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Harwood Hills Country School

16220 Harwood Road
Los Gatos, CA 95032

(408) 266-2400


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Teacher-Led

From the Director:

Our school has balance of play, structure and teacher-led instruction. The comprehensive curriculum at Harwood Hills Country School is based on learning objectives in the outstanding Core Knowledge Preschool program including the following areas: - Cognitive Development - Social Development - Language Development - Gross Motor Development - Fine Motor Development - Self-Help Skills Assessment of learning is a continuous process. Your child will be assigned to a new instructional group as goals and objectives are mastered. Skill mastery is formally assessed and recorded twice yearly.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

We aim to foster children's cognitive and social growth in a setting where intellect is encouraged through high-quality, explicit, research-based early learning experiences. We aim to maximize each child’s personal growth and development, but unlike the academically and socially rigid methods used by some other academic schools in our area, we do this with a "soft touch." Our caring staff nurtures the children's social and autonomy skills and their physical coordination, and allows them time to explore their special interests.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Harwood Hills Country School is dedicated to the belief that your child deserves a program which maximizes personal growth and development.

We believe effective Early Childhood Education continually strives to meet individual development needs and also offers a wide variety of enrichment opportunities.

Children's cognitive, social and physical needs are best met in a setting where their interests and abilities are carefully nurtured by a mature and caring staff. At Harwood Hills Country School we are committed to providing experiences and curriculum which encourage your child to develop to his or her fullest potential.

- To provide a sound educational foundation which will foster success in later school experiences.
- To foster and encourage your child's innate ability to learn.
- To provide a comprehensive and balanced sequence of learning experiences.
- To provide an opportunity for your child to gain social and learning skills at a rate consistent with individual development.
- To help your child develop confidence and self esteem in a supportive learning environment.

A Typical Day

The children in each instructional group participate in a variety of hands-on activities which provide challenge and encourage creativity and curiosity. Each day your child will grow developmentally in all skill areas through exposure to:

Art - creative expression is encouraged through the use of varied media such as paint, crayons, chalk, and clay.

Music - Rhythm, song, and dance activities foster musical appreciation, increase comprehension and retention, and are sure to put a smile on your child's face.

Movement - A combination of creative movement games and gross motor activities help develop your child's body awareness.

Dramatic and Creative Play - Formal and informal play activities expand your child's understanding of families, community, and self.

Circle Time - Story time, finger plays, puppetry, story telling, group games, and songs introduce your child to the joys of learning.

Language - Your child is introduced to letters and letter sounds through a variety of motivating literature-based activities.

Numbers - Your child is introduced to beginning number concepts, logic, and problem solving as well as counting, classifying, matching, and measurement.

Science - Cooking projects, experiments, nature walks, and discovery activities help your child explore the world through the five senses.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

At the beginning of the year, we hold an open house/meeting that is focused on giving parents and teachers an opportunity to get acquainted with one another and on giving a verbal overview of what children will be learning, teaching methods to be employed and materials used.

We provide general learning goals, but they are not very specific. We are in the process of reorganization and new learning curriculum.

We have parent-teacher conferences in November.

Parents may communicate with the teacher by: notes, phone calls, voice mail, special meetings, two or more regular conferences, drop-off, pick-up, regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school.

Our preschool does not conduct parent education classes on children's key learnings and development. We have parent-teacher conferences once or twice a year.

Occasionally (once or twice a year) we connect parents with services/activities that can help parents help children develop better at home.

At the end of the year:
- We provide a verbal summary of your child's learning.
- We provide general guidance on developmental goals for the following school year.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Voice Mail
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school


Handling Separation: From the Director

We invite the parent and child to visit often before starting.