Is Hilldale the Right Fit for My Child?

We are lucky to live in a community which values education and provides a multitude of educational options for families searching for the right fit for their children. We cannot meet the needs of every child, and we work hard to work with parents during the admissions process to help them understand if Hilldale is indeed the right fit. Please read the following to see if Hilldale may be the right fit for your child.

  • Hilldale’s aim is to provide a home for children who need more academic challenge. If your child is above average, bright, or gifted, Hilldale may be the right place for your child.
  • We work a full year ahead in terms of the curriculum, and we work at grade level in terms of social-emotional development. We want to challenge students in the areas where they need challenge, and support students where they need a boost. Students need to be ready and eager for more acceleration – both in content and in pace.
  • Hilldale bases its enrollment on Readiness for the grade, not by age. This said, a child who turns four in January will generally be too young to handle the emotional and social requirements of our Pre-K program. We have found that this is true, even if a child is gifted. Generally, the child needs more scheduled playtime to learn the important lessons of that age. Structured academic time which requires focused attention is often too much to ask of a child who will not turn 4 until January.
  • Each child is assessed thoroughly through the use of the parent application, previous/ current teacher recommendation, standardized assessments, readiness markers, a classroom visit, parent-principal discussion, and Hilldale teacher recommendation. The principal carefully and thoughtfully weighs all of this information and makes a decision based upon your child’s readiness for the program and the makeup of the class.
  • If a child is not speaking English prior to the assessment, it can be harder to determine whether or not he or she will be successful in the PK program. All students must be speaking and understanding English fluently prior to starting Kindergarten through Eighth Grades. We have a very rich and diverse community with many bilingual children. We want to support the development of both languages; however, primary instruction at Hilldale is in English, and it is required that children are able to both understand and speak English. If a child’s English is well-developed in terms of understanding and more limited in terms of speaking, he or she may still fare well during the assessment process for Pre-K. That said, expectations are not as high for a Pre-K student as they are for a Kindergarten student. In order to prepare your child, we suggest that you create a 30-minute window of English-only time every day. Turn on the timer and speak in English. You don’t have to instruct in English, but be sure to name things in an effort to build vocabulary with comprehension. Furthermore, we encourage you to read one book a night in English to accompany any other books you are reading in your native tongue. Starting these efforts 6-12 months prior to the assessment will make a huge improvement in your child’s comfort level during the process, and it allows us a better opportunity to understand your child’s aptitude and readiness overall.