Hilltop Children Center’s half-day (six hours) prekindergarten program is for children three to five years. Our classrooms are open from 8:00am-2:00pm, Monday-Friday and run from September to June and follow the Seattle Public Schools academic calendar from September to June. Our skilled primary educators help build essential skills by carefully crafting engaging activities that balance instructed learning and purposeful play.
We also offer an optional 2:00pm-5:00pm, Monday-Friday extended day program for children enrolled in our morning half-day program for those needing care after school.
Our Reggio Emilia-inspired, emergent learning curriculum is designed to stimulate the whole child through experiences in math, science, language, drama and music. Language development is rapid at this age, so we also take this opportunity to help increase their vocabulary. All lessons are presented in a way to help develop each child’s imagination by learning through play.
Your child will also be taught fine motor skills, reading, writing and math readiness. They will be able to retell stories and, in the process, learn to sequence. Simple analogies are also introduced to expand critical thinking skills. Throughout their time in pre-kindergarten, your child will develop self-esteem, learn how to follow instructions, listen, and communicate effectively, practice self-control, connect with others, manage bathroom needs and actively participate in physical activities. We consistently evaluate your child’s kindergarten readiness based on age-appropriate benchmarks to assess individual growth and development.
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Stories from the classroom: Baby Poop!
I was surprised to see you four – Novyes, Sonya, Margot and Mylia – playing with the babies this morning! Why? Well, the babies have been available in the drama area all year and there has, to date, been very little interest in them. But this morning I looked over and there you all were – lined up comfortably on the couch, each of you cradling a baby. Look how gentle you were with them. Look what great care you took of them.
You moved around the environment with the babies and made a cozy fort for them under the big table, using blankets and fabrics to create a “nest”. They rested in there for some time before you woke them up and took them back to the drama area. A frenzy of activity followed. While the babies were seated at the table, you prepared food using the materials at hand – glass jewels, pinecones and corks. These treats were distributed onto plates and set out for the babies to eat.
Finally and hilariously, you all then played around with the idea of your babies “pooping”. You giggled madly as you noticed your babies “pooping” all over the floor and you took great joy in using tiny pinecones to represent poop. What fun!
What learning is happening here? This type of role playing is quite typical for this age group. As the children “took care” of their babies, they were displaying their knowledge of what this entails. Babies need to be held and comforted. They need to rest and be fed. And, of course, they DO poop. All this knowledge is reflected in the play themes and there is a lot of common ground for the children to meet on. There is that beauty of the shared experience – look, we ALL know something about taking care of babies, right? Let’s do it!
It can feel very empowering to be the caregiver in this type of play – you are the one in charge, taking care of someone smaller.
We can learn so much by observing and listening to this type of play. Often, children will role-play their own home experiences. In that context, this dramatic play becomes a lens through which we can learn about the world in which the child finds herself.
What’s next? Would the children be interested in exploring their own babyhood? We could ask for baby photos from families and use these images as a springboard for discussion.
Suite Mentor Educator and Support Educator