logo hms
Our Mission is for students to attain responsible independence.

Like us on FacebookHilltop Montessori School                           February 1, 2013


Click heading to skip to section
Annual Report
Annual Report
Annual Report
Financial Aid Update
Next week at Hilltop
Moving Up Night
Willow Room
Birch Room
Lower El
Upper El
Middle School
Annual Report
The 2012 Annual Report is now available for download.  
Click here:  to read the web version. 
Print copies will be available at the front desk soon.
Middle School Coffee and Bake Sale 
NEXT WEEK - Help support our MS Odyssey trip. Stop by the front hall for coffee and baked goods, make a donation and help our MS students get to Alabama! 
Girls on the Run  
Girls on the Run, the fantastic program for girls in grades 3 -5, will be offered at Hilltop again this year. Stay tuned for registration details.  
Financial Aid Update
All applications should include a PFS, (Parent Financial Statement) and your most recent tax documents (2011). Once your 2012 tax forms are completed they should be submitted as well.
ALL PFS forms are submitted on line, tax documents can be sent electronically or by mail directly to SSS. Once your 2012 documents are submitted your account will show up as complete. 

Coming up...
Tuesday, February 5
7 - 8:30 pm
Moving Up Night. Sign up for childcare at the front desk.

Wednesday, February 6
Open House for prospective parents
Tell a friend!

Thursday, February 7
Winter Sports
Pick up for Mount Snow bus 4:30pm


If you have an item, service or community event you would like to post in this space, email Amelia. Deadline for entries is Thursday afternoon. Entries will be posted for one week unless requested otherwise. Thanks! 



After-Care requests:
Dress-up clothes. Ideally they would be "grown up" go-to-the-office clothes that are appropriately sized for a child.


A head-set for the CD player

Brattleboro Music Center presenets:

Broadway Musicals Song & Dance Ages 5-8, Saturdays 10-10:45 am  

Broadway Youth Vocal Performance Ages 9-13, Saturdays 11 am - 12 pm 

Instructor:  Alisa Hauser

Call the Brattleboro Music Center at 802-257-4523 or visit www.bmcvt.org 

MAKE ART at River Gallery School 
The 15 week Winter Spring semester begins Feb. 4th.
Art Classes for Children, Teens, and Adults. Please call Donna at 257-1577 or email; rgsart@sover.net, for more information or to enroll. Scholarships, installment payment plans and work trade options are available - inquire at the office. Check out our website



Winter Camp is a collaboration between the Brattleboro Food Co-op and the Boys & Girls Club. Camp will run Mon.-Fri., Feb. 18-22, from 8:30-5pm.  


During the week we will embark on outdoor adventures and expand wilderness skills, make homemade candy and flavored popcorn for a movie outing, explore the Art Museum and excite the imagination with food art projects, learn kitchen skills while creating fun snacks for our field trips, including wild, messy fun at the Mad Science center and a taste of spring with a picnic at Smith Botanical Gardens in Northampton. 

Cost for the week is $100 for Club members or $150 for non-members. Lunch and snacks are included.  Contact Ricky at the Club (802-254-5990,  ext.4) or Vicky and the Co-op (802-246-2842) for more details or to register.  



Winter Explorers Vacation Camp at Beec
Join us for a fun-filled week in February.  Come for one day or all four!
Feb 19: Hole in a Tree
Feb 20: Art for Animals
Feb 21: Tracking the Wild Ones
Feb 22: Into the Frozen Forest
Grades 1-4, 9am - 3pm.
More information on daily camp themes, registration, and our organization on our website.  Visit beec.org, email beec@sover.net, or call 802-257-5785.

 Back to top


Moving Up Night!


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Moving Up Night

7 - 8:30 pm


Moving Up Night is a presentation by program for current parents moving up to a new program (3 & 4 year olds in Children's House, K to 1 in Lower El, 3 to 4 in Upper El & 6 to 7 in the Middle School) and parents applying new to the school. This is a presentation by the program directors and teaching teams, to discuss program details and expectations with a question and answer session to follow. 


