Take a Look Around Our School
Our PreK through Eighth Grade “school by the brook” has been just that since 1917 and, while the physical structure has changed quite a bit over the years, its mission has not; “…to develop, educate and prepare our family of children with an unafraid spirit to achieve their personal best in a changing world.” And while there is certainly no better way to see this for yourself than to visit our school, we offer you this video tour to get the ball rolling. Enjoy!
We want to thank everyone who contributed to
this photo array with special recognition to
Derek Hayn of Centerbook Architects & Planners.
Why Families Choose The Unquowa School
“Our task here – whether children arrived at PreK or have just joined us this year – is to help them to acquire the dispositions and habits of mind that will, YES, get them into the high school of their choice, and that will, YES, get them into the right fit for college but more importantly that will lead to their eventually being adults who are personally happy, professionally satisfied, and ethical.”
—Sharon Lauer, Head of School
Born of progressive roots, our school has been at its current site since its inception in 1917. While our little school has added wings to its original building in 1926, 1929, 1944 and 2001, it remains a small school where teachers have been helping families to raise and educate their children for over 100 years.
Unquowa is a school where children are known and parents are actively engaged. In addition to small classes, our small school community has always been a non-negotiable part of our school’s design. The relationship between students and their teachers is at the heart of learning at Unquowa, and we consciously limit enrollment at each grade level in order to maintain a culture where children, teachers and parents across the grades are able to know each other and feel like part of the larger learning community.
Our PreK through Eighth Grade model, housed on one campus is also an important aspect of what allows us to achieve this sort of learning community. Whether traveling together for mixed-grade field experiences, performing side by side in school-wide productions or simply sharing classroom experiences, students’ school lives are enhanced socially, physically, and academically by the opportunity to interact with students from other grades. Both planned interactions and those that are able to happen spontaneously are wonderful opportunities, not only for students, but also for their teachers because they encourage and facilitate a constant dialogue about development and cognitive growth.
Our younger children love to be taught by and show their knowledge to “the big kids” and our Middle Schoolers enjoy both the chance to teach and to be good models for their young friends. It is no secret that Middle School is perhaps the trickiest stage of development for kids to go through. Navigating that stage in a PreK-8 environment, as opposed to a large Middle School environment, can make the difference between spending those years focused on social growth alone and spending it with adult role models who can combine supporting the journey through adolescence with a robust academic experience.
For Boys and Girls since 1917
The Unquowa School has been a school for both boys and girls since it opened its doors in 1917 because its founding families believed, as we do today, that if boys and girls are to become adults who understand how to have both strong friendships and healthy professional relationships with the opposite gender, they must practice being friends and intellectual peers from the time they are small under the guidance of thoughtful teachers. Understanding gender differences and addressing them in teaching strategies, curriculum content and classroom environment happens at Unquowa in the same way that understanding learning differences and addressing them happens, despite gender.
Our traditional curriculum is delivered with a progressive approach and at the heart of that philosophy is experiential learning. While our classrooms are the home-base for our students and teachers, “learning by doing” means that classes are often in our woods, gardens and brooks or off-campus as part of our Museum Collaboration with The Fairfield History Center, The Fairfield Audubon Society and the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, as well as Sport Hill Farm in Easton, whose long-standing relationship with our school also includes serving as a base for our summer Farm Camp. Field experiences don’t enrich our curriculum; they are an intrinsic part of our curriculum.
Want to learn more? Follow the link for a video on learning by doing.
The Unquowa School seeks to cultivate an intentional environment of equity and inclusion. Unquowa wishes all members of its community: students, parents and families, faculty, staff and administration, alumni and friends to feel welcomed and valued for their individual perspectives. The school respects the customs, traditions, and perspectives of individuals of different gender, race, religion, socioeconomic status, family configuration, sexual orientation, ethnicity, ability and age. The Unquowa community actively guides students to confidently consider multiple perspectives, examine and express their own beliefs, and respond respectfully to the ideas and beliefs of others. We recognize that the richness of the human experience is essential to our core mission of preparing children with an unafraid spirit to achieve their personal best in an ever-changing world.
The Future is in Our Care
Our school’s motto – The Future is in Our Care – guides our goal to take our students to the next step in the journey to becoming adults who are personally happy, professionally satisfied and ethical in both arenas. Our high school placement conversations with families begin at the end of seventh grade, and our High School Placement Coordinator and Head of School work closely with families throughout the eighth grade year to insure a smooth high school application process and an outcome that provides our graduates with the best fit for the next stage of their education.
Whether experiencing and understanding our school-wide sustainability program or participating in service learning programs for which we have received national recognition,throughout their years at Unquowa our students learn to apply knowledge to purpose and to understand that ours is a world where purpose has power.
“The Mission of The Unquowa School is to develop, educate and prepare our family of children with an unafraid spirit to achieve their personal best in a changing world.”