Enjoy Mid-Winter Break!
See you back at school on Tuesday 2/22.

February 12, 2016


Click heading to get to section
Next Week at Hilltop
Enrollment Update!
Summer Fun
Shop and Earn Money for Hilltop
Toddler Program (TP)
Birch Room
Willow Room
Lower Elementary (LE)
Upper Elementary (UE)
Middle School (MS)
Winter Sports
Hilltop Helpers
Community News
Next Week at Hilltop
Monday 2/22/16
No School
Teacher In-Service Day

Tuesday 2/23/16

Wednesday 2/24/16
Spanish with Marco

Thursday 2/25/16
Winter Outdoor Survival with BEEC

Friday 2/26/16
Kids Night Out

Check out the 2015-16 School Calendar 

Coming Up...

Wednesday 3/2
Board of Trustees Meeting

Monday 3/7
MS Performance in the Arts Barn

Tuesday 3/8
MS Performance in the Arts Barn

Enrollment Update

Thank you to Hilltop Families who have re-enrolled students for next year! If you missed returning your contract today, February 12, some of us will be here for you to drop off contracts Monday or Tuesday . Enrollment is solid in all programs, and we will be beginning to accept applicants who are waiting for available spots.

We work to enroll each program with a balanced mix of ages, gender and learning styles. While applications for all levels are being considered, we currently are looking to fill some openings in our 6th grade level for Fall of 2016. If you know of a family interested in Hilltop at this level, please encourage them to contact us.

Thank you! 

-The Admin Team

Summer Fun

We are looking for  certified lifeguards and camp counselors for 6-12 year olds.  If you are interested, or know of anyone who may be, please contact  Becky .

Shop Amazon and Earn Money for Hilltop!
Shop at Amazon and earn some cash for Hilltop! Go to 
smile.amazon.com  and search for Hilltop Montessori - BE CAREFUL! There are TWO of us. You want the one in Brattleboro not the one in Alabama! Then, all you have to do is shop for that bowling ball or whatever you're searching for, and Hilltop will get a piece of the action. It's that simple!

Another opportunity to shop and earn $$ for Hilltop. Check out MightyNest.com for all kinds of products for healthy living. Make sure you choose Hilltop Montessori as the school you are supporting. There should be a tab at the top of the site to choose a school to benefit, then shop till you drop!

Toddler Program 

"Help me to do it myself" is a well known phrase in the Montessori community. It is also the mantra of toddlers. They want to do so much for themselves and sometimes don't have the skills to do it. So we make modifications so they are able to be successful in their efforts. For example, while a child is learning to hang up his backpack in his cubby, we might gently lift the bottom of the bag so it's easier for the child to guide the loop over the hook. 

Sometimes a child has the physical ability to do a task independently but perhaps doesn't believe she can do it yet. This week Annabel found herself in this predicament - a new pair of boots that she didn't believe she could put on without assistance. She required a different kind of help to make it possible to put on the boots by herself. Instead of physically helping her hold the boot, it was suggested that she start seated. "I bet you can put those boots on, Annabel. Give it a go. I have full confidence in you." Getting this encouragement while she struggled a bit gave Annabel just the help she needed to do it herself. 

We hope you enjoy a healthy, playful break. See you on Tuesday, February 22

Ellie & Hannah

Birch Room

Maria Montessori instructed us to always "follow the child" in our teaching, and we wanted to share an example of this from our classroom this week. Early in the week, a circle time discussion that began about the morning's snow eventually led some of the children to question whether ice floats. Cheryl, who had something entirely different planned, quickly switched gears and set up an experiment with ice cubes and water to help the children answer their question. That experiment, in turn, led the children to question how fast the floating ice cubes would melt. Several Olders decided to investigate by timing how long it took the ice to melt. They didn't stop there, though. These Olders also asked each classmate to give their own prediction and write it down, and they offered assistance to their youngest friends with the writing! Finally, the Olders reported their findings to back to their classmates. We were so impressed with these children's enthusiasm and organization. As Cheryl said, "You just never know where they will take things."

Of course, the children also got to explore some Valentines' Day themed works this week. We hope you have a great holiday and a great vacation next week.  See you on Tuesday, February 23rd! 

-Cheryl, Serina, and Mariam

Willow Room

Language and literacy work is found throughout the classroom. In different areas, there are many opportunities to develop vocabulary and nomenclature. Right now, several children are experiencing an explosion into writing. They are writing the names of objects around the classroom with letter strings, and "signing" all paper work with their name. We are also seeing much more decoding and early reading -- from simple word building to constructing a sentence. Through observation, lessons and exploration, each child may experience the wonders of literacy in accordance with his or her interests and developmental needs. 

Enjoy these moments in Language as well as other explorations from the past week. Have a wonderful week -- See you on Tuesday, February 23rd!

