Bagel Lunch Begins Wednesday, forms are due on Monday!
September 16th, 2016


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Notes from the Head of School
It Takes a Village!
Toddler Program (TP)
Children's House (CH)
Willow Room
Hilltop Helpers
Save the Dates
Community News
Next Week at Hilltop
Monday 9/19/16
MS Soccer

Tuesday 9/20/16
UE Soccer

Wednesday 9/21/16
Peace Day
Bagel Lunch Begins
MS Soccer
Spanish with Marco

Thursday 9/22/16
First All School Gathering (ASG)
LE Soccer

Friday 9/23/16
UE Soccer
Pizza Lunch 

Check out the 2016-2017 School Calendar 

Coming Up...

Tuesday 9/27/16
School Picture Day

Friday 9/30/16
Kids Night Out

Friday 10/7/16
Grandparents/Special Friends Day-noon dismissal for all

Notes from the Head of School

Many of you have come to know and love our Learning Specialist,  Wendy Lynde. We wanted to let you know that she is on a medical leave of absence  as she recovers from  surgery. She had the surgery just yesterday and is recovering wonderfully. 

 was able to complete the initial assessments of the elementary and kindergarten students and we will be continuing all of the small group instruction that she had responsibility for with our classroom teaching staff. If you have any questions about your child's work or lessons, please contact their classroom teacher.

As Wendy needs more support at home, we will be starting a MealTrain and other support as needed. If you would like to be part of the group on the MealTrain notice, please contact Rebecca Fontaine at the front desk.

It Takes a Village!

Thanks to all parents who filled out the volunteer questionnaire and signed up to help on a team. The Flower Bed Clutch is already working with Kegan to beautify our campus and Board Member, Sarah Grasso is corralling Party People to start planning some fun. Parent reps are on board too. The Buildings and Grounds, Equity and Development Committees are gearing up as well and, if you expressed interest, you will be hearing from a chairperson soon.

Toddler Program

Thank you families who were able to come to the Parent Orientation Night  on Tuesday! We appreciate you coming out on a busy weeknight. For those who weren't able to attend and would like to come to the make up session, please let us know and we'll set a time. I have 2 families on the list so far.

During the Parent Orientation Night we discussed the importance of children feeling a sense of belonging in our small toddler community. For many young children the Toddler Program is their first opportunity to experience another community outside of their families. We understand the importance of this experience and therefore we dedicate the first few weeks of school to building trust and setting routines. 

Children feel safe and secure when they have consistent loving caretakers and know what to expect from the day. Children feel a sense of belonging when they feel they have something valuable to contribute to the group. Practical Life works like window cleaning, sweeping, table wiping, and pouring water help children to gain/develop skills to share with their community.

Harry has a window cleaning lesson

One of the highlights of our week is having Jay (and his ukelele, accordion, drum, etc.) come for a music class. While the younger children were interested and tended to observe from a distance, some of the older children jumped right in and started dancing!

Ally, Maceo and Jay

Sophie and Alexander

This week during our regular circle time, we also sang in Spanish to the tune of Frere Jacques:

Buenos dias, buenos dias
Commo esta? Commo esta?
Muis bien, gracias. Muis bien gracias.
Y tu? Y tu?

Besides music, there were other opportunities for art expression and some lessons were given included watercolor painting, scribbling with crayons and molding playdough.

Andrew uses  play dough

Davis paints

We are really enjoying our time with these toddlers and feel fortunate to be part of their early learning experiences!

Happy weekend.
Ellie, Amanda & Marco

Birch Room
Friendship in the Children's House

One of the biggest ways in which children change as they move through the Children's House is in their approach to friendship. Three year olds are often just beginning to become interested in their peers. They often engage in "parallel play", which involves sitting near one another using the same materials but only a few direct interactions.  Examples include digging side-by-side in the playground, running together with trucks, and sitting together at the same table working with similar materials.  As children grow older and their ability to explain their ideas, take turns, and compromise develops they begin to play cooperatively. This kind of play, with many exchanges of ideas and negotiations, is usually begun with only one playmate at a time. For example, the children may make a sandcastle and road together or become fairies who fly around the playground and gather wood chips to "cook" for dinner.  

As children move past age five, they often begin to tackle the complexity of playing with larger groups. In this kind of play, children not only have to negotiate with many others at once, but they must hold in their working memory what everyone else's role and task is in the game. A recent example included a "zoo" game on the playground in which each child was a different animal or zoo keeper, and each child had a different job (such as building a shelter or finding "meat").  

As children develop cognitively and emotionally and move through these different types of play, they also begin to form friendships with each other. Like the play itself, these friendships grow in complexity from short term companions who share the same interests over days or weeks to more stable and long term friends who build and share their experiences together. Look below for some different types of play and friendship in action!

-Cheryl, Serina, and Mariam

Willow Room

We had another busy week in the Willow Room! Children have continued to settle into our daily routine. We are busy with interest in science lessons such as whales, "Plant/Animal" classification, Land and Water, and bees. We also explored "rocks" including a piece of petrified wood, volcanic rock and raw iron! 

