Wellness and Mindfulness
The Falk School recognizes that wellness and mindfulness are directly related to students’ physical well-being, growth, development, and readiness to learn.
Engaging in meaningful physical activity and making time for quiet and relaxation are among the school’s wishes for its children.
At Falk, wellness includes nurturing the body and the mind, fostering relationships and building self-awareness, and creating opportunities for growth in all domains of the human experience. Mindfulness focuses on understanding both the self and the world around us through quiet and compassion.
Though we believe that both wellness and mindfulness are most effectively cultivated through an immersive experience, in which students, faculty, and parents participate in many domains throughout their day, below you will find some programs that are expressly focused on fostering both of these qualities in the Falk community.
- Wellness Class
Falk’s Middle School curriculum includes biweekly classes in wellness, with a focus on social, mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Topics include nutrition, personal hygiene, communicable diseases, and the safe use of technology, as well as alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. Sexuality education includes topics such as healthy relationships, consent, and media literacy in addition to birth control and sexually transmitted infections.
- Physical Education
Falk offers physical education classes aimed at promoting the lifelong physical and mental well-being of our students. Class activities range from cooperation games, fundamental motor pattern skills, and fitness concepts to team and individual sports designed to strengthen students’ health and well-being both mentally and physically.
- Social and Emotional Learning
Teachers implement classroom lessons around coping skills, positive thinking, and healthy relationships throughout the year. Social and emotional wellness are also an integral piece of the counseling program at Falk. And the school’s counseling center is available to all students.
Falk provides structured weekly yoga instruction for every student, along with classroom lessons focused on mindfulness. Our hope is to gently nurture an open approach to understanding both the self and the world around us through quiet and compassion. Learn more about Falk’s “Doing-Feeling-Thinking" approach to yoga.
- Middle School Sports Teams
At Falk School we believe that the skills acquired during physical activities and sports programs are as important as the skills and content gained from our academic programs. Participation in Falk team sports fosters cooperation, commitment, sportsmanship, and teamwork, and our coaches encourage students to make friends, do their best, and have fun.
- Cooking Club
Cooking Club offers a chance for both budding middle-school chefs and kitchen novices to gain experience and learn valuable lifetime lessons in nutrition, food preparation, and teamwork. Check out last year’s recipes here.
- Family Events at Falk
We know that by including all members of our community, we can truly support the whole child. Each year we offer a variety of family programs, most recently a Family Night of Mindfulness in the fall and Family Fitness Night in the spring. Both events are a large draw and fun for all ages!
- Balance, the Falk School Faculty and Staff Wellness Initiative
Falk employees also have the opportunity to participate in weekly activities devoted to self-care, wellness, and mindfulness. Past activities have included walking groups, boot camp classes, yoga classes, mindfulness and meditation sessions, knitting groups, book clubs, speakers and presentations, and a wellness fair.
At Falk, students at all levels engage with yoga, which offers a unique combination of physical activity and the opportunity to notice and reflect on one’s emotions. Falk’s approach, known as “Thinking-Feeling-Doing Yoga,” is a spiraling, progressive curriculum that shifts to meet the changing emotional and developmental needs of students.
At the Primary level, students engage in “Doing Yoga.” They build relationships and explore the yoga room space, beginning to experience yoga in the form of play and stories. Yoga storytelling, including “stuffie shows” featuring stuffed animals playing different characters, helps children to explore and understand right from wrong, aiding children as they develop social skills and a moral compass. Dancing and other forms of creative expression give students the opportunity to create stories around their own emotional experiences. And yoga basics such as breathing techniques and simple poses are introduced.
As students at the Intermediate level grow stronger, instruction shifts to “Feeling Yoga,” with an emphasis on strength and balancing poses like crow pose. Students also expand their language for the feelings they are experiencing, exploring what emotions feel like in their bodies and the idea that these emotions are not the same for everyone. Yoga pose challenges and sun salutations are among the ways students explore the connection between emotions and the body. Instruction also emphasizes restorative poses and relaxation for this age group, which needs more sleep as their brains and bodies continue to develop.
And as students reach Middle School, their yoga practice deepens, focusing on “Thinking Yoga.” At this level, students are familiar with yoga poses and with a variety of breathing and calming techniques. They are better able to understand the unique needs of their bodies, emotions, and thoughts, and how they might meet those needs through their yoga practice, which is becoming increasingly individualized. Class time is used to explore social and emotional topics and skills that range from confidence and feeling overwhelmed to the differences between moods and emotions.