Sparking conversation about children’s “rights”

New documentary sparking conversation about children’s “rights” makes Seattle premiere Dec 8 On December 8, Hilltop Educator Institute hosts Seattle’s premiere of the groundbreaking short documentary film about what can we learn of children’s views about their world, if we listen to children’s ideas and closely observe their actions.  “The Voices of Children” tells the story of an international team […]

Speaking In Tongues

[et_pb_section bb_built=”1″][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.76″ background_layout=”light” border_style=”solid”] “Could you tell me the normal way?” a kid asked me recently. “In English,” piped up another kid. “Yeah, the way regular people talk,” the first kid added. It’s not unusual for a kid to ask me to tell them something in English, either because they aren’t understanding something or because they do understand […]

Presents and Prejudice

Earlier this week, for the first time ever, one of my students asked me why I decided to be a teacher. Adults ask me all the time but never a child. It took me by surprise! To me, these moments are one of the biggest reasons I choose to spend my days with young children. They ask the best questions. […]

Changing Hearts to Change Behaviors: A Charlottesville Response

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”4.0.7″ text_font=”Times New Roman||||” hover_enabled=”0″ border_style=”solid” content__hover_enabled=”off|desktop” content_last_edited=”off|desktop”] As we saw in reports from Charlottesville and other cities around the U.S. last month, groups like the KKK, neo-Nazis, and other white supremacists are acting with greater confidence than they have in decades. Marginalized people and groups continue to feel even less safe than […]

What we do, and what we say matters!

It was 15 years ago this August when I was sitting at a table with my parents and their friends at some function I probably didn’t even want to attend.  I was undoubtedly filling my face with cake at the table, having decided I was “way too cool and way too old” to be seen interacting with the group of 5-year-olds […]

“Do you believe in Black Lives Matter?”

Students in Hilltop’s after-school program asked this question – of their teachers and their friends –  repeatedly this year. Mostly those inquiring were black students. They had heard about Black Lives Matter on the news, and noticed how educators and students in our local Seattle Public Schools were supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. The kids wanted to support the movement too, and wanted to know how Black Lives Matter was supported at Hilltop. They took action one afternoon by making their own Black Lives Matter signs.

Authentic Literacy Learning

The key to developing literacy is a love of reading that is best stimulated by frequent exposure to letters and books. Reading activities that are forced on children can transform a delight into work. It is best to follow a child’s lead in when, what, and how they want to engage with books and letters, while still offering them ample opportunities in various contexts.

Reciprocal Influence

Each time a group of visitors comes to Hilltop, we get to hear their experiences, and their impressions of Hilltop, and we get a glimpse of ourselves through fresh eyes. We had a particularly poignant and revealing visit, recently, with a group of educators working in the Residential Parenting Program at the Washington Corrections Center for Women.

Mindful Toddlers

I don’t meditate, but I want to be the type of person that does. As a classroom teacher of three-year-olds, I’ve looked for ways to help the group calm down, connect with their bodies, and learn self-soothing skills. But how do I get a three-year-old to meditate, especially when I’m not a practitioner myself?