Hilltop Montessori School's mission is for students to practice responsible independence in a caring community of curious, critical learners and
thoughtful citizens.
Newsletter / Friday, June 15, 2018
Congratulations to the Hilltop Montessori School Class of 2018!
Classroom and Bead Ceremonies
The Bead Ceremony recognizes each group of children who are rising from one program to the next. The three year cycle of the Montessori programs has children move from being the “Youngers”, full of awe and maybe a little trepidation, to the “Middlers” feeling comfortable and flexible to work and play up and down the age range, to the “Olders” considering themselves on top of the world and ready to lead and share their knowledge with younger students. They then cycle back to being the “Youngest” again in the next program with so much more room to grow further. The Bead Ceremony symbolizes this cycle by having those leaving one program invite the new “Younger” class up by giving them a bead necklace (with colors being significant to the place value colors of the Montessori math materials). This year’s ceremony recognized the toddler program moving up too, with several students having moved to Children’s House during this winter and spring, and still more moving up in the coming fall. We are unusually fortunate to have a thriving community of Toddlers through Middle Schoolers in our Montessori community, all giving and receiving respect and admiration from their fellow students of all ages. Our ceremony on Thursday reflected this tradition of camaraderie across programs.
Moving Away . . . 
We also recognized two staff people who are moving off to other adventures. Maddy Johnson has been a critical member of the Children’s House afternoon and After Care staff. She has also been flexible to help with the Toddler Program and at the Front Desk when needed, often pulling together the newsletter! We wish her well on her adventure to Florida and hope she comes back to Vermont soon!
We also expressed our appreciation for Dan Filler who has been a critical member of the Hilltop team for his 14 years here. He started as a UE teacher with Tom and built that program to be the powerhouse that it is today. Five years ago, his responsibilities expanded to include oversight of both the Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary, taking full advantage of his dual Montessori certifications and his mentoring and curriculum development skills. He supported two new teams and saw through a process of redesigning the full six years of the elementary curriculum, along with more thoroughly incorporating art into all areas of the curriculum. He is off to adventures in the beautiful state of Washington and is leaving the Elementary team with two solid, experienced teams; an upgraded curriculum; and a new art program. We’ve been so lucky to benefit from his contributions over the past 14 years. 

He has touched the other programs too, as his concern for staff and students extends well beyond his own team. To signify how all of our staff have been impacted by Dan’s contributions, the staff gave him a surprise of wearing shirts with his design of a fox on one side and “Dan’s Fans” on the other. We love Dan’s art, and will all have a piece to cherish. 
Additionally, in the past when a member of our school community who has made significant contributions to Hilltop leaves or retires, we’ve honored them in various ways - by planting a tree or naming a building - for example. At a recent staff meeting it was unanimously decided to designate this busy place on campus - near and dear to Dan’s heart - in honor of Dan’s lasting legacy at Hilltop. From now on our circle will be known as the "Dan Filler Traffic Circle". We shared a mock up of the plaque that will be permanently installed naming the traffic circle!
Then, the Elementary parents presented an end of year gift to the Elementary teaching team. The Lower El and Upper El parents had pooled together to get something useful and beneficial to the school, the teachers, and the classrooms. With Dan leaving it is even more important that we keep Tom, who has a family history of heart issues. They presented the gift of a defibrillator! This is something that was on the school’s wish list and has now been purchased with the funds from the families, enabling us to put school money to student resources and feel assured that we have equipment to respond to a cardiac emergency.
"Before I head west, I would like to offer a very heartfelt thank you to the Hilltop community. I feel so lucky to have been part of this community for the past fourteen years. I have watched many, many children grow and learn and flourish during my time here at Hilltop. What they never realized, was that I was doing the same thing. And it's hard to leave the place where you grew up! Enjoy the wonders of a Vermont summer. With gratitude" - Dan
An annual tradition has been Field Day . The Peace Buddies pair off one final time of the year and enjoy several different fun outdoor activities. This year’s stations included: parachute play, bubbles and badminton, balloon toss, dunk tank, and capture the flag games. All were a huge success!
The Bead Ceremony culminated in a musical celebration, including shaved ice, on the playground. Jay’s band, accompanied by the Upper Elementary singers at one point, provided dance and conversation music for the crowd. What a lovely end to a great year! We hope you all have a great summer, and will see some of you soon at SummerFun!
Grandparent and Special Friends Day
If you were not able to make the event, we have posted a link on our Hilltop Montessori website with pictures and copies of some of the speeches.
Click here. Thank you to Rachel Waring for beautifully capturing this day in photos!
Strolling of the Heifers
 We were so thrilled to see so many families marching this year. Thank you for your participation.
A great time was had by all!

