Creating a fulfilling, enriching and dynamic educational experience for the “high school” years can be an exciting, yet daunting task. OC can play an integral role in actualizing a family’s goals (both the teen’s and the parents’). The goal of the Shaping Your Life program is to expose teens to a wide array of content areas and skill sets that we believe are critical in their becoming thoughtful, dynamic and engaged participants in society.
Participants will mostly focus on math and the sciences, in an “OC way” (the importance of truly understanding a concept, rather than rote memorization), and take advantage of OC’s picturesque 28-acre campus (including ponds, a creek, and woods), as well as our Science Lab and Makerspace Room. The process of how concepts are introduced is instrumental to our approach. With that in mind, the most important aspect of our program is placing math and science in a meaningful context to young people. Teens are excited by the prospect of doing work that has meaning and relevance to them. We are fortunate that we are not tied down to a set curriculum, thus allowing for a collaborative experience between Facilitators and teens to emerge when deciding on specific topics to explore. Young people fill out self-assessments and topic suggestion surveys over the course of our program year to help guide us in our planning. The beauty and excellence of this structure is that our group can be responsive to the curiosity and developmental progress of the young people within the group. The extended day (2pm-4pm) is used to explore individual or collaborative projects that pertain to the teens’ own interests surrounding math and science. Young people utilize this time to conduct experiments, build machines, and create computer programs or engage in myriad other activities that further their own development and allow them to pursue their passions. The teens then present their findings and completed creations to the group. These presentations serve as an ideal forum for teens to continue to gain confidence in their presentation and public speaking skills.
SYL allows for the natural curiosity of the teens to unfold organically. It empowers young people as learners when we honor and pursue their questions.
SYL teens utilize the countless resources available on OC’s 28-acre campus. In addition to their dedicated program spaces, the teens spend time: creating and exploring using our laser cutter etcher, 3-D printers, vinyl printer, etc. in the Makerspace; building in the Woodshop; designing and making clothing in the Sewing Room; or utilizing the bounty of open space to play large group games outside.
In sum, SYL exposes teens to content areas and topics they may not typically gravitate towards, gently pushing them outside of their comfort zones and expanding their horizons. Particular emphasis is placed on fostering a collaborative, nurturing and pro-social learning and play environment. OC’s Process Conscious approach lays the framework for teens to feel comfortable expressing their beliefs, pursuing their ideas, and uncovering their hidden talents. The collaborative nature of the program invites connection-making and strengthens the teens’ sense of belonging, and their ability to make meaningful contributions to group experiences.
Shaping Your Life is likely a fit for youth who are able to: self-advocate to meet their academic, social and emotional needs; demonstrate an ability to work independently and stay on task without constant/direct supervision; have familiarity with how to conduct research; and, take initiative and actively engage in an ongoing process to expand both their educational and real world skill development.
We are strong believers in the value of multi-age/developmental learning and social opportunities. Group Tutorial IV participants will often join SYL group members for lunch and outdoor games and team-building challenges.