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 / March 30, 2018
The "Spicy Announcement" Big Reveal!
Calendar Listings   

Monday, April 2
Teaching Creatures 9:30 & 10:30
Girls on the Run 3:00-4:30pm
Spring Foods from Around the World

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

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

Thursday, April 5
All School Gathering 8:45-9:15am
Cross Country Running 3:15-4:30pm

Friday, April 6
LE Authors' Tea and Potluck 2:10-2:50pm
Dear Hilltop Families,

Thank you to all who were able to attend the successful, first annual, Chili Cook-Off, Board Meet and Greet with the “ spicy announcement ”! For those who couldn’t make it, unfortunately, I can’t put a taste of chili in the newsletter, but I can report on the success of the evening and share the announcement. The winning chili was a Korean Texas Chili made by Nara Iams and it was spectacular! Recipe here .

Many parents learned more about the Board of Trustees . We are excited to have several new board candidates interested in board service. If anyone else is interested in learning more, please contact Steve Iams or me

The Board, Roselle Garro (Development Director), and I shared the news of an amazing gift to the school that has helped to secure further financial stability to support the families, faculty, and facilities that make up our school currently and into the future. For details on this gift, click here .
Upcoming Events...
April 12: UE Play 1:00pm & 5:00pm
April 28: HMS Tag Sale 7:30am-12noon
Toddler Program
This week our newest friends, Mason and David, settled in further and enjoyed playing outside in short sleeves (yay, Spring!) and drumming with Jay. 
The older children have spontaneously demonstrated great kindness towards the younger children by giving encouraging pats and hugs, welcoming smiles, a general willingness to help, and practicing patience. This community is enveloping our newest members with love and it's wonderful to witness!

Toddler age children are in their Sensitive Period for language and we set up our classroom to provide a rich language environment. There are plenty of books to look at and have read, colorful language cards and objects, and spoken language (both English and Spanish). Some children have demonstrated interest in language games, too, like rhyming. Together we, younger and older, enjoyed a lesson on matching pairs of rhyming language objects this week. One child chose an object - dog, for example. The children were invited to find another object whose name rhymed with dog (we've been rhyming at the snack and lunch table for a while now so they are experienced with listening for rhyming pairs). While pointing to each object remaining, they were asked, "Does shell rhyme with dog? Shell-Dog, do those rhyme?" This continued until the children found the rhyming pair. In this case, dog-log. Such an exciting game for young people beginning to explore language!

Enjoy the weekend!
Ellie, Marco, Amanda and Jessica
Children's House

April is Month of the Young Child!

This past week, the children in both classrooms have been working on a special art project. As part of our community’s celebration of April, The Month of the Young Child, children’s work from area programs will be displayed at the River Gallery in downtown Brattleboro. The art is being hung tonight, but there is a celebration with snacks and children’s activities at the River Gallery on Sunday, April 8th from 10am-12pm. Both Mariam and Serina will be there, and would love to see you there too!

Throughout April, there will be a series of fun and free events in our area to continue the celebration. Mariam is on the planning committee, and has made sure that everyone received a great brochure in their cubby with a list of the dates and times. Puppets, cooking, art, and sing-alongs are just a few of the free options for you and your child. There are extra brochures at the front desk if you’d like more information!

Separately, we’d like to share a work by one of our Olders. Making lists has recently been a popular activity with the children. Usually, this wonderful literacy work consists of writing classmates’ names. This week, Eleanor decided to take the work further. She generated a list of “kindness” and made a poster offering different examples. It’s hanging in the Birch Room now, but we wanted to share it with all of you. As Cheryl says at the end of every circle, “Be kind. Be kind. Be kind!”

Have a great weekend!

-The Children’s House teachers
Lower Elementary
Children in the 6-9 age range are very social people, and usually prefer to do everything with a friend or group of friends. This close proximity to a wide range of peers on a regular basis can naturally lead to challenges and learning opportunities. These social interactions are THE work of this plane of development. Our weekly peace time helps to address these topics with pre-teaching, not in the heat of the moment. This Thursday, Tamara was our guest. She read two stories that dealt with the difficulties that can arise with friends, such as possessiveness and exclusion. Many children participated in the discussion that followed, offering their ideas for how to deal with each situation. We will continue our work on the topic of peer relationships as we head into late spring.

Our study of Geometry, which began last week, continues. Youngers reacquainted themselves with the marvelous 3-dimensional world of geometric solids, including ovoids, spheres, and square-based pyramids. Middlers used a box of right-angle scalene triangles to create pinwheel shapes. It's a work really designed to get your hands on, to explore, to discover, and to question. Olders became detectives in their fantastical exploration of the 7 triangles of reality.  Which one is an equilateral? Does this triangle have a right angle? How many different lengths are there on this triangle?  All of these questions help us puzzle out the names of the triangles.

Last Friday, we began group projects focusing on the biomes of Africa. Each member of the group has an integral role to play in the creation of their group's display. The project will culminate in each of the five biome groups giving a presentation to the class on the Friday before April vacation. 

And, of course, we continued our journey through Poetry Land. This week, students dug deep: creating, revising, and discussing acrostics, shape poems, 5-W poems, list and ode poems. Please be sure to join us for the Author's Tea on Friday, April 6th, at 2:10!