A special thank you to Marco Yunga Tacuri for taking these beautiful pictures!
Toddler Program
Have a wonderful summer.
Ellie, Amanda, Jessica & Marco
The Children's House
With some sadness and a lot of pride, we said goodbye to some friends this week as they make the journey into Lower Elementary and beyond. Early this week, the Olders created self portraits and described themselves as they finish their time in Children’s House. Later in the week, they presented the new Olders (and Kindergarteners) with a goodbye gift. And of course everyone enjoyed our Field Day and Bead Ceremony on Thursday! 
Enjoy your summer and see you next year!

— The Children’s House Teachers
Eko's self portrait
Jonathan's self portrait
Lower Elementary
The end-of-year tradition in Lower El centers around recognizing the Olders, as they prepare to move on to Upper El or another school. The Middlers of the class paint terra cotta pots for them, then fill them with soil and flowers. On Thursday, the Olders read their speeches outside near the greenhouse, reflecting on their time in Lower El and telling us what they are looking forward to in their new class. The Middlers presented each of them with a beautiful pot. Students not returning to our program were also recognized with a decorated pot. Afterward, we ate popsicles and basked in each others' company. 

Happy Summer! 
Kerstin, Patrick, and Amelia
Writing in our memory books during the last week of school.
Ava draws her cover for her biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, her final writing project of the Year.
Alicia and Lucy write in their memory books.
A final phonics class, playing a problem-solving game together.
A heartfelt* thank you for your very generous gift of an AED to Hilltop. We are all so grateful to be part of such a kind community of families. Your commitment to Hilltop is such an important part of what makes our school so special. Enjoy a wonderful summer.

— The Elementary Team
*pun intended!
Upper Elementary
This week in UE we culminated the presentations of the Sixth Grade Independent Study Projects . Altogether, the topics this spring included:
Ilona - Architect Zaha Hadid
Ava - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Ely - Magnetic Levitation
Sander - Minimum Wage
Sam - Wealth Inequality
Ben - Radar
James - Penguins
Marian - Life of Shakespeare
Otto - History of the Camera
Annelise - History of Women’s Work Attire
Ally - Montessori Educational Philosophy!!
Whew - quite a spread! The level of interest generated was reflected in the many great questions asked by our classroom audience.

In Upper El, as in the other programs, we have an in-class “graduation” ceremony for students moving on up to middle school. The 6th grade graduation is something of a sacred event between students moving up, their younger peers, and the teachers. The event has its own traditions established over the years and anticipated by each group of graduating students, such as:
  • The olders give a speech, often reflecting on that transition from feeling so small and young when they entered, to now feeling like a leader in charge and ready for the challenges of Middle School
  • They each donate a favorite used book to the class
  • They give a symbolic “power” to each of the younger students, such as the power to have spikey fists (to our Jiu Jitsu apprentice, Corbin)
  • Younger students present diplomas, home-made graduation hats, and a collection of mostly hand-crafted gifts to each graduate
  • Jen dedicates symbols to each graduate (this year it was grammar symbols) that connect to the students’. Otto received the quotation mark, so that he may continue telling important stories through his film-making.
  • Dan shares important poems. "I am Cherry Alive" and "The Little Girl Sang" by Delmore Schwartz
  • Tom sings! He sang ‘In My Life,’ as well as ‘Angel from Montgomery.’ Several of the graduates jumped in to help finish off his final song.

Here are a few odds and ends to close out the year:

Typing - Please note that the students do still have individual typing accounts with  typing.com . As they may remember, the login for each is "ue.firstname" and then "Hilltop". Extending keyboarding skills over the summer, on this or another program, could be a boost for next year.

Math fact review - a good summer activity. Make it a regular component of a long drive, or find one of the many free online resources for practice.  Freerice.com  is one option.

Geography - Summer offer many opportunities for geography. Students should know where they are going when the travel. Keeping track on a map, helping to navigate, and applying some math to calculating time and distance are good extras!

