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Opinion piece: The greatest wealth is health

by | Mar 17, 2023

The importance of health as a prerequisite to learning is common knowledge and Salem International Boarding School is leading the way.


Salem is proud of its whole-school approach to the inner wellbeing of children and adolescents. The school gives as much importance to health topics as it does to the academic programme in the German grammar school system, which leads pupils to either the German Abitur or the English International Baccalaureate Diploma.

Achieving balance in all areas

Salem’s health and wellness education goes beyond school life: when a person feels totally in balance they are able to confront negativity and life’s challenges much more easily. Salem’s health curriculum incorporates a learning process from grade 5 to 12 that both challenges and nurtures.

There are three core themes in Salem’s holistic approach: Health and Wellbeing, Living in the Wider World, and Relationships. All three of them are part of the curriculum from grade 5 onwards until graduation, in age-appropriate ways.

The theme of health and wellbeing tackles challenges to the individual, such as transitioning to Salem, puberty, sex education, nutrition, addiction, stress management, identity and self-esteem.

Living in the Wider World broadens horizons by addressing conflict resolution, interpersonal skills, safety issues in the digital and the real world, and diversity. Pupils are encouraged to consider being different as an enrichment, not a stigma.

Our third core themeis Relationships, which fosters an awareness of healthy relationships, respectful communication, a positive self-identity, and good mental health.

Supporting the holistic development of the three core themes

In order to implement these themes across the whole boarding school, Salem has developed a highly sophisticated organisational structure, headed by health coordinators who continuously update the school’s health curriculum, gather resources, and initiate and maintain external contacts.

A health team of professionals bring expertise into the school, acting as a taskforce by delivering workshops, teaching lessons and supporting professional staff development.

The list of external partners is extensive and ranges from local police, the Caritas, LGBTTIQ+ support groups, addiction prevention consultancies, to Fit4Future counselling for a healthy lifestyle, among others.

Salem has a digital online health and wellbeing library providing online resources, lesson plans and activities for all year groups, with cross-curriculum links.

The school medical centre complements this structure with a resource library that provides display boards, games, booklets and additional support.

Salem’s health and wellness concept goes beyond teaching scientific facts and essential knowledge. Its effective health curriculum creates a non-judgmental and non-assuming learning environment, a safe place to learn for now and the future.The privilege of learning in Salem is about the freedom to make choices in life. It is about developing the whole personality of a young person so they are capable of facing life as an adult. The greatest wealth that someone can hold, in fact, is health.