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The Value of a Nature-Based Childhood Education, with Diane Bode


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We’re living in an age of evolutionary mismatch. The modern way of life often disconnects us from each other, from our bodies, and from nature—and we’re passing that disconnect onto our children. In this episode of Revolution Health Radio, I talk with Diane Bode, founder of Another Way School & Community Center. We discuss how her program connects kids with nature and themselves and how she’s teaching them to embrace “free air lives.”

Revolution Health Radio podcast, Chris Kresser

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How skiing and horseback riding apply to childhood development and education
  • Another Way School & Community Center
  • Repairing the disconnect between children and nature
  • Fostering natural connection through horseback riding
  • Skiing, movement, and physical space
  • The value of an immersive educational environment
  • Friluftsliv: Free air life
  • What’s next for Another Way
  • How you can get involved with Another Way School & Community Center

Show notes:

Hey, everybody, Chris Kresser here. Welcome to another episode of Revolution Health Radio. I’m really excited about this week’s episode. This summer we spent a week in Park City and one of the main reasons we went there was for our daughter, Sylvie, to attend a camp at the Another Way Community Center. And this camp included outdoor education and Friluftsliv, which means “free air life.” We’ll be talking a little more about what that is exactly in the podcast, as well as mindful horsemanship. And Sylvie just had an incredible time; it was transformative for her and also for us. Can’t wait to tell you a little bit more about it.

And this week’s interview is with Diane Bode, who’s the founder and executive director of the Another Way Community Center. Diane is a teacher, author, and illustrator. She grew up on a working ranch in Northern California during the twilight of Norman Rockwell’s America. She was born in 1942 at a time when people were more connected to nature and had learned from old ones who knew the West before the buffalo were gone. She’s been working for over 40 years to create bridges between the untamed natural world and the modern technological world, creating patterns of healing and creative expression vital to the developing child. Diane’s dedicated her life to creating environments, curriculum, and instructional development materials designed to bring each child’s unique magic to full expression within a true community of children and adults.

She brings a wealth of knowledge to the classroom from her unique combinations of studies in child development, which included a BS in general elementary education with a minor in sociology, a master’s degree in early childhood education, an American Montessori Society certification, a specialist credential in early childhood education. She also has training in NLP, neuro-linguistic programming; she’s a certified Professional Ski Instructor of America. She’s done extensive animal training, husbandry, and partnership and has a lot of experience in frontier history and Native American traditions. She also is the author of Child-Centered Skiing: The American Teaching System for Children, a very innovative method for teaching skiing, not only as recreation, but as a way for kids to connect more deeply with their body and with the environment around them.

So I am really excited about this conversation. We spent a lot of time at Another Way when were in Park City, developed a really strong connection with Diane and other people that we met there, and it just really aligns with so many things that I think are increasingly important in this world that we live in today, this modern world where kids are often separated from their bodies. They’re disconnected from their bodies, they’re disconnected from the natural world, they’re disconnected from animals and from things that, as human beings, have been part of our lives for the vast majority of our evolutionary history. And I think the therapeutic potential of the program that Diane has put together, Another Way, is really phenomenal and I’m really excited about her work and want to do everything I can to get it out there in the wider world. Because I think we need it now more than ever. So hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did. Let’s dive in.

Chris Kresser:  Diane, it is such a pleasure to have you on the show. Thank you so much for joining us.

Diane Bode:  Well, it’s mutual. Thank you for having me.

How Skiing and Horseback Riding Apply to Childhood Development and Education

Chris Kresser:  So I wanted to start by talking a little bit about your background. We had some conversations in Park City about it and it’s pretty fascinating. How did you get interested in horses and in skiing as vehicles for childhood development and education?

Diane Bode:  Well, first and foremost, I was a rancher’s daughter. So I was raised on a working ranch. And we had mainly horses and dude strings, which are riding stables. And we also raised sheep, and the rest of my family were big cattle ranchers. And so that was my whole life. Horses were my life. And skiing is something I got into as a teenager and ultimately became a ski instructor. So both of those were a huge part of my younger life.

Chris Kresser:  And the ranch as I recall, it wasn’t far from where I am now. Like out in Pittsburg and Antioch, or somewhere out there.

Diane Bode:  It was in Northern California. Yes. It was a ranch between Pittsburg and Antioch in the foothills. And there were two old ghost towns behind it, Nortonville and Somerville, where my grandfather had been born. And my grandfather on my dad’s side was the biggest sheep and cattle operation in Northern California at that time in Contra Costa County. So big ranching.

Chris Kresser:  So horses were in your blood, and then you got into skiing really early. But how did that then, at what point did you realize that horses and skiing could play a significant role in childhood development and even in education?

Diane Bode:  Well, I was in graduate school, and my degree is in American Montessori and early childhood, and we had to do a synthesis project. And I was up in the mountains at a ski resort, sitting on the deck trying to get away, trying to figure out what in the world I was going to do for that project, and watching a children’s ski class, and I went, “Oh my gosh, Montessori perceptual-motor theory, cognitive development, learning theory, I could use skiing as a vehicle to study how children learn.”

And that was my, I ultimately got a Master of Arts. So I did a master’s thesis, instead of a synthesis project. And the horses and skiing have the crossover skills that children develop. One is a relationship with the animate world—the horse, and inanimate world—nature, with skiing. And so those two came together for me at that time.

Chris Kresser:  And there was a third element that’s really important in your work and your vision, which I experienced when we were with you last week, which is bringing in the Native American/American Indian traditions as part of this framework. So how did you get initially exposed to that and interested in including that in this model?

Diane Bode:  Well, that’s a bizarre one because as a child, I was absolutely fascinated with Native Americans. Nobody really understands what that fascination was. But so that was there as a child. And then when I came to Utah to do the ski programs here for the Professional Ski Instructors of America, I stepped into the mountain man culture in Native America there, and it activated that whole part of my early childhood background.

And then I became very much involved with Clarence Skye, then the executive director of the United Sioux Tribes. And it, the whole philosophy of this started to unfold, with Native American education being something that we could absolutely affect in a really wonderful, positive way. So that started to come into it. And originally, it was Another Way for American Indian Education.

Chris Kresser:  Right.

Diane Bode:  And then it was implemented here in Park City, regardless of tribal history or national affiliation or color, or race or creed.

Chris Kresser:  So when did Another Way actually start in its embodied form?

Diane Bode:  The embodied form started in 2004.

Another Way School & Community Center

Chris Kresser:  And you have an amazing facility. It’s such a special place. My whole family was there, just so the listeners know, in Park City. And one of the main reasons we went was because I discovered Another Way online and it brought together so many elements that we are interested in as a family.

