The schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy offer a metaphor of the school as a three-legged stool – upheld by children, educators, and families – and reliant on all three groups to succeed. Our commitment to families is to offer the highest-quality education, and provide each child with an experience that is joyful, inspiring, safe, and loving.
Our hope is that each family will feel deeply connected to their child’s school experience, and gain a clearer understanding of their child as a learner. We ask families to share their perspectives and invite them to help us make decisions about classroom life and curriculum. We enrich our understandings when we include families in the experiences we share with their children.
Families are welcome in the classrooms at any time, and are encouraged to participate in the life of the classroom and the school in a way that fits well for them, possibly including:
- potlucks, celebrations, and other social events
- topical evening workshops for parents and caregivers
- helping out on field trips
- sharing cooking, crafts, music, or storytelling in the classroom
- sharing a cultural celebration or family tradition with the class
- taking on small jobs for the classroom (sewing, building, cleaning)
- supporting the Annual Giving Fund
- serving on the Board of Directors or other committees
Educators communicate regularly with families, through casual conversations at drop-off and pick-up, by phone and e-mail, and at several conferences throughout the year. Each classroom posts a weekly blog sharing highlights from the week, and information about upcoming events. Hilltop also uses pedagogical documentation and learning stories to communicate with parents at a deeper level, to develop classroom curriculum, and to assess children’s growth. These documents are often posted on a curriculum board and included in a journal for each child. We see parents as partners in the education of their children.