Stay cozy and dry this weekend!

March 24th, 2017
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Next Week at Hilltop
Notes from the Head of School
Spring Sports
Save the Date
Toddler Program (TP)
Birch Room
Willow Room
Lower Elementary (LE)
Upper Elementary (UE)
Middle School (MS)
Hilltop Helpers
Community News
Next Week at Hilltop

Tuesday 3/28/17
Strength and Conditioning
Sweet Treats

Wednesday 3/29/17
MS Alabama Odyssey
Girls on the Run
Spanish with Marco 

Thursday 3/30/17
All School Gathering

Coming up...

Monday 4/3/17
Teaching Creatures

Thursday 4/13/17
UE Play @ 5pm

Check out the School Calendar 

School State Re-Approval Granted!

On March 21st, the Vermont State Education Board voted to renew our school's general independent school approval! This review process started back in the fall with our preparation of the renewal application, a piece that documents our school's philosophy and educational objectives, governance, course of study and assessments, facilities, qualifications of staff, professional development, financial stability, and regulatory compliance. The Vermont Agency of Education reviewed the document and, in January, had an onsite visitor come to our school. The visitor observed in several classrooms and met with staff to ensure that our documentation was accurate and we were exceeding the state requirements. Our visitor wrote up a detailed description of our programs and his visit, and recommended that we be re-approved. This accreditation is one of the many opportunities for oversight of our programs by outside reviewers. We enjoy showing our school to others and are looking forward to the American Montessori Society accreditation process that we will be undertaking as part of our new Strategic Plan.

Sp ring 
Sports !

Please Get Your Sign-Ups In For:

Upper El and Middle School
Start date: April 3
Practices: Mondays and Wednesdays 3:15-4:45
Cost: $75
Coach Nate Weeks
Baseball (offered through the Dummerston School)
Middle School
Start date: April 3
Practices: Mondays-Thursdays 3:15-4:45 @ the Dummerston School. Transportation will be provided.
Cost: $75
Coach Soren Pelz-Walsh

If you have any questions regarding Spring Sports please contact Soren.

Multi-Family Tag Sale
Does it spark joy?

In preparing for this year's Multi-family, ginormous, fun tag-sale, I've started reading Marie Kondo's book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up". Here are a few nuggets from the book. We hope you will be inspired to clear the clutter and join us at this year's tag sale, Saturday, April 29th.

Kondo asks de-clutterers to work by category, not by room - clothing, books, papers, toys - you get the picture. Gather all the items in a category from all over your house in one place and then, while handling each item, ask yourself "does this object spark joy for me?" It's important to handle the item, apparently. If the answer is "no" then 
put it in a box for the Hilltop Multi-family tag sale, and email me to reserve a table!

Next week... folding... oh, yes, it's a "thing".

Saturday, April 29th
*7:30am - noon
In the Arts Barn

*come when you want, but tag sale people are an eager bunch

Hilltop's  Multi-Family 
Tag Sale and Market & 
Pancake Breakfast 

Reserve a table for $10. Each family is responsible for selling their own treasures - you keep the profits. 

This year, we're adding a twist...

We're hoping to host other merchants who sell items that would be of interest to parents! So, if you know of someone who you think would fit this description, let Amelia know. The only contribution to selling at our market would be one small item that we will then put in a tricky tray raffle (like the one we did at the holidays). So, think children's clothing, activities, products etc.

Toddler Program 

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Birch Room

Sleep is often the topic of questions and discussion for Children's House families. Specifically, families wonder how much sleep is "enough", how to help their children sleep well at night, and whether eliminating a daytime nap will result in an earlier bedtime and better night's sleep. This week, we wanted to talk a little about what research has told us about common questions about sleep.

Why is sleep important?

