For decades now there has been a great dissatisfaction with conventional schooling with little agreement over what to do about it. Some argue for more rigorous standards and assessments, others for more technology. The result is that much of the conversation about education does not involve the young people currently in the system or the community members, such as businesses or professional organizations, that will ultimately hire those young people. So, seemingly regardless of reform effort, young people move through school with more and more disengagement, and businesses lament an apparently growing amount of employees who are less skilled at creative problem solving, collaboration, or thinking systematically.
Natural Creativity is a 501c3 non-profit that operates a resource center for self-directed partnership education in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, PA. The philosophy that forms the foundation for our approach - that humans are hard-wired for creative problem solving, and that young people, when given access to resources and experiences, will develop in powerful ways - has been implemented in a number of ways in the suburbs of Philadelphia for 40 years, and our mission has been to make that a possibility for families regardless of socioeconomic status or zip code. Beginning in January, 2016, with a community of 18 young people from 12 families, we have grown to a community of 45 young people from 30 families, and we intend to continue to grow to a full community size of 110 young people.