Mission & Philosophy

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, challenge them to increase their proficiency in intellectual processes as well as academic tasks, and at the same time, foster the development of their social competence.

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, community colleagues, and visiting scholars interested in the ways children 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.