New junior youth text “On Health and Well-Being” released

Posted: 2022/08/31

Released in July 2022, the text explores concepts related to physical, mental and spiritual health. A few junior youth from Toronto, Ont. share what they have learned from studying it.

Meant to be an entry-level text, On Health and Well-Being is the second in the series of junior youth books to address scientific and mathematical concepts. Like other texts available, it follows a story, this time of a seventh-grade classroom taught by a character named Teresa. As the students in Teresa’s class carry out a service project to visit the homes of families in their community to remind them about a vaccination campaign for children taking place in their village, a timely opportunity arises to begin a new unit in science on human health. The lessons then follow the concepts Teresa introduces to her class each day.

Lessons two through eight focus on introducing the junior youth to several scientific ideas associated with human health. The text explores concepts such as diseases and the pathogens that cause them, the specialization of cells and tissues, the functions of organs in the human body, the immune system and how it protects the body from germs, as well as the importance of developing good habits like eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep. The text also includes a description of how vaccines work and are used to eradicate or diminish certain diseases from populations.

UDM August 2022 Camp 262x350

Three junior youth and their animators on a walk through a park during a camp in Toronto, Ont. in August 2022. At this camp, they studied the new junior youth text called On Health and Well-Being.

A junior youth from Toronto, Ont. who studied the text at a camp in late August said that the discussion of pathogens, described as “tiny germs that can pass from person to person and cause us to get sick,” was what stood out to her the most from the study because it was new knowledge for her.

Another junior youth said: “I think that some people don’t know a lot about what’s in their bodies…they don’t know that some things they do to their bodies [are] bad for them. So, learning about these ideas is good for them and it can help change their harmful habits.”

The text also incorporates the importance of the health of the mind, as well as the spiritual health of the individual, the family and the community. The importance of maintaining a healthy community is the focus of the final two lessons of the text. In the narrative, when a conflict in the community causes harm and disunity among its members, the principal of the school visits the class to talk about ways that they can protect their community from harm. The students then talk about forces such as materialism that can enter a community and cause jealousy and greed.

The students learn that it is through the power of knowledge that the community can fight against the forces that cause harm; the community needs both intellectual and spiritual knowledge to protect itself. The principal reminds them that it is through conscious deeds that knowledge is generated and disseminated within a community. He includes the example of Teresa and her friends, who left the village to attend university yet returned to work for its betterment. It was through their conscious deeds that it was possible to teach every child in the village science, mathematics and language.

As the students learn, it is ultimately through unity and cooperation that a community maintains its well-being. The intellectual and spiritual health of a community depend on its members exercising these powers consciously and with a unified vision of working towards material and spiritual prosperity.