Two bridges cross our on-campus creek and connect our Lower and Middle School. Our students travel across both throughout their day, running, skipping, or strolling to class. Students of yesteryear and today can be found “fishing” off the side of a wooden bridge, or using the structures as inspiration for bridges of their own - kindergarten’s nature walks inspire students to build bridges of their own across the creek using materials they pick up on their hikes, exercising both active bodies and engineering mindsets.
The Village of Friendly Relations The Village of Friendly Relations is a miniature village in the center of the Hillbrook campus that dates back to 1937. Students of The Children's Country School visited the bank in Downtown Los Gatos and acquired a loan for building supplies and learned to build the original 5 miniature houses - including a bank, a gift shop, a tea house. Today, all but the tea house still stands on the Hillbrook campus. The houses have been lovingly maintained over the years and though no longer used as a bank or general store, children at the Hillbrook play in them every school day. The houses also provide spaces for impromptu classes, musical jam sessions, and quiet places to read a book or write in a journal. The most recent addition to the Village of Friendly Relations is the "History House," a project started by a group of 7th grade girls from the Class of 2015. The Village of Friendly Relations is a physical reminders of the innovative spirit that has guided the school since it opened in 1935.
The Hillbrook Water Tower
A Los Gatos Historical landmark, the Hillbrook Water Tower is the only remaining building that is original to the Parker Ranch, purchased by Mary Orem and the founders of the school back in the 1930s. This rustic, cozy space has taken on many different roles throughout the history of the school, including housing a music room and a woodshop. Today, the Hillbrook Water Tower is home to the school’s Reading Room, complete with fireplace and lots of cozy spaces for children to read, do homework, and enjoy a slower pace of life.
An extension of Ross Creek, the creek that weaves across our campus is also an extension of our classrooms, providing an ample and valuable outdoor learning space. Our junior kindergarten and kindergarten students explore the creek in their study of flow in science, can be found problem-solving ways to traverse it, including using branches and other natural tools around them to build their own bridges across its body. In Middle School, students take water samples and study them under microscopes in our science labs. Students in all grade levels gain valuable lessons in caring for our campus and our planet by participating in creek clean-ups that start with ones on our own campus and then extend to local creeks and waterways. Student-designed seating around the creek makes this a favorite spot for students to eat lunch or pass the time.
The Hub With over 3,000 square feet of sprawling space for collaboration and creation, the Hub is the epicenter of making, engineering, and art on Hillbrook’s campus. The Hub features a digital music space, a podcast studio, a green screen area, and a digital photography lab. This open, barn-like structure will provide ample spill-out space for large-scale student creation and artwork. With a variety of workspaces and room for students to tinker, explore, innovate, and problem-solve using traditional tools (formerly found in our Woodshop), the Hub is also equipped with modern devices including laser cutters and 3-D printers, making this a well-stocked place where students are given permission to turn creative ideas into reality. Of course, as student choice and engagement remains at the center of everything we do, Middle School students gave their input during the Reach Beyond Block “Trickin’ Out The Hub” and had a voice in imagining certain elements of the new space.
The Athletics field is home to everything from P.E. class, to softball games, to flag football practice. The verdant space is located at the top of campus, set up against the hillside, which also makes it a favorite place for classes to take their round-table discussions outdoors. This space is surrounded by rustic trails often frequented by Hillbrook’s Cross Country runners.
Equipped with a basketball court, flexible stadium seating, and volleyball nets, the Hillbrook Gym is a lively place for both P.E. instruction and Middle School athletics games and practices. It also is the home to our indoor stage and backstage rooms. The gym hosts a number of performances throughout the year, including the Winter Concert and the 1st-4th Grade Spring Concert. Finally, a longtime fixture on Hillbrook School’s campus, the Hillbrook pool plays a key role in Hillbrook’s springtime P.E. instruction, as students in junior kindergarten-8th grade get to spend time in the pool and work on their swimming skills. The pool is also the setting of the 7th/8th Grade Regatta, a cardboard-and-duct-tape engineering challenge where students design and race handmade boats across the pool in a friendly competition that brings the entire school to spectate and cheer.
Opened in October 2016, the Amphitheater was designed for and intentionally placed at the heart of our campus. Nestled at the center of the Village of Friendly Relations and canopied with expansive trees, it’s truly a central community gathering space. Students, faculty, staff administrators, and families gather here for Flag each week and a number of performances including the Junior Kindergarten & Kindergarten Family Celebration, the 3rd Grade Sound Project, and the 3rd Grade Greek Play, make this a vibrant and well-utilized performance space. On a daily basis, children and adults use the amphitheater seating to eat lunch, study together, and all our students can be found playing in the Village houses throughout the day.
Chicken Coop + Gardens
Students take turns on “chicken duty,” caring for Hillbrook’s five chickens, picking up eggs and delivering them to our kitchen staff, and are given the valuable experience to bond with and care for living creatures. This is a favorite space for many of our students, who love this moment to connect and bond with these beloved feathered friends.
Our newest seasonal garden space is equipped with fruits, flowers, our pumpkin patch, all of which are tended by both Lower and Middle School students. It also provides a beautiful outdoor learning space that spans disciplines. Ample seating options and umbrellas give students and teachers rich opportunities to gather here. Our Junior Kindergarten & Kindergarten Garden, which is conveniently located in the junior kindergarten/kindergarten pod, includes an herb garden, fairy garden, and the Mud Kitchen, which aids the students in both their problem-solving and collaborative skill-building. This place is also is a hugely popular way for children to engage with science and the study of flow.
The Equity & Impact Lab
Created by Hillbrook’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Director of the Scott Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and Director of Teaching and Learning, the Equity and Impact Lab houses and showcases the school’s commitment to core Hillbrook values—equity and inclusion, reaching beyond, social impact, lifelong learning and being our best. This shared space for teaching, learning, and collaboration is a gathering space for student and employee groups, such as People of Color at Hillbrook (PoCaH, an employee affinity group) and Helping Everyone Reach Out (HERO, a Middle School student club). This space is also home base for a number of classes and clubs led by the Scott Center for Social Entrepreneurship. All community visitors and campus visitors alike are invited to engage with Hillbrook’s Equity & Impact Lab, to view the community work and reflections on display, and to learn from the ample resources in this well-stocked space.
Hillbrook’s art and ceramics rooms are all equipped with direct access to outdoor space so that children have the freedom to spread out and let their creativity flow. The ceramics room features an in-room kiln and all classrooms provide a colorful, dynamic, and imaginative space for children to both contemplate their work and create.
Flexible Learning Spaces
Hillbrook is thrilled to carry an expansive and pioneering history with agile learning spaces, starting with the implementation of movable furniture in the school’s iLab in 2012. This pilot showed that students in highly agile learning spaces engage in more exploration, mobility, and movement than if they are placed in a static, traditional setting. Valuing a student’s ability to freely interact with and manipulate their physical environment is one of the key ways that Hillbrook keeps student choice and engagement at the center of the everyday learning experience. Today, flexible classrooms are fully integrated across campus, spanning junior kindergarten-8th grade. Students brainstorm, collaborate, write on, and then flip whiteboard tables to share their work with the class. Flexible seating and tables fold up and away, allowing for a dynamic classroom environment that can be shaped around and for the learning happening in that space on a daily basis. Wiggle stools and portable chairs give students the freedom of choice to care for their bodies and learn in a way that optimizes their engagement.