We strongly encourage all Elementary parents to attend to learn more about the changes planned for next year. Tamara Mount, our new Head of School, will also join us for the evening to discuss the shift and answer questions.

These are very important opportunities to get acquainted with the environmental, developmental, and curricular transitions and expectations associated with moving up to new program levels.


Child care available, make a reservation at the front desk by February 1 so we can plan for supervision, thank you.




Willow Room 


We've had a wonderful week in the Willow Room.  


On Thursday the Olders enjoyed their third visit to the skating rink with the winter sports program. The energy and excitement for the trip begins as soon as they enter the classroom in the morning. "It's a skating day, Melissa", announces one student as she confidently strolls through the door and heads to the sink to wash her hands. As she washes her hands another Older arrives and she exchanges a greeting with this friend. Their faces shine as they talk in anticipation for the day's skating expedition. As I quietly observe this interaction I find myself walking down memory lane to two and a half years ago when these Olders were Youngers.  

It was just two and a half years ago when these two students entered the classroom in a very different manner. Instead of strolling confidently across the threshold, they hesitated at the door bobbing back and forth, making the transition from parent to teacher. Once through the door there were the moments of concern as they acclimated to the classroom environment. The greetings offered by teachers and friends may have been received but more likely were not acknowledged. Gentle reminders were given to help them successfully complete routine tasks. And then at last able to move independently into the environment to engage in an activity.   

This is just one of the many examples we are privileged to observe in a child's journey from Younger to Older.  In the Children's House the third year, the kindergarten year is the capstone year. For the past two years your child has been building an educational foundation with hands-on concrete learning experiences and is now ready to internalize these experiences, to cement the foundation and begin to build up. The completion of the third year allows your child the time and experience to fully realize and bring to fruition the work of the previous two years. 

Mary Hogan says it best when she writes, "Imagine the child's education as a house-the first year builds a solid foundation, and the second and third years erect the walls and, finally, the roof to top it off. The foundation is still useful on its own, but the house becomes a home, and much more significant, if one is allowed to build it to completion."

We hope you can join us on Tuesday, February 5th from 7:00 to 8:30pm for Moving Up night. This is the perfect opportunity for us to share more information regarding the Montessori three-year cycle.

Enjoy your weekend together!

Melissa and Ellie

Birch Room 

This week we have continued our discussions and experiments with snow. Our latest experiment is one we learned from Snowflake Bentley. Put a sheet of black construction paper in the freezer for several hours. Take it our and quickly catch or place

fluffy snow/snowflakes on the paper. The coldness of the surface, and color of the paper gives the observer a longer time to see details of the individual snowflakes through their magnifying glass. The Scholastic series Snow, Glaciers, Ice and A Snowy Day, by Melvin and Gilda Berger, are being read daily by the children. They have beautiful photographs of the topic and are loaded with fun and scientific facts. 



Budding illustrator, Ian, has been experimenting with perspective - the techniques used to present a three-dimensional world (what we see) on a two-dimensional surface (a piece of paper) in a way that looks realistic and accurate, as we see it in nature. Perspective is used to create an illusion of space and depth on a flat surface. Ian's interest has lead to viewing many books and artists, and to discussing this particular passion in greater detail. He then combines this with his writing.



On another note (no pun intended) Jay Cook- Music instructor, has been working with the children weekly using rhythm sticks. This week he introduced Boom whackers- which are tuned percussion tubes.




School begins at 8:30 and pick-up is between 2:45-3 Please do your best to be on time




Lower Elementary 


History has been on our minds this week in Lower El: our personal histories, and those of prominent people. The Youngers are currently counting out many little squares, each one representing a year in their own lives and the lives of their parents, siblings, and pets, as they create their family age graphs. Lots of comparing takes place during this work, as they announce their parents' ages and compare how tall their tower of squares is in relation to someone else's parent's tower. Some Youngers choose to arrange their towers of squares by oldest to youngest, or boy, girl, boy, girl, but no matter how they do it, they are learning about graphing, practicing their counting, and learning a bit about themselves and where they fit in the scheme of their families.  



