Mrs. Scarborough, Head of School, sits down to speak with Dr. Caitlin Gosnell and Mr. Darren Holgate. Gosnell is the new Director of Lower School and Mr. Holgate is the new Director of Upper School. Listen in as Mrs. Scarborough introduces them to the school community.

Each year Earth Week is a microcosm of our school at its best. As I walked around campus observing activities, three aspects really stand out:

  1. That our children are learning about the importance of conservation and our Earth.
  2. A sense of community and teamwork.
  3. That our children are outside in nature.

It is important to get children outside in nature. There has been a lot of research lately that focuses on the effect that getting outside has on our bodies. There’s a fascinating study out of Aarhaus University in Denmark that tracks one million individuals over almost three decades. While it focuses on the connection between health and nature with people at various ages, it zeroes in on the impact that the amount of time children spend in nature has on individuals over time. Mrs. Coutts and I discuss this research in the podcast at the top of the page, so I hope you will take the time to listen as we talk about nature and its effects on stress, mental health and well being.

Collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity are all skills which are enhanced through play. At Powhatan, time to play and build these skills starts in the youngest grades, laying the foundation for a balanced, healthy life in the middle school and beyond.

Powhatan’s community was honored to have Dr. Dorothy Sluss, Professor Emerita from James Madison University, speak about her lifetime passion of studying children’s play on our campus two weeks ago. Enjoy a bonus conversation with Dr. Sluss and Mrs. Scarborough in this podcast about the benefits of play.

In this podcast, we sit down with Mrs. Robb to discuss Grit and Growth Mindset, topics she presented to the faculty on professional day this year. She gives further examples of how she deploys these strategies in her classroom…

We caught up with Mrs. Jaffe, a sixth grade English teacher, to talk about the importance and benefits of reading. She recently came across two articles that resonated with her because they discussed the importance of instilling empathy through literature. She discusses how reading develops and fosters critical thinking skills, focus and empathy. Reading literature every day helps our students better understand themselves and the characters they read about. This leads to developing empathy for people in their lives and for others across the globe.

Listen in to the podcast as our third grade team, Mrs. Gilpin and Mrs. Slavin, provide insight and takeaways from their experience at the Learning & the Brain Conference (Harvard University).

Both teachers touch on topics explored at the conference, including:

  • Empathy
  • Innovation
  • Choice
  • Solutionaries
  • Problem Solving
  • Motivation & Mindsets
  • Kindness
  • Community Service
  • Cross-Curricular & Project-Based Learning
  • Communication Skills

They also speak about an interesting bridge building project that is coming to fruition in the MakerSpace this week and an ongoing recycling project in third grade that incorporates these topics.

Research tells us that four and five year olds’ work is play. In Powhatan’s Pre-Kindergarten Classroom, that looks like Play Lab, which happens every week day at 11:00 a.m. And as I learned from my visits to a very busy Play Lab last week, although it may look a lot like play, there is an abundance of learning happening in every corner of the Lab!

Play Lab consists of several areas of learning. The dramatic play area can be whatever the children want it to be, the art center is supplied with many different materials for creation of anything imaginable, the block area has different sized blocks with various figures to use with any structure you would like to build, and the porch area is always changing and evolving with a water and sand table, easel, and many tools and materials to develop small and large motor skills as well as language acquisition.

Dystopian literature is headlining the world of fiction and the big screen. We sat down with Louise Jaffe, a sixth grade English teacher at Powhatan, to discuss the preeminent piece, The Giver.

Listen to the podcast above as Ms. Jaffe discusses The Giver—the book written 20 years ago that inspired later books such as The Hunger Games and Divergent.

Mrs. Gilpin gave a presentation at the Virginia State Reading Association (VSRA) annual conference in Norfolk, Va. in March. Her presentation revolved around her recently authored book; Teaching Students to Conduct Short Research Projects. Listen in to the podcast above as Mrs. Gilpin walks you through the five major steps in the research process with examples from her own classroom experience.

Mrs. Gilpin would like to thank former Powhatan teacher and national consultant, Mrs. Laura Robb, for her amazing help and guidance with this endeavor. Read more.

Our coaches, who interact each day with the students, have an enthusiasm for learning which is contagious. The positive way they encourage each student brings out their personal best and resilience…

“Good coaching may be defined as the development of character, personality and habits of players, plus the teaching of fundamentals and team play.” —Claire Bee, Former Basketball coach at Long Island University.

These words truly resonated with me as I sat down last week with Brian Burke, Athletic Director, at Powhatan and some of his coaching staff. This group of dedicated individuals give of their time and expertise each day to guide our upper elementary and upper school students as they learn a new sport or perfect their skills at a sport they enjoy playing.

The Hour of Code volunteers helped us pull off an amazing week for all of our students to explore technology. Please listen in to the podcast as Mrs. Scarborough connects with Mrs. Miller, the educational technology teacher, and discuss learning, technology and the Hour of Code.