Friday Newsletter / November 3rd, 2017


 Monday 11/6/17
MS Love Hate/Curriculum Vita Night 7pm

Tuesday 11/7/17
Spanish with Marco 3:30-4:30
UE/MS Soccer Practice

Wednesday 11/8/17
Marionettes and Backdrops 3:15-4:30

Thursday 11/9/17
UE/MS Soccer Practice 3:15-4:30

Friday 11/10/17
Chess 3:15-4:30
LE soccer Practice

After School Programs
Begin Next Week, please have your forms to the front desk by Monday! It's important that we know enrollment numbers to see if each class will Rebecca with any questions.
Annual Fund Was a Success!
1.The kick-off party was a blast with more than 70 people attending and enjoying:

  • The generous and social community of Hilltop adults
  • Food of Hardy Foard Catering
  • Music provided by alum parents Mark Anagnostopolus and Walter Slowinski
  • A beautiful venue at Scott Farms (they gave us a great deal and bags of apples!

2. A spectacular,record breaking Kids Night Out with over 40 children enjoying the care of the Middle School students and raising over $700 for their spring “Odyssey”!
3. A total of more than $25,000 pledged or donated from families - a significant step towards the $75,000 goal for Annual Fund donations from families, grandparents, friends, alum, alum parents, and businesses. This will all go towards the $500,000 gap in the tuition income versus the expense of providing the quality programs at Hilltop Montessori School. We make up the rest of this difference with grants, state funding, events, and donations that are specific to financial aid.

4. Our gratitude for the wonderful participation of our families. We are now at 92%! !! Thank you for showing your appreciation for the work that we do everyday to grow a caring community of curious, critical learners and thoughtful citizens.

Our week was short. If you had wanted to be counted in, donate now at this online link:   link   or email Roselle with your pledge.

A pledge or donation now will still count towards our Annual Fund Week totals!
Upcoming Events...
November 16: Anxiety Presentation @ 6:30pm
(RSVP and carpooling encouraged)
November 17: UE Author's Tea @2pm, LE Workshare @ 3pm
November 21: Stone Soup Day, no lunch necessary today!
November 22: Thanksgiving Break Begins
November 27: School Resumes
Kids Night Out
A Note from Julia Fedoruk and Kids Night Out...

Hello all!

We had a great time at Kids Night Out last Friday. The night started with playing outside, and then we all ate pizza together. Later we played in the Arts Barn and watched a movie. The whole night was so much fun. It was awesome to watch the babysitters and kids playing with each other. With 40 kids with an age range of one to eleven years old and babysitters ranging from twelve to adult, the diversity in age was astounding. It spoke to the core of Montessori education to see the older kids helping us babysit the smaller children. It was fun to watch children of all ages playing with each other: a two year old snuggling into a babysitter’s lap, the relentless three hour soccer match that raged on one half of the gym, and the enthusiasm and excitement all around for this night of fun. I’d like to give a big shout out to Roselle Garro for helping me organize this event, and to everybody who pitched in to make this night possible. But most of all, thank you to the parents for letting us play with your children! The profits we made at Kids Night Out will bring us a long way on the road to fundraising for the Boston Odyssey.

Kids Night Out is happening again on November 17th! To sign up your children for another another night of fun, email me .
Coffee Cart
Dear Hilltop Families,

Please remember that Coffee Cart happens Thursday morning. We have freshly baked morning treats such as blueberry scones, banana muffins, and coffee cake. We have freshly brewed coffee from Mocha Joe's and, of course, cream and sugar. So please come by Thursday morning from 8:00 to 8:45 at the circle. All food and coffee is by donation and all proceeds go to the Middle School's River of Spirit Odyssey. Thank you so much!

-The Middle School
Birch Room
“It is through movement that the higher mind expresses itself.” - Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori saw movement not only as an important skill, but also as a way of expressing oneself and building the mind. Through movement children learn about space, shape, pattern, and rhythm. Movement builds control and coordination, and opens the door to all learning. Montessori considered physical activity “an essential factor in intellectual growth, which depends upon the impressions received from outside.”

Today’s research into how children learn and develop supports Montessori’s ideas. A 2010 review by the Center for Early Childhood Education (out of Eastern Connecticut State University) of dozens of studies fully supports the idea that not only are children healthier when they exercise, but they that they also flourish in other ways. Early strong gross motor development is linked to better social skills and is also a strong predictor for important cognitive skills such as memory and processing speed. It is theorized “that movement facilitates the development of new connections (synapses) among brain cells and the overall organization of the brain.” See here for more.

