Because social and emotional health are central to
our students’ well-being and education, we prioritize it at every level.
Our human development (HD) program is an intentional, developmental program from grades 4 through 12, including dedicated classes once a schedule rotation (every six days) in grades 7 through 12.
The HD program is framed by four pillars—Self & Society, Relationships & Human Reproduction, Consent & Safety, and Health & Wellness—with age-appropriate curricula spanning each area and themes of identity and self-reflection central to the program in every grade. In the Lower School, students learn valuable interpersonal skills and conflict resolution and continue to practice these skills in Middle School as they explore their own emotional and physical wellness. HD culminates in an in-depth look at self-care and strategies to manage all that students take on in the upper grades. They receive guidance in navigating the college application process in junior and senior years, and a final semester learning important life-after-Westridge skills that will serve students well into college and beyond.
Our program recognizes that students’ social and emotional health is central to their well-being and personal growth, and directly tied to their ability to learn. By the time they graduate, students are prepared to be healthy, independent adults and they have a toolbelt of resources for when they need to seek help and support.
Being a well-rounded student means so much more than having a long list of extracurriculars. Our program gives students space to explore who they are and what is important to them.
— Zoe Muñoz,
Human Development Coordinator
In the Lower School, the human development program takes the form of "council," a dedicated time for 4th-6th graders for girls to discuss themes of empathy, integrity, conflict resolution. In council, Lower Schoolers gain the confidence to express themselves and their emotions, and learn about tools to build and sustain friendships.
In Middle School HD, students learn about issues that impact their social, emotional, and physical lives, in and out of school. The curriculum provides an introduction to technology and social media use, boundaries in relationships, and bullying. Identity is a core theme throughout our 4-12 HD program, but it is especially pertinent in the 7th and 8th grade when girls experience much transition and change; with faculty facilitators, Middle School girls participate in HD "open sessions" in which they have the opportunity to share personal experiences, ask anonymous questions for class discussion, and talk with one another and their teachers about cultural and global issues.
Upper School girls are engaged in a carefully scaffolded program of social, emotional, health and college-related topics that respond to age-appropriate concerns with increasing sophistication over time. The courses guide students through Upper School and provide a foundation for self-awareness and personal growth.
9th grade HD is designed to help students transition into high school, with a focus on identity and belonging, consent and safety, and building soft skills (including professional email writing, a road map to meeting with faculty advisors, and more). Girls also receive an introduction to female reproduction and sexual health in coordination with the science department's 9th grade Biology curriculum.
In 10th grade, girls are introduced to self-defense through practical, hands-on workshops with a female-led team of professional consultants. Our trained faculty also guide girls through in-depth discussions of their personal values, creating a safe environment for the broad range of perspectives represented in our community.
As students enter The College Process in 11th grade, the HD curriculum shifts toward strategies to manage stress and anxiety, providing space to practice mindfulness techniques and self-compassion.
Finally, 12th graders receive a final self-defense refresher and dive into topics that prepare them for college and beyond such as budgeting and finances, healthcare and independence, and mental health.