Whole Child Education:
Powhatan School embraces the concept of a “Whole Child” education.
Powhatan is an academically driven school that takes pride in our ability to actively engage our students in the subjects of math, English, science, and history. While these core subjects create the core of our curriculum, we believe a student’s education is not complete without the enrichment of art, music, language, and sports. This course offering fosters growth in all areas of a child’s development.
When many schools are slashing funds in the arts, we are committed to providing the most robust experience possible. Looked at by many schools as just extras – we make sure all students have the same opportunity to experience the creativity and fun of Specials. Children do not have to choose one or the other, they are built into every student’s class schedule.
The art program at Powhatan builds progressively on skills from Pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Classes work with a wide range of age-appropriate materials and techniques, such as sketching, painting, sculpture, print making, crafts, and collage. Students also participate in particular projects for class plays, costumes and props, event posters, and seasonal decorations. Through the introduction of art history, integrated with grade-level content, students learn to appreciate a wide range of art forms and styles.
The Upper School art program is designed to offer a variety of complex projects and plenty of opportunities for cross-curricular learning. The works are more involved, with a range of steps and different techniques, to yield a more sophisticated result. The course is divided into three trimesters, allowing each student two trimesters of art a year. The third trimester may be used to make props and/or sets for the drama production of each particular grade. Powhatan values the artistic endeavors of all students and encourages all students who demonstrate talent or interest.
The music program at Powhatan is inclusive and involves all students in grades pre-kindergarten through eight. Students learn music skills, theory, appreciation of other cultures and genres, and receive multiple opportunities to perform in small and large groups for peers, adults, and the community.
The activities of the music program are age-appropriate and wide-ranging; including singing, dancing, games, sign language, rhythm instruments, hand chimes, Orff instruments, solfege, composition, studies of composers, and elements of music. Additionally, activities such as discussing musical selections, responding kinesthetically to music, learning to read and write music notation, learning correct fingering, hand position, and playing in an ensemble are introduced and developed. The art and music teachers frequently coordinate their efforts with the classroom teachers in broadening a unit of study or creating a final presentation. Powhatan supports the music program by providing special opportunities for students such as trips to the Kennedy Center and inviting performers to our campus.
The Upper School music program focuses on learning to appreciate a variety of musical eras and genres, understanding how social and historical changes impact the arts, identifying differences in composers lives and styles, dissecting musical pieces, and expressing thoughts, feelings, and observations through written response. The course is divided into three trimesters, allowing each student two trimesters of music per year. The third trimester may be used to learn and rehearse music for a drama production of a particular grade. Students may elect to participate in the Upper School Chorus, which performs at Carol Sing and Graduation, or they may participate in an elective string ensemble for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Powhatan believes that every child is capable of appreciating, understanding, and creating music and provides students with a means of expression in a unique and personal way.
Upper School students in sixth through eighth grades have a daily sports practice. Scheduled at the end of the academic day, the sports program allows for intramural play within Powhatan and intramural play within the Piedmont Athletic Conference. A wide variety of sports are offered to students each trimester, including lacrosse, field hockey, volleyball, soccer, cross country track, basketball, dance, physical fitness, and track and field.
With an emphasis on demonstrating good sportsmanship, developing skills, providing team experiences, and building self-confidence, Powhatan’s sports program teaches students how to remain physically fit and active in a safe way.
The Athletic Department’s activities culminate each year with Field Day – a tradition that goes back decades and pits POSTS verses RAILS in traditional track and field events across grade levels.
Powhatan’s technology program is founded on the belief that technology is an essential tool in assisting students in learning beyond the classroom. To that end, all students have access to computers in their classrooms, individual laptops, and Smart Boards at each grade level as well as the computer lab. Students in sixth through eighth grade continue to build skills in keyboarding, word processing, and Internet research. They also learn how to create a google slides presentation, create spreadsheets as well as how to navigate a database. These skills enhance learning and provide interactive lessons in all content areas. Students also acquire an understanding of how to use specific hardware, software, and related technologies, allowing them to adapt to the complex technology environments that will emerge during their lifetimes.
We immediately start with introducing world languages in the Lower School. The primary goal is to develop awareness, interest, and enthusiasm for the languages, the people, and the cultures. The program also seeks to develop students’ listening and speaking skills. A formal Spanish sequential curriculum is taught from Pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade. Students learn how to interact in Spanish with meaningful contexts. Topics and projects provide a framework for vocabulary and linguistic structures. The skills are based on the ACTFL standards for modern language learning. Communication refers to interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational skills. Through the target language, students also learn about culture, make connections across disciplines, and compare traditions and practices.
World Language continue in the Upper School with Spanish. The program stresses the use of the target language. Emphasis is placed on the four communicative skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The world language program also promotes the development of the three modes of communication: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational, through a setting that strengthens students’ appreciation for Spanish speaking cultures, provides a context for developing confidence to start communicating in the second language, and enhances cross-cultural awareness. Upon leaving Powhatan, students will have completed a minimum of level one in Spanish, with many testing well above grade level in high school.