Re-enrollment contracts have been sent home today!
(Due back February 12th)

The Toddlers take refuge in the little red house during a fire drill!

January 29, 2016


Click heading to get to section
Next Week at Hilltop
Traffic Circle Reminders
Important Dates!
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 2/1/16
Cultural Cooking
MS Basketball Practice  (originally scheduled game has been cancelled)

Tuesday 2/2/16
UE Basketball Practice
MS Basketball Game @ Guilford vs. St. Mikes
Moving up Night

Wednesday 2/3/16
Spanish with Marco 
MS Basketball Game @ Putney Central

Thursday 2/4/16
Winter Sports
Winter Outdoor Survival with BEEC

Friday 2/5/16

Check out the 2015-16 School Calendar 

Coming Up...

Wednesday 2/10
UE Poetry Performance 1:30pm
Open Board of Trustees Meeting 6-8pm

Friday 2/12
Re-enrollment Contracts Due
Snow Date for UE Poetry Performance 1:30pm

Monday 2/15
Mid-Winter Break Begins

Monday 2/22
No School
Teacher In-Service Day

Tuesday 2/23
School Resumes
Summer Fun
Registration Packets will be ready April 1st! We will be  hiring certified lifeguards and camp counselors for 6-12 year olds.  If you are interested please contact Becky .

Traffic Circle Reminders

We've noticed the need for few reminders about traffic guidelines on our campus. Drop-of and pick-up are times of hustle and bustle on our campus. We need to keep many precious little ones safe, and have you on your way as safely and efficiently as possible. To do so, please follow the following guidelines:

Drive slowly and without cell phones when on campus. We have precious little ones walking around!
Pull forward for pick-up and drop off, not stoping in front of the Middle School.
- Use the  outside lane of the circle for picking up and wait until the car in front has moved forward to move ahead, rather than cutting into the inside lane.
Refrain from idling in the circle or up the hill. Turn off your car for a longer wait to protect the environment and young lungs.
- If you need to wait for a longer period, or need to collect a carpool of students, please  park in the parking lot and collect your carload on foot.

Thank you for your attention to keeping everyone safe!

Upcoming Important Dates!
Tuesday, February 2nd, 6-7pm- MOVING UP NIGHT
For Parents of students transitioning from 4 year olds to K, K to LE, LE to UE, and UE to MS.
Faculty will present a program overview and details, outline expectations, and answer questions of all parents and prospective parents entering a new program level or any parent interested in what lies ahead for their student. All parents are welcome and childcare will be provided. Please sign up at the front desk.

Wednesday, February 10th, 6pm- Open Board Meeting 
Please join us for our Annual Open Board Meeting and hear about Board Committees and Activities, Board service, the "state of the school" and the ongoing Strategic Plan Process.

Toddler Program 

The human hand, so delicate and so complicated, not only allows the mind to reveal itself but it enables the whole being to enter into special relationship with its environment. We might even say that man "takes possession of his(her) environment with his(her) hands." His (her) hands under the guidance of his (her) intellect transform this environment and thus enable him (her) to fulfill his (her) mission in the world.

Dr. Maria Montessori,  The Secret of Childhood, 1936.

Birch Room

We had a great week in the Birch Room exploring new works and playing in the snow. Here are some pictures from outside.

Enjoy the weekend!

Cheryl, Serina, and Mariam

Addy enjoys the climbing structure.

Owen, Oliver and Henry talk about their ice collection.

Isla gives Opal and Alica a ride

All aboard!

Sebastian hangs out.

Willow Room

Please enjoy these pictures from this week. We hope everyone has a great weekend!

Jonathan, Rebecca and Jaime

Lower El

The heart of the Montessori elementary curriculum, the cultural studies, has given us much to do this week. In geography, we have moved on to a study of Europe. Works include identifying each country's flags, learning about the biomes of Europe (unlike Australia, Europe contains polar regions), and studying the mammals of Europe. A couple of students are recreating their own maps of Europe by tracing the puzzle map pieces onto large paper, a project that takes patience and persistence. We will soon be learning about the people of each biome, as well as the specific animals and plants that inhabit these areas.  

In History (as in, the history of our planet), Dan has introduced our timeline of life, a large and beautiful work that captures the imaginations of olders and newcomers alike. Students are working with command cards to learn more about the creatures that first inhabited the earth, and about their descendants. An example of a simpler card is "What is the name of the first bird? Did it appear during the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, or Cenozoic Era?"

Olders have begun work on biographies, practicing note-taking this week. Their subjects are Roald Dahl, Helen Keller, Ernest Shackleton, Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, Amelia Earhart,  Charles Darwin, Neil Armstrong, and Jim Henson. At the end of this study, each child will read their biography to the class.  The rest of the students will be writing biographies of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures.  

Thank you for your help in making sure each child has hats and inside shoes!  

Enjoy your weekend.
Kerstin and Patrick

Upper El

Have a great weekend!

Our next Poetry Performance is on Wednesday, February 10th at 1:30pm . The snow date is Friday, February 12th at 1:30pm.

