The first weeks of the Summer Nature Program have been so rewarding! Watching each student grow and learn warms my heart. Pulling the program together during COVID has brought challenges that give us the opportunity to be better every day. The staff are coming together as a Tribal Council working cohesively to integrate each individual Center of Learning within the overall lessons of the week.
We are so excited that our program now is filled with Horsefulness, Indigenous Studies, Art Therapy, Montessori, Friluftsliv, Filmmaking and Gardening. Students learn how each Center is a part of the whole learning process. Thank you for being a part of Another Way School Community!
Horsefulness with Diane Bode, Leslie, & Molly
Indigenous Studies with Tim
The past couple weeks, it has astonished me how much information our students were able to absorb in such a short amount of time! The overall point I try to get to in my classroom...well, tipi... is to introduce the kids to not only the Indigenous/Lakota way of life, but more importantly the Lakota way of thinking. The Wo Lakota, or Lakota way of life is an oral tradition, and thus passed down in the Lakota language through stories/oral teachings. It has been incredible having the honor of passing down age old stories/teachings covering multiple topics thus far.
Our first day we talked about teachings around the Can Gleska (medicine wheel). Through this the kids were able to learn many basic Lakota words surrounding directions (north, south, east, west, sky, earth, and to the center), the colors associated with those directions (red, white, yellow, black, blue, green, and purple), and animals (black bear, thunder beings, buffalo, elk, deer, coyote, eagle, and mole). That day we were able to discuss the Lakota creation story, telling how we believe the earth, and all of creation came to be. We also discussed how that story tied into others such as that of Pte San Win (The White Buffalo Calf Woman), and how our way of prayer was brought to the Lakota people. This also transitioned well into the story of grandma mole, and how we as a society have forgotten the last direction (to the center), and what that direction means to us.
The following day we had the opportunity to discuss music in native culture. We talked about different kinds of drums used in ceremony and powwows, the use of the gourd rattle in the Native American Church, and the origin of the flute to the Lakota people. I told the story of how the woodpecker made and gifted the flute to the Lakota people, as well as the story of how the red wolf gifted the Kiowa people the Gourd Dance, and the songs that go with that ceremony/war society.
After that we got into artwork, particularly painting, among plains native tribes. Our students learned how pigment/earth paint is created, what colors we had, and then applied those teachings in making paint, and helping me paint a buffalo skull.
Finally this week, together the students and I have had the amazing opportunity to begin the process of brain tanning a massive bull buffalo hide. We discussed the importance of Tatanka (the buffalo) to Lakota society. From tipis, to clothing, tools, to food, the buffalo were everything to the Lakota people. With this teaching we talked about the butchering and use of every part of the buffalo. From the organ meats, the hide, and skull, to the bones, bladder, and tail, every part was used. We had the hide soaking for a couple days to make it pliable and stretched it out on a large wooden frame to dry. After stretching, the students and I washed/shampooed the fur side to create a soft result that no longer smells like a dirty buffalo! We ended the week by scraping the remaining membrane off to get down to the bare skin on the flesh side of the hide. We then thinned the hide to make the thickness of the hide uniform in its entirety.
Next week we will continue by cooking the brain, and mashing it in water creating a slurry that will chemically alter the rawhide, thus helping the rawhide become leather (tanning it). After the brain absorbs into the rawhide, you must vigorously work the hide to make it soft and supple. After that we will smoke the hide, which makes it water resistant, allowing it to remain supple if it gets wet and dries out. The last step is to repeat the past three steps of braining, softening, and smoking the hide. The anticipation of the final result is awesome, and the students are both interested and actively engaging in a process that would have been a major part of their lives not so many decades ago.
Through these stories, teachings, and hands-on skills, the students have been opened up to a way of thinking and doing things that are considered abstract and unconventional by today’s standards. It is exciting and humbling to see their minds continue to expand to create and understand things that bend what they know as reality, what is possible!
Art Therapy with Matthew
The week was a complete blast! We jumped right in with a painting intensive inspired by Bob Ross through guided paint-a-long’s. Students completed numerous acrylic paintings on 18”x 24” canvases, which is rather large for beginners. The paint tent overlooks the beautiful Wasatch mountains and had the opportunity to create a ‘plein air’ composition inspired by studying the landscape and rainy day. Students got to reflect on the science of atmospheric distortion and then create their own misty monochromatic composition.
We set the tone for our first week in the art tent through self love, accomplishment, and affirmative feedback via the critique process. Students were challenged to stop thinking and just create art. The outcomes were astonishing! We mastered how to blend colors, make texture, create silhouettes and make a complete composition with a background and foreground. By the end of the first week students walked away with 3 compositions that captured the beauty of Utah landscape while garnering a growth mindset. All and all, this week was all about accomplishment and happy little trees.
This week students got their hands dirty and explored the wonderful world of clay. We discussed the origins of clay and what defines this magical medium. We then immersed ourselves into the artform by making pinch pots and activated background knowledge on what makes clay so special. We then scaffolded dexterity skills via pinch pots, explored coil building, and ramped up the challenge with lidded vessels and mechanical attachments. In the end, students had a crash course in beginner ceramics and dabbled in sculpture and had a ball during the process
The Littles (aka Intukoula’s or Mice) with Nicole & Michelle
We have had such a fun start to summer getting to know your children! Each week we continue to foster independence in all we do throughout the day with our 3-6 year olds. Our motto is “We can do hard things!” The children have enjoyed beginning their day with practical life works of pouring and tweezing etc. These materials help build muscle strength, hand eye coordination, focus/concentration, and independence. Maria Montessori said ““The hands are the instruments of intelligence,” and “The human hand allows the mind to reveal itself”.The children are getting into a routine of knowing how to clean up after themselves and put their works away when complete. They have so much pride being able and accomplishing the Montessori works on their own. Every morning we have a lesson at the circle where we have talked about metamorphosis, being kind and peaceful and living in harmony with each other and mother earth. We also go over the calendar singing songs about the months, days of the week, and the weather of the day. They are continuing to build valuable social skills that include sharing and using their voice in a gentle way to express their feelings. They are a delightful group of children that get along in such a loving way! It is incredible to observe them become confident beams of light!
