Ubuntu (oo-buun-too) – has its origin in the Bantu languages of southern Africa. “I am because you are.” A philosophy of humanism, emphasizing the link between the individual and the collective group. Ubuntu seeks to unite individuals, while respecting their autonomy, for the betterment of the group.
The U School Philosophy Of Learning
The U School Philosophy of Learning is rooted in the recognition of each individual’s self-worth while embracing the importance of the collective group. We believe there is no one right way to learn, and therefore, a commitment to each child’s natural desire to learn is at the heart of The U School Philosophy of Learning. Our goal is to build each child’s foundation for and excitement about a lifetime of learning.
Child & Group Centered and Initiated Learning
At The U School the children’s connection to their education is a priority. Teachers take on the role as facilitator, while children drive their own education. Our approach resembles certain aspects and combines elements of other established philosophies of learning including:
Reggio Emilia – Children have control over the direction of their learning with endless ways and opportunities to express themselves.
Open Learning – Self determined and interest guided learning.
Emergent Curriculum – A way of planning curriculum based on the child’s and group’s interest and passions.
Inquiry Based Learning – A form of active learning where children develop experimental and analytical skills.
Project Based Learning – Emphasizes activities that are long-term, interdisciplinary, and child centered.
Play-Based Experiential Learning
Play is the medium for which learning takes place at The U School. We agree with putting the long acknowledged link between play and learning, that play is the “work” of a young child, into practice on a daily basis. Our high quality play experiences build critical foundations for cognitive development, academic progress, pro-social skills, motor development, and imagination.
An action oriented style of planning, doing, reflecting, and doing again summarizes the experiential learning at The U School. Acquiring new skills and new attitudes best come from learning through direct experience. A fun and safe environment with dynamic staff facilitators keep learners engaged with their experiences.
The U School’s Academic Curriculum is developmentally appropriate and child friendly. Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Reading, and Writing are all incorporated into The U School’s daily opportunities for learning. Academics are taught by providing developmentally appropriate opportunities, through choice and discovery, to expand on current and emergent skills. Our curriculum is based on state standards and benchmarks but is unique in the way we engage students through choice and allowing their natural interests to drive instruction. The U School focuses on giving children a voice in their education, which teaches responsibility, drives our interests, and gives students a willingness and desire to learn.
The U School is a community that practices peaceful and respectful conflict resolution. The U School has a Peace Plan, discourages violent play, and embraces conflicts as teachable moments. Conflict is a natural and normal aspect of humanity. Children are encouraged to develop a positive attitude towards conflict, where they take responsibility for their actions and become part of the solution.
The Ubuntu Peace Plan
Play and be safe.
Everything gets respect.
Awareness of your surroundings.
Communicate with each other.
Experience the Fun!
This approach emphasizes the daily practice and recognition of the importance of diminishing biased behavior. “Everything is for everyone” is a belief practiced at The U School. All learning is presented without a culturally dominant view and with a value for all possible sides. Values of acceptance, tolerance, and respect flow from the U School’s founders and staff members.
Sustainable Environment Curriculum
This curriculum helps children explore the importance of planet Earth and the interdependence of species, where learning from the natural world and connecting children to it is a priority. Adopting attitudes of care and concern for the environment is a goal for the children and their families in our care. Waste management, natural resources, energy reduction, alternative energy sources, and food systems are concepts taught in this curriculum area.
This is a branch of environmental education with a focus on creating social justice for all human and non-human life, and focuses on our direct community and its ecological balance. The U School and its community partners serve as local change agents, combining ecological awareness and thoughtful action with the intention of developing lifelong sustainable practices and justice for all living species in our community.
We believe it is important to be rooted in one’s community and we use our resources and community members to create a deep love for our “place”. The U School understands our local community is a primary resource for learning. Through local service learning projects, hands-on stewardship, and active engagement with The U School’s community partners, children and families develop a deep understanding on our community’s history, culture, and ecology. Teaching a love and “sense of place” for what is in our immediate surroundings provides a grounding that helps children learn to take care of their own environments, backyards, communities and beyond.
Integrated Technology Curriculum
The U School’s Integrated Technology Curriculum provides readily available,
developmentally appropriate technology throughout the center. Our children live in a world surrounded by exciting and innovative technology. By the age of three, most young children are able to use these tools in an intuitive manner. The U School capitalizes on touch screen innovations, and will remain on the cutting edge of technology, to offer an enriched environment that embraces young digital natives and the digital world in which they are growing.
Movement Education combines physical education curriculum and the daily practice of maintaining balance within your surroundings. Developing a love for physical movement and expression is important during the preschool years. The U School encourages children to move freely and to develop skills that allow them to do that within the collective group.
There are two curriculum areas inside our Movement Education program:
- Motor skill development – Games, activities, and open ended play which emphasize gross and fine motor skill development.
- Moving together in a shared world – Games, activities, and open ended play designed to encourage positive self-expression within our educational setting and beyond.