Frequently Asked Questions


What is the teacher-student ratio?

Hills and Falls maintains a 1:6 teacher student ratio.

What are the benefits of a cooperative?

The cooperative structure of our school provides an opportunity for parents/guardians to be actively engaged in their child’s first learning experience. It also enables families to experience being part of a community of other families as well as gain knowledge about child development and be a strong advocate for their child. Children realize that the personal efforts and contributions of their family are essential to the daily success of the school.

Is a co-op school feasible if both parents/guardians work?

The parent help schedule is developed well in advance in order to accommodate preferences for days and to allow working parents to arrange for time-off. With a little notice, it’s usually not hard to switch parent help days if something comes up.

How do you teach math, science and reading concepts?

We believe in an emergent curriculum that is thematic and constantly evolving to meet the needs of each child in our program. We blast off into space, take trips around the world and make our own paper and pasta. Concepts and skills in the areas of language, literacy, science, problem solving and numbers are integrated into each curriculum unit.

How do you handle behavior problems?

“Preventative medicine” and respect are at the core of behavior management at Hills and Falls. Each classroom teacher works to create a safe atmosphere of mutual respect. We equip children with the skills and strategies for resolving conflicts and being members of a group. Teachers redirect children, model behavior, suggest words or strategies and expand on teachable moments. When a teacher intervenes in a conflict you might hear: “What could you say next time?… What could you do next time?… How could we work this out?… Let’s practice ways we could say that.” We work progressively with children towards the behavior we would like to see.

How does the school communicate with parents/guardians?

The communication between school and home is constant at Hills and Falls. We have regular classroom newsletters sent electronically, weekly emails from the co-presidents and staff, and an open door policy so that parents always feel welcome to speak with teachers or the Director about anything. Teachers hold conferences in the Fall and Spring, or more often by request, and provide parents with written reports of their child’s progress. There are parent mailboxes, classroom bulletin boards, a community bulletin board and frequent emails. Staff is also available to talk with parents informally about any concerns or issues.

What if my child has difficulty separating from me?

We will work with you and your child so you both have a positive experience in the morning. Our goal is for children to feel secure and excited about transitioning into the school environment. In our three-year-old class, Morning Circle is a wonderful way to draw children into the morning’s activities and ease the transition. If desired, a parent may spend extra time with his or her child in the classroom during the first few days of school. An adult is always available to comfort your child if he or she is upset when you leave in the morning.

Does my child need to be potty trained before enrolling at Hills and Falls?

Children do not need to be potty trained to enroll at Hills and Falls. We encourage using the toilet in a positive way without pressure. Peers often have a large influence on the children. We try to mirror the approach used at home, if possible, for consistency. It is a collaborative effort. A changing area is located in the bathroom of the school.

How do you handle allergies at the school?

Hills and Falls practices a nut free policy, however, we are housed in a building that is not nut free. All snacks and food provided to children are nut free. Additionally, the school sends home a list of “school friendly” snack suggestions, and emphasizes which popular brands are manufactured in a non-nut free facility. All allergies are posted in the snack areas of each classroom. Children with an EpiPen are required to bring in their own snacks and special treats from home. The parent handbook that is required to be read and signed by every family states clearly our full allergy policy. Please see the Director if you have more specific questions regarding your child and allergies. | 617-964-2086

Hills & Falls Nursery School

258 Concord Street, Newton, MA 02462

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