Children learn best when the significant adults in their lives — families, educators, and community members — work together to encourage and support them. This basic fact is the guiding principle that drives the way our organization is organized and how children are supported. Hilltop Children’s Center cannot address all of a child’s developmental needs alone, so we rely on the meaningful involvement of families and supporters from the community in everything we do.
The need for a strong partnership between Hilltop and families to educate children may seem like common sense. In simpler times before COVID-19, this relationship was natural and easy to maintain. Educators and families were often neighbors and found many occasions to discuss a child’s progress in and outside of the classroom. Children heard the same messages from educators and families and understood that they were expected to uphold the same standards at home and at school.
At Hilltop, we have framed our organizational structure based on Urie Bronfenbrenner’s theory on the Ecological System and the interrelationship it has in child development.
Bronfenbrenner is a child development theorist who believed that a child’s development was affected by everything in their surrounding environment. He divided the child’s environment into five different levels: the microsystem, the mesosystem, the exosystem, the macrosystem, and chronosystem.
The Microsystem – activities and interactions in the child’s immediate surroundings: family, school, friends, community, etc.
The Mesosystem – relationships among the entities involved in the child’s microsystem: family’s interactions with school teachers, a school’s interaction with Hilltop as the childcare provider.
The Exosystem – social institutions which affect children indirectly: parent’s work settings and policies, extended family network, mass media, community resources.
The Macrosystem – broader cultural values, laws and governmental resources.
The Chronosystem – changes which occur during a child’s life, both personally, like the birth of a sibling and culturally, the Black Lives Matter movement, the missing and death of indigenous and native children.