Our brains evolved to keep us alive from moment to moment by eating enough, being alert to danger, etc.  A tired brain conserves resources by fully funding areas that are essential to immediate survival, such as stress responses, at the cost of less immediately survival based, but equally important areas such as long-term learning. While this is very useful if facing a saber tooth tiger, it is not very helpful in today's safer but sleep-deprived world. As a result of the brain's allocation of energy, impulse control, attention span, learning, memory, emotional regulation, and immune responses all suffer when we do not get enough sleep. Also, because the area of the brain which regulates hunger is not "fully funded" when when the brain is tired, not getting enough sleep can also lead to weight gain and increased risk of obesity.

How much sleep is enough? 

This one varies significantly from child to child, but the range is 10-13 hours, in 3-5 year old children. This  includes naps, which are often still needed at this age.

Will dropping my child's nap lead to better night sleep and/or an earlier bedtime?  

This idea speaks to common sense, and appeared to be bolstered by a 2015 review of sleep literature which has been widely cited in parenting magazines and blogs.  Unfortunately, that analysis did not rely only on studies with good methodology (for example, use of randomized groups, set up of control groups, and breakdown of results by age.) The best research supports the idea that dropping a nap too early can actually be counterproductive by leading to overtired, "wired" children who find more it difficult to self soothe, fall asleep quickly, and sleep through the night! And sometimes a somewhat later bedtime is just a normal part of maturation.

Check out this link for some more information on sleep and young children, and have a great weekend!  

 -Cheryl, Serina, and Mariam

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Willow Room

Over the past few weeks, we have been reading, looking at and making art based on the works of Eric Carle. This work is unique because of how Mr. Carle uses several different steps to create his illustrations. First, he paints on large sheets of paper: patterns, shapes, swirls of color and textures. Next he plans what his image will be and begins to cut shapes: wings, faces, toes, landscapes. Lastly, he arranges the pieces and creates his final image. This process takes planning and patience! 

During the older time, children have completed two Eric Carle inspired works: first, we created our own "mythical" creatures, using Eric Carle's  Dragons, Dragons. These wonderful creatures are on display outside of the Willow Room, with a brief description along with each picture. Most recently, we followed Mr. Carle's artistic method, and made images and collages from cutting and pasting pieces of painted paper. It was wonderful to see how each child used their painted images in a new way -- to find new shapes, forms, and textures in their final work. Many of these materials are available everyday in our Art Areas of Children's House classrooms. We can't wait to see how Eric Carle inspires us next!  

Note: Please read the newsletter from the Birch room this week! As we know so well as adults, sleep is so important for our children, as well. 

See you next week! 

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Lower El

We have two important dates to remember!  On Friday, April 14th as part of our study of vertebrates, we will drive up to V.I.N.S. to meet their birds of prey. Author's Tea will be held on April 28th!

Here are some topics you may want to discuss with your children this weekend:
  •  What are some differences between fish and amphibians?  
  •  Ask about Plato of Athens.  Who was he?
  • What are polygons?  Share some names of polygons you know. (Youngers)
  • What is a protractor?  What does it measure? (Olders)
  • What is a shape poem? 
  • In what way is the brain like a musclet?  
  • Why is it important to add the word "yet" when saying "I can't do blank, yet"?

Many thanks to Sara Donahue, Lydia's mother, for giving us a beautiful poetry book titled "Out of Wonder."  We continue to enjoy these "poems celebrating poets," as well as the beautiful artwork. 

Have a wonderful weekend,  we hope everyone stays, or gets, healthy!

Kerstin, Patrick, and Amelia

Sebastian works on a map of India

Max makes polygons with craft sticks
Lucas and Charlie do the functions of a fish layout

Jade and Caroline name polygons

Lower El Reading Their Autobiographies to the Children's House Olders

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Upper El

Upper El has been humming along with all sorts of academic lessons.  In the midst of those, we had a discussion about "dares" and social media. Daring friends to do something seems to be an age old rite of passage for this plane of development, and social media adds a new twist. We had a great brainstorming session about dares, why they are appealing, and why they can be dangerous. This will be an ongoing discussion to be continued next week and beyond!

