Health and Wellness
Sidwell Friends recognizes that good health policies, practices, and education are essential to the success of any school community. Because we believe that learning and health are symbiotic, the health services team takes a holistic approach in their work with students, families, faculty, and staff to support experiences that meet the needs and help realize the potential of each student.
Each campus has a health care coordinator (registered nurse) on-site throughout the school day. A health and wellness assistant (certified athletic trainer) is also available on the Middle and Upper School campus.
Members of the health services team serve as liaisons between families, community health professionals, and the School to coordinate the acute and chronic healthcare needs of students. The team also acts as an educational resource for the School community to promote self-advocacy, disease prevention, and safety.
Health and wellness education for students and parents promotes health and social-emotional competencies consistent with a Quaker education. Wellness education is provided in the classroom and through speakers, assemblies, special programs, and service learning.
Education addresses four key areas:
- Self-awareness. Critical for managing actions and setting goals, self-awareness education helps students explore their identities; recognize core values, strengths, and challenges; and understand how emotions influence behavior and health. Self-awareness includes the physical self and helps students develop confidence, self-efficacy, and the ability to listen to their inner, guiding light.
- Self-regulation. Self-regulation is the ability to control emotions and behaviors and understand the consequences of actions. Skills include managing frustration, anxiety, and disappointment both personally and academically, as well as responsible decision making about sexual and other behaviors that affect health promotion and disease prevention. Self-regulation means being mindful of emotions and acting in accordance with personal and academic goals and values.
- Social awareness. Being socially aware means having empathy, understanding others’ perspectives, respecting diversity, and recognizing how social norms and peer pressure can affect behavior. Social awareness includes understanding the meaning and importance of consent and how to communicate respect for each other’s boundaries. Social awareness is key to developing healthy and respectful relationships, and it is central to the Quaker values of seeing the humanity in each person and striving to improve the lives of others in the world.
- Social regulation. Social regulation involves making socially responsible decisions based on an understanding of how relationships work. Relationship building requires skills in active listening, communication, conflict resolution, and teamwork. Responsible decision making involves managing peer pressure and having the ability to reflect, evaluate, and make safe and ethical choices that promote positive social interactions, including healthy sexual relationships.
Sidwell Friends continues to evaluate and modify the School’s social and emotional education programs to meet the changing needs of our students.
Counselors support students and parents in our community through education, counseling, and assessment and consultation with faculty.
Education: The School develops and delivers developmentally appropriate curricula to promote the self-awareness, emotion regulation, and social skills needed for academic and life success.
Counseling: When students’ social and emotional needs get in the way of learning, our counselors provide brief, solution-focused counseling, which may include
- Supportive reflection
- Cognitive restructuring
- Relaxation/deep breathing
- Problem solving
- Interpersonal resolutions
Counseling is provided to students individually and in groups. Counselors also provide parent education and coaching.
Assessment and consultation: Counselors assess students’ mental health needs in consultation with parents, teachers, administrators, and academic support coordinators. Referrals to outside mental health professionals are made on an as-needed basis so that students can succeed emotionally, socially, and academically.