Psychosocial Education

The mission of the Psychosocial Education Department is to promote student awareness and life skills development around a variety of issues that affect health and well-being. An intentional effort is made to cultivate a classroom atmosphere uniquely different from other classes to effectively address and explore age-appropriate social and emotional topics. Topics include teen risk behavior, peer pressure, decision-making, stress and time management, interpersonal relationships, communication strategies and goal setting. An underlying goal of our department is to create an empathetic, compassionate and resilient student body. These skills are taught in various settings, including Freshmen and Academy Camps, which provide students with leadership training and meaningful opportunities that include and extend the Punahou School community. The department provides proactive, reactive, experiential, academic and skills-based training addressing the psychological, social and emotional aspects of human development.

Course Offerings

9th Grade Guidance

Prior to the start of the school year, freshmen are invited to Camp Kuleana to participate in an intensive experiential program composed of activities based upon challenge by choice, respect, team building, healthy relationships, reciprocity and responsibility. During the school year, all freshmen build on this optional camp experience in a once-a-cycle group meeting facilitated by their ninth-grade guidance teacher and upperclassmen enrolled in Peer Helping. The group meetings address age-appropriate topics such as Academy life adjustment, healthy choices, human development, risks related to drugs and alcohol, peer pressure, sexually transmitted diseases, and emotional health and stability. Emphasis is on proactive education.

Required for Grade 9. Year course. No credit.

College Guidance

Each Punahou Junior is assigned a College Counselor and meets with the counselor in College Guidance Class. This class meets for 55 minutes each cycle during the first semester of the junior year.

The class teaches students about the college admissions process and encourages good decision-making by students and their families through careful student self-assessment and up-to-date research methods, thereby reducing anxiety. As students learn about the choices available following graduation from Punahou, they and their college guidance teacher become acquainted and form the beginnings of a counseling relationship.

Topics covered include decision-making steps and the process of choosing a college; self assessment (what college environment is best for the individual student); university structure, liberal arts and the core curriculum; how colleges choose students; admissions plans (ED, EA, Regular and Rolling Admissions); standardized tests and their role in college admissions; college costs and financial aid; evaluating colleges, researching options and using resources available to the student; and campus life, including safety concerns.

Required for Grade 11. Semester course (fall semester only). No credit.

Introduction to Counseling Psychology (Counseling Psych)

Students learn individual counseling, communication, and group facilitation skills through experiential training. Concurrently, students study group dynamics as a medium for personal growth. Introduction to Counseling Psychology meets in two phases; one hour of large group lecture/discussion, and three one-hour small group meetings.

Open to Grades 10, 11, 12. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies general elective credit. This course is a prerequisite for applying to be a Peer Helper.

Peer Helping (Peer Counseling)

Peer Helping is a course in service to the Punahou School community. During the semester(s) in which they are enrolled, Peer Helpers are assigned to serve as student facilitators under faculty supervision in a variety of service opportunities in Junior School and Academy classes. Some of these service placements include K – 1 Playground Play, Fifth-Grade Morning Meetings, Eighth-Grade Advisory, Ninth-Grade Guidance (a mandatory freshman course that meets once each cycle throughout the year), and Introduction to Counseling Psychology (the skills-based prerequisite course for Peer Helping).

Additionally, on a voluntary basis, Peer Helpers staff Camp Kuleana, the values-based freshmen orientation camp that occurs immediately prior to and at the beginning of the fall semester, and Academy Camp, a personal growth educational experience for Academy students in all grade levels that occurs at least once each semester. Peer Helpers who choose to staff Camp Kuleana are required to attend a 3-day Peer Helping retreat prior to Camp. Peer Helpers who are selected to staff Academy camp are required to participate in several prep meetings prior to camp.

Peer Helping class meetings consist of large groups, and small groups dedicated to personal growth, self-exploration, decision-making, and the values/ethics underlying these activities.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: Introduction to Counseling Psychology with a grade of B or higher and permission of instructor. Students may enroll for one-half credit in the fall or spring semester, or for one credit for the full year. Satisfies general elective credit and one-half credit of Spiritual, Ethical, Community Responsibility graduation requirement.

Psychology

Students learn and explore major psychological theories and concepts through group discussion, demonstrations, lectures, films, experiential activities, experiments and guest speakers. The course gives students a chance to examine their world in the light of these theories.

Open to Grades 10, 11, 12. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies general elective credit.

Advanced Placement Psychology

This is a college-level introductory course in psychology that prepares students for the Advanced Placement Psychology Exam through a variety of learning modalities, whereby students may earn college credit and/or advanced placement. An extraordinary range of topics are covered which include the historical development of major psychological theories addressing human behavior, biological basis of behavior, human development, learning, memory, sensation and perception, drug addiction, psychological assessment, psychological disorders, and treatment approaches. Students must take the AP Exam in May.

Open to Grades 10, 11, 12. Year course. One credit. Advanced Placement courses must be taken for a letter grade. Satisfies general elective credit.

Womb to Tomb: Psychology Across the Lifespan (Developmental Psych)

Womb to Tomb: Psychology Across the Lifespan (Developmental Psych)
This course is an exploration of how people change and how they stay the same over their lifetime, from womb to tomb. Students learn about the complementary psychological theories that guide the understanding of human development. Particular emphasis is placed on appreciating one's own developmental processes as well as the role of cultural differences in understanding the developmental processes of others.

This course focuses on building student strengths, maximizing potential and preventing problems. Students apply their learning within the school, in the community and globally. Learning methods emphasize group discussions, experiential activities and projects.

Open to Grades 9, 10, 11, 12. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies general elective credit and one-half credit of Spiritual, Ethical, Community Responsibility graduation requirement.

Sports Psychology

Sports psychology provides students the opportunity to learn the application of psychological principles to athletic performance at all levels of skill development. Additionally, students study training techniques, health, and the mind-body connection in relation to maximal performance.

Open to Grades 10, 11, 12. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies general elective credit.

Advanced Peer Education (Psych Teach Asst)

This course enables students who have had previous training and experience in group facilitation/peer helping to extend their leadership skills, training and service. Advanced Peer Educators meet as needed with Introduction to Counseling Psychology and Peer Helping students to assist faculty with training. Additionally, Advanced Peer Educators staff Academy camps and provide educational programs for 9th Grade Guidance (a mandatory freshman course that meets once each cycle throughout the year) or Introduction to Counseling Psychology (the skills-based prerequisite course for Peer Helping.)

Open to Grade 12. Prerequisites: Introduction to Counseling Psychology, Peer Helping, and permission of instructor. Semester or year course. Students may enroll for one-half credit for the fall or spring semester, or for one credit for the full year. Satisfies general elective credit.