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Pilot Post – Sept 30, 2021

A Letter from Dr. Williams

Dear Families, 

This week, the fall weather seemed to finally arrive.  The Panther Soccer team began practices, Soccer Shots began for our younger students, Run Club continued its daily practices, and Girls on the Run kicked off.  With so many joyful outside activities taking place, it seemed apropos that I received word of an upcoming lecture on the benefits of outdoor learning.  I certainly plan to attend.

Pilot’s campus is gorgeous anytime of year, but the hot sun and cool air of fall just seem to highlight it to maximum levels.  A few weeks ago, Sam Manthrope ‘18 completed his Eagle Scout project by installing a stunning outdoor classroom under the shade of a *** tree off of our lower division.  Sam built seating out of stumps from a tree that had fallen in our woods and constructed a table and easel out of repurposed mahogany.  The students (and faculty!) have been loving it.  You can see his stunning craftsmanship in the pictures below.

A few years ago, even before the pandemic forced much of the world outdoors for learning, UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center shared compelling research on the benefits of nature for learning.  Not only does learning outside boost engagement in the learning taking place there, but the research demonstrated an increase in focus in the classes that happened after students returned inside.  The authors cited a range of other research findings, highlighting the benefits of outdoor learning for content retention, stress relief, focus and attention, physiological health, and love of school.  I like to say that at Pilot, we leave nothing up to chance, so it’s gratifying to have the research to inform us as we continue to lean into the potential for learning from our beautiful outdoor spaces.

This week’s video asked students to share some of their favorite aspects of Pilot’s outdoor space.  I hope you enjoy it!

Have a lovely weekend!


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