“I have learned to never judge a book by its cover, because you never know what someone is going through.” – Brylen Hatcher, Roland Park Country School’s Peer Health Advisor
Every day students go to school, and each of them carries a different basket of experiences. Some are heavier than others. When dealing with the ins and outs of childhood and teenage years, everyone can use a little extra help. Supporting students’ well-being is at the heart of Roland Park Country School’s wellness initiatives.
“We want our students to live healthy and balanced lives — it’s one of our core values,” said Caroline Blatti, Head of School. “This starts with an academic program that challenges and engages our girls, while allowing them to be children and teenagers. But, wellness goes beyond the student workload. Through intentional programming at every grade level, student-led initiatives, and resources for parents and guardians, we make sure that every student has a strong social-emotional support system to be healthy and well.”
How do they go about this mission? It’s simple. Diversified wellness programing.
Take a stroll through the halls of RPCS and you’ll notice evidence of school-wide initiatives that address student wellness. Academics, life skills classes, student-led initiatives, and daily physical activities are just a few of the ways wellness is infused into the RCPS student experience. The entire school community is focused not only on the academic development of students, but also their physical, social, and emotional development.
Students at RPCS are exposed to developmentally-appropriate life skills at every grade level. Younger students explore concepts such as friendship skills, conflict resolution, study habits, organization, and time management. Older students expand on these topics and also learn about puberty, self-care, and healthy relationships.
Wellness practices and activities are encouraged outside of the classrooms as well. Students and parents are encouraged to make sure there is a balance of homework and down-time after school, and the benefits of physical activity are also promoted among all students each day in class, as well as through their sports teams. In fact, over 80% of their middle school students participate in sports at RPCS.
Students are empowered to guide and encourage their peers to be healthy and well too. RPCS students in grades 10-12 lead a Peer Health Program with students from the Gilman School to teach social-emotional and wellness classes to students at local public schools in grades 5, 8, & 9.
“The most amazing thing about peer health, is that high school students volunteer to learn extra training about relationships, diversity and drugs and alcohol so that they can give back to the RPCS community and beyond,” said Carolyn Parker, director of counseling. “Peer health advisors find so much joy from doing something hands-on that it’s really beneficial for everyone.” Middle school students also make reaching out to others a priority, and often suggest service projects to pursue, which are organized at every grade level.
RCPS developed a new wellness suite on campus for counselors to hold classes and host meetings with students, as well as to create a space for students to come for advice and guidance, and find more information on topics that may apply to them at the moment.
“This is a space that students can access at all times,” said Makeda King-Smith, Upper School counselor. “It’s so important to help students with stress and anxiety as early as we can.”
Wellness initiatives are RCPS empower students to support their own well-being as well as others in their community.
Editor’s Note: This article is part of our School Spotlight Series. Each week, we spotlight our partner schools to give you a glimpse into what learning looks like on their campus. To learn more about Roland Park Country School, visit their directory listing in our Independent School Directory. Images were provided by the school. Want to become a school partner? Email us.