Computers - If you find yourself upgrading and leaving a usable MacBook Pro or Air behind, feel free to make it a donation to the class. We put these to good use!

Chester - It is not too late to sign up for a week or more of hosting Chester, the class hamster, this summer. He is a lot of fun, and comes with bedding and food. He is low maintenance and can co-exist with pets, as long as his cage stays closed. Email Jen if you are interested or available.

AND a heartfelt thank you for your very generous gift of an AED to Hilltop. We are all so grateful to be part of such a kind community of families. Your commitment to Hilltop is such an important part of what makes our school so special.

Thank you for sharing your students with us this year. It has been an adventure.
Happy travels over the summer.
Middle School
After Care
Thank you to Tom Call Excavation for creating an afternoon of fun for everyone!
Interested in a Fruit Farm Share this Fall?
Nine Weeks of Ecologically-Grown Fresh Fruits

Scott Farm is offering fruit shares for 9 weeks, starting the second full week in September, delivered here to Hilltop! The first delivery will be the week of Monday, Sept 10th, exact day to be determined.
The delivered prices are: $92 for a full share and $47 for a half share

*A commitment of 8 families is needed for Hilltop delivery*

If Mother Nature cooperates, Scott Farm will begin the season with peaches, followed by the freshest picked traditional farm stand apples, combined with an assortment of our heirloom varieties. As the season progresses, plums and pears will be added to the apple mix. Participants will get weekly emails with the selections of the week, their history and best use, plus some recipes and musings as well.
Let's support our local farmers!
Any families interested, please email Roselle .

Hilltop Helpers
Please join Hilltop in supporting these families!
It takes a village! In combination with support from Hilltop and the state, community contributions will make it possible for these families to thrive.
Amber and Jamal and their family are looking for community help/support in purchasing their first home. They are looking for support in downpayment and closing costs/fees and created a GoFundMe. Please check it out here !
Liam attends Hilltop Montessori School with support from the state, Hilltop and you! Liam has thrived in the toddler classroom that gives him a daily stable and enriching experience. Donations also help to provide Liam and his mom, Dora, with food, medicine, gas, diapers and clothes. When Dora graduates from the SIT Graduate Institute on August 11, donations will also help see them through Dora's job search to find work in Vermont. Please consider giving to their GoFundMe - Click here
Job Openings for Next Year
We have many candidates responding and are continuing with interviews for the Business Manager and AfterCare Assistant positions.
All of our job postings are here!

Please have anyone interested in these positions contact Tamara Mount , Head of School, with a resume and letter of interest.
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!
Community Events
Summer vacation is just around the corner, which means it's almost time for your kids to head to camp. But why should the kids have all the fun?
Register your little ones our Summer Camp or Saturday Forest Adventure program and take time for yourself to explore the trails, attend an outdoor ballet , or experience a goat yoga class .

Whatever you choose, Retreat Farm has you covered will an incredible lineup of events this summer. Get all the details here .

Don't wait, registration closes June 18th!
Spanish Summer Theater for Kids

Children ages 7 – 12 are invited to join Greenough Nowakoski to create a play in Spanish and English.

Week One  July 23rd-27th
Week Two  Aug 6th-10th
9am - 3:30pm  program, 8 - 5 extended day.
At Hilltop Montessori School

$200/week, 6 child minimum. Sign up for one or both weeks.
Scholarships and barter available. 

One snack provided. Families provide Lunch and additional snack.

In addition to creating a play, children will have time to freeplay outdoors and in, dance to great latinx music, have a quiet rest/read time, and hear a great story about the Spanish speaking world.

Greenough Nowakoski  has taught Spanish to children in grades K – 8 for 13 in area schools. Her work with children encourages experiencing and understanding the diversity and beauty in our world. She brings with her books, music, and artifacts from Spanish-speaking cultures. Contact Greenough at (802)387-4677 or Greeenough@gmail.com for more information.

Also, looking for interested Spanish speaking adults to assist for 3 hours per day, for pay or trade.

Traditional Music Camp
for Kids 
Led by Andy Davis, Keith Murphy, Becky Tracy
June 25 – 29, 8:30 am – 3:00 pm
Ages 9-14
Tuition: $260 / 5 days
at Hilltop Montessori School

Click here to register.