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Health Curriculum Framework
Building Resilience Through Comprehensive Health

January 1996


Developing the Massachusetts Comprehensive
Health Curriculum Framework

Building Resilience is one of seven curriculum frameworks that, together with the Common Core of Learning, lay the foundation for Massachusetts Education Reform in learning, teaching, and assessment. Like its companion Frameworks in the Arts, English Language Arts, Science, Technology and Mathematics, Social Studies, and World Languages, Building Resilience was developed by educators, parents, and students working with staff from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The core concept of Building Resilience is that comprehensive health education enables students to thrive, persevere, and maintain a positive attitude and healthy bodies. The Massachusetts Common Core of Learning, adopted by the State Board of Education in July, 1994 states: "All students should know basic concepts of human development, mental health, sexuality, parenting, physical education and fitness, nutrition and disease prevention, and understand the implications of health habits for self and society." The Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework affirms these goals, synthesizes current research, and sets learning standards for students from PreKindergarten through grade twelve and for adult basic education.

Study in health education, physical education, and family and consumer sciences (home economics) is the foundation of this framework. Teachers of these disciplines are supported by members of the comprehensive school health program including counselors, psychologists, parent coordinators, social workers, nurses, nutrition services staff, and others.

The Guiding Principles of this framework outline ways in which teachers and students become active participants in building school communities which promote the health and well-being of students, families, and staff.

The process of building resilience engages each and every student in three closely linked activities that develop Habits of Mind crucial to lifelong learning.

  • Learners actively interpret health information and concepts.
  • Learners set goals, assess risks, and demonstrate behaviors that protect and enhance their health.
  • Learners use their knowledge and skills to contribute to the health of their peers, school, families, and community.

In the Comprehensive Health Content section, Building Resilience presents a broad outline upon which district and school curricula, instruction, and assessments can be based. This section is composed of three interrelated Strands: Health Literacy, Healthy Self-Management, and Health Promotion and Advocacy. Each strand is articulated into Learning Standards with examples of student learning and sample vignettes entitled How it Looks in the Classroom. The Comprehensive Health Framework is designed to be used in conjunction with the other six Frameworks and the introductory Common Chapters. Together they point the way to coherent, interdisciplinary learning experiences that will benefit students and adults in Massachusetts school communities.

Last Updated: January 1, 1996
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