:: ABOUT THE NDAKINNA EDUCATION CENTER ::
Our many programs emphasize observation skills, interactive learning activities, critical thinking, cultural awareness, co-operative problem solving and team building for all ages through character development and the Arts of Life. The Arts of Life integrate traditional skills such as tracking, survival, dance, storytelling, the martial arts, and conflict resolution. The Center is also home to many educational exhibits; including Native tools, baskets, rattles, drums, shelters, clothing as well as a full-scale birch bark canoes and bark long house.
Besides the exhibit space, the Center also contains a large presentation room, an animal tracking room with more than 1000 plaster casts of North American Mammal tracks, and a gift shop. The gift shop offers visitors a rich collection of educational resources including books about Northeast Native American tribes/nations (such as the Mohawk, Seneca, Abenaki, Wampanoag, Pequot, and Mohegan), animal tracking, wilderness crafts & skills, and Native storytelling.
We present most of our programs and series year-round at the Education Center and on the adjacent 80-acre Marion F. Bowman Bruchac Memorial Nature Preserve. The beautiful trails that wind through the woods are used for bird and tree walks, animal tracking, and for enjoyment by the participants of our youth, family and adult programs. In the preserve, we also house a a low ropes challenge course, which is used for character development and leadership training during private group sessions and our regular camps.
Storytelling at Ndakinna: - Joseph Bruchac
Storytelling is more than just entertainment. Traditionally, it is one of the oldest ways to pass on useful knowledge to people of all ages. A good story, whether written or spoken, both entertains and teaches.
Oral storytelling, by our staff and by our numerous guests, many of whom are respected American Indian elders, is central to the Ndakinna Education Center and part of virtually every program that we offer.
The oral storytelling experience, it seems, goes beyond the written word. It benefits and involves the individual in complex ways. Recent research on the structure of the brain and the ways in which young people learn bears out the incredible effectiveness of this traditional means of passing on knowledge about the world around us, how we should properly relate to nature and the human community, and how we may confront the many challenges of everyday life.
Further, although our storytelling is for boys and girls alike, some of that new research indicates that adolescent boys*--because of actual, measurable, hardwired differences in male brain development and brain structure--benefit in additional ways from storytelling. This is especially so when storytelling is combined with physical activity. Those benefits include gains in vocabulary, self-expression, cognition, socialization, attention span, and focus.
*See Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know About
the Emerging Science of Sex Differences by Leonard Sax, Doubleday, 2005