Hilltop Montessori School's mission is for students to practice responsible independence in a caring community of curious, critical learners and
thoughtful citizens.

Friday Newsletter / April 6, 2018
Calendar Listings   

Monday, April 9
Girls on the Run 3:00-4:30pm
Spring Foods from Around the World

Tuesday, April 10
Cross Country Running 3:15-4:30pm

Wednesday, April 11
Girls on the Run 3:00-4:30pm
French with Sylvie 3:15-4:30pm

Thursday, April 12
No All School Gathering
Cross Country Running 3:15-4:30pm
UE Play 1:00pm & 5:00pm

Friday, April 13
Last day of school - Happy Spring Break!
A Reflection on “Practice”
by Finn Campman, Middle School teacher

Within the process of re-evaluation of our Mission Statement the word practice was enthusiastically embraced as a satisfying way to describe the way we engage in Responsible Independence.

The Collin’s Dictionary offers:

  • Practice: (v) To do something habitually or frequently; to observe or pursue.

We use the infinitive in our Mission thus the action becomes a noun.

  • Practice : (n) Repetition or exercise of an activity in order to achieve mastery and fluency.

And so we engage in the practice of responsible independence, sometimes fulfilling the wondrous potential of these words, sometimes only managing to circle the edges of what is possible. This search, this quest is the very quality that Montessori education is charged to offer: the ability to act with agency within community. With our willingness and commitment to practice we all become students, we all become teachers. 

And for a different perspective, watch this video .
Upcoming Events...
April 23: No School - In-Service Day
April 28: HMS Tag Sale 7:30am-12noon
It's survey time
It is time for the Hilltop Montessori School Annual Survey.


You may have noticed that you received an email this week regarding your participation in a survey. At Hilltop Montessori School, we want to be responsive to the needs of our families. We would like feedback from families in order to consider future plans. It is not too late for your participation!

Please respond to this survey by Wednesday, April 11th . We value your opinions and we want to take your input into consideration.

For your convenience, we have included the links below:

Thank you in advance for your participation.
Toddler Program
This week Liam started in the Toddler Room! We are so pleased to have him and his mom, Dora, join the community.
Welcome, Liam!

In the past we've talked and shared information about the importance of supporting toddler independence. (Quick recap: with independence comes a sense of belonging, self-confidence, building of skills, and laying the foundation for future learning.) Often parents are surprised by all of the things their children can do at school because they just didn't know their child was developmentally ready for it, or the home environment doesn't make it possible. 

We love sharing pictures of children practicing independence! Here are a few from this week:
Zhong Yi puts his boots away on the boot tray.
Natalia carries a pitcher of water to the snack table.
Mason turns the lamp on (and off and on and...)
Marco shows our newest friend, Liam, how to set his place at the table.
While reading my new favorite Montessori book,  The Montessori Toddler  by Simone Davies, I found a great list of Practical Life activities parents can offer at home for children aged 18 - 36 months. Here are a few of her creative and fun ideas:

Peel and slice a banana
Wash fruits and vegetables
Make orange juice
Wipe a table
Sweep the floor
Prepare coffee for parent (push buttons on coffee maker and fetch mug)
Clean face and hands
Water plants
Make bed (pulling up duvet cover)
Sort socks and clothing by color
Tidy toys into baskets and return to shelves
Put lead on dog and brush dog

Perhaps you already do many of these activities at home or perhaps you're ready to add a few new ones to the repertoire. In any case we hope you will enjoy watching your toddler grow in independence. And if you'd like to borrow  The Montessori Toddler , please let us know.

Enjoy the weekend.
Ellie, Amanda, Jessica and Marco
Children's House
This week Rae from Teaching Creatures visited the school with some springtime friends. The children had a chance to learn about, observe, and even touch a rabbit, frog and hedgehog during her presentation. Rae’s visit was part of our area’s celebration of April, the Month of the Young Child. Please join Serina and Mariam for another event at the River Garden this Sunday from 10-12. We’ll be kicking off the young children’s art exhibit there. Not only will you get to see your child’s work, but there will be also be snacks and fun kids’ activities to enjoy.