And for Sylvie, she has a strong connection to horses, which we’re not even really sure where it came from, because she didn’t grow up around horses, unlike you, Diane. And she is really, really passionate about skiing and she loves native traditions. We’ve exposed her to those and to see that all in one place was so exciting for us. And then when we arrived at the facility, it’s really amazing what you’ve done there. The buildings, and just they’re so beautiful inside and so well put together for kids and then the barn and the horse areas. So how did that all come together? It’s such a special place.

Diane Bode:  I wanted to duplicate the beauty of the mountain and ranch environment that I was raised in. Because to me, it has to be a total immersion into an experience. So with the end, in Montessori also, is a very organic feel, very Earth-connected feel.

Chris Kresser:  Yes, yes.

Diane Bode:  So I wanted that to be present. And so the whole inside environment is more like a ranch home. And then everything I loved about our ranch environment, the tack room, the log facilities, the barns being right there, so the children could be doing in the classroom environment doing a work in mathematics or reading and then they could come out and work directly with the horses.

And we would support whatever was happening in math and reading with the experience the child was having with a horse or with skiing. So the ski program is there. We have the little ski slope and practice environment there, as well as the horses. So everywhere the children look, there’s a little view, the teepees in the back. The old log barn, for the frontier skills. The ski hill is there, the horses are there. So it’s an integrated whole and more of a total immersion experience.

Our kids are growing increasingly disconnected from the world—they’re spending hours indoors in the classroom or behind screens, not outside in nature. Find out how your child can connect with nature and themselves in this episode of RHR. #wellness #chriskresser

Repairing the Disconnect between Children and Nature

Chris Kresser:  And it feels that way. Like, I noticed we spent a lot of time there, several hours every day. And when I was there, my nervous system just dropped a few levels. I could feel the sense of rest and relaxation, and also just the connection, that from being around the horses and being in that space. And of course Sylvie, she was so lit up when she was there and just being there for a week, she didn’t want to leave. Which I think is a testament to what you set up.

And also it strikes me that one of the main issues with conventional education, which we can get into a little bit more, but is how disconnected and unintegrated, disintegrated it is. At the school you mentioned kids can be inside doing mathematics unit or something else, geography or language, and then they can step right outside and the horses are right there. The teepee is there for ritual and ceremony. The tack room is there with these amazing beautiful saddles, some of which were handmade. It just feels so real and authentic. And I think in today’s environment, education environment, that’s so needed and so lacking.

Diane Bode:  Well, what was really interesting for me is the adults around me modeled the work that I would ultimately do. And what’s an issue for the children today is their parents go off to work, and they have no idea what they do. And they’re in an institutional environment, where they’re not able to connect with the natural world.

Chris Kresser:  Right.

Diane Bode:  They have no connection, certainly with large animals, which is our heritage. I mean, horses and skiing were once a way of life. They were transportation.

Chris Kresser:  Right.

Diane Bode:  Without them, people were in big trouble. But what they get to see here is how to apply everything and they need to know the basic practical life skills, how to tie, how to put a halter on, how to saddle a horse, how to be safe around a horse, how to read the language of that horse.

The same thing with the mountain. The same thing when you’re skiing. You look at that environment, you read it, you come to understand what is safe, what is not safe, and what is your playground.

Chris Kresser:  Right.

Diane Bode:  And it’s a-okay. And it’s a collaborative thing with the environment and with your colleagues. We work together to play and work.

Chris Kresser:  And they have such a powerful experience at being in their bodies in both of those disciplines, riding and being with horses and being on the mountain in the snow. And it seems to me that the way that most classrooms are set up now, there’s so little of that.

There might be, like, a 30-minute PE period or like a short recess where they get to be outside and really experience themselves in their bodies. And I can’t help wondering if that disconnection from nature and also disconnection from their own bodies is contributing to some of this explosion of behavioral disorders in kids. It’s really alarming and going in the wrong direction.

Fostering Natural Connection through Horseback Riding

Diane Bode:  Horses are a relationship with another intelligent animal. The Native Americans call it “we are all related.” Every pattern affects every other pattern. And children who are studying nature and books are even learning how to ride in an arena going into competitive things. It’s a very different thing when you see yourself in partnership.

And you also recognize that animal has a language, that when we learn it, we can partner on a profound level. Horses are telepathic. So as you come to respect and understand their language, there is a joining on a deep, deep spiritual level, deep spiritual level. And they’re a bridge to nature. There’s an active intelligence in nature. This is not a dead inanimate thing or something that we use as a natural resource.

Chris Kresser:  Yeah.

Diane Bode:  It is intimately related to us. Intimately related to us. And this relationship, children, if you look at any of the studies, are socially isolated.

Chris Kresser:  Yeah.

Diane Bode:  And this interaction from a place of profound respect, from knowing that we are truly all related, that this brings the children into relationship with one another and with nature. Horses are a bridge to the natural world. It’s fascinating to look at in the big forest, a mother tree, and the mother trees are feeding hundreds, maybe thousands of little seedlings.

And there’s a communication link between them. And it looks like the mycelium, maybe one of those. And the children are looking at this thing, there’s an active intelligence that we are a part of. We’re not acting on it, we’re a part of it. And that goes right back to we’re all related. There’s one mind expressing in infinite form. And we see ourselves as separate and acting on it when in fact, we’re an integral part of it. Not separate from it.

Chris Kresser:  Absolutely.

Diane Bode:  And children, this whole thing with nature deficit disorder, the interaction with the horses and the way it is and the total immersion, it reduces social isolation, and brings us all together, adults, children, animals, nature.

Chris Kresser:  And I think that this piece about the horses, offering this kind of deep and profound reflection of us and how that relationship can really give us insight into who we are. I really saw that with Sylvie as she spent time with you and did the camp and then the lessons with you. Because she’s a very spirited kid, as you saw, Diane, and an amazing, bright human being. And it was fascinating to me to see that the horse that you paired her with and chose for her, which was also a spirited being, a mustang blood, and it really felt like that match was perfect.

It was like Sylvie got a chance to kind of see a reflection of herself and experience herself in a different way riding that horse. And when she arrived, she had only been led on a horse on a trail ride and just led a little bit in the ring. And by the time she left, which was really only stopped doing it five days later, she was cantering around the ring by herself and going around obstacles in pretty amazing control of the horse. It was just remarkable to see that.

Diane Bode:  It triggered her, she’s a natural. And it triggered all of that when she understood how to communicate with Minnie, who was a full-blown mustang, northern Utah and Nevada mustang and mare who’s highly sensitive, very intelligent.

And when Sylvie learned how to work with her and see how little she had to do when she learned the language of the horse, how little she had to do to get that response and that she needed to be the lead on this and she could be, once the mare realized she was respecting her and feeling what Minnie needed to have present, then that mare started to work with her. And Sylvie just started to blossom.

