New Haven does not currently have a health curriculum for its K-12 students; hence, reaching these students regarding the areas of health, nutrition and general wellness is strongly needed. Our school based health center, physical education teachers, school nurse, guidance department and cafeteria staff have formed a coordinated school health committee to begin to focus on ways of addressing these areas of concern. As a guidance counselor and active member of this committee, creating a curriculum unit around our school needs would serve as an effective tool for me to reach our students.
The entire school environment influences students’ eating behaviors and physical activity, therefore, a preliminary survey to discover the health interests and needs of our school was administered. The results of this survey determined that the needs to be targeted are: physical activity, nutrition and parent and community involvement. This unit encompasses these identified issues through a developmentally appropriate guidance perspective. I intend to address proper decision-making and problem solving skills to enable these students to deal with the current risks facing their overall wellness.
There is a need for teaching in these focus areas; yet without a designed curriculum these topics are often overlooked. As a guidance counselor, I can address these issues in an academic or specialty classroom to ensure that every student receives the information. For the purpose of this curriculum, I intend to divide the grade levels into fifth and sixth grade topics and seventh and eighth grade topics. The basic concepts and issues will be discussed similarly; however the content areas will be addressed differently in that they will be developmentally appropriate for each group. These lessons will be adapted and changed yearly so as to ensure that the same student is not receiving the same information twice. The lesson plans will be designed to reach students in an effective manner for their interest and ability in relation to the topic of health and wellness.
(Recommended for Health, Nutrition, Social Development, Science, and Home Economics, grades 5-8.)