As part of our sixth grade teaching, Padma teaches snow-making, Anna teaches pretzel making

Julian and Ellie bake Irish soda bread for the class to enjoy during
our "poetry slam"

Magda and Ellie bring their knitting to aftercare (thank you Virginia Ayres  for donating knitting needles to our class!)

Ilona recites her poem during the poetry slam, in which each student memorized and illustrated a poem of choice to present to the class

Julian, Owen, and Emmett celebrate finishing a decimal division problem

Back to top
Middle School

This week saw the completion of our "Struggle for Peace" guest speaker appearances. Last Friday, Ann Braden visited the classroom to speak about the reasons she founded her organization, Gun Sense Vermont and the progress of her work to limit the availability of firearms to those who are dangerous to others or themselves. It is an extraordinary and inspiring story of a young mother who was profoundly disturbed by the horrific Sandy Hook school shootings and moved beyond her personal horror to actively work for change.  Ann went from holding signs downtown to organizing an active group of over 5,000 members with a presence in the Vermont legislature. Despite the ingrained resistance and unfortunately at times abusive response from the pro-gun lobby, Ann remains committed to her work and was recently successful in passing a bill that moves towards a universal background check.

On Tuesday, Anna and Devan from the Women's Freedom Center lead an active discussion on domestic abuse. They engaged the students in defining what constituted abuse as compared to healthy relationships. The students were shocked to learn the statistical rate of abuse and how much occurs in our community. We made the connection that a society that condones violence in national policy, in entertainment, and as a reasonable solution to conflict as well as the continuing inequality and objectification of women also creates an environment for the continued and pervasive physical and emotional abuse of primarily women and children.

We want to thank all of the guests who have immeasurably added to our study of conflict and peace.

Here are a few excerpts of student reflections from Anna and Devan's visit:

"Gender equality is something America needs to keep fighting for, and equality will help with the abuse issue as well.  I want to fight for gender equality and improve the portrayal of women in the media. But until all that happens, places like the Women's Freedom Center must keep going on and helping women in need."


"I think that the issue of domestic violence comes from the violence that has been so normalized in our culture by such a young age. I think the most important thing I learned today is that even though domestic violence won't change just by my actions, I can at least make a conscience effort to take that out of my life, and stop that normalization for me.  Hopefully that will influence others as well."


"Anna made our statistics and facts about domestic abuse come to life today. She allowed me to realize the daily harm that was happening in our communities. I think as a 21st century teenager, social media plays too big a part in our lives.  People comment hurtful things, cyber bully each other, it makes it much easier to blackmail someone, and you can misunderstand someone else's point of view and think they were doing something they weren't. All of this creates conflict. As of two weeks ago, I quit two of the biggest social media apps. My decision to quit these apps has freed up my life and allowed me to pursue other passions."


Staff from the Women's Freedom Center lead the class in a domestic violence awareness exercise

Ann Braden from  Gun Sense Vermont  talks about her project

Ernie works on a stop motion project

Mason explores the difficult decisions of war through painting and research

Thank You, Hilltop!!!!

On Thursday morning, we delivered the food that you all so generously donated to the Groundworks Collaborative Drop In Center- 450 items in total!

Please continue to remember your friends in need !

Leah and Leila deliver food to several shelters as part of their 
Spontaneous Project

Winter Sports

Winter Sports Pictures

At the rink...

At Mt. 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

Congratulations to Nara Iams and her family (Patrick in the Toddler Room and Minjae in the Birch Room), they just welcomed a baby girl! If anyone has a cradle/swing they could loan the family for a few months, please contact the front desk

Thank you to the Donahue Family for donating the three puzzles to the Toddler Room, they are a big hit!

Thank you to the Doherty/Ostrander Family for donating the apron to the Toddler Room, it's very much appreciated!

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


Winter Sports  Chaperones
,  we are grateful for all parent participation!

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 Update
Thank you to the awesome coaches who have volunteered to help our Hilltop girls!  Starting February 1st, you can register your 3rd-5th grade girl for this program at Hilltop.  Registration will be online at:  

The nitty gritty:  we will meet on Wednesdays and Fridays after school, from 3-4:30 pm, starting March 9th. The season will culminate with a 5K here in Brattleboro on Saturday May 21st.  It costs GOTR-Vermont $150 per girl to offer this program, but thanks to grants and individual fundraising, we are able to offer it to all Vermont girls at an $80 fee.  Additionally, need-based scholarships are available, which you can apply for during the online registration process.

From the Girls on the Run web site:  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 at
We do not have enough volunteer coaches this year to provide this program for 6 th-8 th girls.  Please contact Alix Fedoruk or Jess Rodrigues  if you have a girl in this age range who'd like to find a local program to join, or if you'd like to consider volunteering in the future.

After School Comic Making Workshop
Wednesdays at 4pm, starting February 3rd! 10 week session for $100. Bluebird Theater, Room 357, The Cotton Mill, 76 Cotton Mill Hill, Brattleboro. For more information, email  Donald, or call 802-289-2179.

Brattleboro Concert Choir

Hilltop Montessori School