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 / May 4, 2018
Calendar Listings   

Monday, May 7
Spring Foods 3:30-4:45
Girls on the Run 3:00-4:30

Tuesday, May 8
Cross Country Running 3:15-4:30pm

Wednesday, May 9
Girls on the Run 3:00-4:30pm
French with Sylvie 3:15-4:30pm

Thursday, May 10
All School Gathering and Coffee in the Arts Barn 8:45am
Cross Country Running 3:15-4:30pm
TP and CH Spring Clean Up 3-6pm

Saturday, May 12
Girls on the Run 5K 10-11am
Brattleboro Union High School
The middle school is on a “River of Spirit Odyssey”. You can keep up with their rich immersion into many of the world’s faith traditions by checking out their blog found on the cover page of the Hilltop website.

Upcoming Events:
May 16: Children's House Workshare 8:30-9:00am
May 24: Upper Elementary Museum 2:00-2:50pm
May 25: Grandparents & Special Friends Day & Upper Elementary Museum - Noon Dismissal
May 28: Memorial Day - No School
May 30-June 1: Upper Elementary Class Trip
June 2: Strolling of the Heifers
Job Openings for Next Year
As we look to next year, we have a few positions to fill. More details about each position can be found here .  If you know of someone who might be interested in joining our enthusiastic team for any of these responsibilities, please encourage them to contact  Tamara  with a resume and letter of interest.

Art Teacher for Elementary - Inspire students to integrate art into their lives!  - Half-time, noon-3 Monday - Thursday and extra time during “museum” project and performance preparation times

After-Care/Afternoon and Substitute Teacher - Help our younger students rest and play  - Part-time consistently available from 11:30-5p.m. on weekdays, and can also be on-call for work during the morning school hours (starting at 7:30 or 8:00 a.m.)

Toddler Program Assistant - Support our team with the youngest cuties!  Full-time or Part-time

NEW ADDITION Facilities Assistant - Help with keeping our campus safe and clean!  - Part time - 5-10 hours per week helping Kegan around campus

Coaching Team Volunteer - Continue and grow the enthusiasm for the sports programs  - Part-time, after school
Grandparents and Special Friends Day
Grandparents & Special Friends Day invitations have been sent out for Friday, May 25th (see full schedule for the day below). This is always a nice celebration and a beautiful way to invite our friends to the school to share the environment the students have been working so hard in over the recent school year.

This year's spring celebration is special, as we are celebrating our founding head of school, Tonia Wheeler, with the Kahn Mason Award for Outstanding Contribution to Hilltop . We hope you can join us!
Please RSVP to Roselle Garro .
We love visitors! But sometimes too many grown-ups in the classroom can be hard to manage for children and visitors alike. This year, we welcome all guests but ask that no more than 2 guests per child visit in the classroom at one time. We're hoping this alleviates some of the stress that little ones, especially, can experience on this very special day.

Grandparent and Special Friend Day Schedule:
 8:30 - 9:00 a.m.  - Meet & Greet with coffee & light breakfast
  9:00 - 9:30 a.m.  - Award Ceremony Honoring Tonia 
 9:45 - 10:45 a.m.  - Visit with Grandchildren and Special Friends in the Classrooms and/or Middle School Seminar Discussion (in Middle School)
10:55 -11:45 a.m.  - All School Sing in the Arts Barn
Noon Dismissal for All!

* PARENTS : We love volunteers! We need volunteers to bring in baked goods, help with the set-up, coffee making and clean-up during the morning. If you can help, please contact Roselle .
Toddler Program
Moving up days begin in May for children moving from one program up to another at Hilltop. During the course of the month, children make four visits to their soon-to-be classrooms spending progressively more time each visit. This time we have five children who will be moving up from Toddler Room to Children's House in the fall. Here are some pictures of some of them visiting Birch Room.

Enjoy the weekend.
Ellie, Amanda, Jessica and Marco
Willow Room
Hello, HMS Families! 

