The Middle School Play in Action

May 12th, 2017      

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Next Week at Hilltop
SummerFun Update
Grandparent/Special Friends Day Volunteers!
Clean-up Day-Thank you
Toddler Program (TP)
Birch Room
Willow Room
Lower ELementary (LE)
Upper Elementary (UE)
Middle School (MS)
Before and After Care
Hilltop Helpers
Community News
Next Week at Hilltop

Monday 5/15/17
Ultimate Frisbee
MS Baseball Practice

Tuesday 5/16/17
Strength and Conditioning
LE Workshare @ 3pm 
Followed by a teacher presentation for parents.
Free Childcare provided from 3:30-4pm.
MS Baseball Game @ Chesterfield

Wednesday 5/17/17
LE Field Trip to Holyoke Fish Ladder
Girls on the Run
Ultimate Frisbee
MS Baseball Game in Dummerston

Thursday 5/18/17
Strength and Conditioning
UE Pinnacle Trip (3rd's, 4th's and 5th's)
All School Gathering
MS Baseball Practice

Coming up...

Friday 5/26/17
Grandparents/Special Friends Day
Noon Dismissal for All

No School-Memorial Day

UE Three Day trip

Check out the School Calendar 

SummerFun Registration has started! Flyers are at the front desk and online ! Sign up now as camps fill quickly!

Please explore the Summer camps and activities offered by Brattleboro Recreation in their  Summer Newsletter.

SummerFun Update

We are thrilled to announce that three amazing Hilltop teachers will be stepping up to lead our Children's House camps instead of having a visiting teacher. The new CH counselor team will be: Marco Yunga (week 1), Mariam Diallo (weeks 2-4), and Jessica Thomas (week 5). Marco, Mariam, and Jessica all work at Hilltop during the school year in the CH and Toddler programs. They are excited to bring their expertise in French (Mariam), Spanish (Marco), and Montessori methods to camp this summer. A huge thank you to all of them! 

Engineering camp is now being open to 6-9 year olds as well as 9-12 year olds. If your child is attentive, focused, interested in how things work, creating their own designs, and using their imagination... this is the camp for them! This camp will be lead by Siza, a teacher visiting from Zimbabwe. He visited the school last week and he is fantastic. Sign up now!

Soccer for 6-9 year olds with Andre is in need of enrollment. Andre spent some time at Hilltop this Spring, working with the students in the Elementary classrooms as well as helping out with aftercare. The students adored him, and he's decided to come back this Summer to teach this Soccer camp! Sign your child up today and tell their friends!

Andre with some Children's House students

Early Bird discount for SummerFun ends soon-May 15th!

Grandparents/Special Friends Day Volunteers!

Grandparents/Special Friends Day is fast approaching! It's two weeks away- Friday, May 26th . This is always a nice celebration and a beautiful way to invite our friends to the school to share the environment the students enjoy all school year!

In order to make this special, we ask for parents to bring in a breakfast type dish/food for the event-muffins, pastries, fruit salad, scones...whatever your heart desires really!  We also need volunteers to help with the set-up, clean-up, and folks to greet people when they arrive!

Please email Rebecca if you can help in any way. Breakfast dishes should be brought to the Arts Barn kitchen the morning of the event. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch!

Thank you!

Clean-Up Day Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who came out on Monday to help with the playground clean-up, it looks great out there!

Toddler Program 

It's been another full week in the Toddler Room with some new experiences mixed in with our usual routines. 

On Monday afternoon we had our annual spring playground clean up day. Many, many thanks to all the parents who were able to help out! The children had fun caring for the playground, too, spreading wood chips, carting weeds, and later in the week, adding some fresh soil to our garden. 

On Tuesday, Andrew spent some time in Birch Room in preparation for his fall move up to Children' House. Toddlers join in on the Moving Up Days offered by all the other programs at Hilltop. Transitioning from Toddler Room to Children's House is an exciting time with big changes. Helping the children and parents to prepare for those differences and changing expectations are central to our moving up process.

On Wednesday, our PE teacher, Soren, joined the children on the playground. With him he brought armfuls of beach balls to kick, toss, and catch.

And by the end of the week, the children enjoyed some new activities - pushing trucks up a mountain of wood chips and experimenting with peddling the tandem tricycle!

