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.