The Middlers have been writing out the names of their family members up to great-grandparents, excitedly comparing family names ("I have a Solomon in my family, too!") and arranging them on large poster board to create their family trees. It is interesting to hear them talk about which countries, or parts of this country, their relatives are from. This work always fills the children with a sense of wonder; they look upon their large family trees and see the people that came before them - some, familiar  figures in their lives, and others, only subjects in family stories they've heard.  




The Olders are hard at work on the biographies they have chosen, reading and taking notes on their subjects of choice. This year, our third graders have chosen Thomas Jefferson, Georgia O'Keefe, P.T. Barnum, Michael Jordan, Molly Pitcher, and Ruby Bridges as the subjects of their biographies.  




Weaving and embroidery have been popular in our practical life area this week. They began weaving with Helen in art, and the passion for it has spilled over into the Lower El classroom!  


Stay warm and have a pleasant weekend!  


Jessica, Kerstin, and Connie



Upper Elementary 

Writing poetry is usually thought of as a very solitary act, but in the Upper El it is also a community activity. Every Thursday morning, we begin our day on circle to share poetry. Each student shares a poem he or she has written and then other students give feedback. Before our very first time doing this, we had a discussion about how to give feedback and provided some modeling. From the beginning students have been very supportive of one another, but with each passing week the feedback has grown in richness. Students are listening very closely to one another and really thinking about the poems being shared. Students are offering specific ideas on how a child can improve his or her poem, encouraging each other to think about word choices, comparisons, and emotions being evoked. Next week, students will begin composing music to accompany their poems. We look forward to seeing everyone at our poetry performance on Wednesday, February 13 at 1:30.

The cancellation of downhill skiing this week allowed time for an impromptu performance by students in the instrument making workshop. Very fun!

Middle School  

We have entered into a very busy academic period in the middle school. Jessica's January health class is over. The masks are completed and are on display beginning tonight at Gallery Walk. They are being exhibited on the walls of Amy's Bakery for the month of February alongside an original accompanying poem. The following is from Finn's description for the exhibit:


The creation of a mask allows for an unfolding of imagination, desire, and technique. And nothing so clearly reveals the face beneath than the mask that covers it. The search for identity and voice is an important aspect of the Hilltop Montessori Middle School's curriculum, and the mask project is an integral part of that search.... students are constantly confronted with images of themselves that are very familiar yet hold the potential for great exploration. Masks often lend themselves to the grotesque, the exaggerated, and the sublime. They offer cover, fantasy, and new personas, and yet at their root they are casts of the students' faces and reveal a marvelous and inspired journey of creativity. 





The poetic films that students have also been seriously engaged in are very near to completion. Soundtracks are being created and final editing and tweaking is happening. We will announce a web site based film festival opening soon. As you know we have commenced our study of the Civil Rights Movement and "The Science of Race". Students have science presentations due on Monday as well as a position paper that looks at "truth" and the veracity of science. Students have also selected their "Civil Rights Movement Individual". This extensive research project results in a specific outline, paper, and a speech written in the spirit of their chosen individual and is then memorized and recited in Alabama. Now is the time for research to begin.


Speaking of Alabama we are trying something new to help raise funds for this adventure. For the time being we are taking a break from soup making and selling and going into the coffee and baking business. Every morning beginning next week there will be Mocha Joe's coffee and homemade (as in our kitchen) muffin or scone for sale by donation in the main lobby. After dropping off your student why not grab some superb hot coffee and delicious treat? We are also planning a parent information night about the Odyssey on Tuesday, March 26 at 7:00 pm. Just a reminder - the odyssey is April 3 - 10.






Coffee anyone? 



Enjoy the weekend.



Hilltop Montessori School