We have also been focusing much of our attention on the peace curriculum. Here, we model and show different ways to communicate our feelings. The children learn how to be kind and to help their peers. Some children often struggle with big feelings -- we work to help our friends with processing those feelings in a peaceful way. 
Thank you to all who attended our Parent Orientation! There was so much to explore -- feel free to contact us if you have any lingering questions!  

Have a wonderful weekend! 

Jonathan and Rebecca

Kennedy explores land air and water

Owen and Pasture use the peace rose to resolve a conflict

Lower Elementary (LE) 

Our first full week was a busy one. In our study of chemistry, students learned how a solution is different from a mixture. We will continue to explore this topic next week, as we look more closely at solutions. As part of our botany study we examined seaweed. While seaweed is not actually a plant (it's in the kingdom Protista), it is an ancestor of plants so we include it in our study. 

Students began using work plans this week, a skill that we will continue to practice throughout the year. Work plans help the children to keep track of assignments and plan out their work mornings. 

A fun name game/phonics game we played at circle that you might want to try at home. It goes like this, "My name is Dan and I like dogs." The first sound of my like,  dog, matches the first sound of my name,  Dan. How many likes can your family come up with?My name is Dan and I like, dogs, dinosaurs, diners, dessert, daisies, and disco!

Upper Elementary (UE) 

Middle School (MS)

It has been a week of rich engagement. Math classes have begun in earnest, essays and reading comprehensions are underway in response to our first seminar book,
Of Mice and Men, color theory and creation of color wheels burst from the art room, our look at innovation and energy transformation led us to the creation of original and wacky Rube Goldberg contraptions, explored the social and economic conditions of American women in the early 19th century, and to tie it all together we explored the origins and early years of the American Industrial Revolution. Next week we are taking all of this learning and beginning the waterwheel/water powered machine project.

We want to thank the parents who attended the parent orientation night and especially Alix Fedoruk and Anna Berry for taking on the parent coordinator responsibilities. Expect to hear from them in the near future to sign up for the important fundraiser at Harvest Festival on Sunday, October 9.

Next Friday, September 23rd, we are off on our first road trip of the year to the American Precision Museum in Windsor.

Discovering the subtleties of primary colors 

Teams, work, force, energy, chickens...and so our Innovation Study begins!

Hilltop Invites you to Our High School/Alumni Night October 13th, 7-8:30pm
Hilltop Montessori Middle School graduates who are currently in their sophomore, junior and senior years will be here to share their experiences. How HMS prepared them for high school, the transition to new schedules and environments, to name a few. Public and private schools will be represented. 

Whether you are thinking about high school or Hilltop's Middle School, this is a wonderful evening to hear directly from our graduates about the Hilltop Montessori School experience. 

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

Save the Dates

Friday, September 30th, 5;30-9:30pm
Kids' Night Out
Would you like a grown-up night out? Would you want your kids to have just as much fun as you do while you're out? We've got the answer! Drop your child off here at Hilltop for the Middle School's "Kids' Night Out"! There will be fun, games, crafts, and tons more! We will provide snacks, but please pack a nutritious dinner or have your child(ren) come fed. Cost is $6 per hour and $4 an hour for each additional child. All proceeds to to the HMS Odyssey Fund. To reserve a spot email Leila.

Thursday, October 13th, 7-8:30pm
Hilltop Invites you to Our High School/Alumni Night
Hilltop Montessori Middle School graduates who are currently in their sophomore, junior and senior years will be here to share their experiences. How HMS prepared them for high school, the transition to new schedules and environments, to name a few. Public and private schools will be represented. 

Whether you are thinking about high school or Hilltop's Middle School, this is a wonderful evening to hear directly from our graduates about the Hilltop Montessori School experience. 

Saturday, October 15th, 6:30 pm
Hilltop is so pleased to present poet and Upper El Grandparent, Kate Farrell for a reading from her new book, "Visiting Night at the Academy of Longing" at the 2016 Brattleboro Literary Festival! The reading will be held at the Catherine Dianich Gallery, 139 Main Street, Brattleboro. 

Let's show Kate and the Brattleboro Literary Festival our support by attending this and other great offerings that weekend.

Community News

Hilltop Alum Gets Married In Our New Arts Barn!
Check out our website  for more information on our rental f acilities and/or contact Kegan.

September 25th Parenting4SocialJustice @ The Putney Library
Several staff have enjoyed and benefited from the Classism and Social Justice programs that Angela Berkfield offers. Please consider these "Parenting for Social Justice Chats" as a way to add to your parenting tools!

Looking for support in talking with your kids about social justice issues?
Looking for ideas & motivation for taking social justice action as a family?
Join us for these interactive chats which will highlight books and helpful
resources. The focus this fall is on economic justice, gender, and taking action.
Hosted by: The Putney Public Library and ACT for Social
Childcare provided. RSVP to Angela or  802-254-3400 to reserve a spot for your children ages 3+.
Free. Coffee/Tea & Bagels provided.

Let's Hike for the Homeless!
Saturday, October 1st.
Please come "Hike for the Homeless", a benefit for Groundworks Collective, our local homeless shelter and drop-in center. Contact Amelia if you'd like more info. The hike is family friendly up Mount  Wantastiquet, in Hinsdale. Let's show our support with a gaggle of Hilltop Friends! Registration opens at 9:30am.

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!

Hilltop Montessori School