This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
The Hills School1
Posted April 24, 2013
- a parent
My child went here for six months and we did not have a good experience. The teachers for the really young kids are super sweet but are given no direction or support. The school is cluttered, messy and dirty. They don't produce any reports or documentation of your child's day. Communication is absolutely horrible. There is no structure or preparation for a school environment. For a little more money there are much better options in the area.
I would definitely recommend the Hills to parents looking for a preschool that is based on the philosophy of self discovery and the building of a community. I toured nearly all of the schools in the Arcadia/Biltmore/PV area before deciding on the Hills. Cari Trickel is the perfect preschool teacher and the teacher's assistants are also excellent, which is really important because one teacher cannot do it all. There is definitely a strong sense of community at the Hills among the children and the parents. My daughter loves to go to school every day and sometimes doesn't want to leave! Love, love the Hills.
Change is the name of the game here. You need to be willing to except all sorts of change and not always knowing what is happening. There is lots of room for improvement with feedback but the school is very loving and the kids all love it there.
I love this place! My child started mid-year here after starting a more traditional preschool earlier in the year and hating it. This school is play based (and from what I have read it always has been). What makes it so wonderful is that it is truly student centered; students control much of what they do and have lots of independent time. During time spent with classmates, teachers emphasize and model "being a good friend." The differences I have seen in my son are enormous. He is more kind to his little sister, more verbal, and he has become very independent. I feel like he gets a lot of one-on-one time with the teachers (who are amazing and very kind) and they have gone out of their way to help me troubleshoot problems with him. Halfway through the year last year, it was announced that the school would be transitioning to a Reggio Emilia school. Parent started complaining about everything from the addition of an awesome new art room, to being asked to bring in household goods for a science project. I suppose its always hard when something you love changes, but in my view the changes were slight and they were all for the better. We can't wait to start another year!
Keep your eyes open. We went to the school for the 2011-2012school year. We signed up for a traditional play based pre-school program. This is how the school was presented before the year had started, and at the meet the teacher night. It was in the early part of 2012, that the school had completely changed their philosophy and direction. Yes, a school is entitled to have changes, but the director did this without so much as a letter or e-mail to the parents about the upcoming change in direction. The children came back to their classrooms that were completely changed and now had all the alphabets, numbers and letters being removed from the walls. Not only were the parents upset about the changes, but the children were now very confused. It wasn't just a few small changes, but rather the complete opposite of what everyone signed up for and expected from a preschool. When we the parents and paying customers of the school asked questions about this change in direction, we were completely ignored and disrespected by the director. So, please if you are considering this school, please be warned. The direction and classroom philosophy can change in the blink of an eye.
When reading the reviews take note of the dates. Only 1 positive review (written by the new director) is listed recently. The preschool used to be a wonderful place for families and now the new director has even ruined that by changing it to a non-cooperative preschool. She lacks the ability to communicate effectively with parents so she simply got rid of them. When questioned how money was being spent (note the lack of supplies in other reviews) the new director actually yelled at a parent in front of other parents, even threatening to have the child expelled. Don't let the new philosophy or flashy website fool you. It's just a way for the teachers to be lazy and NOT teach or prepare children for kindergarten. There are many other wonderful preschools to choose from in the area. AVOID THE HILLS.
We love this school. It's a close knit community with planned events to help keep everyone involved, and a monthly mom's night out! The teachers are wonderful and the class size is low. I would recommend highly
Shepherd of the Hills is truly a community school. Both of children attended the school and as a family we have met friends that will last a lifetime, not something typical in today's 'drop-off' society. The coop program requires parents to help twice per month. This in-class experience has taught me how to parent more effectively and given me the opportunity to truly know my child's friends. The majority of the teachers at the school are certified teachers with master's degrees, a rare find in most preschools. I encourage everyone to see if it might be a fit for your family.
I have sent two of my children to this school, and I could not ask for a better experience. The teachers are all very loving. The parents and children are very nice and the school runs as if it were one big family. It is a co-op so every parent has to be very involved, but that is what makes the school so great.