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The Open Classroom inspires authentic learning by engaging everyone in dynamic and evolving practices in a welcoming environment.

For examples of our Philosophy in action, take a look at our Academics page.

A Community of Learners

Everyone at the OC is a learner: the teachers, the parents, and of course our children. Each person in the learning community has a role to play in maintaining a meaningful, purposeful learning environment. Collaboration among children and between children and adults is central to the learning that takes place at the OC.

The learning community works together to helps students:

  • Build on their interests, needs, and prior understanding
  • Develop Executive Function skills such as decision making, problem solving, and time management
  • Provide opportunities for making authentic learning choices
  • Learn how to anticipate and be responsible for consequences


The Whole Child

The primary focus of the Open Classroom is the education of the whole child, which includes social, emotional, physical, and cognitive learning.

As a community we collaborate to help children become:

  • Effective Communicators
  • Contributors to the Community
  • Self-Directed Learners
  • Complex Thinkers and Problem Solvers
  • Quality Workers and Producers
  • Cooperative Group Participants

A Common Thread

A shared philosophy is a common thread that runs through all the classrooms at the OC. Of course individual teachers bring their own personalities and experiences to each classroom, but the over arching goals and approach to learning are shared by of all of our teachers. As children progress from classroom to classroom, they encounter consistency in what is expected of them, approaches to problem solving, and even the words people use. New members of the OC community quickly become familiar with “OC Speak,” and often find themselves using it at home.

Further Reading

Open Classroom parents have found the following books and articles useful in considering the kind of education they would like for their children.

  • Brown and Campione, "Communities of Learning and Thinking"
  • D. Newman, P. Griffin and M. Cole, "The Construction Zone: Working for Cognitive Change in School" (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989)
  • B. Rogoff, "Developing an Understanding of the Idea of Communities of Learners, Mind, Culture, and Activity"  (1994): 209-29;
  • R.G. Tharp and R. Gallimore, Rousing Minds to Life: Teaching, Learning, and Schooling in Social Context (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988)
  • G. Wells, G.L.M. Chang and A. Maher, "Creating Classroom Communities of Literate Thinkers, in Cooperative Learning: Theory and Research", ed. S. Sharan (New York: Praeger, 1990), 95-121.
  • “A Comparison of Montessori and Traditional Middle Schools: Motivation, Quality of Experience, and Social Context”, The NAMPTA Journal, Vol. 28, No. 3, 2003
  • The Right to Learn by Linda Darling-Hammond, 1997
  • “Exemplary Middle Schools”, National Middle School Association, Research Summary #4, 1996
    The Carnegie Foundation, writings of Dr. Ernest Boyer
  • Teaching with Love and Logic – Teaching Children Responsibility by Jim Fay and David Funk
  • The Open Classroom philosophy was inspired by the works and theories of John Dewey, J. Dewey, Democracy and Education (New York: MacMillan, 1916), and Lev Vygotsky, L.S. Vygotsky, Mind in Society: the Development of Higher Psychological Processes (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978).
Book Description

Interested in learning more? Learning Together can be checked out from our library or purchased for $15.

Open Classroom Logo with black & white penguin.

Mission: The Open Classroom is a parent-cooperative learning community in which teachers and parents collaborate to educate the whole child and empower lifelong learners.  

Vision: The Open Classroom inspires authentic learning by engaging everyone in dynamic and evolving practices in a welcoming environment.