What is The Open School?

The Open School is a K-12 self-directed democratic school. Instead of curriculum, classes, and assignments, students learn through real life and by authentically helping to run the school.

Rather than forcing students to sit still all day and listen to the answers to questions they didn’t ask, we let them play, talk, go outside, create, and ask their own questions. They decide.

We let students make decisions because they’re preparing for an adulthood in which they’ll have to be independent and self-directed problem-solvers. Not only do our students get a great education — they’re happier and mentally healthier too.


The Open School has a campus in Orange County and a campus in Temecula Valley.

Ages Served

  • The Open School serves students between the ages of 5 and 18.
  • Children under 5 may enroll if they will turn 5 during the semester.
  • We offer an Under 5 Friday program for children at least 2 years old and up to 5 years old.
  • Teens older than 16 who are interested in enrolling for the first time at The Open School will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Hours & Attendance

The school is open weekdays from 8:30 to 4:30. We have after-school care until 5:30 for a fee. Students must attend at least 5 hours a day, 5 days a week. Students under the age of 7 have the option to enroll part time. This option may be recommended by the school for students who are not developmentally able to attend full time.


Tuition is determined on a sliding scale. See our Tuition page for details.


The Open School is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.

Non-Discriminatory Statement

The Open School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, age, religion or religious creed, disability or handicap, sex or gender, gender identity and/or expression, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state, or local law in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

Want to learn more? Read about our philosophy.