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Our Mission is for students to attain responsible independence.

Like us on Facebook       Hilltop Montessori School                           October 26, 2012 

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Next week at Hilltop
Notes from the Head of School
Birch Room
Willow Room
Lower El
Upper El
Middle School
Community Events
Hilltop Classifieds
Next week at Hilltop


Sat/Sun, 10/27-28

Middle School Soccer Tournament, Greenwood School email Ben for details 


Monday, 10/29
CH Spanish
3 - 4:10
Fire and Stone
3 - 5pm
Tuesday, 10/30
Spanish Lower El 
3 - 4:10
Wednesday, 10/31
Bagel Lunch 
Lower El 
Halloween Celebration


Spanish Upper El
3:00 - 4:10pm


Thursday, 11/1
Spanish MS
3 - 4:10
The ticks are out with a vengeance. We will remove ticks at school and if you wish, save them for you to have tested, but please, check your child at home as well.

Notes from the Head of School - A Plea to Parents


Who and what is Hilltop Montessori School? 


This is the question that the finalists for Head of School will be looking to answer when they come to Hilltop the first two weeks in November. Each of the candidates will spend a day and a half on campus. They will meet and speak with teachers, observe students, talk with parents, and be interviewed by the search committee and the Board of Trustees. Each piece plays into the finalist's and the school's decision as to whether Hilltop is a fit.


How important is Montessori in the culture of the school? How does the administrative team work? Is the faculty cohesive? What is the role of the Board of Trustees? What is the financial outlook? Who are the parents? What do they want?  


There is time scheduled to ensure that the prospective candidates meet each of these constituencies in order to ask and listen to the responses to these questions. 


Parents are critical. You made a choice for your child. You know the school. Many of you have been at Hilltop for several years. You have seen what works and what doesn't. You pay tuition. You give to the Annual Fund. You bake, drive, prepare snack and help with admissions. You want a leader with vision, energy, who "gets" kids", and who has a commitment to Montessori.


You have, therefore, a major role in helping the finalists make a decision. You can ask and answer questions that others may not have thought of. You can talk about why you chose Hilltop and your aspirations for the school and for your child. You can talk about life in Brattleboro. You can sell the school because of your care and your enthusiasm.


This is an important transition for Hilltop. Please come to the parent meetings and help the school
and the candidate make the right choice.


Put these times on your calendar!


Tuesday, November 6
5:00-6:00pm, Candidate #1 Reception

Wednesday, November 7    
8:30-9:30am, Coffee with Candidate #1


Thursday, November 8    
5:00-6:00pm, Candidate #2 Reception

Friday, November 9        
8:30-9:30am, Coffee with Candidate #2


Wednesday, November 14    
8:30-9:30am, Coffee with Candidate #3

Wednesday, November 14    
5:00-6:00pm, Candidate #3 Reception


Thursday, November 15    
5:00-6:00pm, Candidate #4 Reception

Friday, November 16             
8:30-9:30am, Coffee with Candidate #4


Email Tonia


Birch Room
Preliminary Exercises 
"Any child who is self-sufficient, who can tie his shoes, dress or undress himself, reflects in his joy and sense of achievement the image of human dignity, which is derived from a sense of independence." --M. Montessori
At the beginning of the year you may have noticed that some of the more advanced materials may not have be sitting on the shelves (this depends on the readiness of the particular children to work on them). We spend several weeks reviewing basic lessons that provide a connection between home and school, and provide a foundation for life-long love of learning. 
Preliminary exercises play a vital role in the children's day at school and should be practiced in the home. They assist in creating routine and order in the environment and are prerequisites for other activities. 
Here are some of the Preliminary Exercises: 
    *    Carrying a chair, tray and apparatus 
    *    Rolling and unrolling a rug 
    *    Opening and closing a door 
    *    Washing a table 
    *    Greeting People 
    *    Interrupting with Excuse Me 
    *    Helping out 
    *    Table manners 
    *    Appropriate conduct  
    *    Please and Thank -you
Montessori stressed the relationship of these Practical Life fundamental exercises to the general happiness of the child. They are essential building blocks. They not only assist a child in interacting with their environment but also how to interact with others and to gain an understanding and appreciation. The child begins to build himself from within while learning to treat himself and others with respect and dignity. These understandings ultimately prepare the child for entry into society and a lifetime of self-respect and self-worthiness. 
Thank you to all who helped with extra laundry. Please continue to check for head lice daily. Your patience and diligence are much appreciated. 



