About OFS

What is Open Fields?

Open Fields is a small non-graded private school, just off the common on Thetford Hill, Vermont. Founded in 1971 by Jean K. Aull, it is open to all children, ages 4 through 12.

The central philosophy of Open Fields is that children are naturally eager to explore and discover and learn, and that every natural activity of children is, in itself, a learning experience.

Children learn most successfully when they are free to do their very best, free from excessive competition with their peers, and free from the fear of failure. Failure to master something the first time or failure to be "first" must never mean disgrace, but must mean simply that it is time to attack the problem or skill again, with humor, determination, and courage.

For these reasons, Open Fields does not offer a curriculum based on grade levels. Each child is an individual and deserves to be treated as one. We are prepared to assist each child to develop at his or her own pace.

To learn more, visit our FAQ, and read what the press has to say about Open Fields.

Who are Open Fields?


Nellie Pennington

Board of Directors

Mary Helen Bentley (Chair), Meg McLean (Secretary), Nate Hine, Ruth Cserr, Terry Garrison, Peg Little, and Nellie Pennington

Advisory Council

Allison Bush, Dilys Evans, Jon Gilbert Fox, Michael O‘Donnell, John Quimby, Linda Stein, and Dean Whitlock


Mary Layton, Karen Kreis, Leslie Berger, Jen Manwell, and Mindy Barth


Nellie Pennington

Web site

Home page: www.openfields.org
Email: info@openfields.org