have been sent home with your child.  Please have them returned by Friday, December 11th.
Cooking up some Stone Soup!

December 4, 2015


Click heading to get to section
Next Week at Hilltop
Notes from the Head of School
Fitness Classes
Willow Room
Lower Elementary (LE)
Upper Elementary (UE)
Middle School (MS)
Middle School (MS)
MS Adirondack Chairs for Sale
Hilltop Helpers
Community News
Next Week at Hilltop
Monday 12/7
MS Basketball Practice

Tuesday 12/8
UE Basketball Practice
MS Basketball Game @ Marlboro 3:45
Cultural Cooking
Fitness Class @ 5:15

Wednesday 12/9
Open House for Prospective Parents
MS Basketball Practice

Thursday 12/10
Video Club

Friday 12/11
MS Visit Toddler Room
ASEP Forms Due

Check out the 2015-16 School Calendar 

Coming Up...

Monday 12/14
Author/Illustrator Nancy Elizabeth Wallace Visits the K's in CH
MS Basketball Game @ Putney

Tuesday 12/15
UE Basketball Practice
Fitness Class @ 5:15

Wednesday 12/16
MS Basketball Game at Spofford Camp Gym

Thursday 12/17
ASG and Coffee with Tamara

Friday 12/18
Noon Dismissal
Holiday Break
Annual Cookie Swap

Notes from the Head of School


The Annual Report for 2014-15 is out!
Please click here to see a copy. Or, if you would like a hardcopy, please stop by the front office.

The report is for our last fiscal year, which ended on July 1, 2015. It takes the fall to finish out the books, get taxes done, etc. The staff and activities listed are for last year, so it might appear out of date to those of you who know us well now.

Please take a gander and share in our pride for a year of accomplishments, including:
- a well managed budget
- a new, successful toddler program
- the addition of a Learning Specialist to our team
- the completing and filling the new Arts Barn!

We are considering different formats for this report for next year. If you have any comments or questions about the content, or suggestions about the format, please contact me!

Open House for Prospective Parents
Tuesday , December 8th - 9-11 am

Open Houses at Hilltop are both friendly and informative. This is a great opportunity to get a feel for Hilltop Montessori School. Parents, grandparents or other adults interested in Hilltop are welcome to join us. Tours and classroom observations begin promptly at 9:00 am. Teachers from every program will also meet with parent groups for discussion and to answer their questions. And lastly, and current parents will enjoy this, some of our students will be here to take questions from parents about their experience at Hilltop. 
Open House Schedule
9am -  Welcome
9:15 - Tour and observations
10 -10:30 -  Meet with program director for discussion and Q&A
10:30 - 11:00 Wrap-up session with representative students, Head of School and Admissions Director
Only 2 weeks until...
The cookie event 
of the season! 

The 3rd Annual Ginormous Cookie Swap, Snowflake Raffle and Community Craft Sale is happening on Friday, December 18th after noon dismissal. 

Dust off that family heirloom cookie recipe, channel Martha Stewart, Betty Crocker or Mrs. Fields, and bring a batch to school either that Thursday afternoon or Friday morning. All cookies can be dropped off in the theater. Then come to the Swap, purchase a box for $10 and create a selection of cookies that will knock the woolen socks off your friends and family!

But wait! There's More!

The Snowflake Raffle Items will be displayed in the lobby starting on Monday afternoon. Come in and take a gander at the wide variety of items we have this year. Purchase tickets at the front desk, drop your ticket(s)  in the jars next to the item(s) you covet, then let Lady Luck work her magic. We have gift certificates for massages, movie theater tickets, bowling, ski lift tickets, a vintage dress, a kid's bike... and much, much more!

AND there are crafts too! Don't forget, if you've got a craft to sell - contact Amelia.

Hilltop Family Ski Day!

Announcing Hilltop Family Ski Day at Granite Gorge

Saturday, January 30th from 10am until 4pm

We'll have "way" discounted lift tickets to sell Hilltop families for a day of fun - skiing or tubing - at Granite Gorge ski area located right outside of Keene NH.

Stay tuned for more info and Save the Date!

Toddler Program and Children's House

Oliver works with wooden blocks

Understanding "Free play", "Dramatic play" and "Work" in a Montessori Classroom

In a Montessori classroom "free play", "dramatic play", and "work" are really one and the same. Maria Montessori said, "The work of the adult is the play of the child." In the context of their developing brains, "play" is the "work" of the child. We refer to the materials in our classrooms as "works" because they offer purposeful exploration and learning. We also have other materials, such as blocks, puzzles, and other learning resources that we present in the same purposeful and intentional way that we present our Montessori materials. They are all referred to as "works."  Works are chosen freely by the children during the course of the work cycle. All materials in our classroom are designed to be attractive, inviting and enjoyable. 

Young children are still learning about the real world. In a Montessori environment, children need to have real materials to accomplish the kinds of purposeful tasks they may imagine or pretend to do in another setting. For example, when using a food preparation work, children use real food and cooking materials to measure, chop, serve and eat. Pretend play also arises naturally over the course of the work cycle. Although each material has an intended purpose, children often pretend naturally as part of their of exploration and are free to do so. 

Although work can have a negative connotation to an adult, it never does to a child. In a Montessori classroom children are free to choose inviting and engaging works (free play) and are encouraged to use them in purposeful and real ways as they've seen adults do (dramatic play). 