Friluftsliv with Tom & Jamie
Learning to live in the open air, follow nature and be present in our moments was our main goal these last two weeks of Friluftsliv. Taking the children out on the mountain has been a dream come true/answer to prayer for me. The way they organically connected to nature was a special sight to see.
The first day, we talked of preparedness when venturing into the wild. We checked our list of things we needed to take before we proceeded on our trail, with care. We left our technology behind and felt what it was like to disconnect from it, except to take a few pictures for filmmaking class.
On our journey, we spent time stopping to smell the flowers, watch the bugs and butterflies and learn of the many edible and medicinal plants our beautiful Uintas have to offer. We even tried some for ourselves!
Some of the plants of interest were Quaking Aspen Bark for sunscreen, Red Clover flowers for your salad , Mullein for your lungs and as antibacterial/antiviral properties (oh, ya, and how you can use it in exchange for toilet paper if you needed :), Yarrow to stop bleeding, and Pine needles for immune boosting tea and to munch on.
The children learned how to safely use these medicinal and edible plants. Also, to only try these plants when they are with someone who has the knowledge or experience.
We looked up several different animal tracks and scats along the way, noting elk and moose and examined many beaver dams and dwellings. We explored hummingbird nests and ate lunch by the quakies and rivers. We said hello to the many dogs and passer byers. Tom reminded us of our compass and how to use it. We watched out for thunderclouds and wind gusts. We even built a mini shelter, to practice what we may do, just in case we had to stay in the wild for a day or night.
Stopping at Samak on our way home for a healthy treat was also fun. The kids learned to make healthy food choices, not consume more than needed, to use their money on their own and share with each other.
Gardening with Jamie
We have begun our time in the garden together by understanding that we are starting from scratch, with bare, raw land. An almost blank canvas, if you will. How excited we are to build from the ground up. (pun intended;) We discussed our plan and steps on building soil and how it may take us awhile to have ideal soil to work with, and how in the meantime to work with what we have got… which we saw, was a lot! Mother Earth provides what we need, to plant and grow!
Then, the children took time to introduce themselves to the land, with their name, or a name they felt the earth whispered to them ( the creative answers made me giggle lots). They also asked permissions to work the land, as done by many respectful ancient cultures throughout our world.
A group of us began to pull rocks out of our garden beds and found 2 dead potguts. This gave us the opportunity to discuss the cycles of life, death and rebirth. The innate knowledge these young ones had on this subject was astonishing to me. My heart was warmed by the depth they had in this subject, and of course we gave the potguts a proper burial with names for them both, headstones included.
We spent time building and fixing soil that had mold and too much manure. We mulched. weeded and cleaned the greenhouse and beds. We fixed problems with pots and planters drowning the plants with innovative ideas. We planted our veggies, herbs, medicines and flowers with love and care. We learned the right way to plant things, with good intent and happy vibes. How to water correctly and at the right times of the day. How to use our muscles to haul heavy things, such as soil and mulch, making sure we used the right safe techniques to lift such things.
The littles came and helped fill pots up with soil, and plant seeds. They were very happy to have such a big job and feel connected to the garden.
We built a compost for our garden and learned of its importance and how we can all contribute. Each child took home compostable bags to bring their families food scrapes from home to add. We shoveled the horse manure to the compost, understanding the cycles of how we are all connected, and how our waste and trash can make treasure. We also asked the pot guts to leave our garden alone kindly:)
Peace Garden with Kathy
Vision: To connect each child to the process of growth and cultivation. Learning “naturally”!
Kathy Carr puts the FUN in the gardening program for campers by bringing in activities like painting rocks, building fairy gardens, creating a Mud Kitchen, and the Peace Garden.
The idea of Peace flows through everything in the Garden Center as we continually build together. The older kids helped plant in our garden barrels and helped plan out what they want in our peace garden.
The greenhouse is growing well and our vision for lots of daisies, yarrow,lavender and sage growing outside will not only be a place to see pollinator activity but will be part of our Peace garden project.
As we develop the area, you will see, smell and hear sweetness in this special little spot. Everyone will find the space a place for peace.
As a community here at Another Way, all the staff would like to share gratitude for one another.
“Diane Bode is a force to be reckoned with - I have never seen someone with so much grit and motivation. Everyday she inspires me to be the best human I can be.” ~Mattie Herrington
“Mayana Kingery has been holding down the fort by doing all the things! Whether she is taking temperatures, hauling bags of soil, pulling weeds for the horses, tending to the endless pile of logistics, she has been queen of the logistic castle and helps make sure the ship is on course.” ~Nicole Napolski
“Diane has brought together a very special thing for these children. The way she has been able to bring all of these ideas, people and concepts here for their education puts me in awe. She is wonderful at managing the many types of eclectic personalities it takes to run such a wonderful place, diffusing imbalance or challenges that come, and creating a safe, fun environment for the children and staff. Her level of understanding and knowledge with children and horses is unsurpassable. We are lucky to have her.” -Jamie Giordano
“Our youth Mentors make the Horsefulness program dynamic with Carson, Max, and Ivy who grew up at Another Way and learned their horsemanship skills from Diane and Fausto. They are Diane’s right and left hands throughout the program working with the students and the horses to be sure everyone is cared for well. We are so grateful to have them all with us this summer!”