An Independent School • Grades 5-12

Human Development and Health


What do you care about? How do you connect with others? Who do you want to be at school and in the world? These questions are at the core of Lakeside’s human development and health classes, where students explore how to care for themselves, engage in healthy relationships with friends and family, and serve as compassionate community members and engaged citizens.

Classes at both the Middle School and Upper School are rooted in Lakeside’s competencies and mindsets, exploring recurring themes at developmentally appropriate levels: equity and inclusion; resilience; introspection and emotional intelligence; communication and listening; and physical and mental health.

The knowledge and skills that students gain support their confidence in the classroom, collaboration with peers, contributions to the school’s culture of care and respect, and meaningful engagement in Lakeside’s full educational program, including the arts, athletics, and experiential education.

Parents and guardians play an important role because of the classes’ focus on students’ personal identities and family values. Faculty encourage students to talk with parents and guardians about what they’re learning and regularly assign projects that involve trusted adults. Faculty also offer educational opportunities for parents and guardians that are aligned with students’ experiences at the school and in the classroom; learn more about these educational opportunities below. 

Middle School: Exploring identity and relationships

Every student in the Middle School takes a human development course each year. While each course has a central theme, all levels include students learning how to take care of their brains and bodies, reflecting on their own identities and the identities of others, and developing skills to navigate relationships.

In 5th grade, students get to know themselves and learn about getting along with others (particularly friends and classmates). Sixth graders explore the question, “Who am I?” while 7th graders consider “Who am I with you?” Finally, in 8th grade, the culminating theme is “Who am I in community?”

Learn more about Middle School human development and health classes in the Middle School curriculum guide.

Upper School: Identity development and personal wellness

Upper School students engage in content focused on human development and health at key points in their development, with the goal of providing students with the knowledge and skills they need, when they need it.

All 9th graders take Human Development 9 in their first semester at the Upper School. With a focus on resilience, personal and social identity, and physical and mental health, the course lays a groundwork that students draw on in all their classes and interactions in high school. Seniors can sign up for a semester-long wellness elective, Beyond High School: Happiness and Success, which prepares students to tackle the challenges of the post-high school years as curious, healthy, and ethical adults who know how to take care of themselves. Topics include personal finances, how to be an ally and an effective bystander, making and maintaining friendships in young adulthood, navigating consent and romantic relationships, and more.

In addition to semester-long classes, students in grades 10, 11, and 12 take part in a series of developmentally appropriate workshops that focus on the knowledge and skills students need to prevent sexual violence in their relationships and communities. Lakeside offers parent and guardian education on this topic, which includes how to engage students in conversations about sexuality, consent, and sexual violence prevention.

Learn more about Upper School human development and health classes in the Upper School curriculum guide.

Parent and Guardian Offerings 

Lakeside’s human development and health curriculum centers personal and community definitions of health rather than a single “truth” about what it means to be healthy. When this exploration extends into the home, it strengthens the learning experience for students.

A unique aspect of Lakeside’s human development and health department is the opportunity for families to learn alongside their students. The school offers regular opportunities for parents and guardians to learn about topics related to adolescent development and health. Recent events have covered parenting adolescents in a technological world, talking with teens about alcohol and other drugs, and discussing how our identities impact our ideas about health. Through these events, the department aims to alleviate parents’ and guardians’ feelings of isolation, offer parenting support and education, and provide opportunities for parents and guardians to learn about topics that their students are studying in human development classes.

Learn more about human development and health at Lakeside

Meet the human development and health faculty

SPARC: Applying passions to real causes

Students research an issue or cause that they believe in, then complete a personal action step in 8th-grade Human Development.