Alexander has fun with his work
Isaac thoughtfully 
strings beads
Kennedy and Paisleigh 
enjoy the fog

Lower El

As part of our study of the Composition of the Earth, LE had a lesson on rocks and minerals this week. Young geologists have been making close observations of minerals, trying to determine their weight, hardness, and luster (Is it dull? metallic? pearly? vitreous (glassy)?). We'll be looking at the three different types of rocks, too: igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary. We look forward to hearing presentations from a few students on this topic.

Writers are working on finishing, revising, or preparing final copies of their stories these days, in preparation for next Wednesday's Author's Tea. We invite everyone to our classroom for an 8:45 reading of the Lower El authors' fiction stories. Student-made baked goods, coffee, and tea will be offered as you enjoy their stories. 

Inside/Outside Shoes:
It is necessary for each student to have a second pair of shoes to change into, especially now that the weather has gotten wet and muddy.  Students with one pair of shoes have been asked to play on the blacktop only, to avoid getting their feet soaked and tracking mud into the classroom. Please check with your child to make sure that they have indoor shoes in their cubby. Thank you.

Enjoy your weekend!
Kerstin and Patrick

Upper El

Thank you to all the wonderful visitors who joined us for authors' tea this week.  These events really underscore for us that writing does not exist in a vacuum, but rather is a profound means of communication and self-expression.

Works in all areas continue, from geometric relationships to mapping early human migration. In the process, exciting connections across our curriculum frequently pop up. In one such case, a recent NPR segment on "The Human Edge" mentioned the emergence of subject-verb-object in spoken language as a pivotal moment in early human history. Lo and behold, direct and indirect objects is precisely what many of our students are now studying in grammar. Come see fabulous depictions of language development, weather patterns, refugee politics, and many other topics in our first UE museum of the year, on Thursday, December 17, at 2 pm, or first thing the next morning. This will be the final week of school before the December holiday.

Sophia shows her classmates how to make pierogis.

Middle School

Upon return from the welcome Thanksgiving break, the middle school students jumped right back into their project work. They are in the process of completing their "Before Our Time" Brattleboro History project book, the "Society Project" video and photo collage, and spontaneous project. Managing four substantial projects along with other academic responsibilities is a great opportunity to build time management skills in a supportive environment. Everything comes to an end with the completion of the term in two weeks. You will have the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of all these varied labors by attending our "film festival" at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center on Gallery Walk night, January 8th, browsing the books at a special exhibition at the Brooks Memorial Library through the month of January, and viewing the photo collages at Amy's Bakery also in the month of January.

Mel Kahn and John Wolfman share their video editing expertise. 

Stone Soup Celebration Pictures

Enjoy these pictures from our celebratory day!

Middle School Adirondack Chairs For Sale

Contact:   Van Zaransky or Gus Williams, you can click on their names to be directed.

Hilltop Helpers

Hilltop Montessori School has a wonderful group of helpful families supporting each other in many ways: carpools, meals in time of need, hand-me-down snow pants, etc. We would like to provide this space in the newsletter as a place that people can share needs and "gifts" with the rest of the Hilltop community. 

If you would like to offer support in any way to the Rashed Family, please let
know. We will be coordinating meals, and anything families would like to offer to Mazin and his family. Also, there are cards at the front desk for signing and/or offerings of condolences or monetary gifts. Stop by when you can please.

Tom Griffith has a chicken plucker that he is willing to lend anyone in the Hilltop community. If you are interested contact  Tom .

If you have a need, or a service or item to offer, let the  FRONT DESK  k now and we'll get it in the newsletter!

Community News

Project Feed The Thousands
This December, once again, Hilltop Montessori School is participating in the community wide food drive, Project Feed the Thousands. We will be collecting non-perishable food and personal hygiene items like toothpaste, shampoo, diapers, feminine products, etc. in a box in the front lobby. 
For the past few years, our students help to load our collection onto a school bus that makes its way to the Hannaford parking lot where WTSA radio broadcasts for the day. 
Last year, Talia and Ernie spoke with radio hosts about Hilltop's participation.

Upcoming Audition at NEYT
There will be a second audition at The New England Youth Theatre (100 Flat St. Brattleboro VT) for "The Jungle Book" on Monday, December 7th at 4pm  for ages 9-12. Directed by Peter Gould with choreography and movement training by Shoshi Bass, Chris Yerlig and Bill Forchion. Be part of a troupe that will explore how a snake slithers and a monkey hollers. Rehearsals begin January 4th  and performances run February 12th through the 21st.  Full details at neyt.org.  If you have any questions please contact us at 802-246-6398.

Carry Me Home 
Is a group of volunteers that run a project called Carry Me Home.  They are now collecting used baby carriers in good condition, gently used snow boots, children's winter jackets, hats, gloves, scarves, sox, lined winter pants, small stuffed animals and toy cars. They ship these items to aid the refugee crisis. Carry Me Home works with a grassroots volunteer organization that recently received the status of the non-profit humanitarian organization in Zagreb, Croatia, which helps to get the supplies directly in the hands that need them most.  You can find them on  Facebook at https://facebook.com/CarryMeHomeWithLove/ or you may email them.
Hilltop parents Lynn Dewald and Kate and Josh Traeger have helped with this effort in the past, and would welcome any questions about the project.

Hilltop Montessori School