With a stronger focus on mental and emotional wellness, a new curriculum for the core class, Physical Wellness and Dynamics is in a trial run this semester. Two different sections of the class are testing the new curriculum. In addition to the two trial classes, Friday physical activity labs have been eliminated for all sections, and class sessions are now held only on Monday and Wednesday to better adjust to the two-credit class. Initially, the Physical Wellness and Dynamics curriculum was taught around the five components of fitness: cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition. That curriculum then transitioned into educating students on how their decisions affect their brain and body.
The experimental classes have essentially flipped the old curriculum, focusing first on how the brain works and reacts to a person’s decisions. Students watch videos, read articles, and complete group projects to help further their understanding of the brain’s habits. The main goal of the course is stress management and striving for one’s ideal lifestyle that focuses on one’s ideal virtues and morals.
“The goal is to provide a thorough education about the benefits of a proper lifestyle, which of course includes physical activity and way beyond that, the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, and the dangers of a lifestyle that is not healthy.” Athletic Director Don Brubacher said. “A healthy lifestyle encompasses nutrition, sleep, activity, management of stress, quality of relationships.”
The new curriculum also spends more class time focused on building healthy relationships. Last semester Brock Lutz, Director of Health and Wellness, gave a video presentation on quality relationships that was shown to each of the physical wellness class sections.
Lutz references the wellness wheel in his video presentation. The wellness wheel focuses on the different aspects of wellness including physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional.
“We were pleasantly surprised with how well the idea of talking about human relationships was requested to the point where we decided we needed to expand.” said Physical Wellness and Dynamics teacher and head swim coach Kurt Kirner. “We are now getting to the point where we are designing the course around the wellness wheel.”
Though the Friday lab has been eliminated, a few labs will be implemented on Mondays and Wednesdays. Per student input, these labs will be focused on self-defense. In substitution of the Friday labs, students will be responsible for 150 minutes of exercise per week that they will track and record on their own. While in class, they will receive suggestions on different ways to meet this requirement. The system is based on the honor code.
Freshman Jed Thomas is in one of the two experimental sections this semester and is having a positive experience with the switch.
“The new physical wellness curriculum is not only very informative but it is also extremely applicable to our everyday lives,” Thomas said. “Having a scientific understanding of how our brain reacts to exercise magnifies the importance of a daily exercise regiment.”
If the experimental classes prove beneficial, the whole curriculum is likely to make the switch next semester. Kirner said that he is hopeful for the new direction that the course is taking.
“It is a course that is designed around an awareness of the student’s lifestyle and trying to find ways to continue to improve upon that and make their lives based around values,” Kirner said.