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Willow Room


Now about 2 months into the school year, the classroom work cycle is hitting its stride. We are seeing children demonstrate greater concentration and focus, create wonderful extensions of lessons, show pride in doing BIG works, and choose challenging activities. Here's a snapshot of a morning this week:


  • Aiden, August, and Harper receiving a cultural lesson on the continents.
  • Ava learning about the land/water/air globe.
  • Lila building CVC (Consonant Vowel Consonant) words with the Moveable Alphabet.
  • Delia matching objects with initial letter sounds.
  • Talia tracing the sandpaper letter C and playing a memory game with objects beginning with "c".
  • Quinn practicing auditory discrimination of b and c and letter formation on a chalkboard.
  • Beatrice and Hailey developing language, problem solving and critical thinking skills while playing with the dollhouse.
  • Mark and Rhys drawing pictures of "fireboats" and dictating their stories to a teacher to record.
  • Connor sewing all morning.
  • Emma reading a story and then drawing puppets of the story characters.
  • Parker and Brooke building extensions with the Brown Stair and Pink Tower.
  • Corbin practicing fine motor skills and letter recognition while gluing.
  • David reading a Bob book.
  • Jamie creating a grocery list for his puppet on a shopping trip.


As you can tell, many wonderful things are happening!


On October 12, the Brattleboro Fire Department came to visit our classroom. The Firefighters Henry and Josh talked to the children about fire safety and dressed up to show the children what they look like when they are fighting fires. The Olders used the visit as a writing topic for their journals later in the afternoon.






Please remind your child to change into his/her indoor shoes upon arrival! Also make sure your child's extra clothes box is stocked. We have a very limited supply of extra clothes on hand.


And finally, many thanks to parents for meeting with us for conferences. Please continue to come to us should concerns or questions arise.


Enjoy a great weekend.

Melissa & Ellie



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Lower El

Our recent trip to Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center (BEEC) for a program on insects was a big hit! We took to the woods with magnifying glasses to search for these tiny creatures. In addition to stinkbugs, potato bugs, bees, crickets, grasshoppers, and katydids, we also discovered other invertebrates like earthworms and slugs. Thank you to all of our parent drivers, who not only brought us there, but also chaperoned a group of entomologists through the field and woods.  

  Ally and Leah record their findings at BEEC               Conrad draws his observations 
Julia studies a tiny bug

Thank you, too, to everyone who came for parent conferences last week. It was a nice opportunity to share news about your children. We feel fortunate to have such a wonderful group of children in Lower El!

This week in class, the Youngers have been reading to their Older reading buddies and to a teacher; using the addition strip board to learn (or to solidify) their addition facts, working with compound words; reading and spelling short "e" or short "a" words; coloring and labeling maps of Europe; as well as pursuing their many choice works.   

Ally reads to Talia

The Middlers are working on dynamic addition (adding with exchanging) with the stamp game or bead frame; studying "nk" words; practicing their addition facts; testing their command of grammar with the symbolizing sheets; and working on their cursive. They collaborated on a report on snails, which they shared at All School Gathering this week. They proved to be eager researchers. 


Siri and Raina use the bead frame 

Many of the Olders have been studying "ai" words this week; working diligently in their multiplication books; and reviewing "masculine" and "feminine" nouns. They are learning the names of geographical locations on the biome map of Europe and answering questions about this continent. In addition, they remain enthusiastic about their atlases! They were also excited to receive their science binders. This is where they will record the results of their science experiments.


Emmy and Talia use the Europe biome map

Everyone has been testing out our latest experiment - Heavy Objects Sink - with kitty litter, ping-pong balls and metal bolts.

From our history lesson on the Timeline of Life, we have branched out to a biology study of the five kingdoms of life. In this lesson, we use the chart of "the hand of life."  Each finger represents one of the big groups, or kingdoms, of living organisms: prokaryotes (the first kind of life that existed, the bacteria), protoctista (very simple organism that live in the water), fungi, plants, and animals. Our poster of the "tree of life" is another way to understand the five kingdoms, with the branches used in place of the fingers. The main idea of this lesson is to impart that human beings (scientists) have organized (or classified) living organisms into groups to better understand and study them. 

