These objectives are what make Wellness an indispensable part of the daily curriculum and what distinguish Wellness from recess and from PE.
It is only in the past 100-150 years that we have decided that it is ‘best’ to sit all students down inside, in rows, for long periods of time each day. Our bodies were designed to move, and movement has been demonstrated to be good for our bodies and minds. Students need to be able to manage their internal energy resources on any given day, and wellness gives us the ability to do so.
Wellness fosters the relationships between students and teachers. Teachers gain a unique insight into their students by watching how they play both with their peers and with their teachers. Teachers also interact with students from other bands more consistently in Wellness than in any other aspects of the day, and even the physical proximity and interaction that develops in Wellness break down barriers between adults and children in the school community. For students, playing and having fun with teachers facilitates seeing those teachers as “real people” and provides opportunities for social interaction that can be more difficult to create in a classroom setting.
Another key benefit of Wellness, which makes it helpful in meeting our mission, is the challenge it provides to students’ social and emotional growth. Whether it is the 13 year old boy who is struggling to lose gracefully before he heads into math class or the 15 year old girl who thinks she is ‘too cool’ to look goofy by playing balltag, the Wellness program challenges both individuals and group dynamics on a daily basis. It does so in a caring, safe, and playful environment. It is worth noting, however, that these challenges are not small or insignificant- especially when faced daily.
Wellness is just plain fun. Play is a critical part of being human and of learning. It is something we want to pay attention to at The Sage School. It is a time of day that routinely generates immense amounts of laughter, and our reliance on invented games that can be played on a field of wood chips or in a parking lot has led to a reliance on a variety of non-traditional games. This variety means that everyone is new to some games and the playing field tends to be more level.
Students play wellness outside in all sorts of weather, which demands that they are prepared for the climate of the day – hot, cold, windy, or wet. Though we have several games to play inside during the direst of weather, wellness almost always involves being outside. Students appreciate the outdoors and make natural observations as they play.