6th - 8th Grade Program
Heart & Sole is Girls on the Run’s new program for middle school girls! Heart & Sole creates a positive, structured space for middle school girls to learn about themselves, explore new ideas, cultivate empathy, strengthen connections and develop life skills that will help them as they move through adolescence and beyond.
The Heart & Sole curriculum is rich with themes girls can relate to, addressing the whole girl—body, brain, heart, spirit and social connection—and building important life skills such as team building, developing a support system, boundary setting, decision making, asking for and providing help, and more.
Over the course of the program, the girls develop life skills, which are known as the 5Cs +1 (confidence, competence, caring, connection, and character + contribution). Life skills are defined as competencies learned in one domain or context (e.g. Heart & Sole) that are successfully transferred to other domains and contexts (e.g. dealing with school stress, remaining calm after arguing with friends). Each day of the curriculum focuses on one or more of these life skills. The target life skills are highlighted at the beginning of each lesson. Below we provide a little more information about the 5Cs +1 and how they relate to the Heart & Sole curriculum.
- At the end of the program we want the girls to feel greater confidence in who they are. The girls learn to identify their areas of strength in their Girl Wheel. This helps them gain confidence in their ability to be themselves, to connect with others, and to stand up for themselves and others -- not only at Heart & Sole, but at school, at home and in their neighborhoods.
- The girls also develop strength of character as they gain awareness of their ability to intentionally choose actions which demonstrate respect and responsibility towards themselves and others. Girls engage in role plays and scenarios which simulate real-life situations they may face and help them problem-solve solutions.
- Several lessons also teach the girls to respond to others and themselves with care and compassion. The girls discuss ways to become more empathic to others through extending their Girl Wheel and learn strategies for building healthier relationships with themselves and others.
- The girls also have the opportunity to create positive connections with peers and adults through lessons targeting cooperative skills and team building which they then transfer to enhanced connections with parents/caregivers, teachers, peers and others in their community through expanding their Girl Wheel to include individuals and groups outside their comfort zone.
- The girls develop and improve physical, social, and emotional competence through a consistent exploration of the Girl Wheel, a regular strength and conditioning program, and training over time for the 5K.
- When the girls learn these life skills, they can ultimately contribute to community and society. They demonstrate this within the Heart & Sole program by expanding their Girl Wheel to include individuals and groups they do not consider part of their comfort zone. By participating in Heart & Sole they are empowered to make a contribution in their communities and the world by realizing they can use their strengths, skills and Wheel to make a positive impact -- however they choose.