School emphasizes connection to the natural world | ParkRecord.com

School emphasizes connection to the natural world

Dale Thompson, Of the Record staff

As children head outside for summer there are a myriad of summer camp options available to them. One unique opportunity is being offered at Another Way Montessori Development Center, where children from the ages of 4-15 have the option of enrolling in a variety of week-long camps that emphasize a connection to the natural world.

At the core of the summer camps is a deep respect for nature. School founder, Diane Bodie, says it is vital to instill this at a young age.

"If they don’t have a relationship with the natural environment now, they don’t have it when they’re older," she said.

At the center of Bodie’s teaching philosophy is the American Indian belief that all living things are connected and she integrates this into all of her lessons.

For younger students ages 4-10, six one-week long camps will be held with each week focusing on a different aspect of the wild. For example, the week of June 19-23 will examine plants and students will learn about plant cycles and function.

Each of the week long classes costs $275 per week, with a non-refundable commitment fee of $200 due on May 15.

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For older students ages 9-15 the school is hosting five one-week workshops focusing on developing frontier skills. Bodie explained how these activities help children create a unique set of problem-solving skills, they find that everything the students need to create something can be provided to them by the Earth.

Such is the case when students learn about shearing wool, spinning and dying it. Bodie also emphasizes that when an American Indian would hunt they not only used the animal for food, but would take its hide for clothing and use every part of the animal for some practical means.

"While they’re working on this the old stories are told and there are multiple skills woven into that experience." Bodie said.

She added the act of learning hands on about different elements of history gives them a frame of reference for when students read about it in text books.

Students will be given instruction by frontiersmen and learn about American Indian lore.

"All of this is a rich experience, far different than if we read them a story on how to do this," she said.

The frontier camps cost $490 per session and a $200 commitment fee is due on May 15.

Also offered as part of the summer camps at Another Way is the equestrian program which introduces children to a number of concepts including the connection mankind has with horses, care, handling and riding instruction.

Students will also have the option of participating in dance classes and using the waterslide at the school.