Salamander Crossing: Our Olders were saddened recently by the discovery of a smooshed salamander on the fire road during a nature walk. So they decided to do something about it. There is now a beautiful new “Salamander Crossing” sign to remind us all to be careful on that road. (Thanks to Eleanor and her family for making the sign.) The Olders were also busy this week helping Cheryl reorganize the Birch Room furniture and giving lessons to younger friends on new spring time works.

Speaking of spring, it’s a great time to check your child’s extra clothes cubby and make sure it’s well stocked for our changeable weather. Extra clothes are especially needed during muddy spring outdoor play. And keep the hats, coats, and mittens coming- it’s still very chilly on the playground during morning drop-off! The Birch Room is also looking for a 3 section divider screen for our classroom. If you have one hiding away in your attic, we would love to put it to use!

Have a great weekend!

-The Children’s House Teachers 
Lower Elementary
Ode to Spring

Oh spring!
You are so fun!
I love riding my bike
when you arrive, my hair blowing in the wind. 
You bring the tulips and daffodils to life. 
You begin the baseball season.
I get to have ice cream sandwiches because
you make the air warm.
The water in the stream is starting to move
because you make the ice melt.
Oh spring!
The hot, hot sun comes out, 
and the birds tweet.
You prepare us for summer.
Oh spring! 
You are simply wonderful!

by Alica, Carter, Claire, Dylan, Hazel, Layla, Minjae, and Wren

Many thanks to David Bayer, Kiersten's grandfather, for being a guest presenter during our Thursday peace time. David discussed being tense vs. being relaxed, and guided us in a breathing exercise. The class loved it, and many reported feeling "peaceful," "relaxed," and "calm." 

Our final Author's Tea of the year focused on poetry: acrostics, odes, shape poems, 5 Ws, list poems, and free verse. Thank you to all who attended and were treated to the students' wonderful work. 

Next week, we will have an artist-in-residence spending the mornings with us. Marcy Schepker is an accomplished felt tapestry artist and soft toy maker with her own cottage industry called Pear Tree Studio. She was here several years ago, and lead us in creating our beautiful Timeline of Life panels. As a teaching artist, Marcy travels frequently to schools to demonstrate the craft of needle felting. This year, she will guide us in creating tapestries with African biomes as the theme. 

Enjoy your weekend, and may true spring temperatures be here soon!
Kerstin, Patrick, and Amelia 
Jade, Carter, and Dylan finalize and practice their poems for Author’s Tea.
Finn practices reading his poem for Author’s Tea.
Claire tries out long addition problems using the snake game.
Helen shares an oil lantern to fit with our study of the History of Light.
Author's Tea
Upper Elementary
Upper El has been busy casting and organizing the spring play! Please save the date and join us -

Thursday, April 12
School Performance, 1:00pm. Evening Performance, 5:00pm.

Have a great weekend!
Working together to move the stage during today's April snow shower.
Middle School
It is challenging to encapsulate one of the world’s major religions, religions that millions of people have practiced and continue to practice, into a two hour class. Compressing centuries of thought and belief into a cohesive whole is tenuous at best. Inviting practitioners and clergy from those faiths into the classroom is a lifesaver. Students prepare for these visits by crafting questions and are magnificent in their engagement, focus, and willingness to talk, chant, meditate, and sing. Earlier this week, Kate Judd, the cantor and spiritual leader of the Brattleboro Area Jewish Community spent time with us. We sang nigun (wordless songs) and a bit of Hebrew together and then listened to Kate sing the Kol Nidre (a heart-stopping moment). The following are excerpts from a few student reflections:

"After reading some of Asher Lev, speaking with Kate, and learning a bit about Judaism, I've developed a sort-of 'person', I conjure up when I think of Jews, and that is a person of strong mind and spirit who doubts their God with unswaying love and possesses a will of steel. Now, I don't know Kate very well, but I feel that my first impression of her fits that description pretty closely. However realistic or not that person is, I definitely gathered that Kate is a loving person with lots of kind energy, yet curious. She seems like someone with a wild spirit.” ~Hazel

"I also thought it was interesting how much what a lot of what Kate said lined up with other ideas this year. She talked about seeing both sides of an issue, how understanding other religions and cultures is important, and that everything you put into the universe comes back to you. Why is everything we've been talking about so connected in ways that are not at all apparent on the surface?” ~Solomon