Have a wonderful weekend!
Kerstin, Patrick, and Amelia
Hazel practices making exchanges in a stamp game multiplication problem.
Wren and Helen work on the History of Light layout and book making.
Matai and MJ display their pinwheel art!
Today, as part of the Lower Elementary study of Africa, Mariam shared her experiences visiting her family in Mali, and the Ivory Coast of Africa. She shared pictures of her land, family and foods. She also shared her amazing experience at the Fathala Reserve in Senegal, where she was up close and personal with big cats!

Her presentation was a huge success with the group. Students asked many questions and learned about the land, animals and their habitat. 
Thank you, Mariam!
High School Intern Observing In Lower El
Chelsea Paryzk is a junior at Four Corners School in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Four Rivers is a charter public school with an emphasis on expeditionary learning with a college preparatory program. She will be doing a one week internship in the mornings next week observing Lower Elementary activities. When asked why Chelsea choose Hilltop for her Junior Internship she said, “I don’t know what makes a  Montessori education different at this point. I hope to know much more after my internship. I have always loved elementary age students. Seeing them learn is exciting.  There is so much of the world that is still new for them. Hilltop is a community of it’s own. I assume things they need to know will be similar, but I expect that the way they will be taught will be different.  I am excited for this new opportunity!”

Chelsea loves sports. She plays soccer, ultimate frisbee and downhill skiing. Chelsea is exploring the field of education for her future!
Upper Elementary
The class wound up some recent cultural topics with igloo building inspired by Inuit culture (last Friday), a trip to the stunning Mashantucket Pequot Museum, and skits on important events leading up to the Civil War. We are now able to turn our attention towards writing the annual UE play!

On Thursday, we began by brainstorming a list of the many topics we have studied this year across the curriculum. We then reviewed all of the student suggestions, submitted anonymously, for an overarching plot structure that would lend itself to a variety of scenes. We fleshed out the suggestions, whittled down our list through a series of votes, then landed on a structure. (Sorry, no spoilers here.) We will spend the next days brainstorming specific scenes, collecting facts for each, writing the script, and adapting songs that music groups have been practicing with Jay. Our play will be presented Thursday, April 12 at 5:00pm (with an earlier show at 1:00pm for the school).

We also will need to assemble the stage during a work party after school on Friday, April 6 from 3 to 4pm. We will send home a ‘permission slip’ so that we know that you know your child would like to help out.

Many thanks to Collin and Andrea for joining us in the long trek to the museum on Thursday.
The Pequot museum, and especially its “living village,” never fails to capture the student’s imaginations and interest.
The class raced against mother nature last Friday afternoon to finish the igloo before the warm weekend, and we prevailed!
Middle School
Mohandas Gandhi once said: “It is the sacred duty of every individual to have an appreciative understanding of other religions”. Professor Diane Eck of Harvard University and founder of the Pluralism Project wrote: “Tolerance is a necessary public virtue, but it does not require Christians and Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and ardent secularists to know anything about one another. Tolerance is too thin a foundation for a world of religious difference and proximity. It does nothing to remove our ignorance of one another, and leaves in place the stereotype, the half-truth, the fears that underlie old patterns of division and violence. In the world in which we live today, our ignorance of one another will be increasingly costly.”

Our “River of Spirit” study aims to pay heed to these wise words and further our understanding of the remarkable diversity of the world’s faith traditions. Although Vermont is the most secular state of the nation, a full 84% of the world’s population identifies with a religion and this number does not include the multitude who claim “spiritual but not religious”. In our study thus far we have explored Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism and hosted guests from each of these faiths. Shital Kinkhabwala, originally from India is a practitioner of the Hindu faith, Gary Keiser is a former Buddhist Monk from the Tibetan tradition, and next week, Kate Judd, the spiritual director and cantor from the Brattleboro Area Jewish Community will be singing and speaking with us. In the next couple weeks we will be exploring Christianity and Islam and hosting guests from each faith. In addition students are investigating other faith traditions in our own Pluralism Project and exploring the intersection of art and spirit in individual research projects.

All of this leads us to our “River of Spirit Odyssey” from May 3 - 9. In this journey we travel to the Boston area and converse and worship with an array of faith traditions. Currently we are planning on connecting with fifteen different communities including a middle school class from the Malik Academy. This Islamic school is part of the largest mosque in New England, the Islamic Society of Boston. Going to the mosque is like visiting some sort of worldwide intersection. There is a remarkable assortment of languages spoken by congregants until you enter the prayer hall and hear the haunting call to prayer in the language of Mohammed, Arabic. 

As-salaam alaikum, Shalom, Peace be upon you.
Gary Keizer speaks to us about his Buddhist practice.
The mask project continues. Owen show the positive mold of his face. 
Someone is really excited about baseball’s opening day. 
Ryan O’Donnell from the Southeast Vermont Watershed Alliance talks to us about the Whetstone Brook as part of the Confluence Project.
No time to waste..order your HILLTOP "swag" today!
A NEW online school store!!

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 from 3/16-4/16...
Start shopping now!  

Hilltop Montessori School themed items hats, sweatshirts, t-shirts, bags and more will be available for purchase.  Check it out now !
After Care
Enjoying snack outdoors on a warm afternoon in After Care.
Readers and listeners in Before Care.
All School Gathering
We want you!!
Reserve a Table for the Tag Sale!
Time is flying! Only 5 weeks until the Multi-Family Tag Sale! 

We have 8 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
Hilltop Helpers
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!