There are many areas that this school excels in such as connecting the home and school communities, making children feel loved and well known, and providing a stimulating play space at school. The art teacher is fantastic and on the whole the teaching staff are kind and warm hearted. However, our daughter left school at the end of second grade with the reading skills of a kindergartener due to poor instruction in the Kindergarten through second grade classes. Her spelling was atrocious as well. The school has gone through some large changes in the past year or so as I have heard, but the literacy program remains terribly weak. We ended up leaving the school and found better instruction in the public schools for our child, who, incidentally, took a couple of years in the public system to catch up academically to her peers. We thought maybe she was dyslexic or something because she couldn't read, but all she needed was an IEP to catch her up to speed, which basically meant she got more instruction that she had lacked so much at University coop. So if social and emotional support, fun times and an abundance of messy play is your goal with elementary school by all means choose this school. If you want a strong academic foundation you would be better served elsewhere.
University Cooperative School is a magical wonderful place where kids can be kids. The community is wonderful, the teachers are excellent, and the overall program is fantastic. I have one kid who completed the program a few years ago and another still at the school. As a family we couldn't be happier.
All schools should be like this one -- my children are challenged, nurtured, and met where they are in incredibly playful, creative ways. They love to go to school and I love being part of their education. The parent involvement and the community it has provided us are priceless.
UCOOP is a fabulous school where learning is nurtured in a hands on, integrated manner. You won't find kids sitting in rows filling out worksheets at this school. Instead you'll find the kindergarten students engaged in creative writing and drawing (for instance about all the things a small piece of yarn could be), building with blocks, counting coins they have collected for a local pet store/animal shelter. This is a place where children's learning, as well as their social/emotional development are both taken seriously. Teachers in the K-2 team work closely together, and also work with the 3-5 teachers to ensure continuity and a sense of community (for instance the kindergarten students have 3rd grade buddies who they look forward to doing fun activities with such as reading together and pancake breakfasts. I love the Spanish, Music and Art curriculum, my child skips home singing new songs (in English and in Spanish) and sharing her excitement about something she has created at school on a daily basis. The school uses Cowen Park for recess and many outdoor activities, but there's also a fantastic new "active space" and music room in the lower level of the school.
Beautiful school that has maintained the loving supportive community energy it was founded with back in 1975. After experiencing another local school started around the same time that was falling apart, finding U Co-op was a huge relief. It is a healthy, thriving alternative school with very low student to teacher ratio that my daughter loves to attend every day. This says a lot considering it used to be an debate almost every day when she was at the other alternative school. We love and recommend University Cooperative. It is a private non-profit school that has much lower tuition and much more parent involvement than a lot of the other private schools in Seattle. Kids here are thriving. I also love the mixed age (3-5th grade) classroom set up, likewise in the younger grades they have a large shared space too. This setup allows them to have the same three teachers for all three years they are in that class too which provides some great stable influence in these elementary years.
The University Co-op community is the best! It really is a village approach, with parents working in partnership with the teachers, and kids working collaboratively together. Amazing learning that goes deep into the subject matter and it's a lot of fun! Our children are now excelling in middle school and much of their confidence, creative thinking, ability to problem solve and form good friendships can be attributed to their elementary school experience at University Co-op.
My child started at a public school and though she is bright and motivated, she didn't get the nurturing she needed to thrive. She was getting worn down by the large classes and all the worksheets and homework and seemed to be wilting much of the time. At the University Cooperative School the teachers create a really supportive family/community feeling and her desire to learn is on fire now. The curriculum is dynamic and responds to the kid's interests. The teachers are given the freedom to be creative and collaborative. They prioritize developmentally appropriate learning so the kids get to be kids and have a lot of fun while learning. Plus there's tons of time outside with long recess, the skiing program, bike trips, family camping outings. I love it that there is no homework until 3rd grade, that social/emotional work is as important as traditional subjects, that the teachers follow emerging research and base their teaching on how kids' learn best, and aren't teaching to raise test scores. This is a co-op which means the parents work shifts at the school and I personally love this opportunity. U- Coop is a very unique and magical school and a great fit for our family.
My family loves UCoop! It truly is a caring, supportive community, but it may not be for everyone. This school requires a substantial commitment of time and energy, but the benefits to the entire family, from my perspective, are immeasurable. Being able to participate in my daughter's education at such a close level as she learns, develops friendships, and grows into a great little person is a true privilege. A brief list of the many positives: small class size, outstanding teachers, nurturing and respectful environment, plenty of physical activities, parenting resources and support, and a curriculum that not only makes learning fun, but teaches kids HOW to learn.
My daughter has been held very lovingly as she makes the transition into elementary school. She feels safe and supported and challenged and is excited to go to school. It is a lovely community and I enjoy being part of a school where parents are so actively involved.