Afterschool Program: Kindergarten to Second Grade

Our School Age program is an afterschool haven designed for children transitioning between school and home. Recognizing that children have already completed six hours of schooling, we emphasize differentiating their afterschool learning time to make it engaging and effective.

Our program excels in providing personalized homework help, allowing children to work in very small groups or ideally one-on-one with our dedicated school-age educators. This individualized attention ensures that children who may feel lost in the large groups during the school day receive tailored support in areas such as math and reading, leading to successful outcomes. Our school age pod consists of three groups, each with a primary educator and two to four support educators.

Children attending BF Day, Coe, Hay, Lawton, Magnolia, and Queen Anne come directly to our centers from school via Seattle Public Schools transportation. Additionally, we provide full-day care options for families during early dismissals, teacher in-service days, school breaks, or other school closures.

In our afterschool program, we foster a child-led environment where children can be themselves, explore their interests, and share them with their peers. Educators facilitate a home-like physical environment and plan activities based on the children’s interests. Activities vary widely, including community art projects, theatrical performances, scientific experiments, insect collecting and observing, and crafts like knitting, felting, and soap making. Our spaces are filled with intentionally chosen materials that allow children the autonomy to learn through free play, both indoors and outdoors. This free play is crucial for teaching social and emotional skills, leadership skills, and the democratic process.

Leadership skills are nurtured by involving children in decision-making processes, allowing them to lead important parts of the day such as our daily group meeting, and encouraging them to share their knowledge and skills by planning and running activities. The mixed-age group structure enables older students to take on leadership roles and younger children to learn from their example.

Our educators prioritize the values of community, safety (both physical and emotional), respect, and the celebration of multicultural identities in their work with the children. Anti-bias education and a social justice lens inform all aspects of our program, from interactions with children and families to conversations and activity choices. We do not shy away from age-appropriate difficult discussions, allowing children’s curiosity to guide the way.

We see ourselves as part of a team that cultivates each child’s well-being and future success, working closely with families to ensure that each family’s values and identity are honored in our space. At Hilltop Children’s Center, we are committed to creating a supportive, enriching, and inclusive afterschool environment where every child can thrive.