Is the U School a preschool or a daycare center?
We are both! Our high-quality teachers and learning environment represent high-quality preschool learning. We also believe that when children enroll, the whole family enrolls and the first way to help a modern-day family is with their schedule. We hold a deep commitment to flexible scheduling while providing a high-quality preschool environment and early childhood education experience for our students.
Is the U School a year-round school?
Mostly. The U School follows the Ann Arbor Public Schools calendar as a guide. We begin and end our school year on the same days as AAPS does. However, during AAPS Winter, Spring, and Summer breaks, the U School remains open for families. We are closed for a few public holidays during the year. We are also closed to families for two weeks for school cleaning, organizing, and staff training: one week prior to the summer programming, and one week prior to the start of the academic year. (Please refer to the public calendar for specific dates.)
Do U School teachers have degrees in Early Childhood Education?
Many of them do. The three teaching positions in each classroom—Lead, Co, and Assistant—have varying degree/qualification requirements and preferences. Please refer to our U Team page to learn about the specific experiences and qualifications of our staff.
Does the U School celebrate holidays?
The U School follows an anti-bias curriculum approach combined with a place-based learning approach (read more here). What this means in practice is that the school does not promote or celebrate any holidays. If a child celebrates a holiday and wants to share that holiday with their class, whether formal or informal, we honor that for the child and view it as a learning moment for our community. A classroom may also explore different holidays as initiated and guided by the children’s learning interest, in line with emergent curriculum pedagogies.
What is rest time like?
It’s calming time—an opportunity for children to rest on their individual mats, perhaps with a cuddly toy from home, a book, or a rest choice box (containing a small selection of toys to explore with, like Legos or a puzzle). Our goal is to make rest time comfortable and enjoyable for every child, whether they choose to sleep or not.
How often do you go outside to play?
Many, many times a day, in all kinds of weather. The only thing that will stop us from getting outside is severe weather (such as extreme cold, extreme heat, or thunderstorms).
How often do you serve snacks? What are they?
The U School serves three snacks daily (morning, mid-morning, and afternoon) that are gluten-free, nut-free, and vegan. These snacks are small and power-packed. We are committed to sourcing and serving as much organic and local foods as possible. In the afternoons, many of our snacks are created and served by the children. Samples of items the children have cooked and delivered include power bites, roasted veggies and rice, granola, roasted chickpeas, soups, nachos. The snack menu is shared with families at the beginning of each week.
Does the U School serve lunch?
The U School does not provide lunch. Children bring their own lunches to school.
How do you support children with allergies and food restrictions?
At the U School, we want our food to be as inclusive as possible for all humans. For that reason, our snack menu is gluten-free, nut-free, and vegan foods. (As a school, we are a NO NUT facility. We require that children’s lunches do not contain nuts of any kind, including any legumes [peanuts] and tree nuts.) For more specific dietary requirements of an individual child, all informed allergies and food restrictions are posted in each room. If your child has a food allergy or restriction, we will substitute alternative foods for snack, or you may choose to bring your own snack.
Are parents welcome in the classroom?
Always! We have an open-door policy, and welcome any family members who would like to hang out with us.* We also strive to make our classrooms accessible virtually, by frequently sharing with families photographs/videos of the children’s in-classroom experiences via StoryPark (an online portfolio documenting individual child development) as well as fortnightly Video Newsletters that highlight the classroom’s group learning journey and project-based work from the previous two weeks.
*COVID-19 Update: To reduce the risk of exposure, our open-door policy has temporarily changed in order to limit the traffic of people in the building.