Group programs expose youth to 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 group is an excellent format for fostering varied levels of intellectual development, because every youth is both a peer and a mentor. Emphasis is placed on building the life skills in OC’s three circle model including intrapersonal skills, communication skills, and implementation/problem solving skills. Group Facilitators collaborate with one another to ensure that each program is serving as a building block for the next.
Group programs focus on hands-on, project-based work that is meaningful (the importance of truly understanding a concept, rather than rote memorization). Some projects and topics will be one-time events while others will continue for multiple weeks. Some of the specific concepts the youth will be exposed to include: creative writing; art; cultures; current event discussions; open-ended math inquiries; mindfulness; and Flexible Thinking challenges. Emphasis is also placed on building a pro-social and collaborative work and play environment. Young people will be given the opportunity to take action to make a positive impact in the world and understand its complexities. Youth-driven interests will inspire the groups to explore multiple areas of study to broaden and deepen their understanding of the world around them. All programs spend a portion of every program day outside engaged with our 28-acre campus.
In the Group programs, all youth will research and present at least one project on a topic of their choice each year. We call these Peer Facilitations. These self-directed projects provide the framework for each youth to choose, research, develop and present his or her own findings and creations in a group setting. Some projects are humanities based, practicing development of a thesis and clear written communication. Other projects are rooted in the sciences and are experiment-based which serve as an outlet for youth to practice using the Scientific Method and explore a science-related curiosity. In all cases the oral presentation is also a component, giving youth the opportunity to develop comfort with public speaking.
Group program Facilitators collaborate with one another to ensure that each program is serving as a building block for the next. Given that the groups meet only 5 to 10 hours a week, it is unrealistic to expect that youth will master (truly conceptually understand) all concepts. Our goal is to introduce youth to a wide range of content areas, with the understanding that parents will then be able to build on these same themes when working with their youth on their non-OC days. This is Partnership Education in practice! OC Facilitators are always happy to speak with parents individually to talk about their observations of a specific youth and which areas a family may want to delve into deeper at home. Remember, Facilitators can be an invaluable resource, so please do not hesitate to reach out.
We are strong believers in the value of multi-age/developmental learning opportunities. Different levels of Group programs will occasionally work with each other.