Hillcrest Children’s Center provides a quality, play-based early childhood education program.
Early childhood is a sacred time that creates the foundation of each human’s experience on earth. Young children are innate learners, capable, willing, and resilient. One can not distinguish between learning and not learning, as every experience influences the child’s neural pathways and responses. As children are always learning, the adults and the environment are the curricula, requiring the adults to be a “model worthy of imitation” and create beautiful spaces and rhythms that support learning.
Hillcrest’s program goal is to provide a foundational love of learning, a sense of responsibility for self and community, and develop the child’s head, heart, and hands to create a positive self-identity. We draw from various approaches (such as Waldorf, Regio, Nature-based, Project Approach) and are committed to Anti-Bias education work with children. This diverse approach to programming allows us to be flexible to the needs of the children, honoring their experience of early childhood and staying true to our values and operating principles.
We believe meaningful play in a caring, intentional, safe, quality environment designed by positive, responsive adults to offer various experiences geared to each child’s developmental needs provides the best avenue for learning. We view children as innate explorers and scientists working out how the world works. The children’s interests guide the curriculum of child-directed activities that facilitate the mastery of new skills and expand their horizons.
The teachers’ role is to provide a daily rhythm and an engaging environment where the children explore their world through meaningful play with the active presence of teachers. This responsive caregiving environment supports children of all abilities to explore and expand their repertoire of cognitive, language, motor, problem-solving, creative thinking, social and emotional skills.
The guiding values of Hillcrest are:
Family: atmosphere, comfort, open, familiar, community, home away from home, nurturing, parent involvement, ownership, responsibility
Inclusiveness: equity, diversity, affirmation of full potential, acceptance, meeting each individual & family where they are, flexible, respect, whole person, family dynamic, access for people from different economic strata, language, culture, ability, and adaptive capacity
Quality: evidence-based, research-informed, continuous improvement, stability, integrity, trustworthy, safety
Core Operating Principles
Quality Food Program
Dirt: outside play space
Conveniently located close to downtown, Hillcrest Children’s Center, Inc. is located on Government Hill, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Anchorage. Hillcrest Children’s Center has provided the Alaska community with quality care since 1968. Hillcrest Day Care Center, Incorporated was established as a parent-owned, non-profit corporation dedicated to community service through its early childhood development and educational programs. In May 1994, the name was changed to Hillcrest Children’s Center. Hillcrest is a tax-exempt organization as defined in section 501(c)(3) of the tax code. Accordingly, all donations to Hillcrest are tax-deductible. The Executive Director (Director) is employed by the Board. The Director has the authority to hire staff and handle the daily operation of the Center. The Director oversees and performs those activities in the execution of the purposes and policies of the Center. All employees report to the Director.
Board of Directors
Every parent is invited and welcomed at the Board of Directors (Board) meetings. The Board works in cooperation with Hillcrest’s Director to ensure that Hillcrest continues to deliver quality care and education, while also operating in accordance with sound business practices. All parents are strongly encouraged to participate in setting policy and direction for Hillcrest. If you would like a topic discussed at a board meeting, we ask that you submit it to the Director or Board Member in advance of the Friday before the meeting. Each meeting also includes a Community Comment Period to allow anyone to share comments and/or concerns. This time is a sharing time only; if the comment requires follow-up, the Director or a Board Member will be in touch within the week.
Hillcrest owns the building in which the center operates. The physical facility complies with the building code of the Municipality of Anchorage. As required, the Board authorizes upgrades to the facility to maintain its quality and ensure the safety of our children.
Many projects are funded through loan programs and grants. Parents have, and continue to contribute significantly through fundraising activities, and other in-kind contributions. One such example is the Roof/Preschool Project. Parent volunteers completed a significant amount toward this project, including the removal of roofing, siding, windows, and provided the cleanup for the debris. Additional funding came from the Rasmuson Foundation. Parents also worked together over several months on fundraising opportunities to help support the project financially.