The Lower School of the University of Chicago Laboratory
Schools serves a diverse student body of approximately three hundred fifty
students in third through fifth grades. At each grade level students are organized in five homeroom sections of
twenty-three students. The faculty is comprised of fifteen full-time homeroom
teachers, and approximately 45 special area teachers,
many who teach across divisions.
Most Lower School students
begin school at Lab as three-year olds in our Nursery and Kindergarten
program.We build on the
well-established culture for learning fostered in those classrooms.Strategies such as tiered assignments, flexible
grouping and integrated curricula are among the ways teachers make adjustments
for differences in skill levels, learning styles, interests and autonomy.Woven throughout the fabric of the
school is a multicultural approach to teaching and learning that“celebrates our cultural differences
and our common humanity”.
Teachers meet as grade level
teams to establish curricular goals and objectives (outlined in the Program of Studies), to select materials,
to plan special projects and field trips.Special area teachers meet with members of departments that extend
across the schools, providing a broad perspective of student learning.Collaboration among teachers is
balanced with the autonomy needed to ensure that a teacher’s own strengths and
creativity are maximized while providing flexibility to respond to the emergent
needs and interests of students.
In third, fourth, and fifth grade,
homeroom teachers continue to teach the core subjects of language arts, math
and social studies. The school day is extended by an hour and the number of
special area classes expands to include art, music, physical education,
library, computer, science and world languages.
A Learning Coordinator provides
guidance and oversight in planning for students who have special learning
needs. Counselors, specialists, and social workers are part of the team that creates a
holistic approach (cognitive, social and emotional) to the educational care of
A great deal of careful thought
and planning goes into creating classroom environments that foster and sustain
the intellectual curiosity children bring to learning. Teachers encourage
students’ imagination and initiative while guiding them in productive ways
throughout their grade school years.