The school continues to build on this proud tradition of providing a model
for effective education. The school provides a safe and caring environment where
student inquiry is encouraged and supported and where teachers and students can
challenge and extend their own capacities by trying out new ideas and pursuing
One of the ways that the school supports student learning is by having
students formulate questions and gather information. This process is iterative
as students go back to refine their questions and then conduct further
investigation and research. This kind of inquiry guides their learning and
fosters the development of higher-order critical thinking skills. This approach,
like all teaching practice at University School, is based on research and
includes ongoing classroom assessment.
Except for Kindergarten, students are organized into multi-age communities
consisting of two grade levels. This arrangement accommodates for a wider range
of development in children than typical single year grade grouping. It also
promotes cooperation instead of competition amongst peers and, perhaps most
importantly, allows children and teachers to develop longer term relationships
with each other. University School is also home to two CSSI classes. These
system communication, socialization, sensory integration classes support
learning for multi-aged autistic students.
Except for Kindergarten, all classes consist of students from two grade
levels. Teachers of these multi-aged classes work in teams and are referred to
in the school as learning communities. Class sizes (students per classroom
teacher) are typically 18-23 students depending upon the grade level.
Teachers work hard to design an instructional program that is responsive to
the gifts, talents and needs of each child. Our goal is to help inspire in each
student a passion for learning.
Teachers often use an inquiry approach to
teaching and learning that enables children to develop skills and create meaning
in a way that is relevant to their own experiences and interests. Technology is
leveraged as an integral part of the inquiry process to enhance student
learning. We encourage students to become self-reliant and creative thinkers
who are able to express and represent their learning in a wide variety of ways.
The collaborative nature of classrooms encourages students to work together and
appreciate the contributions that each member of the learning community makes
and to also value the benefits that diversity brings.
Inquiry Approach Learning
Inquiry is a dynamic process of being open to wonder and puzzlement and
coming to know and understand the world. As such, it is a stance that pervades
all aspects of life and is essential to the way in which knowledge is created.
Inquiry is based on the belief that understanding is constructed in the process
of people working and conversing together as they pose and solve the problems,
make discoveries and rigorously test the discoveries that arise in the course of
shared activity. (definition from our partner, the Galileo Educational Network -
Support for English Language Learners
Approximately 35% of the students at University School are English Language
Learners (ELL). The school has implemented a program which helps students who
require additional support to become proficient in English. The school sees its
multi-cultural population as a benefit in helping students become prepared to
work in a global context. As a result, the school places an emphasis on
understanding and respecting the many cultural heritages of our school community
CBE kindergarten teachers use a developmental screening tool with all kindergarten children called the Early Years Evaluation. The Early Years Evaluation (EYE-TA) provides a framework teachers use to gather observations in the classroom and around the school. The EYE-TA is designed to assist teachers in assessing the skills of children as they begin school. The information gathered will:
- help support a positive transition to school for children
- help teachers to design instruction to meet the needs of all children
- share the information with parents
- work with parents and other members of the learning team to help get children off to the right start on their lifelong learning journey