Chris Kresser:  Absolutely.

Diane Bode:  Her little petals started coming out all over the place. And she could, she rode that mare and that’s a high-powered mare that she was on, and she did a terrific job. You would never know that child had only been working with a horse for less than five days.

Chris Kresser:  I certainly wouldn’t. As I said, it’s a testament to her teacher, you and the effects have, it’s amazing to see that like even being back home now a week later, she seems more confident. Not that she’s necessarily struggled with that per se, but she seems more grounded and solid, confident and even more sensitive.

Like, I think that experience of just being, learning to listen to those small signals that she gets from, that she got from Minnie and then also to communicate with those subtle signals, it really like led to a kind of refinement that I haven’t seen anything else do. And this is of course one of the reasons why we’re having this conversation. I just think it’s so powerful what horses can offer for kids.

Diane Bode:  Well, what’s really interesting about this to me because I’m learning every nanosecond that I’m out there, I’m learning to empty my cup and be curious and go, “Oh my gosh, if something isn’t working, what’s going on? Is it here within me, am I missing something here?” But when you have a child on a broodmare like that one, big 1,200 pound, it’s a big mustang, okay?

Chris Kresser:  Yeah, yeah.

Diane Bode:  And she, and that mare is trusting her completely to guide her through that course and those two are merging. When she goes into another situation, she had mastery on a 12- to 1,300-, 1,200-pound horse at least through a maze, she can do it anywhere.

Chris Kresser:  Yes. And I saw that look.

Diane Bode:  She can do it anywhere. And she has to stop and make sure she’s got all the information before she moves forward. Has she read the situation correctly?

Chris Kresser:  Yeah.

Diane Bode:  And then she can go into it with the same confidence that she rode Minnie.

Chris Kresser:  Yes. And I saw that. You probably remember this. I was down watching one

day and I saw, and Minnie, she just takes off, even when Sylvie—

Diane Bode:  Yeah, she did.

Chris Kresser:  She likes to run and so she just started taking off. I saw this momentary look on Sylvie’s face of fear. And then you were right there, of course, and she was totally safe. And then after that look passed, I saw her kind of like straighten up and she was riding bareback, by the way, not even in a saddle. And she then just got control of Minnie and then was able to keep riding.

And that was, I think that was a huge moment for her to feel that fear and then to know that you were there and she was safe. But then to overcome it and and know that she was equal to that. I mean, that’s like you said, that can be taken out into so many different areas of life.

Diane Bode:  It’s a really important thing for the teacher also to know, not only her students, but the horses. And to be absolutely present in the moment, every moment that that child is on a horse. And to be able to call out and know that Sylvie had had enough time on task to say, to understand when I said, “Bring that mare under, Sylvie, bring that mare back. Pull her down, pull her down.” And I saw that instant also and then she said, “I can do this,” and she brought that mare right back down, she collected her and brought her around. And that’s when that grin went all over her face. And she got it, she got it.

Chris Kresser:  Yes, yes.

Diane Bode:  And because Minnie, I knew would come back under, and I was there, I could pull Minnie back down. But she needed to do it, she needed to do it. And that’s what happens.

And we have a wonderful young man here. He’s about 14 and he’s on the spectrum. And a year ago, he could do very, very, very little. And he went on his first trail ride with a colleague here two days ago. And it was a joy to see this child able to saddle, bridle, and ride independently, independent. Language skills there, looking at, just exquisite.

And the same thing with another student here who had some issues that is now independent and self-sufficient. Really a joy to see that happen with these children to go from no confidence to profoundly confident and skilled.

Skiing, Movement, and Physical Space

Chris Kresser:  Yes. So I want to switch gears a little here and talk more about skiing in a similar capacity. So you, I think, during your master’s thesis or after that created an approach called child-centered skiing. Which really looks at skiing at much more than just recreation. So, tell us how that came about and what that is.

Diane Bode:  Oh, in graduate school, we had a very unusual Montessori program. We had, my professor Dr. Peterson had graduated from Berkeley, and actually her focus was cognitive development, Piagetian theory. And so, when this program was created at St. Mary’s, it incorporated not only the Montessori training, but also perceptual motor theory, cognitive development, learning theory, all of those combined.

And so, once I started to understand what was going on in cognitive development, perception motor theory, I realized that in order for children to really function in the academic climate, you have to have onboard the six fields of space:

  1. Up space
  2. Down space
  3. Front space
  4. Back space
  5. Right
  6. Left

The z-axis, okay? The concept of understanding, the concept of into, put something into or between requires the ability to skip.

The fundamental movement skills, walking, hopping, skipping, jumping, galloping, and sliding, all need to be in place beautifully for a child to really function in the academic world. Think about reading, where does it go? From left to right. What about math?

Chris Kresser:  Yeah.

Diane Bode:  Top to bottom, left to right, diagonals, verticals, all of that. Geometry, okay. All of this requires a knowledge of physical space. The children, left and right, knowing that a friend who is sitting in a room, his watch is on his left hand, I’m sitting opposite from him. How did I know that? I have to be able to take his perceptual position without losing mine to know what he has. That knowledge isn’t developed until the age of 11. And it is not being developed in this country much anymore, because physical activity and interaction with nature is practically zip, zilch, nothing for many of these children.

And so first, you get a laterality, which is knowing your right and left. So we developed a color coding in skiing to develop that. And then I was able to bring that across when the children were watching other children in a racecourse, when we had the racecourse coded in left to right. And those little five-year-olds were able to say whether it was left turn or right turn. Of course, because we had developed that with them.

And so I was fascinated with this. And also Montessori’s focus that the children learn in direct interaction with the environment through their own activity, and in no other way. It has to be physically oriented. It cannot be learned from a book. Children need that physicality. And also three- to six-year-olds are in a period of the absorbent mind. So we need to connect them to nature.

Chris Kresser:  Yeah. It’s so fundamental.

Diane Bode:  And probably taking off too many places.

Chris Kresser:  I mean, Sylvie is in a Waldorf program, which, as you know, has a similar philosophy. And it’s been fascinating to watch her learn math, for example. They stand and kind of dance, essentially, and march and move. And they do these kind of synchronized movements while they’re learning math.

And she has learned, it’s been amazing to watch how much faster they learn that way when it’s embodied. And the different ways, they have so much of a deeper understanding of it. I remember when I was first learning and when you learn from a book, when you learn it out of context, you don’t really understand all of the connections and how it fits together. You might be able to memorize the multiplication tables and things like that. But Sylvie, it’s just been amazing to see the depth of the understanding that develops when it’s embodied like that.