"For her, the spirituality that Judaism encapsulates is far more natural, and she finds that the connectivity between Judaism and her love of music is inspiring. It is the spirit of so many people, whether they are Jews or not, singing together, all experiencing the same magic, that draws Kate to Judaism.....In conclusion, what Kate says about Judaism has taught me that beliefs are the base of relationships, but when people are able to know what their beliefs mean to them, that is really where the surface is scratched.” ~Siri
We contemplate our text at the beginning of a Seminar on  My Name is Asher Lev  by Chaim Potok.
Our study of spirit continues with a visit from Cantor Kate Judd of the Brattleboro Area Jewish Community.
My Experience as a Page
by Lily Buren-Charkey

For the past six weeks I have been working at the Vermont state house as a Legislative Page. It has been an eye opening experience that gave me a new perspective on Vermont politics. I made personal connections with most of the Senators, Representatives, the Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House, and Governor that will last a lifetime.

My job as a page was to deliver messages to and from legislatures, act as a guide to visitors, and do any other errands that the Sergeant at Arms might ask of us. As a page I held a lot of responsibility. I was given a key to the state house, trusted with private information of state Legislatures, and was seen in the public eye as a state official. Each week we were given tests; by the end of the first week we had to have all 180 representatives memorized. We also had to follow a House and Senate bill over the six weeks, go to committee on the bills, talk to the sponsors and write essays. I followed S.281, an act relating to establishing the Systemic Racism Mitigation Oversight and Equity Review Board to combat systemic bias across the systems of state government. I also followed H.707, an act relating to the prevention of sexual harassment.

I had a very special experience as a page because of the shootings and gun bills. The atmosphere in the state house got tenser and you could feel friction in the air when they were discussing guns. Most days there would be masses of people in orange with pins saying “Don't New York My Vermont Gun Rights!” roaming around the state house. The debates, in both the house and senate could get very heated and last well over ten hours.

This opportunity would not have been possible without Hilltop. The middle school gave me the tools I needed to get the most out of my Montpellier experience. The pages would often have political debates and I found myself calling upon discussions we had in class. I will never forget my time under the golden dome and am very thankful everything the school has done to support me.
Physical Education
All School Gathering
After Care
Making slime!
10 days left to order your HILLTOP "swag"!

Welcome to the  NEW... Hilltop Montessori School Store! 

We are excited to bring you a new online shopping experience. 
A wonderful way to show your support of Hilltop!

This “Pop-up Shop” is only live through April 16...
Start shopping now!  

Hilltop Montessori School themed items hats, sweatshirts, t-shirts, bags and more will be available for purchase.  Check it out now !
We want you!!
Reserve a Table for the Tag Sale!
Time is flying! Only 3 weeks until the Multi-Family Tag Sale! 

We have 10 families already signed up. Woohoo!

Don't procrastinate, get your reservation in. There is limited space! 

Email Roselle to reserve a table
  • $10 per table
  • You sell and keep proceeds
  • Take what doesn't sell home (or donate to your favorite charity)

Saturday, April 28th
*7:30 a.m. - noon
In the Arts Barn & at the circle
Community Events
Summer 2018 pottery programs for children, teens, adults & families

Make time to create with clay this summer. Relax and create! Your imagination can lead you to learn new skills.
Deadline to register:  3 weeks before first class. Most classes are full before that time. 

To sign up:  Call Bonnie Stearns at 802-254-4515 or  email registration form  to  bbstearns@gmail.com .
Hilltop Helpers
Looking for a Nanny/Babysitter
Joslyn + Jon McIntyre are looking for a nanny on Wednesday afternoons from around 1-6pm at their home in Guilford. Their 3-year-old twins, Phoebe and Eliza, are in Children’s House. Occasional weekend date-night babysitting would also be an ideal part of this package. Please contact Joslyn if you know of anyone!
Thank you to Martin Humfeldt and Green Mountain Creamery for donations of yogurt!
BIG thanks to Brattleboro Tire for donating our Hilltop van's winter snow tires and for rotating them each year!
Thank you to Nathan Rupard and Hazel restaurant for delivering our pizza each week and providing our staff with delicious pies!