Program » Human Development

Human Development

Human Development

The Human Development program at St. Matthew’s occurs during the upper school years and focuses on human development and decision-making. The program follows a developmental sequence from 5th–8th grade. In the 5th grade, students learn about human reproduction and sexuality with an emphasis placed on the biology of reproduction and the physical and emotional changes of puberty. In the 6th grade, emphasis is placed on the physiology of brain development and its impact on decision-making in academic and social contexts. Building positive online communities is emphasized in the curriculum as well. Seventh grade focuses on identity development within the social world of the upper school. Using a novel to guide the discussion, students explore issues related to race, gender, sexuality, popularity, and fitting in. Additionally, students participate in the first half of drug and alcohol prevention education. Eighth grade revisits the concepts of reproduction and sexuality with a stronger focus on the social and emotional aspects of sexuality rather than reproductive biology. Additional topics related to high school preparation are explored, including the second half of drug and alcohol prevention as well as assertiveness training and self-defense. At each grade level, specific assignments are designed to encourage communication between our students and their parents. Furthermore, each grade level program has a parent education component so families can be informed about what the students are learning and be better able to discuss these topics at home.