Close up of a family doing sports

BEING A CHILD today is not easy. Weizmann Day School prides itself on helping students handle stress and stay healthy. To that end, Weizmann provides its students with many offerings that help them to become strong and resilient people. Here are a few of the ways that it does that:
Mindfulness Training
Weizmann teachers, staff, and students have had extensive training in the art of mindfulness from an expert in the field. Mindfulness helps students stay present and focused throughout the school day. Being present has helped its students handle the changes that are required when going from one subject to another, from indoors to outdoors, from movement to stillness, etc. It also has helped many students to calm down and better control their impulses. Studies have shown that frequent mindfulness practice can lead to structural changes in the brain that help children develop kindness, patience, compassion, and listening skills. Weizmann teachers regularly employ mindfulness techniques, and they see the positive traits developing in students every day.
Human Development Classes
Every adult probably can remember the unsettling feelings they experienced in middle school as bodies and emotions began to change. In order
to help its students through this challenging time, Weizmann is currently providing a course on human development to its middle school students. Julia Grinblat (a nurse) has taught these students about basic anatomy and how the body changes and grows. She has focused on helping the students have a positive body image, realizing that their bodies are normal no matter what they look like, and respecting/loving their bodies. She is also teaching the students about dating and physical intimacy in an age-appropriate way that allows students to have their questions answered and learn in a supportive, positive environment.
Experiential Learning
Weizmann prides itself on offering an array of experiential learning opportunities to its students in all grades. On any given day, you might see elementary school students conducting their own science experiments while middle school students take a field trip to a museum or a university to learn by doing. Weizmann knows that experiential learning helps students learn and retain more. What is surprising, though, are the benefits that experiential learning can have on a student’s overall wellness. Research has shown that when students feel connected to not only the process but also the outcomes of what they are learning, they feel more gratification and pride, which leads to increased self-esteem and feelings of well-being.
Service Projects
Community involvement and tikkun olam (making the world a better place) are also an integral part of Weizmann’s mission. To that end, several of the school’s experiential learning activities have focused on community service and interfaith community building. These include projects such as preparing sandwiches for a homeless shelter, visiting the aged, cleaning a local park, and working at a local food pantry. Such activities help students further expand their understanding of what they learn in class while giving them a chance to build character and improve their group, organizational, and inter-personal skills. In addition, it is widely believed that service projects can help students to learn empathy (i.e., the ability to understand other people and recognize their pain), and that empathy is vital to good mental health.
The above examples are but a few of the ways in which Weizmann works to enhance the health and wellness of its students. Weizmann firmly believes in educating the whole student. Its focus on fostering critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, character, and compassion (the “5 C’s”) leads to paying attention to all areas of wellbeing.
For more info please visit www.weizmann.net.
Lisa Feldman, M.A. ED. is the head of the Weizmann Day School.


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