We would like to beautify our outdoor space with a couple of hanging plants/flowers, morning glory starts, and some annuals. Please let us know if you are willing to donate any of these items. We'd be so appreciative!

** Please remember to send your Toddler to school with a sun hat and water bottle each day! **

Happy weekend and Mothers Day.
Ellie, Amanda & Marco

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Birch Room

One of the defining elements in a Montessori classroom is choice within our prepared environment. Children choose the works they wish to explore, and the length of time they wish to engage in them. Often, children will choose the same material over and over as they work toward mastery, only to set it aside and move to something else with equal vigor. Through this process, the child learns not only the work itself, but also the underlying skills of order, concentration, coordination, and independence. The following is a recent example:

About 2 weeks ago, Sofia began to work on the trinomial cube in our sensorial area. At first, she tried to figure it out all on her own by guessing where the pieces went but, like most Montessori works, the cube's design includes a built-in "control of error". As Sofia discovered, the pieces cannot fit back in the box unless assembled correctly. She then asked for a lesson. After that, Sofia tried to do the work independently, but had difficulty executing the sequence of steps needed to complete it. When the pieces didn't fit in the box, she would ask for help, but then try to hurry through and accidentally skip steps along the way. Again, the pieces would not fit!

Over the course of many days and attempts, Sofia learned to slow down her work, remember the sequence, and do each step in order to complete the puzzle independently. Through this self-directed work, she gained practice in remembering and following an ordered sequence, and in concentrating on a given task over time. She worked on fine motor coordination and control, and learned about balancing the desire for independence with the necessity of asking for and utilizing help. Sofia also gained experience in slowing down and taking things one step at time. In time, she'll practice all these skills again when she shows the work to her younger classmates!

Have a great weekend!

-Cheryl, Serina, and Mariam

Sofia works on the trinomial cube
Asha gets started figuring it out
Sofia and Paisleigh work together on the cube of trinomial

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Willow Room

With 4 weeks of school left, we are venturing into a wide range of classroom work. We are observing the small changes in Spring, identifying animal skulls and bones, and venturing through the Solar System. There has been much excitement for our Star Gazing Box, as well. For this work, children can replicate an existing constellation, or make their own. Stars can make pictures and tell stories I the night sky!

Thank you to all who helped during our playground cleanup! It was a great success, and has helped to maintain and expand upon our beautiful outdoor learning environment.

See you soon,

Jonathan, Rebecca and Rachel

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Lower El

Our field trip to the Holyoke fish ladder is next  Wednesday, May 17th . We will leave promptly at 8:45  for the drive down there. From 10am to 11am,  we will be given a tour of the facility and playing some fish-themed games. We will return in time for lunch and our afternoon of music and Writer's Workshop.

The day before that, Tuesday, May 16th, we are hosting our last Parent Workshare of the year. For the first half hour 3-3:30, you will be able to work with your child in the classroom. When they leave for Aftercare, we invite you to stay from 3:30-4pm to hear some ideas on how you can help your child hold onto the skills they have worked so hard to master this year, thus avoiding the frustrating "Summer Slump."  Wendy Lynde will join us for this presentation.

Ask your child about:

Magnetism: What in our classroom, and the art room, is magnetic?

Reptiles: What are some things that make them different from amphibians?

Money: Help your child to practice identifying, adding, and making change with coins.

Biography: What are some interesting facts about the animal you are studying? (Middlers and Youngers) What are some accomplishments of your human biography subject? Why did you choose that person? (Olders)

Enjoy your weekend!
Kerstin, Patrick, and Amelia

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Upper El

Thank you to all the chaperones and drivers who helped out on Thursday with our field trip to Smith Botanical Gardens!

Please Note Upcoming Important UE Dates:
May 18Thursday: (rain date May 19th):  Pinnacle hike with  next year's  UE class (regular drop-off and pick-up times, see email for drivers)
May 25Thursday2:00pm: UE Museum
May 26Friday:  UE Museum followed by Grandparents day-noon dismissal for all!
May 31-June 2Wednesday-Friday:  Three-Day trip (regular drop-off time on Wednesday, regular pick-up time on Friday)

