Hilltop at a Glance
The primary mission of Hilltop is to provide warm and loving care for children while simultaneously offering a stimulating and developmentally appropriate education curriculum.
Children learn, grow and develop best in an environment which is planned, yet flexible — that is, an environment that is planned by teachers with choices for children.
At Hilltop, teachers offer learning activities and experiences that encourage creative and intellectual expression, stimulate learning, and promote a warm, accepting and flexible climate for children. The child’s role is to be active, experimental, exploratory and selective.
Hilltop offers student-friendly services: sliding fee schedule, scholarship fee subsidies, priority to student families on the waiting list and optional care for periods when KU classes are not in session. Optional Care includes 6 to 8 weeks throughout the year (between semesters and spring break) when care is optional. Only the families who sign up to use the service pay for it.
Hilltop also requires the highest qualifications of our teachers. All of our teacher's must have a Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Ed., Child Development, or Human Development, OR a completed CDA coupled with significant teaching experience. We also require a minimum of 15 professional development hours each year from each teacher.
Hilltop enrolls children with special needs in an inclusive classroom setting. Children who qualify for special services through Tiny-K Early Intervention or USD-497 Lawrence Public Schools may receive those services on-site at Hilltop.
Hilltop is very fortunate to have families who represent a variety of cultures. We welcome their sharing of activities and customs with the classrooms. Many different types of families are also represented in the Center. Children learn to recognize and accept this type of diversity through social interactions and planned learning activities in the classroom. Our goal is to help every child feel part of a cohesive, accepting, loving group. Families are encouraged to meet with the teachers to bring additions into the classroom. We have a very open communication plan that is reviewed by our Board of Directors each year
In the early 1970s, the February Sisters movement brought to the attention of the University of Kansas administration and student body the need for campus childcare. Through the combined efforts of Molly Laflin, then a representative on the Student Senate, and an initial allocation of $20,000 by the Student Senate, Hilltop opened at its original site on Jayhawk Boulevard in the fall of 1972. The center was originally established to provide care for children whose parents were in some way affiliated with the university, be they student, staff or faculty.
The program grew from three to eight classrooms as the need for quality child care increased through the '70s and '80s. By the early 1990s, the building was full and long waiting lists made it clear that more space was needed. Attempts to find additional space on campus had failed. In 1994, the university-wide Child Care Task Force assigned to study the need for campus child care proposed that a new, larger facility was needed. The continued strong support from Student Senate and the student body convinced the administration to move forward with plans for the new child care facility. Design work began in the fall of 1997. Ground was broken for the "new Hilltop" on June 27, 1999, and the move to the new building was completed in early August of 2000.
Eight years later, Hilltop expanded again to meet child care needs on campus, adding five toddler classrooms, two 2-year-old classrooms and two preschool rooms. Hilltop is now licensed for 314 children.