We hope you can join us on Thursdays as we resume All School Gathering!

February 26, 2016


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Next Week at Hilltop
Notes from the Head of School
Family Survey
Summer Fun
Shop and Earn Money for Hilltop
Toddler Program and Children's House
Lower Elementary (LE)
Upper Elementary (UE)
Middle School (MS)
Hilltop Helpers
Community News
Next Week at Hilltop
Monday 2/29/16
Cultural Cooking

Tuesday 3/1/16

Wednesday 3/2/16
Spanish with Marco

Thursday 3/3/16
Winter Outdoor Survival with BEEC

Friday 3/4/16

Check out the 2015-16 School Calendar 

Coming Up...

Monday 3/7
MS Performance in the Arts Barn

Tuesday 3/8
MS Performance in the Arts Barn

Friday 3/11
Kids Night Out!

Notes from the Head of School

We have continued to revise our Emergency Plans and we are now included in the Town of Brattleboro and Brattleboro Schools - Emergency Response Plan. As part of our routine 
emergency preparedness, we perform monthly fire drills. This week we also had a "Shelter-in-Your-Classroom" drill for all programs. During this drill all doors were locked and students stayed in the classrooms, or were accompanied by an adult to move through the halls. We explained the drill to all classes individually in an age appropriate way. This was a very low-key practice that caused no undo alarm among the students. If you ever visit the school and the front door is locked, this drill might be going on. We have a buzzer system at the front desk to let you in. If you have any questions about this, or any other matter, please do not hesitate to stop by or send me a note.

Annual Family Survey Out Now!

We greatly appreciate and value feedback from our community. Last year our annual family survey focused on information we wanted for Strategic Planning. Our plan (currently in draft form) has been significantly influenced by the information that you provided in the survey, and there were many ideas that we were able to act on immediately. 

Please take 5-10 minutes to provide feedback to this year's  survey Some of the questions are feedback needed for our Early Childhood STARS program, some are other items of interest. This year, we are specifically looking for more information about the goals of diversity and also how we can best serve working families. Thank you in advance for your participation and feedback!

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 and Children's House

During February vacation, several CH teachers attended a day-long training on brain development. We were particularly struck by the information we received about children's sleep, and wanted to share some of what we learned with you.

It turns out, not surprisingly, that most of us don't really get enough sleep, and that includes many children as well. Unfortunately, that lack of sleep actually changes the way our brains operate the next day, by forcing us to conserve energy. We do that by giving a little less glucose to certain parts of the brain, leading to difficulties with impulse control, concentration, and other executive tasks. We impede our ability to cope with stress and take on a more negative world view because our brain gives less energy to positive memories. Losing sleep also interferes with learning, because we code and consolidate each day's experiences during sleep. Without enough sleep, we even become more clumsy. In fact, preschoolers who go more than 8-9 hours without sleep are 86% more likely to end up in the emergency room!  

So how can you know if your child is getting enough sleep? 
Studies show a range of sleep needs, from an average of about 13.5 hours for 18 month olds to about 11 hours for 5 year olds, with a lot of individual variation. According to the training we attended, your child is probably getting enough sleep if he or she:
1) can fall asleep within 15 to 30 minutes
2) can wake up easily at the time needed without constant reminders, cajoling, etc.
3) is awake and alert all day except during the midday nap period.  

Here are some recommendations from the training to help your child sleep better and more easily:

1) Start each day with a regular wake time, even on weekends.
2) Find your child's ideal bedtime. Look for when he or she starts to slow down and gets physically tired and get them to bed BEFORE then. Otherwise, your child will get a second wind and have a harder time falling asleep.
3) Create a simple, regular bedtime routine.
4) Use light to help your child get into a sleeping and waking routine. You can dim the lights in the evening and use lots of light (sunlight if possible) to help wake up in the morning. Know that watching a TV or playing with a tablet acts like staring at a light- it tells your child's brain to switch to "awake".

There are a lot more suggestions for supporting healthy sleep, as well as more information on sleep in general here.

Have a great weekend!

-Cheryl, Serina, Mariam, Jonathan, Rebecca, Jaime, Ellie, and Hannah

Lower El

Enjoy these pictures and have a wonderful weekend!

Upper El

  The class is jumping into the following works during this new stretch of weeks:
Within our vital functions of animals studies, we will be looking at how animals adapt to their various environments. This week, we experimented with what natural resources found on campus could be used to retain moisture in a sponge. Students also completed layouts of diagrams and labels that teach the support function of animal skeletons, and they dissected owl pellets to identify whether they contained the skeletons of voles, shrews and/or moles.
Early human studies have moved up to early dwellers of the American continents. We kicked off this study with a look at how and when people first inhabited this continent, and the changing theories based on fossil remains, DNA analysis, and linguistics. We also began reading Native American myths. In writing, students are brainstorming and planning their own myths that could answer questions about the natural environment.
Finally, we started a new round of electives. Students are creating games, singing, print-making, knitting, animal drawing, and making crankies. More details to come!
Please help students remember to have a pair of indoor shoes living at school, especially during this premature mud season! 

Back to top
Middle School

Tula and Magda give their Spontaneous Project presentation

One of the leads in our play

Early exercises for Performance 

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

Collections for  Carry Me Home
Julia Fedoruk (Upper El) continues to collect 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. 

Thanks to your generosity, the box has been filled 9 times already!

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!


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

Brattleboro Area Prevention Coalition 

The Brattleboro Area Prevention Coalition's mission is to develop and implement a comprehensive community effort resulting in the ongoing prevention and reduction of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug abuse in the Windham Southeast area. They are putting together a small focus group consisting of Hilltop Montessorri parents to gather thoughts, ideas, and challenges regarding parent seminars. The goal is for us to learn how we can best support and meet the needs of parents in the area of prevention. The focus group is on March 17th at 4:30pm  at Hilltop Montessori for 1 hour. Childcare is provided upon request. All participants will receive $15 gift cards to Price Chopper. Please contact bapc802@gmail.com  or call 802-257-2175 by March 15th if interested or if you have any questions. 

Brattleboro Schools Without Walls

Calling all curious, self directed, motivated high schoolers! Want to earn credit for doing the things you love? Ready to take charge of your learning? Welcome to Brattleboro School Without Walls, a community of students who are committed to deep, meaningful engagement in learning, in all of its possible forms. 
Information sessions:
Tuesday, March 1, 1pm
Wednesday, March 2, 5:30pm
Saturday, March 5, 11am
132 Main Street, Brooks House
For more information click here.

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