Diane Bode:  You have to have mastery over your own body before you can do anything else. When you think about it, you have to have that large muscle coordination and then small muscle coordination of large muscles, which is key in skiing. But it’s identical with a horse. You have to have the, in skiing it’s interesting because it switches the focus from head down, center out to feet up, center out.

Chris Kresser:  Yes.

Diane Bode:  Very interesting. So with horsemanship, you do have from head down, center out, but exactly the same movement. You have to be able to roll that femur in to really grip that horse with the inside of your thigh. You have to roll that femur when you’re skiing to from little toe, to the inside ski to big toe on the outside ski. Upper and lower body coordination, exactly the same. And what it develops is a fine level of function that you can’t develop any other way, just doesn’t.

Chris Kresser:  Another Way, yes. It’s perfect.

Diane Bode:  And, and I mean, and I remember. That’s okay. I was starting to take off on a tangent and I won’t go there.

Chris Kresser:  That’s all right. I wanted to pull you back to the skiing piece a little because it’s truly remarkable. I mean, I’ve seen a video which you sent me when we first met of you teaching some young, including very young, kids to ski and I was just blown away by what I was seeing.

And we’re going to put the link to this video in the show notes for this episode. So if folks want to see some of the things that we’re talking about, you can go to ChrisKresser.com/AnotherWay and we’ll have some links and stuff there for you to see. But what blew me away is, yeah there was, how old was the youngest one, Diane?

Diane Bode:  Well actually, the youngest one was three, but she wasn’t there. And her sister was five. They weren’t there. And they’re equally as accomplished. The youngest one there was four. He’s in the little red pants and then his sister, six, and then the oldest one there was seven. And I don’t teach a wedge.

Chris Kresser:  Yeah I was going to say.

Diane Bode:  You know the program. There’s inside first.

Chris Kresser:  Yeah, you’d normally see kids that age just wedging down the hill. And they might be going fast, but they’re totally wedging. These kids were like, ankles locked, parallel turning, bombing down the hill. I couldn’t believe it when I watched the video. I showed it to my wife, and we’re all watching and I was like, “What is happening here? How does this even work?” And then you shared when I came to visit that you have a whole different method of teaching skiing, which skips the wedge entirely. So tell us how this works.

Diane Bode:  All right, as a result of my master’s thesis at St. Mary’s, I ended up writing a book for the Professional Ski Instructors of America called Child-Centered Skiing: The American Teaching System for Children that integrated all of what I talked about earlier. Which can be applied to anything, by the way. And that’s what we did in applying with horses.

But what I did is, when Another Way opened up, then I put the program here, and I teach parallel skills. We studied World Cup-level skiing, World Cup-level skiing, to look at what needed to be in place there with the children. And then in the indoor environment, I give them those movements. I’m also, as you know, I’ve had about 15 years of Feldenkrais background. Though did not certify in that.

So the movements that need to be there, the ability to roll your foot, to big toe flat to little toe, to be able to move the femur, watch the ankle roll and feel it move in the femur, we developed all of the skills that have to be present there with these two-and-a-half, I will be working with a two-and-a-half year old in about a week. And she will be doing parallel turns.

Chris Kresser:  That’s amazing.

Diane Bode:  And I can develop all the parallel moves on the carpet in front of the mirrors. And then I have a teaching aid where I can move them and they can develop the finesse right there on the carpet. And then once they have that, they come out and do the same moves on the practice slope. And then they go to the big resort and they’re already in the chairlift, and they start on the basic lift, and then they’re up on the top of the mountain.

But I watch them very, very carefully. Make sure we set them up in the equipment, we do a biomechanical evaluation, we make sure they’re in the right boot. And if they have any kind of, if they’re too far to the outside or the inside, then we set them up with orthotics and we watch carefully because they’re growing. And so we have to make sure that we adjust those orthotics as they grow, so that they’re always centered, always on the sweet spot.

And we make sure the skis are the right length. They adjust to heels, so we move them so they’re always dead center. And those skis are meticulously maintained, just like an Olympic athlete. Because that’s how sensitive these guys are. And once they get the moves, you can put whoever they’re skiing behind or with, they’ll duplicate those moves. And so we’re working to get them now from this point with the finest skiers that are out there. And we do have some Olympic athletes that are connected with us. We had a ski coach see those children and he said never did he know that children that young could do skills on that level. So they have a tremendous flexibility.

Chris Kresser:  No, I’ve never seen anything like it.

Diane Bode:  Tremendous.

Chris Kresser:  Yeah.

Diane Bode:  And I’m not saying I’m an Olympic athlete, but at least I got them to this point. And now this will be working next year, to put that little group of children in front of somebody that has even better skills than I have.

Chris Kresser:  Well Diane, you’re too modest, so you won’t say this. But I was shocked when we got there and you told me you were 78 years old, because when you see in this video, you’re skiing with such fluidity and grace. And I think that’s also a testament to your method. And it doesn’t just work for two-and-a-half-year-old kids, it also works for people, works for us as we age and grow older so we can protect our bodies and take care of ourselves.

Diane Bode:  Because you’re an infinite being, my darling. You’re an infinite being. You can do anything you darn well want to do. It’s your mind that matters. And certainly Bruce Lipton and a number of people would say it’s, and you know that, it’s what’s in your mind that’s most important. And then your little star suit will do as directed.

The Value of an Immersive Educational Environment

Chris Kresser:  So, for the listeners, I have a picture of this in my mind, but they may not. So I want to let everyone know that everything that you just described, the barn with the mirrors and all the skis, is right there on the property.

Diane Bode:  Yes.

Chris Kresser:  It’s right next to the tack room, which is across from the stables and where the horses are, which is across from the main building with the kitchen and where the kids are and they do their indoor learning. It’s amazing to just be able to go from a lesson on math to doing something in the teepee and sitting together in a circle and starting the day to taking care of the horses or doing a bit of riding to going in the building and practicing in front of the mirror and getting your parallel turns. And then even going outside and going down the little hill there to get that, all in one area and one facility which is really, really remarkable, again, what’s there.

Diane Bode:  It’s really a joy to have it be that way because whatever’s needed, you can move to that area that’s best. Like the other day we were having an issue, so we used the Plains Indian Tribal Council model that I told you about with a talking stick and we go into that teepee and sage ourselves off. And they go there if they’re having a problem.

They go gather, gripe, grope, grasp, and group and they work through their problems together. And whether it’s an issue with scheduling or horses or a conflict between with children, we can move wherever is best suited to what is at hand, the issue that is at hand. And it’s true. It’s really fun to have an environment set up that allows that total immersion experience to happen.

