Natural Creativity Center (NCC) is open five (5) days per week, from 8am – 6pm. Programs run Mondays through Thursdays from
9:00 am - 3:00 pm with Early Morning and Extended Day Options available. Programs are made up of multiage groups, not grade levels, and activities are designed to meet the developmental needs of each young person.
2016 - 2017 Program Session
September 12, 2016 - June 15, 2017
(Slots for the 2016-2107 session are filling quickly. Contact us at (888) 208-0576 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an interview)
First United Methodist Church of Germantown (FUMCOG)
6001 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19144
Please note: this will be our temporary location until we acquire and renovate a permanent site. Details will be forthcoming.
Group A: 4-11 year olds (offered Monday through Thursday)
This is our basic program. The young people are provided free access to a wide array of tools and raw materials (woodworking, pottery, writing, arts and crafts) with which to pursue their interests as well as shelves stocked with prepared materials (math manipulatives, books of all sorts, puzzles, construction materials such as K’Nex and CitiBlocks, etc.) with which to work/play. Our adult facilitators maintain an intellectually stimulating and emotionally safe and inviting environment that helps build a supportive community of fellow learners and creators. The youths build, design, play, negotiate, explore, experiment, invent…all in pursuit of knowledge that is sparked by their interests as well as the offerings from others. They express themselves vocally and in writing, through drama and movement (both indoors and out), and they learn how to resolve differences constructively and collaboratively. The facilitators, trained in a process language that calls on compassion and creativity, help the youths develop their conceptual understanding at their own pace and in ways that matter most to them. By focusing on process over product, young people develop skills that enable them to approach new or difficult situations with confidence and competence.
Traditional academic instruction is offered when it is invited and when it is developmentally appropriate. We do not force lessons on anyone, and we work to ensure that a youth first understands the concepts that underlie a topic (such as a mathematical function like multiplication or algebra). We promote understanding, not rote memorization, in our definition of what is truly “educational”. This allows young people to build skills and comprehension that are highly transferable and that serve as the foundation for lifelong learning. (See Furth and Wachs, Thinking Goes to School, Oxford University Press, 1975, for further details on Natural Creativity’s Conceptual Development activities.)
Our young people can expect to spend time working/playing on their own, with a friend, with a facilitator, within a small group, and, daily, with the full group during a regular all-community gathering. For the most part, they are in charge of how they spend their time. Our expectation is that they will respect the rights of others and will flourish in a setting that nurtures the best in all of us.
Group B: 11-17 year olds (offered Monday and Thursday)
The purpose of this program is to bring together pre-teens and teens who want to work together and form a close-knit community that will supplement their pursuit of their individual interests. This could mean having: a chess partner; a cluster of friends to give you feedback on your writing or join you in figuring out how to solve various math problems; a mixed-age group to work together to address a broader community issue such as creek pollution or low voter turnout; someone to help you build an electrified dollhouse for your little brother or sister; people to talk to about what is going on in the adult world of politics and international relations and perhaps how young people could make a positive impact; friends and adults to help you prepare for, and achieve, college admission, or to help you establish a business that could become your career; an adult to help you study for the G.E.D., or explore your interest in astronomy, architecture, 3-D printing, computer programming, farming, 18th century English literature, stamp collecting, graphic design…This list is endless, because the possibilities of what young people are interested in learning and creating is also endless.
In addition to finding support in the pursuit of one’s personal interests, Group B also provides direct instruction in The Creative Process as defined by The Natural Creativity Center. Our facilitators draw on the work of people who have specialized in this area, such as George Prince (co-founder of Synectics, Inc.), Robert Fritz (composer and author of The Path of Least Resistance), and Natural Creativity’s co-founder, Peter Bergson. NC youth will be encouraged to learn a formal process for solving problems and addressing opportunities creatively. As a group, they will be able to practice this process and develop skills that they will be able to apply in every aspect of their life from then on—at home, at work, as a parent or colleague or friend. This, along with the sense that they are in charge of their own life, and have the right to pursue their interests while protecting the rights of others to do the same, is far more important to us than any bit of content knowledge they are likely to gather. Knowing how to think and act creatively, compassionately, collaboratively is what we at the Natural Creativity Center value above all else.
The Natural Creativity Center is a private, non-profit organization. Our services are paid for by a combination of program fees (paid by member families), foundation grants and individual donations.
Program fees reflect the actual cost of providing these services. At the same time, we recognize that they are beyond the reach of many families. It is our goal to create a community that is balanced in every way, including financially. Therefore, we encourage all interested families to apply for financial support where needed.
To help us determine the appropriate amount of financial support to offer, we use a financial aid process called FAST. FAST was created and delivered by the consulting group Independent School Management (ISM).The process includes a questionnaire about your family’s current financial situation. All of the information you provide in their questionnaire is kept confidential and secure; it is used only to determine the level of financial aid eligibility.
Once you have completed the questionnaire, FAST provides to us a recommendation of the amount of financial support we can offer. This recommendation, combined with the current capacity of our Family Support Fund and needs of other families, informs our decisions about the total program fees charged to you.
The actual cost of providing programs to young people is $2,400 for one day of attendance per week, per year. This cost also covers before/after program care, vision and hearing screenings, portfolio evaluations, parent workshops, community meetings, and maintenance of network partnerships that benefit our young people and their families. As described above, we expect families to pay what they are able, and we work to provide the rest in financial support.
After the interview process, if we are able to offer you a spot at NCC, a $150 non-refundable deposit per youth is required to hold your place. The full deposit will be deducted from the first program fee payment.
How to Apply
If you are interested in becoming a part of Natural Creativity, we recommend taking the following steps:
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