We are so very excited to have warm weather! With this wonderful weather we are noticing so many changes outside. Trees are beginning to show their leaves and buds-- some are even flowering! Spring flowers are also coming into bloom. We take time to notice the beautiful colors in nature. We remind ourselves to be gentle with these new plants too and let them grow! 

In the Willow Room, we have been busy bringing nature into our classroom. In addition to sprouting beans, we are learning about the parts of Flowers, Butterflies and Insects. What  is  an Insect, anyway? Is a butterfly an insect? What about a spider? A beetle? We are learning to look more closely at each of these topics, so that when we step outside, we know so much  more  about what we are seeing in Nature! 

As we play more outside, we also need more energy. Food gives us energy! We have been introducing several food preparation works in order to learn how to safely use tools such as peelers, spreading/butter knives, and carrot and apple cutters. When carefully prepared, these activities help to instill a sense of order, and care of one's needs. 

We will also be spending more time using our playground. We look forward to seeing you at our playground improvement day next week! We will be raking, organizing, building and helping to make the playground a wonderfully prepared outdoor learning environment! Please let us know if you can come and help out! 

Have a wonderful weekend!


Jonathan and Rebecca. 

Birch Room
This week, the children spent some time outside learning about the changes happening in the world around them. We looked at the progress of our budding trees and investigated signs of animal visits to our playground. Many of the children took trips to the pond to see and record the animal life there as well. We also prepared for changes within our classroom as Olders visited Lower Elementary and toddler friends came to see us. 

With the hot weather we’ve been having, a lot of children have been looking for their water bottles! Please make sure yours is at the school for when your child needs it outside. And don’t forget to apply sunscreen and bug spray on these warm mornings!

Have a great weekend!

Cheryl, Serina, and Mariam
P.S. Please join us for Workshare the morning of Wednesday, May 16 from 8:30-9am.
Dan from Elementary helps Eleanor with an animal investigation.
Elijah learns about pond animals.
Ellie reads to a group of toddlers and Birch Room students.
Mini field trips to the Hilltop pond!
Lower Elementary
This week in Lower El:

We started our study of sound. We used our scientists' eyes and ears and our keen powers of observation. 
Ask your child:
  • What causes sound? 
  • How do you know this?
  • What happened when the tuning fork was placed in water?

We also learned about the Tuareg people of the Sahara Desert this week. 
Ask your child:
  • What is their mode of transportation?
  • What sort of clothing do they wear? Why?
  • What are their houses like? 

Thank you to all who attended our Moving Up Night. It was exciting to share information about Lower El, and students in this plane of development, with you!

Enjoy your weekend.
Kerstin, Patrick, Amelia
Sophia and Lydia test out telephone cups as part of our unit on sound. 
Carter works with the hundred board.
Iris practices double digit division problems using the stamp game.
Patrick strikes a cymbal during a lesson about sound and vibration.
This week students in LE PE took advantage of the warm weather, and access to the vast trail network leading down the hill towards Memorial park. Finding black birch that taste like rootbeer, impromptu natural balance beams, a pullup bar in the woods and searching for a geo cache highlighted the adventure. Middle school students joined the trek serving as informative guides and chaperones! This conveniently located trail network can be used for biking, hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The cross country running group often uses this network for challenging running terrain!
Upper Elementary
Sarajevo, Bosnia; Montevideo, Uruguay; Neenah, Wisconsin - what do these cities all have in common? They are three of the cities the Fifths have found as answers in this year’s Journey North: Mystery Class investigation. After calculating photoperiods (the amount of daylight hours) for 10 mystery cities and graphing them against the photoperiods of cities in known locations, we could get a rough estimate of their latitude. Then the web site sent us a clue about each city’s longitude - the sunrise time GMT on a certain date. Then, for the last 4 weeks, we received cultural clues to help us identify the city. In Sarajevo, there are cathedrals, mosques and synagogues, and the Olympics were held there. Montevideo, we learned, is a capital city on the coast that is home to about half of the country. And who would have known that the typewriter was invented in Wisconsin? We find out if we located the right cities in a few weeks.

