Enjoy the podcast with Jeff Kelble, Chair of the Crocker Conservancy Committee, to learn more about the plans for this invaluable resource for Powhatan by clicking above.


September 2014

Dear Powhatan Families,

In my travels around our communities, I’m often asked what I think Powhatan does well for students. This question is easy to answer because there are so many areas in which our students excel and our curricula are challenging and engaging. Talk to any Powhatan graduate and each one will have his or her “take away” from their years at the school, all of which support lifelong learning.

One “take away” that I’d like to highlight this month is our NEAL program (Nature Enhanced Approach to Learning). Some may have the impression that NEAL is an “add-on” to our science curriculum or an outdoor education unit in our physical education program. Although both are good assumptions, NEAL is far more unique and important than a unit or special trip and is one of the many ways that sets a Powhatan education apart from other schools.

NEAL is a lens through which we can teach any or all components of our curriculum. We use it to bring our students outside into the natural world and to bring the natural world indoors to our students. Richard Louv, well-known advocate of connecting children to the outdoors, writes in his book Last Child in the Woods about how many children today suffer from what he terms “nature deficit disorder.” He shares examples of how children are “plugged-in” to electronic devices and out of touch with the natural world.

At Powhatan, it is a much different story. Students have easy access to the outdoors and are using our campus, including the addition of the Crocker Conservancy, to map trails, read or write nature poems, adopt trees and square meters for observation of changes, record data in journals, run and walk the trails, and raise trout for release in the stream. We are continually using the lens of NEAL as we create, amend, and reflect upon our curriculum in all areas.

With the gift of the Crocker Conservancy, our NEAL program can broaden into wetland habitats, warm season grass and wild flower fields and hardwood forests. In a sense, our classroom laboratories have just increased by forty-seven acres!! What a wonderful learning venue for our students and faculty and it is just a step beyond our classroom doors. Many schools much travel hours to enjoy this type of resource.

At the top of this page you will find a podcast I hosted with Jeff Kelble, Powhatan parent and Chair of the Crocker Conservancy Committee. Please listen to it to learn more about the plans for this invaluable resource for Powhatan by clicking above. Throughout the year, I also invite you to join our Crocker walks and work parties that we have planned. Keep an eye out for those opportunities in our weekly newsletter. We would love to share our excitement with you!


Sue Scarborough
Head of School