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Hilltop Children's Center

2400 8th Avenue W
Seattle, WA 98119

(206) 283-3100


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Reggio-Emilia

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

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  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • Pets for children to watch and care for
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
Physical activity more

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  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
Other subjects taught

From the Director:

Hilltop uses an emergent curriculum based on the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. The curriculum arises out of the interests of the children, and then is enhanced by the teachers to create rich learning experiences incorporating early literacy and anti-bias skills.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Our teachers work closely with each child and their family to address the needs of each individual child. This may include obtaining specialized materials to meet the sensory needs of a child, learning sign language to work with a child with a hearing impairment, and providing different levels of reading materials.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Our mission is to develop, provide, and promote high quality, child-centered, early childhood education, where: children are valued for their ability to do meaningful work, their wonder and curiosity, their perspectives, and their ability to play; families are valued for their bonds and traditions, their ability to play, their commitment to work, home, and community, and their dreams for their children; and staff are valued for their vision, their delight in children, their skills and knowledge, and their commitment to families.

Our work is based on the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. In these schools for young children, each child�s intellectual, emotional, social, and moral potential is carefully cultivated and guided. The principal educational vehicle involves children in long-term engrossing projects, which are carried out in a beautiful, healthy, love-filled setting.

In all of our programming we use childhood, collaboration, and community as a framework for planning and learning. We prepare our children to be school ready by providing them with opportunities for rich learning through play. Our program emphasizes cultivating key dispositions for learning, such as curiosity, intellectual risk-taking, and a willingness to take new perspectives and to collaborate.

A Typical Day

There is typical day at Hilltop. Children will play outside or perhaps take a walk in the rain. They work in small groups in the classroom on in-depth investigations. They go into the art studios to work with various materials on projects. There is singing, book reading, and exploration of various natural materials. Play is extensive, focused on the child's interest.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Each child has a journal which documents their work in the classroom. There are formal parent teacher conferences in the fall, and collaborative conferences with a group of parents in the spring. Each classroom has a monthly get together, sometimes rotating among families' homes, and other times at parks or in the classroom. Teachers talk with parents at drop off and pick up, and email and phone calls are used as needed for dialogue.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Sit on the board of trustees
  • 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
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up


Separation is Handled through:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation
  • Parents in classroom early on

Handling Separation: From the Director

We work with each family to develop a transition plan for the child. This may include visits prior to start, first with parents and then without. The child might come for an hour, for lunch, and even for naptime. Depending on the child's needs, the parent may stay for part of the day. Pictures of the family are placed in the classroom and can be carried around by the child. We may call the parent during the day to allow the child to hear the parent's voice. We have extra staff on site so that each child can receive the attention they deserve from our teachers.