Chris Kresser:  Yes. So I want to move on to talk about a couple other elements of the Another Way model that we haven’t discussed yet. But before I do that, my guess is there are some people in the audience who are listening to this, and I even had this thought as well before I learned more about this model. Like, they’re thinking, “Okay, skiing and equestrian. Well, that’s a little bit elitist, isn’t it? That’s totally out of reach for most people, and skiing and horses are just for rich people.” So how would you respond to that?

Diane Bode:  Well, elitist maybe now, but they were a way of life before.

Chris Kresser:  Yeah.

Diane Bode:  Skiing mainly in Norway. But also here. The mountain men were doing that. Horses were, I mean, look at horse power. Without the horse, would we have civilization?

Chris Kresser:  Oh, you said to me, it used to be that poor people had horses and rich people had cars. And now it’s the opposite.

Diane Bode:  It’s the opposite. Here, what the idea is is about collaboration and cooperation. It’s about pooling our resources so that we can give the best of who we are to these children. Montessori had made a comment. She said, “If ever the people really understood the tremendous power for good or evil in childhood, they would stop for nothing to pour themselves into giving these children what they need, and stepping out of the way.”

Because the children are just pure wrought, energetic genius. Okay? And we put everything in a little box in school and to get into specific professions and whatever. They’re geniuses. And if we can just provide an environment that encourages them and nurtures them, and we can be curious, and we can fire their passions and connect them, nature is the inspiration for all the arts and sciences, mathematics, technology, everything. Everything.

Chris Kresser:  Absolutely, couldn’t agree more. And it’s, in my profession in Functional Medicine, one of the basic tenets is it’s far easier to prevent a disease or a condition before it occurs than it is to treat it after it’s already manifested. And this kind of reminds me of that. Like with childhood, of course, in education, it’s way better to provide a solid foundation in everything that we’re talking about for kids early on. That’s more likely to prevent problems in the teenage years and as young adults, and even all the way through adulthood.

But the way it’s happening now in many cases is you have kids who are already feeling totally disconnected from the natural environment, from their own bodies, because of the way that school sets up and screens, which we’re going to talk about more later. But this approach is really about creating that deep connection to nature and self early on, so they can carry that with them through their lives.

Diane Bode:  Well, you had said something about well, it’s elitist, and how do we do this? We provide the horses. Because we’re here, the children can come in. We can provide scholarships for children who might not otherwise be able to afford this. But we have the courses here. We’re linked up with a trail system that is absolutely out of this world.

Chris Kresser:  Beautiful.

Diane Bode:  So we can do the development right here and then we can take them onto a trail system and connect them with absolutely stunningly beautiful places right here locally in Park City. Plus, we can then take them up into other areas for experiences. But we have the horses. So they don’t have to, the parents don’t have to go out and pay …

Chris Kresser:  No, it was very affordable.

Diane Bode:  … $50 to $150,000 or more for a horse. I mean, that’s competing on a national level. Though if they want to compete, they can. There are programs here. There’s a program out of Kamas with a friend of mine, Diane Roberts, who takes children all over the country in high-level competition. Children that would never be able to do that.

Chris Kresser:  Yeah.

Diane Bode:  But the horses are provided and they’re taking these kids if that’s where they want to go. Our thing is connecting, when you come from the heart and you’re guided by spirit, there’s always another way. That’s a Sioux expression.

Chris Kresser:  Yes.

Diane Bode:  And that’s why actually the school was, there’s a couple, the Laubins, who wrote all of the books that are used for Dances with Wolves, Into the West, all these native programs. And they were friends of mine. And before they passed, Reg said, “I want you to call your school Another Way.”

Chris Kresser:  Yes.

Diane Bode:  “When you come from the heart or guided by spirit, there’s always another way.” But we’re looking at the genius of childhood. We can come together and collaborate and provide what these children need. And the resources are all there for whoever needs whatever they need.

Chris Kresser:  Absolutely.

Diane Bode:  The trucks, the trailers, the horses. It’s there. They’re not having to do it in isolation.

Chris Kresser:  I saw that happening.

Diane Bode:  Because you’re the community.

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Friluftsliv: Free Air Life

Chris Kresser:  I saw that happening. And I mean, the camp was very affordable and I know your ski programs are too. So I want to talk a little bit about, so far we’ve talked about the horses, we’ve talked about the Native traditions as being a piece of it, the child-centered skiing. But there are a couple of other elements we haven’t touched on yet. One is outdoor education and Friluftsliv, I think I’m pronouncing that somewhat closely.

Diane Bode:  You are, Friluftsliv, yes.

Chris Kresser:  Friluftsliv. And then the other one is frontier skills, the way of the wild. So let’s start with outdoor education and Friluftsliv. When Sylvie was at camp with you, she did horses, and then they also went up to 9,000 feet and did some—

Diane Bode:  10.

Chris Kresser:  … outdoor, yeah. And then 10.

Diane Bode:  10,000.

Chris Kresser:  10 was the second time, that’s right. So tell us a little bit more about who’s been involved there, what is Friluftsliv, this very difficult word for me to pronounce, I think it’s a Norwegian word, and what role does this play in the Another Way framework?

Diane Bode:  Friluftsliv is a Norwegian program. It is used in Finland. It is the ground. It is the command center for their educational center. It means, it translates to “free air life.”

Chris Kresser:  Yes.

Diane Bode:  And it’s a nature-based philosophy where no … children in Finland, which has one of the highest academic ratings in the world, traditionally, it’s between one and three always. And the children are happy. And I think, so, something we didn’t really put in, there’s a joy from learning, from your own activity and direct interaction with the environment, with others, that is joy. It’s fun.

The children in Finland are in these nature programs. They’re out in nature from two-and-a-half to six. They don’t even teach reading until age seven, when binocular vision comes in and the children have had all these physical experiences and are skilled in the fundamental movement skills. By age six, they’re skilled, they’re really skilled. They’re ready to rock and roll. And that nature program, that connection with nature is important, because between three and six is that period of the absorbent mind.

The imagine plasticity, where you can join with whatever draws your attention, be it a tree, a little piglet, a horse, whatever. They can actually merge with that. And so, normally, in Finland they’re big on that and the interesting thing is, if people are interested in looking that up, go look at those forest kindergartens, those forest schools.

Chris Kresser:  Yes.

Diane Bode:  They’re phenomenal. And look at the joy in these children and look at the fact that Finland is on the top of its game academically and these kids are happy, they’re not killing themselves.

Chris Kresser:  Yeah, it’s not like you’re—

Diane Bode:  They’re not commiting suicide.

Chris Kresser:  … not sacrificing academics for connection with nature, you actually get both. And the key principle that I think a lot of people don’t understand is there’s this idea in conventional education, like if things aren’t going well, we’ll just give them more homework or start them earlier with academic skills. And what’s always struck me is that if you go even and look at the scientific literature on education, there’s nothing there that supports that idea.

