(406) 260-8620 brett@ravenwoodolc.org

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.


This is not Indian Education For All curriculum. 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 today 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 three activity stations, with one Ravenwood instructor at each station. The activities each relate to an aspect of  human culture, including visual arts, crafts, and understanding the patterns of nature. Each station can take up to ten students at a time. We work well outdoors, but we can set up indoors in inclement weather. Maximum participation is 30 students per half-day session of hands-on learning.




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, making crayons, 

Activities for 1st Grade and up include: Paintbrush-Making, nature-based looms, Pinch Pots, leather tooling

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

Activities for 3rd Grade and up include: Coil Pots, Wild Rose Bead-Making, leather pouch sewing, macrame cordage bracelets or necklaces


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:  Natural Mystery Memory Games, Storytelling, Silent Awareness Games, Fire by Friction,

Activities for 2nd Grade and up include: Field Guide Treasure Hunt, Herbal Chapstick (Salve) Making,  Wildlife and Ecology Games

Activities for 3rd Grade and up include: Track & Sign ID from field guides, Tree and Plant ID from field guides,  Herbal 1st-Aid Kit Making

Outdoor Skills

We all need to learn the basics!

All-Ages activities include:  Match safety and skills, cooking on the fire (outdoor only),  Archery or atlatl dart throwing (as school facilities allow), basic fire making with matches, orienting with compasses

Activities for 2nd Grade and up include: One-match fire making with natural tinders, fire by friction, fire by percussion (flint and steel), knot tying, 

Activities for 4th Grade and up include: Knife safety and carving skills. basic wood splitting, 

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!