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Program Offerings

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On a reconfigured 28 acre farm/estate near Newtown Square PA, Open Connections offers programs for young people ages 2 - 18.  Each program reflects the basic values of OC and is un-graded, partially-to-totally youth-directed and hands-on. We are committed to inquisitiveness, innovation and collaboration.

Each OC program meets once a week. Most programs are full-day from 9:15 to 2:15 (or 4:00). Our after-program programs are from 2:30-4:00. Programs run from mid-September to early June and cover a wide range of interests and formats.

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By Program Type

  • Group Tutorials expose youth to school-type academics in a non-threatening and experiential mode. Emphasis is placed on process over product,on reasoning versus grasping for quick answers, on respecting the developmental level of each young person and on promoting a positive and collaborative social atmosphere. Each multi-age, multi-level group is an excellent format for fostering varied levels of intellectual development, because every child is both a peer and a mentor to fellow students. Group Tutorials also place a strong emphasis on the value of developing all areas of one’s self, and therefore provide youth ample opportunities to develop their Multiple Intelligences (see Frames of Mind: The Theory of MultipleIntelligences by Howard Gardner.) Tutorial facilitators collaborate with one another to ensure that each program is serving as a building block for the next. We have presented below examples of the types of activities and concepts youth will be exposed to in the various tutorials.

  • Serving ages 4 - 9 for a choice of full days. All of the Open Programs reflect the essence of the Open Connections philosophy: a belief in natural learning and the primacy of self-motivation, collaboration, and the creative process. Within certain wide parameters, including respect for the rights of others, young people decide how, and with whom, they spend their day in an Open Program. One of our main goals is to keep the flame of curiosity alive that is present in this youngest age group. 

  • Serving ages 15-18 for choice of full days.  Creating a fulfilling, enriching and dynamic educational experience for the “high school” years can be an exciting, yet overwhelming task. OC can play an integral role in actualizing a family’s goals (both the teen and the parents). The goal of the Left Brain and Right Brain programs is to expose teens to a wide array of content areas and skill sets that we believe play an integral role in becoming a thoughtful, dynamic and engaged participant of society.

  • Serving ages 8-15 for one full day. Choice I, II and III offer young people the chance to explore eight different content areas of their choice each year over the course of four 8-week segments. For example, a youth might spend the first 8 weeks of the year engaged in woodworking or Egyptian mythology for two hours each Wednesday morning, have lunch and community building social time, then move on to creative writing or stream studies for two hours in the afternoon.

  • This program is designed for youth ages 2-4 years* and their parent(s) (or caregiver) from 10:00am to 12:00pm.  Much like the Open Program, this course offers time for youth to let their natural curiosity flourish. The program space will be stocked with developmentally appropriate materials that nurture natural learning and Flexible Thinking. The first part of each day will include the introduction of a new material or activity along with a discussion of the facilitation of that activity with young people.

  • This program is designed for youth ages 14-18 who also attend at least one other day of programming at Open Connections. At the core of the OC Philosophy is the belief in the value of engaging in Real Work. Real Work is most easily defined by contrasting it with its counterpart, make-work. Real Work is something that is done to produce a useful result and which needs to be done. In the context of “learning” or “educational” situations, were the “student” not to have performed the Real Work activity, someone else would have had to.