Why a small school?
What subjects are taught at Open Fields?
What is a typical day at Open Fields like?
How do Open Fields children do when they go on to other schools?
How is Open Fields funded?

Why a small school?

With a maximum of 22 students working with 3 teachers, it is possible to give the individual attention that is central to the philosophy of Open Fields.

We're more like a family here. We provide more security than they might find in a larger situation. - Jean K. Aull, Director

You knew everybody at Open Fields ... I liked it. - Emmet Hikory, class of '86

What subjects are taught at Open Fields?

All of the children are helped to acquire the basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic, and the basic concepts of science, social studies, and related subjects. The curriculum remains flexible, to take advantage of individual interests and to nurture the excitement of acquiring new skills and ideas.

We provide opportunities for creative exploration and discovery through painting, music, photography, carpentry, computers, dramatics - in fact, through any medium our teachers, parents, or friends in the community can offer. Throughout, our teachers deal with the total child, in the belief that academic achievement goes hand in hand with physical and emotional development.

Special projects develop the ability to work with others, tolerate differences, and learn from each other. Our basic aim is to give each child a sense of self-confidence and self- discipline.

I feel that Open Fields challenged my child and kept him interested in teaming. He really blossomed in the caring and supportive atmosphere. - Lesley Rower, parent

What is a typical day at Open Fields like?

Open Fields School is located in a small Vermont village, which promotes a natural interaction with the community. Beyond that lie the New Hampshire and Vermont towns of the Upper Connecticut River Valley, an area rich with places and people to visit.

The rural setting encourages a variety of outdoor activities, from exploring the fields, woods, and hills of Vermont, to playing soccer on the green, to visiting local artisans, to building a primitive campsite.

As a children's book illustrator, I have a lot of personal contact with kids and with elementary schools all over the country, and most of what I see, hear, and read makes it clear that creativity, respect for self and others, and love for learning are not exactly at the top of the list of priorities in too many of our public schools. On the other hand, everything that I see, hear, and know about Jean Aull's Open Fields School makes me happy and full of hope (and envy) for the kids who are lucky enough to go there. It's a fantasy, storybook school - and at the same time it's a very real, down-to-earth place to learn and grow, and to have fun doing both. - Trina Schart Hyman, illustrator

How do Open Fields children do when they go on to other schools?

Most children who leave Open Fields go on to public schools, and their solid background in skills and in self-confidence makes the adjustment a smooth one.

Many achieve honors at public junior high and high schools and have gone on to such colleges as Vassar, Dartmouth, Hampshire College, and Carnegie-Mellon. One of the very first graduates of Open Fields attended the Sorbonne in Paris.

I miss having teachers who don't just teach subjects, but really teach about life ... I really want to thank you. You've made a significant difference in my life, and one I'm very pleased and grateful for. - Sara Bush, class of '84

How is Open Fields funded?

Open Fields' current sources of funding are tuition, donations, and fund-raising activities. The most important outlays are for teacher salaries, programs, books and supplies, and - because we feel it vital to keep our doors open to children from a variety of backgrounds - scholarships.

Since 1971, we have relied primarily on our parents, local businesses, and friends in the community. Their energy and commitment makes the quality education at Open Fields possible.

All donations are welcome. Send your tax-deductible contribution to Open Fields School, Thetford Hill, Vermont, 05074 (802.785.2077).

Childhood should be fun. Learning should be fun. There should be excitement, humor, warmth, hard work with a purpose, love. In short, school should be a positive experience and promote a love of learning that will last a lifetime. - Jean K. Aull, Director