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Letter from the Director - Application Year 2023-2024

Dear Prospective Families, this Letter will be updated for the 2024-2025 Application Year in January 2024. For now, this letter is for the current school year, for limited spots in the Preschool Classroom. Our K-5th grade classrooms are full, and though we maintain a waiting list for those rooms, we do not anticipate any openings for this current school year.

Thank you for your interest in University Primary School (Uni Primary School), where "Learning is Serious Delight!" Uni Primary is the lab school of the College of Education, at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign for over 45 years. We are a Reggio Emilia inspired school where children Preschool-5th grade engage in creative, challenging, and meaningful curricular inquiries and projects paired with Common Core and Illinois Learning standards. At Uni Primary, children of diverse talents and abilities form a democratic community of learners nurtured by master teachers attuned to best practices in early childhood and elementary education, gifted, and special education. University Primary School has 4 classrooms: Preschool (ages 3-5), Kindergarten/First grades combined (ages 5-7), Second/Third grades combined (ages 7-9), and Fourth/Fifth grades combined (ages 9-11). Ages are typical for the classrooms. Uni Primary does not give preference to University-affiliated families nor a discount for University families; we welcome all families in our Champaign-Urbana and surrounding communities to apply. 

Though it is ideal for families to apply to our school during the yearly spring admission period January 10-March 1, applications across all classrooms continue to be accepted throughout the spring, summer, and current school year should openings be available. It is highly recommended that families submit an application during the yearly spring admissions timeframe, even if applying from out-of-state/country, so that your child may receive full consideration for the upcoming school year. A waiting list is maintained for students accepted to the school but for whom there is no available space. 

Prospective families are required to attend the Fall or Spring Open House or make an individual site visit to University Primary as part of the admissions process. Spring Open House for the 2024-25 school year is scheduled for February 13, 2024. You do not have to sign up to attend Open House; all are welcome and we want you to see our classrooms with children, as we are in our everyday. In-person site visits/Open House is the preferred visit type, though virtual visits are available for those without proximity to the school. Your child(ren) are welcome, though not required to visit with you. 

Email the School Director when seeking a site visit or applying over the summer months: Dr. Ali Lewis 

Please use the University Primary School Application Procedures page to locate and complete admissions materials and submit the application fee. When completing forms, you may choose to bullet point answers, write in narration, or provide short answers to questions about your child and your wishes for their school experiences. We are interested in child-created, authentic work samples as part of the application materials (rather than worksheets or adult-created materials). We are looking for a philosophical match between University Primary School’s approach to learning and your family expectations for schooling.

We strongly encourage you to submit all of your application materials within one week of your site visit. Your application is complete when all forms and student work samples are emailed to: and your application fee is paid using the "pay now" button the application materials page. Families with incomes qualifying for free or reduced lunch under Federal guidelines may receive an application fee waiver and any family (regardless of income) may apply for a partial tuition waiver with priority given to low income families. 

Our school is truly a special place where "Learning is Serious Delight!" and we look forward to thinking together with you about  Uni Primary at your school visit.

Dr. Alisha (Ali) Lewis
Director, University Primary School
Adjunct Lecturer, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign