History of the UA Informal Program

The Upper Arlington Schools progressive / informal program was established in 1972 by a group of educators who were committed to a common educational philosophy reflected through the practices of progressive education. Our program was founded by educators, parents, and Ohio State University professors who felt that our primary responsibilities were to teach children how to learn and become responsible citizens in a democratic society. Today this alternative program is offered at Barrington and Wickliffe elementary schools.

Is this the same program of the 1970s? The answer to that is no and yes. No, from the standpoint that progressive / informal teachers have adapted to the changing expectations of state and national standards. Yes, in that progressive / informal teachers remain committed to our Ten Foundational Principles. These ten beliefs guide our daily teaching practices.

Why do we use the word “Informal?” The terminology for alternative practices was often used interchangeably in different settings such as open education, the open classroom, the integrated day, the British Infant School model, and the informal classroom. All of these practices reflect the work of the progressive movement.

Today, we use it to describe the relationships between children, parents, and teachers. These relationships are family-like, with teachers and parents working together to coach, guide, and support children through their learning. Our classrooms remain trusting, positive, respectful places where teachers and children journey together – a journey filled with joy and wonder, in a quest for knowledge.

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