Health and Wellness as a curricular topic is in the air this season! Construction is coming along on the new Health and Wellness Center, and Director of Health and Wellness Dr. Leigh Serra P’24 ’28 used that theme for Lower School’s Design Day. Students watched a video from Head of School Rich Schellhas 1760 as he discussed the new building and what it will bring to the GA community. Then, students got to see short videos from teachers and staff that showed what makes them feel healthy and well. There were videos about exercise, music, pets, and more!
Fifth grade teacher and Design Day coordinator Lauren Vanin said to her class, “You’re going to build something that’s going to increase health and wellness for the partner you have been assigned. For example, in one of the videos, one of our community members showed that spending time with her cats makes her happy. For your design, maybe you can create a brush that she can use that will better her experience when she spends time with her cats.” The ideas began flowing! Bella A. ’30 said, “I’m going to make a pillow for my friend who likes watching Netflix on the sofa.”
Students then created prototypes using recycled materials, presented them to their partners, and explained to each other what they made and why. It was amazing to see the creativity and thought that was put into everyone’s design project! And it was even more exciting to know that every student - PreK to 5th - participated.
Vanin, along with co-coordinator Associate Teacher Colleen Rivers, said, “When the students embrace a maker mindset, they learn how to work collaboratively, take initiative and self-manage. They learn what it means to have empathy toward an audience. They own the project management process. They learn how to think divergently and take creative risks while also realizing that revision and rejection are part of the learning process.”
Rivers and Vanin would like to say a special thanks to Dr. Serra, Jodi Bohr, Jamie Dagen Smith, Jean Grady, Amanda Mitchell, Maggie Kelly, Jess Killo, and Mr. Schellhas for their help planning and contributing to the day!