Events & Activities

Preschoolers are always learning. When they observe, touch, see and smell-they are learning. It is a never ending part of their young lives. This 'learning' is a big reason why it is important for children to experience new things and new environments. Thus we put a lot of effort into organizing many types of field trips, celebrations and events that allow children to participate actively in their school community. These activities also bring Hilltop families together to bond and become a closer group.

 

Field Trips

A much-loved feature of the Hilltop curriculum is the multiple field trips taken throughout the year. Field trips allow the children to have fun exploring and to take their learning out into the community where they can connect with the larger world .

Every year, the number and types of field trips taken are different depending on availability and scheduling. Most field trips require full parent participation. This is a sample look at the trips we took over the past year:

  • Each fall, we take a field trip to a working Pumpkin Patch for the children to see how a farm works and to pick out pumpkins for the classrooms. Leading up to the trip, we read books about pumpkins and fall harvests, talk about farm life, and work on projects associated with the fall season.
  • In preparation for the school's Stone Soup Celebration in November, we take a field trip to a local Farmers' Market. There we select fresh, organic vegetables or fruit and bring them back to the school to make the soup.
  • January brings the annual trip to the Corona del Mar Tide Pools to study the creatures that live therein.
  • Program availability permitting, we take a yearly field trip to Legoland to participate in their Preschool Days program.
  • When the fields come alive with strawberries in the Spring, we venture out to a local farm to tour their fields on a tractor and pick red, ripe strawberries. Along the way we learn about organic planting practices and crop rotation.
  • The last field trip of the year is traditionally the Amtrak Field Trip. This beloved trip takes on a train from Santa Ana to San Juan Capistrano where we visit the local petting zoo.
 

Celebrations

Celebrations are a large part of the Hilltop experience. We use celebration as a way to bring our community together and to learn about each others' cultures and family traditions.

  • Our much loved Stone Soup Celebration traditionally happens the week before Thanksgiving break. In the days leading up to the celebration, we read several versions of the classic Stone Soup story which teaches the beautiful lesson of community and working together. Then we have a field trip to a local farmers' market to gather items to put in our soup. Finally, we invite family to join us for an afternoon of soup, bread and community.
  • Just before winter break, we have our annual Holiday Potluck & Celebration. This delicious gathering has each family bring in their family's favorite dish, and then we dine potluck style. And oh, how we dine. We top it off with a musical sing-along celebrating each family's favorite music.
  • On the last day of school in June, we come together once again for an End-of-Year Celebration pizza party. This signals the end of the fun-filled year, and sends families off into summer.
 

Fundraising Events

As with most non-profit, parent participation preschools, we rely on fundraising, along with tuition, to keep us operating. At Hilltop, about 35% of our operating income comes from fundraising. However, being Hilltop, we strive to meet our fundraising goals through fun events that also enable the community to come together.

  • Our first, and biggest fundraising event is our annual auction during which we auction off donated goods and services via silent and live auctions. While this is typically an adults-only evening, the children get involved by creating one-of-a-kind artwork and other creative items to be auctioned off. Indeed those child-created masterpieces are the most popular items of the evening! In this way, the children experience what it is like to come together as a community and put forward your individual talents in order to meet a common goal.
  • During the fun Safari Night fundraiser, children spend a Saturday afternoon/evening at school in a safari-themed, fun-filled event which culminates in the Big Event - a safari hunt in the school's play yard (with flashlights, of course)!
  • Spring Festival/Trike-A-Thon - this event is usually the last big event of the year, and features a fun-filled, family carnival at the school complete with Cake Walks, games, food and the Trike-A-Thon. A pledge-driven event where Children ride laps around the bike path in order to raise funds for the school.
  • Tanaka Farms CSA (community supported agriculture) - A delicious fundraiser for Hilltop that also allows families to bring home organic fruits and vegetables on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.