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Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework - October 1999

Social and Emotional Health Strand

Social and Emotional Health includes those aspects of health that are particularly unique to human beings, namely being aware of ourselves, both as individuals and as members of social groups. The knowledge and skills presented in this Strand address and support our ability to interact with others in positive and socially acceptable ways.

The Strand of Social and Emotional Health includes:

  • Mental Health
  • Family Life
  • Interpersonal Relationships

Mental Health includes information for personal development of knowledge and skills as well as social awareness as it relates to attitudes and behaviors. Being able to identify feelings and emotions that are common to everyone and explore how people are affected physically and emotionally by these feelings are important aspects of emotional health.

Family Life focuses on the importance of the family as a basic unit of society and the many responsibilities within a family.

Interpersonal Relationships helps students to understand that people do not live in isolation from others and therefore the ability to achieve healthy relationships is critical.

The Social and Emotional Health Strand is designed to promote skills that students need in daily life as they come to learn about their identity and how to manage interactions with other people. Supporting the development of a broad concept of the self enables students to understand the struggle to achieve success and to manage stress appropriately. Students understand how others can help them establish realistic expectations of success for them. The purpose of this Strand is to provide students with the opportunity to develop a positive sense of self and to understand their place in relationships with peers, family, and community members.

Note: Selected examples are provided.

"How It Looks In The Classroom"
Suggested Activity for the Social and Emotional Health Strand

In addition to interviewing parents, Ms. Walter's high school family and consumer sciences class uses simulated parenting experiences to reflect on the question, "Am I ready to be a parent?" To represent a child, students use a five-pound bag of flour covered with a white tube sock with stuffing for its head. Each student is given an index card with the gender of the infant and the amount of money saved for expenses or available as support. Students are instructed to keep the infant with them at all times or place it under the care of a trusted person. At the end of two weeks, students submit a budget, their daily logs, and describe how the experience influenced their thinking about parenthood. Working together, the health teacher and teachers of other subjects with these students in their classes, plan a series of lessons that incorporate the "parenting" experience. In economics, students learn how to develop and keep a budget. The rationale for the importance of and correct method for recording observations are taught in science. In language arts, the class reads literature about parenting and learns journal keeping. In history and social science, students study the changes in the relationship of parent and child from farming to an urban setting along with the changes in the family that accompanied the Industrial Revolution.

This activity can help students reinforce or achieve the following learning standards in this and in the other Frameworks:

Family Life:
  • skills, maturity, and resources for parenting
  • healthy environment for children
  • teen parenting
Interpersonal Relationships:
  • commitment
Mental Health:
  • decision-making
  • gender roles and major life tasks
History and Social Science: Economics:
  • saving money
Science and Technology/Engineering: Inquiry:
  • recording and interpreting data
English Language Arts: Literature:
  • theme of a selection representing a view of or comment on life

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Last Updated: October 1, 1999
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