Smith Botanical Gardens



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Middle School

We began the week with performances of "Unclaimed", our collaboratively written show reflecting upon our studies and recent odyssey to Alabama. We hope all of you who attended enjoyed the show. Later in the week we had a number of visitors who extended our thinking on human rights and activism. On Thursday morning, Zander Billings who graduated from the middle school in 1997, spoke with the class about his work in Ghana through an agency affiliated with the United Nations. Zander's work revolves around the tragic realities of human trafficking and child exploitation. It was inspiring to have a former Hilltop student (one of the first middle school graduates!) so involved in helping people who are deprived of their fundamental human rights.   Our interaction with international affairs continued on Friday with our annual visit with SIT's Training for Social Action class. We spent the morning talking about our common work, the student's experiences in Alabama, and singing. We have had a relationship with this graduate class at SIT for many years now and it is always a fascinating and inspiring session.

Zander Billings, 1997 Hilltop Alum, comes home to talk about his efforts to limit human trafficking in Ghana.

Photos from the Middle School Play

Asher from the Children's House helps with the deconstruction of the play

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Before and After Care

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Hilltop Helpers

Thank you to Marta Bernbaum, mom to Finn in LE, and Lucia Magee, mom to Lyla in LE and Wren in the Birch, for planting the blueberry bushes and working in the garden beds-it's all starting to take shape and look beautiful!

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

Julia Fedoruk  in the Middle School would like to thank all of you who have helped refugees through donations of clothing and funds to Carry Me Home, the Brattleboro-based 501c3 non-profit that sends clothing to refugees in Eastern Europe. We are currently shipping spring items, with special focus on items for refugee children who have begun attending schools in Greece. We are also beginning to stockpile fall/winter items to begin shipping in late summer. Please bring items from the list below to the collection box in the lobby. Carry Me Home is also in need of funds to pay for shipping. A 44 pound box costs $164 to ship. Please make donations via Indiegogo Generosit
, or leave a check made out to Carry Me Home With Love in the collection box.

NEEDED ITEMS  (In gently-used or better condition, washed, without stains, rips, or holes)

Adult (men's and women's small or medium, no L or XL please) and children's (all sizes) items:
-long pants, jeans, and leggings
-long skirts
-long or short sleeve tops
-sweaters and sweatshirts
-new underwear
-raincoats and winter coats
-rainboots and sturdy shoes, all sizes
-men's flip flops sizes 8-10.5
For shipping: 
-Essentials brand vacuum storage bags, size large, 17.5 x 27.5 inches. These are intermittently available at the Dollar Tree Stores in Brattleboro and Keene, and fit our shipping boxes perfectly.

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.

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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Community News

The Brattleboro Women's Chorus presents their annual spring concert " Sing, My Sister! " on  Mother's Day, May 14th at 4pm at the Latchis Theatre . Under the direction of founder/conductor Becky Graber, ninety local women sing uplifting songs about perseverance, courage, hope, and the power of singing. They will be joined by five exceptional local musicians:   Cathy Martin on piano; Julian Gerstin, Lisa Newell, and Ben James on percussion; and Lisa McCormick on guitar and banjo as well as with her ukulele orchestra. 

Two songs on the program were arranged by Debbie Nordeen, the director of Womansong from Asheville, NC. One is "Sing, My Sister," which was created by British singer Annie Lennox to raise awareness of and funds to help women and children in Africa with AIDS. The other is "I Come From Women" by Amy Carol Webb, which celebrates our female ancestry.

Two other songs were crafted by strong African-American women. "I Am Determined" is from Ysaye Barnwell and "One Foot in Front of the Other" is by Melanie Demore. Other pieces include "Dig Down Deep" by Libby Roderick; "From Way Up Here" by Malvina Reynolds and Pete Seeger; and two by Australian composer Lisa Young, "Unity" and "Thulele Mama Ye" which feature the percussion section.

The ukulele orchestra joins in on Graber's arrangement of Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy" as well as the Israel Kamakawiwo'ole version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and Albert Brumley's "I'll Fly Away."

Tickets are $12 adult, $20 generous, $10 student and senior and are available at or at the door. For information visit the chorus's new website at or call 802-254-8994.

