Hilltop's Classrooms

At Hilltop Learning in Relationship and Emergent Curriculum are two of our core values that we focus on in our classrooms. We Learn in Relationship by developing strong bonds between educators, children, and families. Emergent Curriculum drives our play-based educational philosophy in the classroom.

We offer two main programs for children aged 2-11:

In addition, all children have the opportunity to participate in our Reggio-inspired Spanish program. Our work together is shaped by our commitment to emergent curriculum, anti-bias practices, and by the ideas and experiences of the schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy.

Preschool student compares hands with a teacher and a parent

Stories from the Classroom: Anti-Bias Education

As I was helping Mike push his blanket into his cubby, an unexpected conversation sparked. It went like this:
Mike: You’re so, so brown!
Me: What’s brown?
Mike: Your hand! And your face too! So, so ,so brown.
Me: Nice noticing, Mike. What color is your face?
Mike: I’m white!
While Mike proceeded to finish his nap and potty jobs, I quickly ran to the workroom to grab two pieces of paper – one white, one brown.
When Mike was ready, we sat down with the different colors of paper. I put my hand on the brown paper.
Me: Is my hand the same color as the paper? Or different?
Mike: It’s the same. Brown (pointing at my hand), and brown (pointing at the paper)!
I then had Mike put his hand on the white paper: Is your hand the same? Or different?
Mike: The same! White (pointing at his hand), and white (pointing at the paper)!
Me: Is your hand the same white as the paper?
Mike: Uh, yes? Hmm. Maybe different.
Me: What color do you see when you look at your hand on the paper? Mike looked hard at his hand and thought about it for a few seconds: Red, brown, red, brown, red, brown (poking at “red” and “brown” spots on his hand).
Me: Hmm. It sounds like it’s different than the white paper. Mike held his hands up to examine them closer: Yeah. I asked him once more about what colors our hands are: Your hand is brown and mine is white!
As he was getting ready to leave with his mom, we all put our hands together to see what colors they were.
Mike: They’re both brown!

In this very brief moment of exploration, Mike declared himself many different colors. He called himself white, yellow, red, and brown. His skin tone remained the same throughout the process, so what shifted his perception? This speaks to how intentional exploration and reflection can help both children and adults unravel societal stereotypes and terms.