It’s so mismatched, even just the most conventional resources you look up on education, there is no proof at all that starting kids earlier on academics and giving them homework when they’re really young, not only does it not help, it actually harms. And so then you look at this model of Friluftsliv, which I think is “free air life,” right Diane? You look at this model, and you see that not only are these kids developing a strong connection with nature, and not only are they joyful and healthy because they’re not sitting behind a screen the entire day, but they’re actually coming out ahead of kids who start earlier in academics. I think a lot of people don’t understand that.

Diane Bode:  Well, it’s really interesting if you go back 150 years, the level of competency in children. If you look at Meriwether Clark and that whole bunch of founding fathers, those guys are out there before dawn.

Chris Kresser:  Oh yeah.

Diane Bode:  Clearing out their traps and skinning their animals. They are five and six years old. American Indians, those children were out watching the herds then. They know how to use knives, they knew how to start a fire, they were independent and self-sufficient. On the ranch at six, my mom was teaching me to drive. My cousins at seven and eight were on tractors, driving tractors. My cousin John was driving a truck. All 10 of us in that truck and at five we’d be out changing sprinklers. And he was driving and the oldest of us was 13. I mean, even with us, we were skilled beyond belief.

My cousin Bill was breaking colts for the Diamond K. At age 10 he was working colts for a ranch about a quarter of a mile down the way. So I mean, we have really, if you look at some of the literature out there, we have retarded our children. We have retarded them and we’re boxing them and tracking them and they are not happy. And they’re also looking at some of the stuff that we’re doing environmentally that’s all based on instant gratification and profit and not thinking about like the Indians did. They made decisions under the seventh generation of all the unborn.

Chris Kresser:  Yes.

Diane Bode:  Four-legged, two-legged, finned, wingeds. And that’s what is happening in Friluftsliv, more of really seeing that we are one with nature. We’re not separate. What happens to nature happens to us. And we think we’re so smart. Well, who was here before us? The trees. So there. That’s it. I quit.

Chris Kresser:  Absolutely. So yeah, and then you have some amazing people involved with this. I met a couple of them. I didn’t get to spend as much time with Tom, but I met Ildiko, who is a former Olympic athlete.

Diane Bode:  Oh my goodness, yes.

Chris Kresser:  Bobsled driver and Olympic archer as well and used to shoot, do archery from a horse riding at high speeds and getting her PhD, I think at the University of, was it Utah?

Diane Bode:  Yeah, University of Utah in kinesiology. She’s Hungarian and she is an Olympian. And then Tom is from Norway and was working with the original people in Friluftsliv, and he ran the Norwegian outdoor center here for 32 years, 18,000 at-risk kids. So Tom is here, Tom and Ildiko are teamed in the Friluftsliv program. And she’s bringing in her tremendous expertise, not only from wilderness training and from Europe in Hungary, okay, but also her degree at the U in kinesiology.

Chris Kresser:  Yeah, she’s studying the impact of physical activity on stress hormones like interleukin 6, we chatted about that. We had a great connection. It was really fun to meet her. And then let’s talk a little bit about the frontier skills.

Diane Bode:  Oh my goodness.

Chris Kresser:  Because that’s a whole other piece and we didn’t get a chance to experience that this time. But I’m looking forward to it in the future. Because Sylvie, as you know, Diane, shortly before we came to see you, she had been at a wilderness camp with a deep Native American tradition in frontier skills. She learned to make moccasins and shelters and track animals and people. And she just loved it. It was amazing to see how that affected her.

Diane Bode:  Well, the children meet in the teepee pretty much every day to do, to gather and greet the day, and then look at where we were going and what we were doing. The primary thing with, certainly, the frontier skills is, Joseph Campbell said this, actually, in The Power of Myth. I was fascinated with that when he said, “The American Indians who were in a culture that was really steeped in blood were evolving a highly spiritual way of life. And it was rather rudely interrupted by a pack of people coming over from Europe and the Old World.”

And so the idea was to study history, starting with the tribes, and what they were evolving here and the skills and the knowledge base they had to give us. And then look at Europe and study what was happening in European history and understand what was behind that migration in 1492. What was happening in Europe that created that surge this way? And how did that clash of cultures take place? Because if you look at Europe, you had plagues, the bubonic plague. We had a mess in Europe. Maybe they had to leave and come over here.

And we had two cultures that absolutely had no way of communicating with one another. They had absolutely no way. Innocence. Okay? And a mess. And so now where we are, and Joseph Campbell said it was rather rudely interrupted. Well, why don’t we just get that one going again?

Chris Kresser:  Yeah, yeah.

Diane Bode:  Okay. And we can bring that knowledge base together with the incredible technology that we have. Instead of getting lost in virtual reality, we are going to step into what inspired it all, okay?

Chris Kresser:  Yes, yes.

Diane Bode:  Because Montessori had very clearly stated that nature’s the inspiration for all of it. And we are getting lost in tiny little puzzle pieces. We need to do what the American Indian did. Go to the position of the eagle. Rise above the battleground and look down and see what’s there and know that the only purpose for our little starsuits is to extend love and answer cries for help. That’s what we’re about here. And we can either, we’ve created a lot of wastelands. Why don’t we create some wonderlands? And have fun doing it together?

Chris Kresser:  I’m on board. So I want to ask you, you’ve been doing this for a long time. And the more formal Another Way since 2004. So can you just give us a couple vignettes or examples of the kids who’ve gone through that program and where they are now, what they’re up to and what you see in how this has impacted kids lives?

Diane Bode:  Well, the children pretty much stay in touch. I just ran into a mom at the local grocery store a couple of days ago, and she said to me, it was extraordinary. Two of the twins are on a mission right now. And another one is in school, the three children that were here. And she said, “Of all programs they were in,” she said, “the only school they remember, the only one they talk about all the time is Another Way.” And she said, “It’s the most extraordinary thing because they had such an integrated experience that even when they left the school at nine to go onto a different program, they never forgot it.”

So I have one student in the Midwest, he’s finishing his graduate work. I have another young student, she just graduated from high school. She’ll be going to Harvard. And then the other ones are all over the place. They’re at the University of Utah, the University of Virginia, San Luis Obispo, NYU Dubai, they’re everywhere. And I stay in touch with their parents and with them. And they come by and often end up working in summer programs here. I have had teenagers here helping administratively in the office and doing scheduling. We have teenagers here that are in there, they’re at the junior high. Well actually, they’re freshmen.

So they’re based at the junior high here and then doing classes at the high school that have been here all summer working as volunteers with the program. We have some that are seniors in high school. They stay connected, they show up if I ask for help, and I need their input. They’re part of the shirt wearers. They’re in the tribal council.

Chris Kresser:  Yes, yes.

Diane Bode:  The teenagers are.

