I think it's stupid when chess teachers refuse to teach openings. I've met a whole range of these people with a range of explanations: it's superficial to make the kids memorize things, they want to teach how to think, they're all about discovery learning or creativity, they teach only endgames, and leave it to the kids to intuit middlegame principles, they teach through a "critical positions" approach.
This is their problem: they think too much about teaching and not enough about learning. It looks good but it doesn't work.
People don't learn the deep stuff first; you learn the superficial stuff first, and later, once you can do it, then you learn why it's like that. When you learn a foreign language, you learn how to say "hi, my name is Elizabeth" before you know what a possessive is, or a predicate nominative, or how to conjugate the verb "to be."
Beginners have no idea what is going on in a game of chess, they are the semi-blind, lost in a new world. They need and want to be told what to do. Teach a kid the colle, even better, the colle zuckertort, give them a plan to play for, and they will learn how to make and carry out a plan. They will get the same type of positions and structures, so they will be able to use their experience from past games and post-mortems to orient themselves in the future.
teach them critical positions when they're 1500 and endgames when they're 1800.
they need to know openings now. it's good for them, I promise, plus they'll love you for it.