With todays’s technology we can actually see the effect of exercise on the brain, and it is powerful. In the book Brain Rules , John Medina devotes an entire chapter to what science is telling us about the relationship between movement and cognitive function. His conclusion, “to improve your thinking skills,  move.”  

How do we make sure that our students are getting enough time moving their bodies? We visit the gym, play movement games, and go on small group nature walks. We also use the wonderful in-house resource of Mace, our PE teacher, to help us get ideas for additions to the playground that will inspire children to exercise. (Mace and Marco also take many of the children for PE classes as well.) We spend  lots  of time in our beautiful, large outside playground nearly  every  day. That means we are out on wet, cold, icy, muddy, and even snowy and rainy days.  This time of year, that means your child needs lots of layers, including hats, gloves, boots, and rain gear. Extra sets of warm clothes are also a must. Please make sure your child is well stocked for outside fun in the days ahead.

Have a great weekend!

-Cheryl, Serina, and Mariam
Isaac and Oliver get to digging while Sophie, Odin, and Asha look for treasure.
Eleanor jumps and shoots.
Asha and Odin have a race.
Willow Room
All School Gathering: Just about every Thursday morning, we come together as a school community to share work and sing together. Parents/Families are invited to join! Enjoy coffee and sing along with Jay! We generally begin at 8:50 and are finished by 9:30. See you there!

Weather and Dress: As the weather continues to get colder, pants and jackets are a must. Shorts can go into the summer drawer! Unless it is raining steadily, we will be going outside. Please send your child to school dressed appropriately for the weather. Hats and mittens are also recommended, as well.

Extra clothing: If you haven’t already checked, feel free to come into the classroom bathroom to check your child’s extra clothing bin. At least one or two sets of clothing should be present (pants, shirts, socks and underwear). Shorts and short sleeves should be replaced by pants and long sleeves.

Birthdays: Take a look in our parent handbook for our Montessori Birthday routine guidelines. In the Willow Room, we are happy to celebrate your child’s day with a birthday walk and a special healthy snack (muffins or fruit, for example). You may also provide a note/list of one important milestone or event from each year of their life: For example, “At 2 years old, Sam moved to Vermont from Rhode Island. At 3, Sam started school at Hilltop Montessori School…” If you plan to sent in a birthday snack, check in first. Thank you! 

Calendar Check-in: We do have a lot of special events and important dates on the school calendar. In addition to the school’s calendar, upcoming special events are listed in the beginning of the Newsletter. Mark your home calendar of special events and dates. 

Inservice days: You will find several “inservice days” on the calendar. We have the unique opportunity to come together on these days as a whole staff, to engage with special topics and trainings, and work on maintaining our beautiful classroom environments. Children are always very excited to return after these days to explore new materials and works! 

Visitors: We frequently have visitors in our classrooms. These visitors may be prospective families/children, teachers from other Montessori Schools, or prospective teachers, wanting to learn more about Montessori. Currently, we have a high school student observing over the next few weeks. This student, Lucia, will be dividing her time as an observer and helper in both Children’s House classrooms. We will soon have Middle School helpers as well!  

Thank you for all that you do to support your child’s success in the Willow Room and at Hilltop! See you on Monday! 

Jonathan and Rebecca   
Kaleb matches letters with cloths pins.
Amaya uses the Metal insets.
Amir explores Lightest to Darkest gradation.
Kennedy makes a spider.
Singing songs together with Jay
Lower Elementary
In our reading groups this week, we took a break from our literature books to practice reading nonfiction books and articles. After reading our respective passages, we used a graphic organizer (in this case, bubble maps) to identify our topic and gather information from the text. At this point, we were faced with two profound questions:  What information is important to include?   And   What information do we  not  need to include?   This was more of an art than an exact science, and at times, there was room for differing opinions. There is often a temptation to add to our research with things we know (or in some cases, things we think we know!), so being able to support facts using the text is critical. Once our bubble maps were complete, it was time to think about how to present the information we had gathered.  What makes sense to mention early on? What should be saved for later?   It was interesting to see how even the youngest students have some sense of what should come first, and what should come later. The next step will be to take the information and craft it into an informative paragraph about the topic. All of this work is done in the name of jump starting our unit on Nonfiction Writing.

