Arts and Ancestors

Grades  K-12

This program provides hands-on experience of the universal arts, crafts and skills shared by all ancient human ancestors. We teach the basics of making art from natural raw materials, the crafts our ancestors used to make beautiful objects for everyday use, the awareness to decode the patterns of nature, and the skills of using the most ancient technology to make that most basic of human tools, fire. Variations on these skills, crafts and tools are commonly represented in many archaeological sites all over the world, so are not tied to any specific ancestral lineage. Every human alive to day has ancestors who, at one time or another, used these skills to survive, so we teach these skills in the context of gratitude for all our ancestors.

The setup consists of four activity stations, with one or two adult volunteers (provided by the school) at each station. Each station houses an activity relating to an aspect of  human culture, including visual arts, crafts, and understanding the patterns of nature. Each station can take up to eight students at a time. We work well outdoors, but we will move indoors in inclement weather.

Our program starts before student arrival, with a quick training session for at least four faculty or parent chaperones to each supervise one of the four activity stations. Then when students get there, we gather with the students and staff for an opening circle with introductions, a story, and a walk-through of each station. The students are then divided into even groups and sent to  stations, and allowed to rotate through so that everyone gets a hands-on experience of each activity. We take a break for lunch mid-day. After station rotations, we gather for a closing circle and take time to reflect on what we learned.

Maximum participation is 32 students per session, and the program is either a full day or half-day of hands-on learning, depending on the time required to complete each station you select.


Stations include:  

Arts and Crafts

Humans have been making our world beautiful for thousands of years. For two or three of the stations, schools can choose from a menu of different arts options. Students may pound their own earthen pigments and, combining pigment with hide glue or egg yolk binder, and paint their original designs on plaster fresco, stones or wood. Or they may scuplt their own unfired clay figurines, or weave a cattail placemat, or make their own paper. A full menu of options is available upon request. Choose arts options that connect with your school’s curriculum!

All-ages activities include: Stone Pigment Making, Paint-Making, Painting on Paper with Handmade Paints, Dyeing Yarn or Cloth with Natural Dyes

Activities for 1st Grade and up include: Paintbrush-Making, Paper-making, Warp-Weighted Loom Weaving, Pinch Pots, Leather Pouch Making

Activities for 2nd Grade and up include: Fresco Painting with Handmade Paints, Wild Rose Bead-Making, Natural Cordage and String Making, Wool Picking and Carding, Wet Felting Wool, Cattail Weaving

Activities for 3rd Grade and up include: Coil Pots, Drop-Spindle Spinning


Understanding the Patterns of Nature

Our ancestors had to understand nature on a deep level in order to survive. Birds, plants, tracks, clouds, and all aspects of nature show patterns that we can learn to decode. Our nature awareness curriculum may include activities like tracking games, a treasure-hunt through field guides, direct observation of nature, and more.

All-Ages activities include: Track & Sign ID, Tracking and Trailing Games, Natural Mystery Memory Games, Sit Spot Games, Storytelling, Silent Awareness Games

Activities for 2nd Grade and up include: Field Guide Treasure Hunt, Tree and Plant ID, Herbal Chapstick (Salve) Making

Activities for 3rd Grade and up include: Archery or Atlatl Dart Throwing (as school facilities allow), Fire by Friction, Track Pattern Interpretation Games

Grades  K-12

Our curriculum is very flexible according to the grade level, needs and aptitudes of your students. Arts, ancestral skills, and nature offer something for everyone. Connect with us to design a course that will light up your students and teachers alike!