We'll end with some reminders: 

  • Please continue to check your child for ticks; those hardy arachnids are still out!
  • Please, if your child does not have a water bottle at school, send them with one on Monday.
  • Please send in sneakers on Tuesdays and Thursdays for PE, or keep a pair here at school.

Thank you - and enjoy your weekend!

Jessica, Kerstin, and Connie  


Upper El

Thank you for wonderfully productive conferences last week.  If any questions or thoughts have come to mind since conferences that you would like to discuss, please contact Tom or Dan. Below is an entry from Ben's blog. It seemed like a fitting 'article' for the newsletter this week. 

Phew, I'm glad that's over!



Today was Friday. On Thursday I had my parent teacher student! conference. At the school I go to, once you get into fourth grade and up you actually have to be at your own conference. You have to put together a portfolio of works that you've done to show your parents.  You have to pick one work from each subject: math, cultural, language arts, and you can pick between music, p.e. or art. You can also put in one other work of your choice (optional). You have to write a two paragraph essay for each work. Then there's the conference.  It's basically like digging your own grave (if you know what I mean). It's so scary.  At the end of the conference I could've sworn I wet my pants at least three times.  (Note my armpits were sweating like crazy).  The good thing about it is that it's only a 30 minute conference and you don't actually have to really do anything except say "good" at the end of every question your parents ask you.  My teacher Dan says that  the word 'good' is basically a grunt with a 'D' sound on the end. I think "Good rocks!".  In the end it turned out it actually wasn't that scary.    


On Thursday the fifth graders participated in the second annual Garlic Project planting day. Our fifths joined fifth grade students from Academy, Oak Grove, and Green Street Schools for a half day of planting garlic and garlic-related activities here at Hilltop. Our students did a great job serving as hosts.  


Math, math and more math!
Holden and Bella test their soil samples 

Thank you's

Thank you to the Coffey Snyder family for donating this year's Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award  (DCF) books to the Upper El classroom. Every year thirty books are chosen to be on the DCF list of books. Children in Vermont who read at least five of these books are invited to vote for their favorite book. One author is awarded the DCF award each year. Upper El students have been diving into these books. Thank you Sara, David, Izzy, and Daniel!

Thank you also to Jennifer Sutton for making the curtains that now hide what lurks beneath our classroom sink! 




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Middle School




"Between two tall gate-posts of rough-hewn stone, ...we beheld the gray front of the old parsonage, terminating the vista of an avenue of black ash trees....The glimmering shadows, that lay half asleep between the door of the house and the public highway, were kind of spiritual medium, seen through which, the edifice had not quite the aspect of belonging to the material world." (from Mosses from an Old Manse by Nathaniel Hawthorne 1854).


The Middle School passed through this veil of history during our trip to Concord, Massachusetts yesterday. We went to Concord to deepen our understanding of the Transcendentalism movement and the impact it has had on our society. After a visit to The Orchard House where Louisa May Alcott immortalized her family's story in Little Women, and The Old Manse, the former home of both Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne, students wandered down to the huge rock where the Hawthornes, Emerson, Thoreau, the Alcotts, and Margaret Fuller once gathered to converse and enjoy the natural beauty surrounding them. After a short seminar, we explored the Concord River and the famous North Bridge and found a place to paint and reflect. As Emerson commemorated: 


"Here once the embattled farmers stood 
And fired the shot heard round the world." 

On top of it all, it was an incredibly beautiful day.  As Nathaniel Hawthorne describes from his time at the Old Manse:


"If ever my readers should decide to give up civilized life, cities, houses, and whatever moral or material enormities, in addition to these, the perverted ingenuity of our race has contrived, - let it be in the early autumn.  Then, Nature will love him better than at any other season...."









The transcendental movement centered in Concord is often called the second American Revolution as it represented the first focused philosophical and literary group in America and forwarded the ideals of the great experiment.

A transcendent time was had by all.



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Community Events

Hilltop Classifieds and Wish List



Computer for Development Office Assistant, pc or mac. If you have a lead on a good quality used machine email Lynn.


See this week's Hilltop Classifieds! Submissions to Amelia by noon on Thursday.    

Hilltop Montessori School