About University Primary School

University Primary School (Uni Primary) is a Prek-5th grade Reggio Emilia inspired lab school where children are engaged in creative, challenging, and meaningful curricular inquiries alongside Common Core Standards. Our school has been The College of Education's Lab School for over 40 years and includes children and families from the univeristy and greater CU community. Located here on campus, we enjoy the intellectual resources of The University of Illinois. The democratic classroom communities at Uni Primary make effective use of cooperation, negotiation, and choice as a means to foster children's curiosity and love of learning. At Uni Primary, children are nurtured to support diverse talents and abilities through differentiated practices attuned to intellectual, social, and emotional growth.

What is University Primary School?

This video was filmed years ago, prior to Uni Primary's expansion to the upper elementary program. We are leaving it up, but want to remind you we are a Preschool-5th grade program!

Students at WorkAt University Primary School, we believe all children have strengths and talents from which to build upon. With a differentiated approach to instruction, children in our program are able to express their understandings and questions in ways that are meaningful to them and the peers around them.

Throughout their day, children have regular and frequent opportunities to work in informal groups of varying size (with partners, individually with teachers, small groups, and whole group) to perform challenging tasks, and to make decisions and choices. Children's initiative, problem-solving skills, and interactive role in their environment is fostered by teachers who guide with intention and a passion for learning.

University Primary School is located in the Children’s Resource Center at 51 Gerty Drive in Champaign. Children must be 3 by September 1 for preschool enrollment and 5 by September 1 for kindergarten enrollment. Our school is comprised of one preschool classroom (ages 3-4-5), one K-1st classroom (ages 5-6-7), one 2nd-3rd classroom (ages 7-8-9), and one 4-5th classroom (ages 9-10-11). These are typical ages for each room. Each classroom enrolls approximately 25 children, with a head teacher, 2 assistant teachers, and college pre-service teachers.

The school is supported by tuition and fees, private donations, and fundraising efforts. The director of the school is Dr. Alisha (Ali) Lewis, an adjunct faculty member in the College of Education. She loves the learning and enthusiasm for inquiry at Uni Primary! Professor Lilian Katz (Curriculum and Instruction) is the school’s Senior Curriculum Advisor and renowned writer/speaker on The Project Approach.

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