Mission & Philosophy: Learning is Serious Delight!

What do we mean when we say: Learning is Serious Delight? We mean that our classrooms are places where children truly love school! What does it mean to love school? Loving school means that you have a positive attachment to the people and experiences of school, to the content and the curriculum of what and how you are learning, and that your needs are met and often your wants/hopes have to optimum space to be nurtured. At Uni Primary, we welcome the whole child--their head, their heart, their body, and their spirit. Children are playful (and we must protect their right to play), children are competent (and we must provide them with opportunities to demonstrate and develop competencies), and children are curious (and we must listen and bring their curiosity into the curriculum; this is an exciting task for our teachers)! Our hope is that children at Uni Primary earn to engage in a classroom community where they advocate for their needs and the needs of others, where they use their voice (not "turn their voices off") to speak up and speak out, where they develop healthy skepticism and healthy trust, and ultimately, where they thrive as a participant and citizen of humanity!

University Primary School’s philosophy is that young children are best served by teaching and curriculum practices that strengthen and support their intellectual growth and development, initiate them into basic skills which grow and grow as they mature, challenge them to increase their proficiency in intellectual processes as well as academic tasks, and at the same time and with the same importance, foster the development of their social competence and conscience. 

University Primary School’s mission is to create an innovative research and teacher training site for Illinois College of Education faculty, graduate students, preservice teachers, student volunteers, community colleagues, and visiting scholars interested in the ways children and teachers learn and develop. University Primary School demonstrates The Project Approach and Reggio Emilia-inspiration in action and fosters a professional environment where stakeholders develop and explore recommended practices in education while providing an exceptional school experience for children and families.

Teachers guide children in their designs and plans, multiple teachers and student teachers in classrooms allow for small group, whole group, and individual learning time.

K1 Classroom, Exploring Together

As a lab school, scholarly endeavors are promoted through:

  • active participation of children, families, and staff in faculty and graduate student research projects (families, children, and staff always have a choice to participate)
  • on-campus accessible space for pilot research implementation with children of differing abilities and ages
  • collaboration with a numerous and wide variety of campus and community entities/programs

As a teacher training site for the College of Education, University Primary School:

  • is an inclusive placement site for a cohort of Illinois' preservice teachers and practicum students in early childhood, elementary, and special education
  • pairs preservice teachers with master teachers for support and coaching
  • ensures preservice teachers a practicum experience where theory and practice are mediated through meaning-filled learning experiences
  • hosts student volunteers from programs and organizations across campus.

Always seeking opportunities to grow and learn with others, our school has an impact on educational practice through partnerships with faculty and graduate student researchers, preservice teachers, local and international practitioners, and families. The University Primary School community is dedicated to innovative pursuits in education and the evolving role of educators.