I love stone tools, and what started with an obsession with making pretty arrows heads has turned into a life long journey to understand how to make and use effective tools that can be used to meet my wilderness living needs.
In April of 2007, Roots School was founded with the purpose of educating people of all ages and backgrounds in:
- Self Relience and Suvival Skills
- Tracking and Naturalist Studies
- Primitive and Traditional Skills
People, from all ages and walks of life love learning skills of self reliance, they love connecting to each other around good meals and campfires, and on the most basic level, they love getting outside. People leave engaged and alive, and ready to continue learning and apply thier skils in thier day to day lives.
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In assessing our courses and the results of our work we have committed to certain standards that can be expected at our courses. First, our course sizes are limited, normally capped at 12-16 people. In doing so we ensure a staff to student ratio in which every student receives one-on-one instruction as needed throughout the course. Our small sizes also allow us to provide quality materials, open space on the land, and fresh local meals.
We have also committed to teaching from experience and through experience. Our courses are designed to set students up to apply our teachings in their lives. Skills must be learned by doing them, so we focus on the experience our students are having, on what they are doing at our courses as well as what they write in their notebooks.
We are not masters of these skills and in the scheme of what there is to know and experiences in our world, we know and have done little. We know that these skills do not belong to us or anyone, but to everyone. We work hard to maintain the integrity of the lessons that have been handed down through time, and the lessons the land itself has taught us.
In return we receive the honor of teaching and sharing something core to who we are, as individuals, and as a community. We get to move and work within our landscape, and know it intimately. We are forced to continue learning, for and from our students. Ultimately, it is why we are here and we love it.
Roots Philosophies of Teaching
We have several core philosophies running through our work in adult programs:
- Tell You, Show You, You Do, You Show Me. This is how we teach. This is how skill is built and information retained in the most efficient way we know. Come to our classes expecting to be given in depth information, demonstration, a chance to do, with your own two hands and mind, and finally to talk about what you have done, how it worked, and what you learned.
- The more you know the less you need.Skill development and useful information create a self-reliance and understanding of problem solving that is sadly absent from many modern people. Our students desire the ability to take care of themselves in a variety of situations and to be able to create multiple solutions given their resources. The more skilled a person becomes, the more skilled at learning one becomes and the easier it becomes for them to learn new skills.
- Observations, Not Judgements.When in relationship to the natural world we very quickly find that we are not the boss. Our desires, ideas, ego, even our needs, do not change the reality of the natural world. We must adapt ourselves to it. We do not write the rule book. The cold does not care how you feel about it, it simply is what it is. The natural world demands that we pay attention to it, that we learn its patterns and rhythms. We need to be able to remove our need to judge, and observe and act according to what our senses tell us. This is very important in interacting with the things that effect our environments both in survival, and in our day to day existence. With these eyes the destruction of our environment both locally and globally is clear, and the need for intelligent stewardship and protection of our environment evident.
- This is Real, We are Real. We strive to teach outside the realm of fantasy, outside of fiction, outside of grandiose plots. We do not claim our courses will fix you, or solve all of your problems. There is no safety belt to life. We teach to enrich, to fulfill, to guide experience, to allow people access to more tools. We are all learning and growing, finding out more about ourselves. You do not get old until you stop learning.
- Community is grown, not built. We are not trying to create a community, rather to be a part of the many communities we find around us. We have found that the strongest relationship are grown over time naturally, not conceived and directed. To that end we do our best to support a situation where people have a place to interact with others who want to learn the same things they do, to meet challenges together, to face discomfort or fear, and to triumph through unity. We do not however expect everyone to fit a mold, have similar world views, or to share their feeling in contrived situations. We strive to effect and strengthen the community of each of our students, as new information and passion for learning tends to spread, and knowledge and connection to land is powerful and vital.
- Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast.To make skills useful, they must be practiced to a point of real returns, real proficiency. Training should be intentional and directed at long term gains in ability and understanding, not short term satisfaction and success. Students who acknowledge skills development as a long term process will garner the most positive results.