Hill & Dale Programs
Hill & Dale provides Early Childhood Education that nurtures the development of children, families and educators through inquiry, collaboration, and play. We offer an assortment of classes for a range of ages at our two campuses.
Infant Program


Our infant program provides care for infants from 3 months to whenever the child is developmentally ready to move up into the toddler space. We believe an experienced, professional staff is the key to a successful infant program. We pride ourselves on our low child to educator ratio of 3:1.

Since the infants have a wide developmental range, we have a very flexible daily schedule. Bottle feedings occur whenever the infant gets hungry and infants are encouraged to nap whenever they are tired. We work closely with each family to develop a daily routine that fits.

We find that after infants have been together in the Center for a number of months they seem to get on the same food and nap schedule. Diapering, of course, occurs throughout the day. We provide cloth diapers to every student until they are ready to transition to toilet learning.

Our scheduled nap time for older infants is after lunch (12:30 or 1pm). The infants sleep as long as they need.

CA License #191602008

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Toddler Program


Our Toddler Program focuses on children between the ages of 18 months and 3 years. Our toddler to educator ratio is 5:1.

Toddlers need many opportunities to move about. They love to run, jump, climb and explore their world. Toddlers are interested in all of the work that adults do and are given opportunities to participate in the daily jobs of the Center. They love to clean, sweep, set tables, etc.

The educators build the curriculum around all these developmental needs. Each child is grouped with a primary educator with up to six children per group. These small groups meet exclusively for circles and lunch time. During work and play times all children and educators get to know one another in our “team teaching” environment.

CA License #191601480

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Preschool Program


The Discovery Center houses our Preschool Program for children ages 3 to 5 years old or until they are ready to enter Kindergarten. Our Preschool child to educator ratio is 6:1.

We have both outdoor and indoor play areas. Many gross motor activities and social interactions happen in the outside play yard, which includes a treehouse, bike path, climbing structure, sand box, garden, and plenty of space for open-ended play.

CA License #191671164

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Camp in the City


The Discovery Center Campus is also the home base for our Camp in the City program, which takes place during the summer after Preschool graduation and before Kindergarten begins.

Camp in the City offers the children a chance to explore and become part of the surrounding communities of Santa Monica and Los Angeles through picnics in the surrounding parks, art projects at our center, and various field trips.

Past trips have included a scavenger hunt at the Santa Monica Farmers Market, a tour of Watts Towers, visiting outer space in the SMC Planetarium, enjoying music at The Hollywood Bowl, and diving deep underwater at The Aquarium of the Pacific. We also swim twice a week at the Santa Monica Swim Center.

Throughout the program the children are encouraged to take responsibility for their own things by carrying their own backpacks and swim gear, thus building a sense of independence and accomplishment that will serve them well as they head to Kindergarten in the Fall.

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My Family & Me


Parent education is highly valued at Hill & Dale and begins with our My Family & Me classes.

These classes are open to parents of children not yet enrolled in the school as well as families that are already part of the Hill & Dale community. Facilitated by our professional educators, these classes provide an opportunity for parents to learn about the physical and emotional growth of their child, to share the common joys and frustrations of parenthood, and to get a feeling for Hill & Dale and decide whether it is a good match. Classes are typically held on Saturday mornings.

Parents of infants and toddlers get support and encouragement as they enter the often confusing and daunting role of parenthood. Families learn about their child’s development during the early years and begin to explore and discuss the many methods, tips and tools they have at their disposal in supporting their unique child as they grow.

In these 8-week sessions, we create a safe and engaging environment where children can play while parents have an opportunity to examine such issues as separation and autonomy, sleep, mealtime, play, discipline, tantrums, etc. Each class includes snack and circle time with music and literature.

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Nutrition Program


As one of the few childcare and learning programs in Santa Monica that offers a warm lunch, we’ve updated and improved how we plan and provide nutritious meals and snacks for your children. All meals and snacks are made in-house fresh daily. We serve organic produce and dairy products as often as possible. The recipes used are modified to feature whole grains and to reduce or eliminate added sugar. The children enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables that are often added in creative ways such as salads, homemade enchiladas, sweet potato hash, and sautéed cabbage.

We provide meals that serve the nutritional needs of children but these meals have grown into a broader taste experience. We’ve added foods that can serve both regular diets as well as those with restrictions/allergies. Did you know that quinoa is high in protein, gluten free, and vegan?

Food Restrictions
Our nutritionists are sensitive to children with allergies and/or food restrictions. Don’t hesitate to speak with them if you have any questions or concerns. We can work with your child’s needs!

Learning Center Campus
Elisabeth provides nutrition services at the Learning Center. She’s been with Hill & Dale since 2011 and is a parent of two children, both Hill & Dale alumni.

Discovery Center Campus
Irma provides nutrition services at the Discovery Center. She’s been with Hill & Dale since 2003 and is a parent of four. Two of her children are Hill & Dale alumni.

What foods are the children enjoying most right now?
The children really love the Green Monster Smoothie! It’s a combination of raw organic fruits, organic plain low fat yogurt, and raw organic spinach leaves. Another recently added favorite is Roasted Veggie Dip with whole wheat lavash. This recipe is directly from Alton Brown on the Food Network. We have a few standbys with updates that are always a favorite: Macaroni and Cheese made with quinoa pasta, crispy fish which is made with sustainable tilapia and enchilada casserole made with homemade “refried” beans. At the Discovery center, some of their favorites are chicken teriyaki with brown rice, vegetable lasagna, chicken pot pies, chili with corn bread and mini turkey burgers.

Family Style Dining
At Hill & Dale we believe that family style dining is critical for child development. The children experience this style of dining in small groups during all of our snacks and lunches. Not only are the children regularly exposed to a diverse variety of foods from many cultures; they are more likely to try new foods because they see their friends and teachers eating them. The children use small regular utensils and dishes so that they are able to serve themselves. Children are taught to pass food to each other and ask when they want things passed to them. If there is a spill, children are encouraged to clean it up by themselves. All the children clear their own dishes from the table. This style of dining develops small motor skills and fosters responsibility and independence as well as consideration for others.

Sample Menu >

Nature & Sustainability


Hill & Dale encourages children to be outdoors and to explore, discover, and play in nature. Both of our campuses are located in or next to city parks and the children have frequent opportunities to run and play in those parks. We also take age-appropriate field trips to explore our community such as the local fire station, library, and farmers market.

These experiences help children connect to the larger community and reinforce the importance of acting locally while thinking globally.

The children at the Learning Center have been working hard to keep their “Salsa Garden” growing and we helped the children make salsa with their first harvest while the children at the Discovery Center released butterflies into the park on Earth Day to promote natural pollination of local plants. Not only were these experiences fun but also educational. These experiences help the children learn to be responsible members of our natural community.

They observe cause and effect and learn that without water, sun, soil, and insects, our gardens cannot grow. They children take part in planning meals that will include their harvest. Meal planning helps develop basic math skills and also gets the children excited about the food they are eating. Children begin to care about their own nutrition and fall in love with fruit and vegetables they grow themselves. By being contributors and not only consumers of nature, children develop empathy for living things and gain early knowledge about our planet and delicate ecosystems. We are committed to leading by example in sustainability by recycling, repurposing, repairing, composting, and developing sustainable patterns of consumption. We often use recycled, repurposed, and “trashable” materials in our curriculum.