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Middle School

On Wednesday, we welcomed Jim Kates into our classroom. Jim was a nineteen year old northern college student in 1964 when he signed up along with 800 other individuals to be part of the Mississippi Freedom Summer. He spent that summer and the following summer in Mississippi helping with voter registration, advocating for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, being pursued by the Ku Klux Klan, and learning an immense amount about himself and what is truly important in life. We spent an inspired two hours together. I am always struck by the generosity of time and spirit given to our students.

We are off next Wednesday for our Alabama Odyssey. It has been a profound year of preparation and we are ready. If you would like to follow our journey, we are posting a nightly blog entry, which will be rich in photos, videos, sound samples, and student journal entries.


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Hilltop Helpers

Thanks to Van Zaransky, a Hilltop Middle schooler, for helping Kegan out with our HVAC system!

J ulia Fedoruk in the Middle School is still collecting for Carry Me Home, a Brattleboro-based 501c3 non- profit which sends clothing to refugees in Eastern Europe, coordinating with volunteer organizations on the ground to make sure the right items are sent to the right places when needed. Recent shipments have gone to Athens and to Lesvos, where refugees continue to arrive by boat.  

Collection for spring clothing has begun, with special focus on items for refugee children who have begun attending schools in Greece. Please bring items from the list below to the collection box in the lobby or the box in the Middle School. Carry Me Home is also in need of funds to pay for shipping. The largest box they can send, 44 pounds, costs $164 to ship. Please make donations via Indiegogo Generosity, or leave a check made out to Carry Me Home With Love in the collection box.

You can find more information about Carry Me Home on  Facebook, or via email.
You may be interested in PBS Frontline's Exodus , a documentary on the refugee crisis that aired in December 2016 and is still available to watch on line.

A big THANK YOU to Hazel for providing our students and staff with delicious pizza each week!

Many thanks to Brattleboro Tire, 558 Putney Road in Brattleboro for donating
snow tires for our Hilltop van . Please visit Dan and the boys at Brattleboro Tire for your car's needs and be sure to say "Thanks" on Hilltop's behalf.  or call them at 802-254-5411.

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Hilltop is Active in the Community!

The Middle School has a display of prints and the printmaking process at 
Amy's Bakery . It is wonderful celebration of our integrated artistic endeavors and of the printing press we were able to purchase with a generous grant from the Mason Kahn Foundation.

Elementary Artwork is on display at the  Brooks Library  in celebration of our projects and Children's Art Month.

Tamara Mount (Head of School) and Angelique Kabami (CH and AC Assistant) attended a program on  "Race, Class, and Gender in Early Learning"  presented by ACT for Social Justice to further explore how to address these topics with very young children.

Amelia Farnum (Development Director) and Tamara Mount  (Head of School) presented the Hilltop Montessori School Strategic Plan to the noontime 
Rotary group in town. We connected with the greater community and renewed some great Hilltop relationships!

There was extensive Hilltop involvement at the Windham County Action Network "Spring into Action" fair held at the Winston Proudy Center. Emilie Kornheiser (Hilltop parent) hosted, Jay Cook (Music Teacher) and his band Afrobeat entertained, and Kegan Refalo (Facilities Manager) helped with the set-up. The event was a huge success with a great turnout! 

Emilie Kornheiser speaking during the Spring into Action fair

April is the  "Month of the Young Child". The brochure and posters you will see around town are done by Hilltop! We also sponsor one of the events, "Teaching Creatures", in the Arts Barn. 

Amelia Farnum (Development Director) and Tamara Mount (Head of School) attended "What to wear? - Policing Girls Bodies and Sexuality" hosted at Hilltop and facilitated by the Women's Freedom Center.

Nomad vs. Settler , featuring  Owen James , Hilltop Middle Schooler , on bass, and 
Archer Parks Hilltop graduate , playing guitar, will play all original tunes at  Next Stage  in Putney on  March 25th at 7:30pm-tomorrow night!  Nomad vs. Settler is a band of thoughtful teenagers playing music that is melodic and dynamic and totally enjoyed by all ages. Bring the family for an inspiring evening of music!

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