-Jonathan, Rebecca and Jaime


Lower El

In Lower El, one of our biology studies focuses on vertebrates in evolutionary order: first fish, then amphibians, reptiles, birds, and, finally, mammals. The Timeline of Life allows us to see how these life forms evolved.  

This week, we reached the end of the Timeline of Life charts, and we learned:

- The Cenozoic Era was the Age of Mammals.

- Mammals have an advantage over birds, in that they can move about while pregnant, get food, and do not have to stay in one place to protect their eggs. This difference has allowed mammals to survive and become more diverse over time.  

- The first ape-like creatures to walk on two feet most of the time, our first ancestors, appeared in the Cenozoic Era.  

- A new type of plant evolved during this era, too: grasses!  

- Corn is a grass.

- At the end of the Timeline charts, there is a jagged line, signifying that life on Earth is not finished evolving.  Perhaps, many years from now, Montessori students will be studying an entirely new Timeline of Life chart!

Enjoy your week together and stay warm.

Kerstin and Patrick

Upper El

Congratulations to the Upper El students on a spectacular Poetry Performance. After much hard work the students presented their poems with aplomb on Wednesday. Through the choice of topic and use of language, each student's voice and personality really shone through. Every year, the Poetry Performance provides a wonderful glimpse into the social, emotional, and intellectual development of each child. Some students write about their pets while others write about how humans treat one another. Some students write very concretely and others use strong imagery and symbolism. Some students infuse their poems with humor and others great drama. For the nine to twelve year olds, some students mix the concrete and abstract, the big thoughts and silly humor, reflecting an age when a child can spend a work morning thinking deeply about humans' responsibility to the natural world or square rooting and then spend all of recess building a fort in the woods.

This year, students were able to share their unique voice in new ways. Inspired by the expanded opportunities available with our new Arts Barn Theater, the show took off! In past years, all students composed music to play live with a small group as they recited their poems. As a result of discussions with last year's and this year's sixth graders and reflection on Montessori pedagogy and the possibilities that the Arts Barn allows, students this year were allowed to choose any type of visual or performing art to accompany the recitation of their poems. Some students made paintings, collages, stop-motion animations, and shadow puppet scenes. Others composed music using computer apps and some performed music live. A few students combined music and visual arts. This year's poetry performance even included dance. It is not surprising that with a greater opportunity for choice, independence, and artistic exploration, students' voices shone through stronger than ever.

Back to top
Middle School

Last Friday we brought our "Struggle for Peace" curriculum to an end with a showing of the student's personal representation of peace films. These films originated with an original poem that explored the realm of individual peace and contentment and through photos, video, and music invited us in. The films are moving, humorous, and insightful. This project is a good example of how we look both outward (the World Awareness Project, Peace People Research Project) and inward at the concepts we are mining. The films can be found here.
Highly recommended! 

Performance is now front and center in our lives. Performance is a very special time in our year where we distill the breadth of topics, studies, guests, and projects we have engaged with thus far and collaboratively create a theatrical performance. It is a time where we try to shed the topical and reach into the heart and mind of our learning. As you can imagine, collaboration of this kind is both exhilarating and exhausting. It requires exploring new skills, lots of courage, initiative, and leadership. So far everything is going very well and a powerful performance is on the horizon. The performances take place on Monday and Tuesday, March 7 and 8 at 7pm in our Arts Barn.

Have a wonderful break.

Paul, Nora, Becky, and Finn

A great day at Mt. Snow

Finally a little snow

Let 4 Square begin

Everybody clean up

Beginning the challenging process of writing the Middle School play

First puppet head

Winter Sports

Winter Sports Pictures

At the rink...

At the BOC...for the love of snow (check out the hearts in the sky and in the snow)!

At Mt. Snow...yay for SNOW!

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

Looking for a Dresser
Thank you Carrie Towle for offering your dressers to the Davis Family  for their twin's nursery; it's so thoughtful and kind of you!

Looking for a Babysitter
The Whitney Family  (Carmen is in Lower El)  is seeking a reliable, friendly, experienced babysitter who has transportation. Does anyone in the Hilltop community know of someone who fits this description? If so, please email  Diana Whitney  or call 451-6637. 

Would you like more time?
Offering daily rides to and from Hilltop
Student Driving Service
In an effort to create a more effective and  efficient collaboration to transporting multiple
students to Hilltop Montessori School on  weekdays, we've started up an informal driving
service. Both Gene and Sarah  (parents to Marquetta in the Willow Room) were school bus  drivers for many years and have a great deal of  experience working with students and  transportation services. Both have flexible  schedules and can easily accommodate driving  to different pick up and drop off points within a  range of our regular school route. Give yourself  some extra time and piece of mind. 

