The Middle School Contra Dance is TONIGHT from 6:30-9pm.
Hope you can make it!

March 25, 2016


Click heading to get to section
Next Week at Hilltop
Notes from the Head of School
Curriculum Night
Family Tag Sale
Birch Room
Willow Room
Lower Elementary (LE)
Upper Elementary (UE)
Middle School (MS)
Hilltop Helpers
Community News
Next Week at Hilltop
Monday 3/28/16
Cultural Cooking 

Tuesday 3/29/16
Spanish with Marco Make up Class

Wednesday 3/30/16
UE Field Trip

Thursday 3/31/16
All School Gathering

Friday 4/1/16

Check out the 2015-16 School Calendar 

Coming Up...

Monday 4/4/16
UE Ultimate Frisbee

Tuesday 4/5/16
MS Ultimate Frisbee
Spanish with Marco
Tennis at the BOC

Wednesday 4/6/16
Cultural Cooking
UE Ultimate Frisbee

Thursday 4/7/16
MS Ultimate Frisbee
Curriculum Night

Friday 4/8/16
Seasonal Shelter Dinner by CH

Friday 4/15/16
UE Play

Notes from the Head of School

We are thrilled to have 70 of you respond to this year's Family Survey. The responses were affirming with average rating between agree and strongly agree for questions like:

1.   Teachers, administrators, and specialists treat students with respect, fairness and dignity.

Teachers and administrators promptly and effectively address concerns parents bring to the school.

 The school clearly and effectively communicates and lives up to its mission, values, and goals.

  How satisfied are you with your child's academic progress?


   The goal of the winter sports program at Hilltop is to expose students through grade 8 to the athletic wonders of winter in Vermont. This program is valuable.

The comments included lots of wonderful feedback including some great suggestions. We will be compiling the results and providing a more thorough analysis and report in the coming weeks.

Concert  on April 23rd

Get your tickets for Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem on Saturday, April 23rd, at 2pm at the Latchis Theatre! 

Tickets for the concert are $15 for adults and $10 for children. In order to include families of lower income levels, Hilltop and the Latchis are structuring ticket sales with a "buy one, donate one" option. The two organizations have partnered with the Boys and Girls Club, Youth Services, HCRS, and Groundworks Collective to help distribute tickets to children who might not otherwise be able to attend. 

Tickets are available on-line here.  

Curriculum Night
Curriculum Night
Thursday, April 7, 5:30 pm

Physical Science: How the World Works
The faculty invites you to come learn how the physical sciences are taught throughout the Montessori curriculum. You will have the opportunity to participate in a physical science lesson at each program level. At the end of the evening the faculty with gather to answer your questions about this important part of our curriculum.

5:00 - 5:30  p.m.
Family Dinner/ Pizza and Potluck in the Arts Barn

5:30 p.m. 
Childcare Available/ Sign Up at the Front Desk
5:30 - 7:30 p.m. 

RSVP for childcare, pizza, potluck and the program email  Rebecca  or call the front desk at 257-0500 ext *102.

Ginormous Multi-Family Tag Sale - June 4, 2016
Wanted: a few energetic tag sale enthusiasts to organize this spring's Hilltop Ginormous Multi-Family Tag Sale that will happen on Saturday, June 4th.

Be a part of this trailblazing crew that will transform the "tag sale experience" and take it into unchartered rummage territory. Decide how to organize the event, choose to sell concessions or not - the opportunities are endless. 

For those of you who would like to control the destiny of this super fun event, please email Amelia in the Development Office or stop by anytime.

After School Enrichment Programs

ASEP Forms are Due Now!

MS Ultimate Frisbee  has been changed to Tuesdays and Thursdays.

UE Ultimate Frisbee is now on Monday and Wednesdays. 
Please return forms to the front desk ASAP, thank you!

Both programs begin the week of April 4th.

Appreciation from Jay our Music Teacher

We sometimes start our staff meetings with "appreciations," which allow us to step away from our "to do" lists and busy lives, and bring awareness to the positive. A few weeks ago, while on recess duty in "Haytown," the woods just west of the parking lot, I was struck by a feeling of gratitude for this area of the Hilltop campus. Here, I get to observe upper and lower elers engaged in fantasy ("Jay, would you like to buy one of these items from my store? They cost only two crystals!"), creating with nature (many structures built from tree branches, stones, dirt, logs...), and interacting with each other in ways they might not on the soccer field or playground ("So...when the elves come up this little hill, let's bring them to my store, OK?")

I am blessed to be part of a community that fosters imagination, creativity and the arts. I'm also grateful for the opportunities to observe children in this environment. Additionally, in Haytown, I myself gain inspiration, as I search for the perfect few sticks to make my miniature elf tepee, in order to place my "crystals" thoughtfully and artistically around the front entrance.

Birch Room

Thanks to Rosie Wojick, Caroline's mom, for coming and cooking with our group today.  The "hot cross scones" were a big hit! Per request, Jay even sang a song about that during music :) Have a great weekend!

-Cheryl, Serina, and Mariam

Willow Room

Spring is here and we are happy to finally begin exploring new growth. The birds have visited our new bird feeder and the trees and flowers have begun to bud and bloom. In the classroom we have new changes as well! In addition to many new "Spring works," we also have a new friend! Lillian joined us last week. Children have shown her lessons and invited her to work with them. It is wonderful to see so many Peacekeepers welcome our new friend with such loving kindness.

Enjoy these snapshots from the week, and have a good weekend!

