Image of the Child

Children at Hilltop are welcomed as competent individuals, capable of learning the skills necessary to take responsibility for their social interactions and initiative for their learning. Hilltop educators are attuned to the development of each child as well as to the collective understanding of the group. Children have ample opportunity to explore and experiment at their own level of knowledge. Their activities are both interesting and satisfying to them because they offer a combination of challenge and accomplishment. Full involvement in and satisfaction from one’s work is of prime importance for social and emotional growth.

At Hilltop, we see children as:

  • protagonists of their education
  • active participants in exploring their environments
  • constructors of their learning


Our emphasis on investigating, creating, and reflecting with one another strengthens children’s sense of themselves as capable learners, and grows a deep sense of community.

The schedule of each day allows for long stretches of open-ended time during which children can pursue their questions, passions, and developmental themes. Teachers offer children many opportunities to communicate their understandings by representing them with a range of media. They encourage children to revisit and learn from earlier ideas, sometimes over the course of months or years, by studying their representations, revising or reasserting them, and by studying other children’s representations.​ In that way, children co-create curriculum that inspires and challenges their own social-emotional, intellectual, physical, and creative growth and development.

Preschool Students Take Each Others Picture