Students are neck-deep in research for their persuasive essay. We are learning about the pros and cons of cat de-clawing and gun control, the hazzards of lead in the environment, and why recess is good for kids (among many other topics).

It’s always a good idea, this time of year, to ask your child to check for ticks.

Another reminder to save these upcoming dates:

UE Museum   - Thursday, May 24 (2:00pm) and Friday, May 25 (9:30-10:45am)

UE 3-day trip   - Wednesday, May 30 - Friday, June 1
Marco from the Toddler Program presents on the Mayas, Incas and Aztecs.
Abby and Mark attack their lit assignments.
Middle School
The middle school is off on its week-long “River of Spirit Odyssey” in Boston - check out our blog found on the cover page of the Hilltop website.
Save the Date: 

Whetstone Walk-About + Open House
Friday, May 18th
(5:15 site walk, 6pm student presentations and community conversation)

About the restoration of  250 Birge Street  (sometimes known as "Sawdust Alley")

Location: The Root Social Justice Center

Our middle school students are co-hosting this public forum on the 12-are flood plain being conserved along the lower Whetstone Brook. All our river studies this spring, including our upcoming residency with artist and storyteller Judy Dow from May 14-18, will culminate in this community gathering where students will be presenting projects about the past, present, and future of this site. They will be joined by members of the Brattleboro Conservation Commission, The Vermont River Conservancy, and Lower Whetstone neighborhood residents.

Come check out what our students have been up to this spring, and learn more about this exciting conservation initiative.

This event is being co-organized by Hilltop Montessori, the Town of Brattleboro, Vermont Performance Lab and the Vermont River Conservancy. Special thanks to the Root Social Justice Center for hosting.
After Care
Hilltop Helpers
Hilltop Apartment
Hello Hilltop community! My name is Camille and I’m looking for a queer roommate, or possibly a couple, to join me and my 2-yr-old cat in the semi-furnished, two-bedroom apartment above the Hilltop Montessori Middle School. I’ve been living on campus for almost two years now, and it’s such a beautiful and special place to call home! I will be travelling for 3-4 months in the fall and am ideally looking for a housemate open to either living with a subletter or covering the total apartment rent during that time, which I would subsidize if that person is willing to take care of my cat and allow me to store my things until I return. Pets who are cat-, dog- and child-friendly are allowed (and preferred by my very social cat!).

More details in the online housemate ad:

Do you know someone who might be a good fit? Please help spread the word!
Hilltop Community Tag Sale - Thank you
A huge thank you to all our friends and family who participated in the Tag Sale. The weather cooperated and everyone had a great time. It was a wonderful community event. A special thank you to Shelley and Paul Lockyear and the Nutmeg Food Truck for keeping us nourished (and caffeinated!) If you haven't tried their food...It is delicious!
Thank you to Marie Small
for her donation of praying mantis eggs. Ball jars containing curious egg cases can be found in every classroom, and students of all ages are anticipating the big hatching day! The mantis nymphs will be released around campus, to hopefully serve as pest control - they have an appetite for ticks and other garden pests!
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
Disappointed there weren't any Elementary camps being offered at Hilltop this summer?
Well, we have a couple that will be held on campus, see below... flyers available at the front desk!

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.
Poetry, Bookmaking & Art Workshop
"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 in Brattleboro. 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.

Poetry classes will be taught by Ann Gengarelly who has been a poet-in-the-schools for over 25 years. Bookmaking and Art Design will be led by Tony Gengarelly who teaches Art History at Massachussetts College of Liberal Arts.

For younger students - Register for the week of July 30 or week of August 6.

* Students do not need to know how to write. Ann and an assistant teacher act as scribes for their poetry.

For older students (grades 5-12) - Register for the week of August 20 - only a few openings remain!

If interested call Ann at 802-257-8972 or email at agengar@sover.net .