Grace strives to equip students with knowledge and skills that can help them live happy and healthy lives. That’s why our program strives to help students develop habits of self awareness and reflection, to acquire skills for maintaining healthy relationships and for making wise decisions, and to nurture a desire to serve the common good and honor the dignity of all. The benefits of this approach for individual students can be obvious: these are vital lessons, and learning them pays academic dividends and not just social and emotional ones. The benefits for the community are real, too, for the skills students learn are shaped, tested, and refined in their application at school, as students practice emotional resilience and generosity, face challenges with courage and intention, and experience the support and grace of a community striving to cultivate understanding, humility, respect, and love.
Grace’s Health and Wellness curriculum works in age-appropriate ways both to promote a healthy sense of self and to protect students from unwanted touching and sexual abuse. Students of every age practice the communication skills necessary for establishing personal boundaries and for responding when they are at risk of being breached, and supportive adults coach students through navigating difficult conversations with peers and are always available to help.
Our youngest students begin by learning correct terms for body parts, while our elementary and middle-division students are taught to understand how power can be abused and how to ask for help for themselves or others. Middle and High School students take courses each year in health and wellness, including a required ninth grade violence prevention and personal safety course taught by partners from Prepare, Inc
, and a required tenth grade human sexuality and substances course. To fulfil their lab studies requirements, eleventh and twelfth grade students must additionally take a certain number of classes related to personal wellbeing; in recent years, those have included courses like “Blurred Lines: Media & Rape Culture” and “Understanding Power & Control: Consent vs. Coercion.”
Because we know that academic achievement and student health and well-being are interdependent, Grace Church School is committed to prioritizing the physical, social, and emotional health and safety of our students. Research has shown that age-appropriate, scaffolded, comprehensive sexuality education plays a crucial role in promoting healthy child development and protecting young people from harm. An overview of the developmentally appropriate curriculum at each age level is below.