Hilltop’s unique and innovative School Age Program is for children in kindergarten to fifth grade (ages five-eleven). Hilltop has low child to teacher ratios and experienced educators working in the classroom. In addition, there is individualized emergent curriculum that responds to the interests, passions, and areas of growth of our school age children.
Through an intentional focus on social and emotional skill development, children build a strong community with each other that often has a family-like feel to it, in part because of the mixed ages. Big Kids are asked to be leaders, whether in small ways by checking in with their friends to make decisions about what the group wants to do or in larger ways by initiating a long-term project that may involve many members of the community.
We believe that children learn best when they are given the opportunity to explore and interact with an environment in a constructive way at their own pace. Consequently, our programs are designed to provide the maximum opportunity to experience a variety of materials, ideas and social situations at a level appropriate to the individual child.
After School Program
Hilltop offers an after school program for students in kindergarten to fifth grade (five to eleven years old). The classroom is open from 2:15pm to 6:00pm, Monday-Friday and on most Seattle Public School closure days from 8:00am to 5:00pm.
Hilltop also offers week-long day camps during the summer for children currently enrolled in elementary school. Our camps focus on exploring the local Seattle neighborhoods, utilizing Hilltop’s creative art studios and working on in-depth projects. Registration for Hilltop’s summer camp opens in early spring.
Stories from the classroom: Social negotiation
Over the past few weeks the teachers have noticed a new schema has developed within the games this group plays in the classroom. They now usually have a boss, a person who makes many of the decisions for the game. In some ways this figure has been helpful – they help solve disagreements between players and help the game move forward. There have also been some downsides – sometimes the boss is focused on control instead of leadership and often the same kids are the boss day after day.
Wanting to give the group time to reflect on this structure and to brainstorm ideas for future games, the teachers gathered a list of questions for them to think and talk about. When presented with these questions the kids had a lot to say. First we took time to draw or write alone and many filled multiple pages with pictures and words with their responses.