At Waterford, we view health as a holistic triad encompassing physical, emotional, and intellectual well-being. Health, in this sense, is the foundation for lives of meaning and purpose, and a central goal of a world-class liberal arts education. In partnership with parents, Waterford seeks to provide students with experiences, curriculum, and counsel that will build confidence and resilience, preparing students to flourish in a world of challenge and opportunity.
Sara Kaiser, RN
Effective health policies and practices are essential to the community. Waterford’s health services collaborates with students, parents, and faculty to provide support for healthcare needs in order to keep students healthy and help them reach their greatest potential.
The Waterford School has a school nurse and counselors on campus throughout the school day, and all coaches, office staff, and playground monitors are required to have first aid training. A certified athletic trainer is also available in the Middle and Upper School.
Student health and safety is paramount at Waterford. The school will obtain emergency contact information for all students prior to the start of the school year which is critical to the School’s swift and effective action at the time of illness or injury. All students are required to have a physical examination and be up-to-date on vaccinations (unless exempt) before entering Waterford School.
Missy Johnson, Ph.D.
Middle & Upper School Counselor
Ph.D. Teachers College, Columbia University
Anna Boller, Psy.D.
Lower School Counselor
Psy.D. Illinois School of Professional Psychology
The role of the Lower, Middle and Upper School Counselors is to support students’ overall well-being, particularly when emotional issues or learning differences affect school success, and also with skill building for self-regulation and positive relationships. Waterford’s doctoral-level psychologists assess students’ needs in consultation with parents, teachers, administrators, and deans. If needed, referrals to outside healthcare providers are made so that students can succeed emotionally, socially, and academically.
Work with individual students, families, and the faculty will begin when potential barriers to learning and wellness occur. Waterford’s psychologists provide short-term, solution-focused interventions to promote and foster strong and respectful relationships, emotional regulation, and problem-solving skills. Counseling services may include:
- Cognitive behavioral approaches
- Crisis intervention
- Mindfulness training
- Problem solving strategies
- Interpersonal resolutions
- Development of academic student support plans
Waterford School counselors are dedicated to the development and support of the whole child. Additionally, the Waterford community offers a small student:faculty ratio of 7:1, academic support programs, digital citizenship curriculum, and a wide range of extra and co-curricular activities such as dance, outdoor, physical education, and athletics, which also support well-being and happiness for the student body.
Waterford believes students are more likely to thrive within a rigorous academic program when developmentally-appropriate social and emotional practices are available. Waterford promotes a positive youth development framework, in which young students are given opportunities to enhance their skills, interests, and abilities while building healthy relationships with their peers and mentors. Mindfulness practice ensures students are also learning about self-awareness, self-regulation, respect, empathy and how best to make socially responsible decisions.
Mindfulness in Practice:
Mindfulness in the Lower School is a key element of the social/emotional curriculum and the development of the whole child. The Lower School offers a research-based mindfulness curriculum that builds executive functions in students, which includes a marked improvement in attention span for learning to occur.
Lower school teachers have undergone professional mindfulness training and implement mindfulness lesson plans into their curriculum.
Waterford is led by research that making time for mindfulness will assist students to manage the stress, challenges, and distractions that they confront on a daily basis. To counteract ‘the myth of multitasking’, Middle School students spend time learning about mindfulness during advisor groups. On “Mindful Mondays”, all Waterford Middle School students practice and discuss mindfulness in homeroom. Since our program’s inception in 2015, Students have practiced and learned what it feels like to fully attend to a single task or focus. Most homeroom teachers at Waterford have received professional mindfulness training.
"I have learned that mindfulness creates peace and relaxation in my body that allows me to be less stressed, but at the same time more attentive and creative in class when doing homework."
-Waterford Class VII Student