What’s Next for Another Way

Chris Kresser:  So Another Way has gone through some shifts and evolutions over time, as most organizations do. And now you’ve expanded it to be a place where not just kids come together, but even teens and adults can participate in some of the activities together and families can participate as we did when we were there last time.

And I also understand that you’re starting to consider a training program where you would pass on the work that you’ve developed in child-centered skiing and horsemanship to the next generation of people so that this amazing model can be continued. Can you talk a little bit about that vision?

Diane Bode:  In graduate school when this was all coming together, I saw ultimately, first the instructional program and then the book and the school, and then a community center. And that two years ago, there was a tragic thing that happened here with two teenagers who killed themselves. And they were heavily involved with designer drugs. And the girls, the teenage girls that were their girlfriends, and part of that group came and said, “We would like to have something other than we have here. Could we have mentoring? Could we do apprenticeships? Could we learn how to do some of the things that we’re doing here? Could we have a center that is practical, that we could come and learn from people who are who are really skilled in their  professions?” And I thought of a …

And so two years ago, I made the decision that we needed to open this up as a teacher training program, a mentoring program and more of a community center, because we have wonderful schools here. We have the incredible National Ability Center that does amazing work. And we have beautiful schools, but we have this nature connection and the Montessori connection that is really unique there. How could we pool our resources and make what we’re doing more available to the larger community? And so I’ve been in a process of doing that over the last two years to sort out how to do this. And making this a joyful experience for the people that are coming here and learning that one, we need to educate those parents, so when the children come here and experience this, the parents understand what’s going on.

And that we’re really building a core community focused on building and maintaining relationships and doing that in a joyful fashion. And passing this knowledge on, passing this knowledge on, and we can make things available that instead of having it being elitist and isolated, oh no. We have the means to pull us together so that every child benefits from this. Every child has the opportunity to learn with these wonderful, wonderful, wonderful experiences, and these wonderful materials. And that the genius of the parents comes in here. This isn’t, I mean, I’m the founder and the visionary that started this. I’ve been the executive director playing a one-man band. It is time for some other things to come into play here.

Chris Kresser:  Absolutely.

Diane Bode:  And let me start sharing the skills. The book. Making that available and all the different parts of this. Not just the skiing, not just the horses. It’s an integrated whole. It’s a seamless robe. And I wanted to be able to pass this on, that benefits this entire community. Everybody.

Chris Kresser:  Yes. And that’s part of why we’re having this conversation. Because I came, we came as a family and we were all so deeply affected by it. I just wanted to do whatever I could to get your vision and the work that you’ve done out there into a broader awareness and a larger population. And give people a sense of what’s possible with all of these things put together for not only for childhood development, but for families and teens and adults.

And you have, it’s just amazing to see what you’ve accomplished with significant help, but really, like you said, being a one-person band in the sense of the buck stopping with you with just about everything. And I know there are people out there who are listening to this who want to be involved in something like this. We had podcasts with Diana Rogers, who was making a film on the importance of animals in the food system and the importance of including animal products in the diet. And she needed help raising money for the film. And we had an amazing response from people who were listening, including an extremely generous contributor who wrote a significant check to help get the film started. And I just actually did my interview with Diana for the film, and it’s happening.

And so we never know who’s out there and who wants to be part of something like this. I mean, I suspect that there are a lot of people that may want to support in some way because this speaks to them. They see that our kids are suffering from this disconnection from nature and from spending seven hours on average now behind a screen, whether that’s a computer, an iPad, or a phone, and the angst and the sense of social isolation that this is creating, as you said. And for us to have something like this that provides a clear and proven model for helping kids develop an authentic and strong real relationship with nature and themselves and their bodies, and which actually supports their academic development, we can’t afford to lose this.

And you’re an amazingly healthy person, Diane, at 78. I want to be like you when I’m 78. And it’s like, we all die at some point and this has to be, this work has to be passed on to the next generation. So I want to see this vision for a center where not only people locally in Park City and other parts of Utah can come and participate in this, but that people can come and train in these modalities and then bringing that back to their own local communities. Like that’s the thing that really inspires me, because you’ve got too much experience and knowledge in these areas to let it go.

Diane Bode:  Well, my dear, I made a commitment with all of this, okay, that I would be here as long as I am needed. And then my starsuit will dissolve and I’ll be reassigned somewhere. But right now the commitment is 100 percent here. And my dream in Utah, with this incredible, incredible state is that we could bring people here and educate them, and they could go back to their communities with what they learned here.

Instead of just paving Utah, keep it wild and free, and develop this differently. But what is really needed here in order to take this further definitely, is what you were saying, is the financial support, it’s being able to pull the team together that is developed here. Let us sit down and look at what we’ve put together here that works. Look at all of it, the things that didn’t work, the things that do work. And we have models that work in each one and we don’t have to prove anything. It works. Okay? And to be able to have enough backing to do the training. Ultimately bring us together to prioritize, do the training for us, and then create that infrastructure development so that this can operate year round, year round and provide what is needed here.

Chris Kresser:  Absolutely.

Diane Bode:  So we’re in a position now where we’ve taken it, I’ve taken it about as far as it can go without bringing in more shirt wearers here. And if there are people in your constituency that would be interested, their expertise is vitally needed.

Chris Kresser:  Absolutely.

Diane Bode:  This is the mark. If we want the Starship Enterprise, we’ve got that original biplane. You want the Starship Enterprise? Believe me, it’s all there. But it’s going to take us coming together, and it’s all there.

Chris Kresser:  Yeah.

Diane Bode:  The original model is there, okay? And so, we want to do an in-residence program here. We’re going to need to have to develop the infrastructure. We’ve got an amazing, amazing location.

Chris Kresser:  Yes.

Diane Bode:  And we can bring in, I mean, goodness gracious, we have a Native population here in mountain where we have nowhere else. We have everything we need right here and we can pull this together …

Chris Kresser:  Everything you need.

Diane Bode:  … in that tribal council, and those sorts of shirt wearers like Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, okay. Sitting Bull said, “It’s time for us to put down the guns and get together. And for the sake of the children.” He said that right before he left his starsuit rather unexpectedly. All right? And in fact, it’s on the website. Sitting Bull is right there. He said, “We’ve got to put our minds together” for the sake of the children and unleash this formidable … Here’s a playful one for your, maybe not so playful for the people that may be listening to this. Look at the ages of the founding fathers during during the formation of this country.

Chris Kresser:  Oh yeah, it’s crazy.

Diane Bode:  Nine, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18. The average age was 44, but if you look at the number of young men and women that were involved in this and how powerful they were, we need to unleash that power. The greatest time of revolution is between ages 11 and 25. And what have we done with them?

Chris Kresser:  Yeah.

