Students learn how the Native Americans lived

Barbara Hootman

Learning to set up a tepee last week was great fun for Swannanoa Valley Montessori School students, as was meeting a person who has lived in nature as Native Americans did.

Brett Butler brought his Field Trips Delivered program to the school to demonstrate Native American history, culture and primitive skills.

The demonstration included the tepee setup, as well as primitive trapping and fire-making.

Butler encouraged some of the students, 3- to 6-years-old, to help him put the poles up for a tepee on site.

“Notice that I am always in control of where the poles are going,” he told the students. “I am never out of control of them. This may look hard, but it isn’t.”

Butler’s Field Trips Delivered is meant to educate through the implementation of hands-on, three-dimensional programs brought directly to the students.

“Using hands-on educational programming, students retain knowledge, learn in a tangible environment and have an enjoyable, out-of-the-box learning experience,” Butler said.

Butler has been delivering field trips to students since 1999 when he was teaching at summer camps and Boy Scout events and in classrooms throughout North Carolina.

He specializes in outdoor and environmental education.

He has also worked in the commercial beekeeping industry and spent six years living in a tepee and practicing Native American-style art, including bead, quill and leather work.

“He brings a unique type of teaching to our students, and no doubt they remember his presentation for a long time, because they are part of it,” said Diane Jackson, Swannanoa Valley Montessori School’s media coordinator, said.