-- Jonathan, Rebecca and Jaime

Uri makes and "O"

Max, Jade and Sebastian share their sculptures

Astrid makes a flower book
Marquetta and Astrid roll up work rugs

August, Matai and Leo share their relief pictures

Lower El

Debra Rosenzweig led her third of six mindfulness classes at morning circle on Tuesday.   This week, she presented the idea of "mindfulness of the body." We practiced sitting straight and still, with our legs crossed, trying to notice things with our five senses. Some students heard their neighbors breathing, others felt the air coming in and out of their noses.  

Next, we stood up and wiggled for a full minute, some of us jogging in place, others waving our hands and stomping our feet. When we sat down, Debra checked in with the class to see how everyone felt. One student said "I noticed I felt lighter and more stable (after wiggling)."  Debra told us about endorphins, and that they are released when we exercise,  and  when we meditate. They make us feel good!  

We also practiced progressive relaxation. Lying on the floor, the students gradually went through their entire bodies, straightening and stiffening legs, clenching fists, scrunching up their eyes, and then relaxing each muscle. It was a very rejuvenating session, and we can't wait to see what Debra has for us next week! Here  is a link to the directions for making your own "Mind Jar," something she shared with us last week. She showed us this after reading the book,  Moody Cow.

Next  Friday, April 1st,   Lower El will be having Pajama Day.  Participation is optional, and includes wearing your favorite pajamas to school. We may also be doing some planting in our raised beds on that day, too, so appropriate outdoor shoes will still be necessary.  

Have a a wonderful weekend!
Kerstin and Patrick

Upper El

Journey North  is a web-based geography/math/cultural exploration. Much of the investigation is based upon how the number of daylight hours (the photoperiod) changes over the course of a year at any particular location on the earth.
Students have direct experience of changes in daylight hours here in southern Vermont.  They become aware of just how short the days are in winter when the sun sets before 5 PM, especially near at the end of the calendar year, and how long the days are in summer, when they can play outside well after dinner time. The changes in daylight hours over the course of a year gives us our seasons.
The Journey North website website chooses 10 cities around the world and challenges our students to find them. Each week (for 11 weeks) they send us sunrise and sunset times for those sites. From this information, we can calculate the photoperiod, or length of daylight, for each site over the 11 weeks. For some of the sites, the days are getting longer over this period - as they are here in Brattleboro. Here in the Northern Hemisphere we are transitioning from winter to spring as the days get longer.  For some of the sites, the days are getting shorter, so they all must be in the Southern Hemisphere, making the change from summer to fall. Those sites whose photoperiod changes very little over this time must be located near the equator, where they get close to 12 hours of daylight throughout the year. Thus, we use a graph of this information to get a clue as to the site's latitude - especially as compared to us here in Brattleboro, at 43 ° north latitude.
To get us started in thinking about how the daylight on a particular day relates to its latitude, in early January each fifth grader was randomly assigned a latitude - say, 30 ° south. The child then finds a city located somewhere on that line of latitude, using the world map outside the UE classroom. They then look up, on the US Naval Observatory  website  the sunrise/set table for that site for a whole year. The graphs you see here show the daylight as it changes over the course of a year on 10-day intervals. Notice how the latitude influences the distribution of daylight over the course of a year:
  • Sites near the Equator have about 12 hours of daylight throughout the year.

  • Sites in the Northern Hemisphere have longer days (summer) in June/July and shorter days (winter) in November/December/January.
  • Sites in the Southern Hemisphere have their shortest days (winter) in June and July and their longest days (summer) in November/December/January. 

Middle School

It has been a week of exploring Eastern religions and philosophy. Along with grappling with the tenets of Hinduism and Buddhism we sought to find the connections with our own lives.  The students recently read the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, "The Illumined Man". As we spoke of the great conflict of good and evil that is the centerpiece of this ancient book of wisdom, we recognized how we are all engaged in this battle day in and day out by the choices we make. As we moved into the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path that define Buddhist thought we found more parallels with a number of the paths such as "Right Action" and "Right Speech". The focus of our "River of Spirit" study of religion, faith, and spirit is as much the exploration of five of the world's major religions as the exploration of self.

One of the branches of this study is a research project that explores the relationship between the act of creation in the form of an acknowledged artist and the realm of spirit. What is the spark that moves this person to a life of creativity? Each student has selected an artist (any form of self-expression) and is actively engaged in research to try to answer this question. As part of this exploration students are creating charcoal portraits of their subject. Sometimes becoming tactilely familiar with someone's face is a way into their inner voices. 

Enjoy the weekend.

Alex works on his Artist project

Spring is in the air

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
 - Spring clothing now needed
Julia Fedoruk (Upper El) continues to collect clothing and other items on behalf of Carry Me Home, the Brattleboro based non-profit (501c3 approved) that sends clothing and baby carriers to Syrian refugees in Eastern Europe. Carry Me Home coordinates with volunteer organizations on the ground in Germany, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, and Greece to make sure the right items are sent, to the right places, when needed. You can find more information on Facebook , Indigo's Generosity , or Email .

Please bring items from the newly revised 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 the end of the school year.

Thanks to your generosity, the box has been filled 12 times already! Thank you!

NEEDED ITEMS  (ALL GENTLY USED):     Baby carriers : all kinds except those with rigid frames, or recalled.   Children's SPRING clothes  (0-16 years of age): rain jackets, warmer pants & jeans, long sleeve shirts and sweaters, fleece items, tops, bottoms, tights, leggings, socks, regular underwear.   Kids' shoes  and preferably rain boots.     Small & light toys.   Adult shoes.   Adult socks  in good condition without tears or holes.   Light, sturdy backpacks  and light duffle bags with large handles that can be worn as a backpack.   Small flashlights with batteries  included.

Also, Carry ME Home is having an 80's party April 23rd as a benefit. See poster in lobby for details!

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

Hilltop Montessori School