Brattleboro Concert Choir Presents...SANCTUARY
John Tavener
Atma Mass
Ola Gjeilo
Sunrise Mass   (the spheres/sunrise/the city/identity and the ground)
Paul Dedell
Will Todd
The Call of Wisdom  - with the voices of The Choir School
Susan Dedell, music director
Brattleboro Concert Choir with string orchestra
Four exciting works from composers who awaken your thoughts and touch your heart
Atma: The essence of self, the breath; but also the World Soul, from which all individuals derive.
  "Surely it is only by the language of music, and by the unity of all faiths, that peace can be bestowed on a planet that is in a shattered state."      
~John Tavener.
"Everything moves forward, to transcend conflict and dissonance by going through it, not avoiding it. Art has the capacity to bring us deeper into ourselves, to be reminded of who we really are and what is truly important in our lives, whatever that may be."    
~Ola Gjeilo 
"Bright sparks of fire continually ascending: my life partakes of  infinity"          
~from Sanctuary Paul Dedell
"Striving to attain the heights, turning in a new direction, entering a lonely place, welcoming a friend or stranger: I am here. "   
The Call of Wisdom, Will Todd
*Program to benefit Vermont Migrant Justice.

Poetry, Bookmaking and Art Project Summer Program
Poetry Studio,  242 Piney Brook Way,  Brattleboro
802- 257-8972
Attention is the Beginning of Devotion, Mary Oliver
Once again a summer workshop combining poetry, bookmaking and
art, will be held at Ann Gengarelly's Poetry Studio. As always,
young people will have the opportunity to write and draw in a natural
setting with woodlands and beautiful gardens. Each student will have
both a poetry and bookmaking class each day. This program offers a
rare opportunity to enjoy a community of kindred spirits, a community
of kindness that provides personal attention to each student.
Poetry classes will be taught by Ann Gengarelly who has been a
poet-in -the-schools for over twenty-five years. Bookmaking and Art
Design will be led by Tony Gengarelly who teaches Art History at
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

AUGUST 7, 8, 10, 11, AND/OR AUGUST 14, 15, 17, 18
We welcome students between the ages of 6-17 (exceptions are made). Classes
will be kept small in order to maintain a one to six student-teacher ratio. Students
will be accepted on a "first-come, first-serve" basis. If interested call Ann
at 802-257-8972 or contact or .

Summer Language Camp August 7th-10th 
Express Fluency is offering Spanish, French, and Latin classes August 7th-10th, at BUHS. The classes run from 9-12pm each morning (9-11:30 Thursday). They will engage and delight students ages 7- adult. World-class language teachers are coming to Brattleboro from OR, CO, LA, MN, ME and MI to teach these classes and teachers from all over the US are coming to observe them and participate in teacher workshops in the afternoons. 

Offerings Include:
  • Elementary Spanish taught by Annabelle Allen (Ages 7-11)
  • Beginner Spanish taught by Grant Boulanger (Ages 12-adult)
  • Intermediate Spanish taught by Becca Lynch Nichols (High School to adult)
  • Beginner French with Tina Hargaden (Ages 12-adult)
  • Beginner Latin* with Justin Slocum Bailey(Ages 12- adult)

We expect these classes to fill up, so recommend registering early.
More info and registration can be found here:

Full time student price: $125 (before June 1st) 

*A note about Latin from Elissa McLean: My daughter (Emmy, age 12) and I took Justin's Latin class together last summer and had the best time! Justin is a gifted teacher and he literally brings Latin to life in the class. Before the class I was honestly a little unsure of why anyone would want to take a Latin class, but now I recommend it to everyone. There are so many connections to English and all the Romance Languages. This would be a great class for someone facing PSATS or SATS, wanting a base from which to explore many other languages, interested in science and medicine, and so much more! Plus, it is a ton of fun.  Emmy and I still remember the Latin from the class now  7 months later and its like we have our own secret language at home.

Creating with Clay Summer Camp 2017

Green Mountain Girls Camp
News Flash! Green Mt Camp for Girls, the beloved 100 year old summer camp in nearby Dummerston has openings for girls ages 4-13 this summer! They are welcoming 4 year olds for Session #1 (June 19-23)  for day camp from 8:30-4:30  and all other ages are welcome to come for the day or stay the night as this is a Try Me Camp week! Arts and Crafts, Drama and Dance, Nature, Music, Sports and Games, Swimming and so much more! They also have a pay by the day option that week if you have limited availability! Financial Aid is available if income eligible! This is a great chance for you to check out the camp during a time when our summer program hasn't started yet and there are still openings! Call Billie at 802-257-1751 today or go online to register at u nder the Come To Camp tab.

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