with the beginning of puberty and growth. Students begin to examine and understand the dimensions of health as they apply to their daily lives, including social health, physical health, emotional health, intellectual health and community/environmental health.
  • Grade 6: Reflections on Wellness

    Grade 6 health classes are designed to help students develop life skills that support healthy decision-making and living. The course begins with an extensive unit on food from all perspectives, including macro food systems, and culture and tradition, down to micro topics on taste, choice and nutrition. In order to develop wellness skills, students reflect on their identities and experiences. Topics covered include self-awareness, self-esteem, mindset, stress management, positive social relationships, listening, problem-solving skills and conflict-resolution skills, puberty and body image, nutrition, and alcohol and other drug-use prevention.
  • Grade 7: Health Literacies

    The dimensions of health (social, physical, emotional, intellectual, community/environmental) are explored in depth in order for students to begin to form their own critical lens and to begin to understand and evaluate health information on their own. Classes re-examine and develop a deeper understanding of issues addressed in previous years and expand coverage to topics including body image, media literacy, social justice, time management, peer pressure, disease and human reproduction.
  • Grade 8: Topics in Adolescent Health

    Grade 8 features a seminar program to help provide a capstone to the Middle School health program and to prepare for the Upper School experience, particularly the transition to adolescence and how to manage the process of transition using healthy decision-making skills. In the spring, students build on their understanding of wellness skills while working through an intensive seminar focusing on how the dimensions of health (social, physical, emotional, intellectual, community/environmental) will shift in Upper School, and how to explore healthy decision-making as it relates to social health, drug and alcohol use prevention and sexuality.

Explore Our Curriculum

A K-12 independent school in New York city, The Spence School prepares a diverse community of girls and young women for the demands of academic excellence and responsible citizenship.


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