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A Culture of Care >> Read Smith’s plans for the fall 2021 semester.

The Program

Children in a Fort Hill classroom

The Center for Early Childhood Education at Fort Hill offers full- and part-time early education and child care in Northampton for children infancy through preschool. The program serves about 80 children in seven classrooms. 

Fort Hill is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, year-round. The annual calendar notes the dates the center is closed for professional activities and holidays. 

The early childhood program at Fort Hill serves as a laboratory for Smith College. Students and faculty conduct research and observations and complete field work at the site. Students also work in the classrooms through the college's work-study program. 

The program helps to meet the child care needs of Smith College employees. Benefited employees are eligible for tuition grants through the Office of Human Resources. 

A 10-week summer program is available to children enrolled for an academic-year.


Infant, Toddler, Preschool

2021–22 Academic-Year (40 weeks)

  Infant* Toddler** Preschool***
Maximum Class Size1 7 9 20
Child: Teacher Ratio1 3:1 4:1 10:1
Schedule Options 3, 4 or 5 days2 3, 4 or 5 days2 3, 4 or 5 days2
Program Opens 8 a.m. 8 a.m. 8 a.m.
Departure Options3 2:45
4:45
2:45 p.m.
4:45 p.m.
12:45 p.m.
2:45 p.m.
4:45 p.m.
Calendar4 August 30–
June 3
August 30–
June 3
August 30–
June 3

* Infant: two months–15 months
** Toddler: 15 months–two years and nine months
*** Preschool: three years old by December 1 to five years old

  1. These figures are based on Massachusetts State Law; actual class sizes and ratios may be lower
  2. Part-time schedules are accommodated on a space-available basis
  3. Departure time must be the same for all days of enrollment; extra time may be purchased on a space available basis
  4. The program closes according to the holiday schedule of Smith College and closes monthly for professional days