Visitors to the Junior School are struck by the energy, joy and impressive levels of engagement of the children they see in each classroom and on the playground.
Reading and writing are constant and joyous activities in the Junior School, as are the all-important skills of listening and speaking. In some classrooms, one sees groups of children writing and illustrating stories, listening to folk tales and learning how to read. In others, the children may be learning about Native Americans, studying the rainforest, learning a new song, perhaps in a new language, or cooking a special food from a classmate's home country. Children who display readiness begin learning French or Spanish in kindergarten, an experience that teaches them the joys and fun of language learning.
In our exciting Science Lab, a group of children might be exploring the properties of light through the use of mirrors, prisms, and lenses. In the International Garden, a group of children might be observing the exotic variety of flora and fauna in the pond. Group, cooperative, and inquiry based learning are important parts of every day.
Throughout the Junior School, one sees firm evidence that these children are part of a vibrant international community. There are books, maps, pictures, and artifacts from many countries in every classroom. From their first day in Junior A (Kindergarten), UNIS children are encouraged to form an international perspective, a sense of who each child is, and where each child comes from. They also experience the world around them through a variety of field trips.
Along with the traditional academic subjects taught by each homeroom teacher, from kindergarten on, each UNIS child is taught art, music, science, and movement, all by specialists.
Computer studies are begun in the early grades, and are viewed by all UNIS students as vital tools for communication, problem solving, and information retrieval.
At UNIS, we believe that patterns of self-esteem and respect for others are established early. This is accomplished in myriad and subtle ways, each and every day, throughout the Junior School. Occasional conflicts are resolved quickly and efficiently by sitting at a "Peace Table" and talking things out.
At UNIS children are also taught self-reliance and personal responsibility. From remembering one's lunch in Junior A to learning how to use a combination lock in Junior Three, mastery of life-skills creates in each student an important sense of efficacy and personal competence. At each grade level in the Junior School, behavioral expectations build upon one another, gradually creating patterns that enable students to meet the more rigorous social and academic demands of the Middle and High Schools.