The Big Picture

Our Vision

An Education Hub

At UCDS, we take a design-led approach to education. We educate children from ages three months through fifth grade, while the UCDS Institute creates college level course work and professional development for adult educators.

We work with and encourage students as individuals. We nurture students’ curiosities and encourage their unique strengths while also developing their areas of challenge. Students advance their skills and approach inquiry and understanding in a way that sets them up for the satisfaction of life-long learning.

Our teachers design proprietary, tailored learning experiences for individual children. Teachers collaborate daily, integrating multiple perspectives and their professional experience to create instructional plans that meet each student’s needs.

Uniquely designed educational programs support each child’s individual learning approaches and stoke their inherent curiosity. There are no limits on learning. We stretch each student toward the next steps in their educational journey.

UCDS’ yearly theme-driven learning allows students to build skills and explore multiple facets of a single concept across all school subjects. Our innovative learning model sets UCDS apart. We encourage visionary thinking, where teachers as well as students reflect, iterate and think critically.

Our Vision 5


No one at UCDS works in isolation. All teachers are called upon at one time or another to coach, to present, to consult, to conduct action research, and to network.
Our Vision 2

Learning by Design

UCDS started as a lab school at the University Of Washington in 1911. Designing curriculum to meet the needs of our students is our foundation.
Our Vision 1

Reaching Out

Students are responsible for sharing their knowledge and talent in a way that enriches the rest of the community. They learn to see needs in the people and situations found the community around them and become involved.
Our Vision 4

Student Voice

Children are taught how to help one another, to listen carefully to others, to share what they have learned, to participate in discussion, and to develop areas of expertise where they can assume leadership. Teachers support students in developing acceptance of different points of view and empathy for the needs of others—all essential to social and emotional development.

The Latest

Cardboard Camp

By Louise Conway, Learning Specialist Support  It’s July at UCDS and Summer Camp is well underway. This summer, I am leading a camp that has been floating around in my…

Why Not Letter Grades?

By David Garrick, Graduate School Dean As an independent school, UCDS designs an experience that is unique to our philosophy and mission. This accounts for a number of differences between a…