Hilltop's Blog

Building on the Wonders of Childhood

Environments for Reflective Practice

When educators plan the environment to promote discovery and engagement, it becomes another “teacher” in the classroom, another source of learning and possibility. When educators thoughtfully observe how children explore our invitations and provocations, we will know whether something is emerging that is worth pursuing. When, as parents and educators, we see ourselves as researchers and collaborators with the children, we will naturally shift how we spend our time with them.

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How community supports new educators

I didn’t grow up wishing to be a teacher one day. That’s why, when the day came that I looked at my life and realized that a teacher is what I was, I was reminded that sometimes life can lead us in directions we never expected. Sometimes it even takes us back to where everything began, casting a new light on the places we’ve been, inspiring new perspectives and a new way of being.

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Connecting the Dots…Theory, Policy, and Practice

Are publicly funded programs – intended to help close the opportunity gap – actually widening it, while programs free from funding restrictions have more flexibility to develop innovative, child-centered practices? Are some children being targeted for more direct instruction, and missing out on the authentic communication and purposeful play that they need and deserve? Is PLAY an equity issue?

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“We Hate Pollution!”

In honor of Earth Day, here’s a letter written 15 years ago by students in the Sunlight Room at Hilltop Children’s Center. They were engaged in an in-depth investigation about pollution, which began with some spontaneous play and conversation in the block area, and ended up lasting several months.

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“Are you in our class today?”

We all know that consistency is key for children to feel comfortable enough to learn and grow, and that oftentimes transitions can be nerve wracking for them. Last year a child moved from a class where she had been all year and formed relationships with the educators and other children, into a class where she didn’t know anyone yet…

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Issues facing Directors and Program Leaders

It was fascinating to sit with a room full of people – some seasoned and some newer to the field – who are responsible for leading and stewarding early childhood programs in our area. And it was interesting to hear about their satisfactions and challenges, particularly in light of the range of programs they support, and the communities of children and families they serve…

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