Grouping of Students
Our grouping of students is designed to be flexible. Within the class levels detailed below, children are grouped according to reading, math, other abilities, personal interests and sometimes according to age. Placement will also depend on the development of fine motor skills, task commitment, social and emotional development and interest in more abstract tasks.
Early Childhood Level: Ages 3 to 4
The Early Childhood curriculum challenges children intellectually; there is no pressure to push into the academic areas. Teachers are sensitive to the individual development of young gifted children and know appropriate learning experiences for them. The goal of this program is to maximize the social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development of the children. Children are encouraged to be active, independent and creative learners while also learning to be responsible and cooperative. Classes in this level include Early Childhood and Early Primary.
Primary Level: Ages 4 to 8
Primary children are flexibly grouped according to reading and math skills, social and emotional maturity and intellectual interests. Many of the activities are individualized and arranged in learning centers. Reading is introduced in a personal, organic method so that the important aspects of each child’s life are part of her first reading vocabulary. Just as children select their first oral vocabulary, in our reading program they select their first reading vocabulary. A young child selects single words and short sentences while older primary students write and edit their own stories. As a way of sharing creative endeavors, children are encouraged to read their stories to other classes.
Math is a combination of hands-on manipulative, teacher-led activities, and Kumon. Kumon Math is an individualized, self-paced, learning approach to math that emphasizes repetition, speed, and accuracy. Developed over 35 years ago in Japan by Toru Kumon to help his son, Kumon helps students internalize basic math skills, extend concentration, and develop task commitment.
Kumon is extremely sequential, thorough, and systematic. Students are given a diagnostic test to determine their level of mastery. Mastery means the ability to complete a set of problems accurately within a specified time frame. If there are mistakes, the student corrects them. Worksheets are complete when the student scores 100%. Students master a concept before they move on to another concept.
Classes at the Primary Level include Primary 1, Primary 2, and Primary 3
Intermediate Level: Ages 8 to 14
Students in the Intermediate Level are divided into Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2 and Older Intermediates. Intermediate 1 and 2, as well as Older Intermediate 5 and 6, are self-contained classes.
The Older Intermediate 7 and 8 classes, which are departmentalized, consist of a wide variety of language arts, science, math, PE, computer, Spanish, music, band, drama, art and social studies classes. All students at this level take Kumon and are involved in independent research projects.
Guide to Class Names
University School’s class designations do not conform to those traditionally found at other schools. Our students are generally significantly more advanced in their academic level than their peers of the same age. We have the flexibility to have students of a variety of ages in the same class and have purposefully chosen class names that are “outside the box” to reflect our philosophy and program.
To help you make a connection with traditional grade levels, the following list will give you a general idea of the equivalent grade that each of our classes represents based on students’ ages:
- Early Childhood — Preschool (generally 3 and 4 year olds)
- Early Primary — PreK (generally 4 and 5 year olds)
- Primary 1 — Kindergarten
- Primary 2 — 1st Grade
- Primary 3 — 2nd Grade
- Intermediate 1 — 3rd Grade
- Intermediate 2 — 4th Grade
- Older Intermediate 5 — 5th Grade
- Older Intermediate 6 — 6th Grade
- Older Intermediate 7 — 7th Grade
- Older Intermediate 8 — 8th Grade