Our Approach


Our approach is grounded in a respect for and understanding of the innate human drive to learn and create meaning.ᅠ All programs and services at Natural Creativity (NC) consist of processes that build on this drive and seek to maximize an individual’s likelihood of success.ᅠ We recognize this drive within the context of a community, and, as such, our approach honors the needs, rights, and interests of all community members as we work together to accomplish more than any of us could alone.









Our approach exemplifies a commitment to developing creativity, compassion, and collaboration among our young people and community members.  We do this with the following core components:


Self-directed learning

Humans are hardwired with curiosity and a drive to learn, and much of formal education undermines this drive.  At NC, we provide an environment, filled with materials, activities and real work projects, that allows young people to develop and follow their interests.  Our staff members support creative exploration of objects and experiences, and assist young people in making connections between what they love and what they would like to accomplish.



People learn more when they are having fun.  They are more attentive, engaged, and active in approaching tasks, developing concepts and skills, recalling information, and increasing mental stamina.  Play, and playfulness, define our approach to programming and problem solving, and we celebrate the ways in which young people use play to make sense of their world.


Creative problem solving

Beginning at a young age, and bolstered over time at NC, young people will participate in creative problem solving sessions, which are designed to maximize the creative potential inherent in all people and develop meaningful, actionable solutions to real problems.  Young people learn to take ownership of problems, processes, and outcomes, to think and work collaboratively with others using non-threatening language, and to incubate ideas into solutions.  Developed at Synectics, Inc. ® and used at Open Connections, Inc. for 40 years, this core component of our approach serves to frame parent workshops and community problem solving sessions, in addition to programs for young people.


Conceptual development

At NC, we stress development before learning.  Development refers to the construction of general mechanisms for action and thinking, to the foundational aspects of human intelligence upon which skills and information are layered.  Learning refers to the acquisition of specific skills and information, which makes sense to the individual only after the appropriate foundation has been laid


Conflict resolution

Facilitators introduce and moderate problem solving sessions only until young people have learned the process or in cases where a conflict is beyond the capacity of the young people to solve on their own; the goal is, as much as possible, to facilitate the ability and initiative of young people to resolve their own conflicts, with full recognition of each individual’s needs, rights, and interests.  We work within a belief that by understanding each other’s perspective, we can more effectively reach a win-win solution.


Social responsibility

Every aspect of NC is committed to the intellectual, emotional, and social wellbeing of the individual AND to social justice, equity, and improvement.  This commitment shapes our daily operations, from the ways facilitators communicate with young people to the types, qualities, and strengths of our community partnerships and learning networks.  We continue this through our parent workshops, community problem solving sessions, and by engaging with, listening to, and growing with our community members.


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"True learning - learning that is permanent and useful, that leads to intelligent action and further learning - can arise only out of the experiences, interests and concerns of the learner."

— John Holt

Natural Creativity Center: First United Methodist Church of Germantown

6001 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19144  |  Tel.: (888) 208-0576


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