Graduation requirement: .5 credit (Health and Wellness)
- Health and Wellness; Grade 10
- Peer Leadership Program; Grade 12
- Peer Leadership for Freshmen; Grade 9
- Introduction to Psychology; Grade 12
Health and Wellness*
This one-semester course provides students with the tools necessary to make good decisions and choices for a healthy lifestyle. A sequential curriculum addresses the physical, mental, social and emotional dimensions of health. Students strengthen their abilities to recognize, analyze and react to unhealthy situations. This course provides students with skills, practices and attitudes to promote healthy behavior in order to lead a productive balanced life. Classes are conducted as a forum for students to discuss their views in an atmosphere of trust and acceptance. Health classes are built to be age-appropriate and topics may include external factors that influence health and wellness, life skills, good decision-making, social media, healthy relationships, sexual health and reproduction, drugs and alcohol, and mental illness.
*Required course for sophomores
Offered fall and spring semesters
Peer Leadership Program
Peer Leadership has been at The Pennington School for over twenty-five years. Based on programming developed at The Princeton Center for Leadership Training, a select group of seniors is chosen each year to be trained as student leaders. Peer Leaders are enrolled in a daily class where they plan and practice for their weekly meetings with freshmen. Each Peer Leader works with a partner and leads a small group of freshmen on a weekly basis, supporting freshmen in their new environment. Seniors learn to lead a discussion, facilitate an activity, plan an event, coordinate service projects, and develop programming, all the while displaying sensitivity and caring for the freshmen. Reflection and self-assessment are a constant in the program as seniors build confidence, study group dynamics, and develop their leadership skills. Freshmen develop new friends and a support system of caring upperclassmen. Seniors apply to be Peer Leaders and complete an application, interview, and faculty review prior to being selected. Training for seniors includes a retreat prior to the start of school as well as the aforementioned daily class.
Peer Leadership for Freshmen
Freshmen meet every Friday at 7:55 a.m. in small groups with their Peer Leaders. Senior Peer Leaders help the freshmen experience a smooth transition into Upper School through introductory activities. Peer Leadership also includes seniors’ leading discussions with freshmen about social and academic pressures; relationships with peers, parents, and faculty; issues involving Internet use, drugs, sex, and alcohol; and, most important, an understanding of the decision-making process. Freshmen participate in the Peer Leadership program on a weekly basis as a mandatory part of the curriculum. Peer Leaders also lead Freshman Fun Nights, after-school game nights, and a Parents Night, when freshmen and their parents come together to learn more about the program and participate in activities around a particular topic.
Introduction to Psychology
This quarter course for seniors is designed to introduce students to the field of psychology and investigate why people think, feel, and act the way they do. Psychology has both an applied side and a basic research/science side. Most people are more interested in psychology’s applications: “What causes psychological disturbances? What are the causes of depression, schizophrenia, or bullying?” The science/research side of psychology, however, sustains the applied side and allows one to answer some of these questions with sound scientific research. The course covers some of the fundamental tenets of psychology, examining learning theories, personality theories, abnormal behavior, psychological assessment, social psychology, research techniques, and more.