We will share the fruits of our labor at the Author's Tea on December 15th at 8:45. We hope to see you there!
Layla builds and reads 4-digit numbers using the golden beads.
Addy and Lydia practice double digit division with the stamp game.
Carter writes his ABC book using the moveable alphabet.
Upper Elementary
The week in UE flew by as we...

  • delved deeper into writing a personal narrative, focussing on a good lead, and a memorable ending that brings closure
  • learned what came out of the first Constitutional Convention
  • began map works around early human migration out of Africa
  • previewed a hands-on engineering challenge to build a knee brace (more details next week!)
  • began our new lit and sem books (Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Fair Weather by Richard Peck, and Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary Schmidt)
  • began our new round of electives (performing Reggae music, hoop weaving, sourdough bread-making, golf, concert band instruments, scratchboard art, and knitting for veteran knitters!); thank you Cyrus Shaoul (Ilona's dad) for teaching the sourdough elective, which will be looking at the science behind yeast breads as well as learning tricks of the trade
  • fifth-year students wrapped up the note-taking phase of their hero research
Will dives deep into his research on Leonardo da Vinci.
Wish List: If any of you own a band instrument in working condition that is not being used (such as flute, clarinet, trumpet, or saxophone in particular), we would be glad to take it off your hands for our new instrument elective.

We will be sharing some of our writing from this fall at  Author's Tea  on  Friday, November 17 at 2:00 p.m.

Still needed for many students: indoor shoes, and a water bottle that lives in the classroom.

Enjoy the weekend.
Middle School
On Tuesday and Thursday afternoon the Middle School students continued their research in the annals of the library history room and Brattleboro Historical Society. We owe a lot to both institutions. Jeanne Walsh, the research librarian at Brooks, has been a patient invaluable resource and John Carnahan and Lee Ha open the Historical Society just for us and guide our students to the remarkable and irreplaceable materials contained therein. The research topics the students have selected are fascinating. They include topics such as the Latchis, the Chelsea Royal Diner, and Island Park as well as a mysterious unsolved murder and the ladies of the Mandojukelele Club. 

As students explore the past they are also engaging in a contemporary look at our community. The “Life in Brattleboro: The Society Project” is an opportunity for students to connect with a current member of our Brattleboro area community, conduct an interview and photo shoot, and to create a film. There will be a showing of these “community postcards” on Friday evening, January 5th at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center. To prepare students for their interviews, Bob Parks, alum parent of Archer and Lucy and a freelance writer and reporter, gave a delightful and very helpful class in the art of interviewing. Next week, Melany Kahn will be sharing her wisdom and experience on how to prepare and conduct a photo shoot.

Don’t forget that the Love Hate/Curriculum Vitae poetry night is on Monday, November 6 at 7pm. We look forward to seeing you there!
Students hard at work on their History Projects at the Brattleboro Historic Society and the History Room at the Library
Hilltop Helpers
Thank you to Martin Humfeldt and Green Mountain Creamery for donations of yogurt!
Thank you to Nathan Rupard and Hazel restaurant for delivering our pizza each week and providing our staff with delicious pies!
A message from Julia Fedoruk, 8th grader in the Middle School:
I am once again collecting clothes for refugees, which local nonprofit  Carry Me Home  sends to camps and outreach programs in Greece.  We currently need adult winter clothing sizes small and medium, warm adult sleeping bags, and shoes/boots for all ages.  Needs change as we hear from our contacts in the field, so please check this space for any updates! All items should be clean and in good condition. Please leave them in the box in the lobby. 

To help defray shipping costs (the only item in the budget of this 100% volunteer organization), Carry Me Home will offer a  delicious Greek Supper  benefit   at Centre Congregational Church on  Saturday   November 18, 5-7pm . We hope you will attend! All the information is on our  event page . We are also seeking donations of ingredients for the supper, and some volunteers to help us cook, serve, and clean up. Please sign up on the list by my collection box, or email me.

Thank you for all of your past support, and Kalí óreksi ! (bon appétit in Greek)
Brattleboro Sunrise Rotary and Project Feed the Thousands
Show your support for the Brattleboro Sunrise Rotary’s community care projects and buy a chance to win delicious meals at 5 of our local restaurants! Email  Deborah Rosenweig  to buy your ticket! $5 a ticket or 5 for $20. Going fast…
Hilltop Montessori School | 802-257-0500 | Fax 802-254-2671 |