The purpose of the Human Relations class is, using words from the Hyla mission statement, “to encourage people to respect and value themselves and others,” form caring relationships, and develop as individuals with integrity. The underlying goal of the human relations curriculum is to assist students in developing a healthy identity. Through a blend of interactive, informative, and experiential learning exercises, students develop the skills, attitudes, and knowledge to more effectively interact with other people. Students will increase awareness of themselves and their role and responsibility to the world around them. The curriculum focuses on the following topics:
6th grade: Elements of Character – connecting moral feelings and thoughts into experience by focusing on the following elements of character: courage, respect, responsibility, hope, justice, love, honesty, and loyalty. Sixth grade also includes a weekly mindfulness class that teaches skills and practices to help develop a calm and focused mind.
7th grade: Self-Awareness – increasing self-awareness, self-care, and exploring one’s goals. The primary project is the completion of an owner’s manual which provides for the care and maintenance of the ‘invisible’ parts of a self: personality, soul, thoughts, emotions, morals, values, beliefs, goals and dreams, body awareness, and relationships. Seventh graders also explore racism, bullying, and human relations skills.
8th grade: World Wisdom – pursuing wisdom through a variety of philosophical, spiritual and folk traditions. Students first determine who they consider to be wise then generate questions for those wise people. Those questions then form the basis of their wisdom project. Students design their own learning project which involves research, experience, and then share their learning with others.
All grades: Team building and leadership – initiatives, games, and problem-solving activities to develop a team approach and leadership skills.
The following activities are also included each year:
• Council – meets once a week during the year – Council is based on the tradition of the talking circle. Through the council process, students learn listening skills and problem-solving skills, gain perspective on group dynamics, and find a greater understanding of peoples’ differences within a respectful atmosphere.
• Drug/Alcohol and Sex Education, and other health and safety issues for teenagers – making informed choices within a personal and ethical framework.
• 8th grade Fall Retreat – building an effective group by exploring the principles of trust, belonging, and purpose.