Diane Bode:  We’ve separated them, isolated them and put them in boxes. These kids need to,  we do not have separate grades here. These children are interacting from age three to age 14 at the school. Well, 17, actually, with the ones that are coming in, that have left that are in high school. And you saw what happened with those two-and-a-half-, four- and five-year-olds with those older children interacting.

Chris Kresser:  Yes, I mean, Sylvie was helping the two-and-a-half-year-old to lead the miniature horse and lunge it. And it’s amazing. She loves being in that role where she’s the older girl, and then she really loved being around some of the teenagers that were there that were helping out. And it’s that kind of mixed age environment is so important. And this age segregation that goes on in schools, I just, I don’t totally understand it.

But you know, going back to what you said, like this vision, it’s all there, the resources are there, the facility and the property is there, the experience is there, the people that are needed are there. And what is needed now is just some more financial backing to make it possible. And that could be larger or smaller, or it could also be in time commitments. The people to do, to help as administrators. You need an executive director, someone that can really, you are the visionary, Diane. You have the vision, you’re the knowledge holder, you’ve got this deep experience. That generally doesn’t work for that person to also be the person who is making sure all of the logistics are handled and taking care of brass tacks, so to speak.

Even in my company, I play the role of the visionary and the ambassador. And I have what we call them an integrator, executive director-type of people that are making everything happen. And that’s really the best structure. And so we need that as well. And if you’re interested in being a part of this in any way, just stick around and listen for the ending here. We’ll give you some ideas for how you can get involved and help out.

So stick around and listen to the end of the show, because I’m going to record that separately. We’re still working that out at the time of this recording. And I trust, as I know you do, Diane, that when the time is right and you put this thing out into the universe and the need is there that it will be supported. And I know, there are some amazing people who are listening now who are probably getting really excited about being a part of this in some way.

Diane Bode:  Well, I remember, I love the movie Field of Dreams. Build it, and they will come. And I also love to pay it forward. And so that’s always been part of this and what the kids feel too. And so we’re just giving our level best and know that at this point, it will receive what it needs. We know we need to do the training, we know we need to gather people, we know we need key things and infrastructure to make it so that it can be a totally integrated whole where people can do an in-residence program here.

And that’s core. They need to step into it. We already have support from elders and what we’re going to be putting in more with the Native. You know that, where the teepee is.

Chris Kresser:  Yes, yes.

Diane Bode:  And of course we have not only Native American sport, we have the whole mountainman contingency and certainly led by Kris Swanson with Sharp Knife Blanket, who is just writing a book, by the way, that’s coming out on the influence of women during the fur trade time. Okay? So we need some support and we need some shirt wearers in here too that can come in and look at what we’re doing.

I’m downloading the book right now, so that that can be available. And we can document this because once the children have a physical experience, then they can take technology which is more two-dimensional, and they can bring the whole experience into what they’re watching.

Chris Kresser:  Exactly.

Diane Bode:  If children don’t have that core touch experience, then when they watch a video, it is only partially connecting. Usually it goes right out the window. But if they have the core experience, then the video is something else entirely. Entirely.

Chris Kresser:  Yeah, and I forget who said this, but, “Technology makes a great servant, but a poor master.”

Diane Bode:  Very poor master, very poor master.

Chris Kresser:  And this is the foundation that kids need in order to avoid technology becoming their master, which is unfortunately happening so often. So Diane, thank you so much for …

Diane Bode:  You’re welcome.

Chris Kresser:  … sharing your time and your vision with us and for being who you are. I am so glad to say that I am a shirt wearer now and I want to play whatever role that I can in making this move to the next level. Because it just, it unites so many different things that I’m interested in and my passion, as my listeners know, for kids and childhood development and making sure that we give our kids the resources and the support that they need to develop into who they really are as human beings and live happy, joyful, connected lives. And thank you so much for doing this work and dedicating your life to this.

Diane Bode:  Well, thank you for finding us and supporting us, and for extending the love and trusting us with that beautiful child of yours. Give Sylvie a hug.

Chris Kresser:  I will. Take care, Diane.

Diane Bode:  Thank you. Thank you.

How You Can Get Involved with Another Way School & Community Center

Chris Kresser:   Okay, I hope you enjoyed that interview as much as I did. If you’re feeling inspired by what Diane has put together at Another Way school and community center and want to get involved, visit chriskresser.com/anotherway, all one word, to learn more.

If you live in Park City or the surrounding area, or you visit there regularly and you have kids, consider enrolling them in one of the programs in Another Way. The winter ski program with Diane and other teachers is now enrolling students. You can see the video we talked about in the podcast with Diane skiing with the kids to get a sense of what’s possible right here on this page. Diane’s child-centered approach to skiing, which emphasizes kids’ connection to nature in their own bodies, is a unique and powerful method of teaching. And if you watch the video, you’ll see what I mean.

There are also programs in outdoor education and Friluftsliv, mindful horsemanship, frontier skills, and nature-based Montessori education. Again, go to chriskresser.com/anotherway and let us know what you’re interested in, and someone will contact you.

We’re also looking for people who can support the continued growth and development of Another Way, whether that’s through a financial contribution or by volunteering, or by offering other resources. Another Way has tremendous potential to bring more joy, fulfillment, and healing to our kids and teens, not just locally in Park City, but around the country and the world by training other teachers to bring this work back to their communities. As you can imagine, developing a robust training program and infrastructure like this, is a major undertaking. So, we’re seeking help from all of you. I’ve become involved myself. I’m a shirt wearer, as Diane puts it, because I believe in the vision and I think now we need it more than ever. We need these kinds of programs to help our kids reconnect with their bodies, with their communities and with the natural world.

Over the last several years, the incidence of chronic disease, and especially behavioral issues like ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, oppositional defiant disorders, sensory processing disorders, etc., is exploding. And I’ve come to see many of these conditions as a consequence, at least in part, of our disconnection from our evolutionary heritage. Not just our diet, but also the way we live, our social networks including elders in our community, our relationship, or lack thereof, with nature, the amount of time we spend on screens, and more. This really is the disease of our time and our kids are suffering tremendously from it, as we are as adults. So, the treatment, so to speak, has to be much more than just changing our diet and taking supplements. We have to reevaluate our way of being and how we approach our lives. And this is what Diane and her team at Another Way are doing, and it’s why I’m supporting them.

So, if you feel inspired to get involved in some way, whether that’s enrolling your children in the ski or horsemanship program, or possibly training as a teacher in any of these approaches, or supporting the continued development of the training programs and the school financially, visit chriskresser.com/anotherway, Another Way is all one word there, to get in touch. That’s chriskresser.com/anotherway. Okay, everybody, thanks for listening. We’ll talk to you next time.

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