Preparing Boys for Life

Health & Wellness

Physical Education, Health, and Wellness Are integral To The overall development of each student At The Haverford School. The students participate in a diverse, inclusive, and differentiated program that fosters their mental, physical, and social/Emotional health.

Through exposure to a wide variety of sports, activities, lessons, and readings, students gain the necessary knowledge to understand the importance of health, physical activity, character, teamwork, and lifelong fitness. The Latin saying "Mens Sana in Corpore Sano" ("a sound mind in a sound body") is inscribed above the entry to the Field House. This is our mantra. We believe the more fit someone is, the better they perform in all areas of life. We are committed to the development of character, honesty, integrity, health and respect in all of our students.

wellness at Haverford indoor climbing wall

The Haverford School's indoor climbing wall promotes team-building, collaboration, and problem solving.

Physical Education Curriculum

Lower School

Our Physical Education Department and sports programs not only promote athleticism, but camaraderie, sportsmanship, fair play, and good competition. The major areas of focus in the first grade program include:

  • Foot-eye and hand-eye coordination
  • Cooperative games implementing physical skills
  • Cardiovascular endurance
  • Muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility

All activities in our curriculum are designed to foster the skills necessary for our boys to be successful in their athletic interests, develop character through sportsmanship and cooperation, and promote participation and enthusiasm.

Middle School

In Middle School, our boys focus on building resilience through fitness, nutrition and teamwork. The physical education curriculum introduces the boys to more than 20 different sports that encourage cooperative play. Each unit contains a large fitness component and proper diet is emphasized. The health curriculum contains the following topics:

  • Tobacco, alcohol and other drugs
  • Conflict resolution and violence prevention
  • Building healthy relationships
  • Nutrition and physical activity
  • Mental and emotional health
  • Building character and preventing bullying
  • Body systems
  • Healthy relationships
  • Health during the life cycle

Upper School

The health and wellness curriculum aims to build men of good character and leadership, to improve their overall wellness, and to lead a full of beneficial healthy habits.

Units of study include the cardiovascular system, human sexuality and relationships, mindfulness and stress management, reproductive anatomy and physiology, communicable diseases, First-Aid and CPR training, and an intentional focus on substance abuse.

Games include modalities of weight training, floor hockey, tennis, squash, badminton, volleyball, handball, slow-pitch softball, water polo, and ultimate frisbee. During some of these games, students wear heart rate monitors, which track their exertion levels and serve to facilitate discussion around heart rate zones, max heart rate, recovery times, and good cardiovascular health.

The Haverford School swimming

Third graders practice swimming as part of Physical Education.


The Haverford School offers mindfulness courses as part of the Upper School physical education curriculum, and guides breathing exercises in the Lower and Middle Schools.

The three successive mindfulness sessions are:
  • The science of mindfulness: how does it work?
  • Mindfulness and performance: how do athletes and artists use this technique to enhance their performance?
  • Thought-watching: how do you immerse yourself in your surroundings, and focus on a single thought?

Faculty and staff participated in a mindfulness-base stress reduction class with Dr. Michael Baime of the University of Pennsylvania to support their day-to-day work with the boys.


Jeff Potter
Physical Education, Health & Wellness Department Chair

610-642-3020, ext. 1372

Did You Know?

The climbing wall is used for team-building and resiliency exercises.

The co-ed Upper School Human Relationships course explores identity and gender issues, as well as human sexuality.

The Upper School Peer Counseling program is a signature experience promoting deep listening.