At Hilltop, we delight in children’s play and learning, and document, analyze and draw inspiration from it. We consider relationships to be central to our work, emphasizing relationship-building between all members of the classroom. We actively seek out opportunities to collaborate with other educators and families, discussing our understandings of children’s play.
It is not uncommon to see educators in our classrooms noting observations or taking photos. This documentation helps children reflect on their thinking. It also helps make the life of the classroom visible to families, and helps educators plan what to offer children next.
Educators at Hilltop bring a broad range of skills to the school. Our core teaching faculty all have continuing education, including masters degrees, some in the field of early childhood education, and others from more diverse disciplines. When we hire new faculty, our main focus is on their disposition to be a reflective thinker – someone who is dedicated to noticing the details of children’s play, and using those observations to design a customized experience for each child.
Teachers at Hilltop receive extensive support for their own professional development, including:
- a full week of orientation and training at the start of employment
- evening training and discussion workshops through their first two years
- paid time to study, document, and plan
- support from one of Hilltop’s Mentor Teachers
- weekly meetings with their teaching team
- monthly meetings of the whole faculty
- quarterly full-day closures for training and care of the classrooms
- opportunities to attend classes and conferences, and visit other programs
- leadership opportunities and expectations both within and outside the school and through Hilltop’s Institute for Professional Development
“We are part of an ongoing story of men and women, ideals intact, who realize that history can be changed, and that it is changed starting with the future of children.”
-Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the schools of Reggio Emilia