- efficient and affordable
- flexible and punctual
- understanding Montessori parents
- professional school bus drivers
- safe, reliable vehicle (Toyota Prius)

When: Hilltop School Days
Where: Hinsdale NH, Brattleboro VT,  Northfield MA
Times: 8am pick up & 3:15pm drop off
Cost: asking $5/day, incl. pick up & drop off

Email Sarah or Gene, or call 413-695-3938 or 413-834-2933. Flyers with all this information is available at the front desk.

Harris Hill Ski Jump 
Kathryn Einig  (mom to Ava in Lower El)  is looking for adult volunteers to assist in ticket sales for the Harris Hill ski Jump event this year.  The shifts that have vacancy are:

Saturday February 20th:  11:00am-1:00pm  and  1:00-3:00pm.
Sunday February 21st: 9:00am-11:00am ,11:00am-1:00pm, and 1:00-3:00pm.

The 2 hour shift coverage gets you into the awesome event free of charge. If a volunteer does 2 shifts (4 hours), they get a free Harris Hill commemorative tee shirt!  

Any interested parties should contact Kathryn Einig with subject "Ski Jump 2016" or call/text  802-258-1983.

This is a great event, hope you can join in!

Collections for  Carry Me Home
Julia Fedoruk (Upper El) is now collecting clothing and other items on behalf of Carry Me Home, the organization mentioned in the January 8 th Hilltop Newsletter. Carry Me Home is a Brattleboro based non-profit (501c3 approval pending) that sends clothing and baby carriers to Syrian refugees in Eastern Europe. Carry Me Home coordinates with volunteer organizations on the ground in Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, and Greece to make sure the right items are sent, to the right places, when needed.

Please bring items from the list below to the collection box in the Hilltop Main
Lobby. Julia will deliver items from the box weekly to Carry Me Home, so items can get to Europe sooner. She will keep collecting until spring break.

NEEDED ITEMS  (All should be in gently-used or better condition)

Baby carriers: any type except hard-framed or recalled

Children's items
-winter outerwear:  jackets, preferably waterproof
-warmer pants & jeans (no snow pants)
-hats, gloves/mittens, scarves
-warm clothes for layering:  fleece items, tops, bottoms, tights, leggings, thermal underwear
-regular underwear, socks
-snow & rainproof boots
-LIGHT and SMALL toys/dolls/stuffed animals

Adult items
-socks (in good condition, no holes)

Additional items
-Light, sturdy backpacks
-Small flashlights with batteries included

You can find more information on Facebook , Indigo's Generosity , or Email .

Thank you!

Thank you  Hazel  for providing our students and staff with delicious pizza each week!


Winter Sports  Chaperones
we are grateful for all your dedication during Winter Sports this season, you are very much appreciated!

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

Girls on the Run

3rd-5th grade girls can join this wonderful exercise and personal growth program at Hilltop by registering here. (from that page, click on Southern Region 5K, then under the "Category" drop-down menu, choose Hilltop).   

Starting  March 9th, we will meet on Wednesdays and Fridays after school, from  3-4:30pm. The season will culminate with a 5K here in Brattleboro on Saturday May 21st.  The fee is $80, and need-based scholarships are available, which you can apply for during the online registration process or by contacting  Jess Rodrigues.  

GOTR will be brought to you by new coach Karen Blumberg (a.k.a. "Ben Berg's Mom") as well as returning coaches Jennifer Griffith (a.k.a. "that awesome lady who worked at the front desk last year") and Alix Fedoruk (a.k.a. "Annelise and Julia's Mom").  
GOTR is an international program founded in 1996, whose mission is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. Designed to allow every girl to recognize her inner strength, the Girls on the Run curriculum inspires girls to define their lives on their own terms. Throughout the season, the girls make new friends, build their confidence, and celebrate all that makes them unique. The Girls on the Run lessons encourage positive emotional, social, mental, and physical development. Participants explore and discuss their own beliefs around experiences and challenges girls face at this age.  They also develop important strategies and skills to help them navigate life experiences. We start with helping the girls get a better understanding of who they are and what's important to them. Then, we look at the importance of teamwork and healthy relationships. And, finally, the girls explore how they can positively connect with and shape the world. Physical activity is woven into our program to inspire an appreciation of fitness and to build habits that lead to a lifetime of health. At the end of the three-month season, the girls participate in a Girls on the Run 5k event. This celebratory, non-competitive event is the culminating experience of the curriculum. Completing the 5k gives the girls a tangible understanding of the confidence that comes through accomplishment as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals. Crossing the finish line is a defining moment when the girls realize that even the seemingly impossible IS possible. More information and FAQs can be found  here, you may also contact Alix Fedoruk.

Hilltop Montessori School