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Our Mission is for students to attain responsible independence.

Like us on FacebookHilltop Montessori School                       February 11, 2013


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Annual Report
Middle School Cafe
Girls on the Run
Next week at Hilltop
Snow Day Edition
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 
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.  
Coming up...

Thursday, February 14
Winter Sports
Pick up for Mount Snow bus 4:30pm

Friday, February 15 Early release - 12 noon.

February 18 - 25 - Winter Break. NO SCHOOL.


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.

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; [email protected], 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.  


Enjoy 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 (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 [email protected], or call 802-257-5785.

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Snow Day Edition

Due to Friday's snow day we're sending our weekly letter today - Monday, Feb 11.



Willow Room 


It's been a terrific week in Willow Room with lots of exciting lessons. The children are busy in all curriculum areas in the classroom and there's been an increased interest in math works.


Many of the Middlers are exploring the squaring chains in the bead cabinet while a few of the Olders have stepped up to the challenge of the cubing chains. If your're wondering what 7 cubed is just ask Davey. Over the course of two days he worked to count and label the 7 cubing chain to discover that 7 cubed is 343. Other friends like Rhys and Parker are having lots of fun together exploring the world of static addition with the golden bead bank. They are busy learning how to solve equations such as 4,326 + 3,572 = 7,898.


It was very exciting on Monday when a 4 � year old Middler picked up one of the Bob Books, an emergent reader book, and firmly placed it on a table, pulled out the chair, sat down and clearly stated, "I'm gonna read this book today!" and proceeded to do just that. He worked to decode the phonetically correct words to read them and with the support of a teacher to help with the sight words he read the book. After he finished reading, he closed the book firmly, smiled up at the teacher and said, "I did it.  I read that book!" How amazing it is to observe and participate in the learning process.


On Thursday we will have a very low key Valentine's Day celebration. During the week each child will create and decorate a Valentine's Day mailbag for cards. Children are welcome to exchange cards with their friends. Please be sure to have a card for each child in the classroom. If your child does not want to exchange cards that's fine but again if they would like to participate please be sure there is a card for everyone. We will have a special circle on Thursday and open our cards. Please remember to keep all candy at home.


Thank you to everyone who attended our Moving Up Night on Tuesday evening. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to share more of our three-year curriculum and unlock the wonder of the Montessori materials.


With all our new snow it's a winter wonderland outside.  Please remember to pack all snow gear and an extra pair of waterproof mittens for your child.  


Melissa and Ellie



Birch Room 


Be My Valentine


In the coming week, the Practical Life area in the Birch room will be filled with reds, pinks, and purples in celebration of Valentines Day. The children will busily engage in tweezing and spooning brightly colored heart shaped beads and other colorful items. Pouring works will be filled with colored water and colored dry materials.




We will celebrate Valentines Day Thursday the 14th. Each child will have the opportunity to decorate a mail bag for a card exchange. If your child chooses to participate in the Valentine Day card exchange please make sure there is a card for every child in the classroom. A class list will be in your child's coat cubby in case you need it. We will share a special Valentines Day story during closing circle. Children will bring their card exchange bag home to enjoy and share their cards with you. Thanks so much.


Lower Elementary 


"Responsible independence." This is what each program at Hilltop is working to help children achieve, to the best of their ability. In Lower El, there are work schedules for children who would like to map out their day. A teacher guides them in how to do this, to create a "balanced diet" of work. Math, reading, cultural work, and other language works - whether grammar, word study, and/or writing - complete the morning work cycle. Time for lessons, choice work, and snack must be considered, too. Some children are able to move through their morning without a schedule, staying focused and accomplishing a great deal of work. Others need a bit more assistance in remembering to do their subtraction, or to know when it is time to temporarily halt the Super Bowl discussion and move on to the morning's work. Flexibility is part of this time management lesson, too. Sometimes a child is passionate about a new work, and wants to concentrate on it all morning. If they have just learned division and are eager to master it, they are not interrupted in this pursuit. 

There are good days, and there are less productive days. The important thing is that the children are striving towards independence, learning from their mistakes and their accomplishments - just as their teachers are. They are given the time and opportunity to figure things out for themselves, with a teacher available for guidance if, and when, they need it.

Valentine's Day is on everybody's schedule for next Thursday, and Lower El is buzzing with excitement about this sweet holiday. IF children would like to make or purchase Valentine cards for their classmates, they may bring them in on that day. Please make sure there are enough for all 23 students (Emmy Winter is our 24th, still in Costa Rica). They will have the chance to exchange cards before heading off to their winter sports destinations. We would like to limit the amount of sweets that are brought in, so aside from the candy that may come with a card, please leave baked goods and other candies at home.  
Keep warm and sled on!
Jessica, Kerstin, and Connie 



Upper Elementary 

Upper El students were busy this week putting music to their poetry. An important part of this process was discussing how to put a group together so people felt included rather than excluded.

While preparing for the poetry performance has been a central work in our classroom, it hasn't been the only work. For the past couple of weeks, fourth and fifth year students have been carefully digging through owl pellets in search of animal bones. Owls regurgitate the pellets, which contain the bones of their prey, small mammals and birds. Students identify the bones and the animal from which they came. Some students are able to reconstruct most of an animal skeleton. The fourths and fifths also learned about the vital functions of sensitivity and reproduction.

The sixths have recently been learning about the impact of western expansion on Native Americans. This week they began examining historical documents, either a song or a political cartoon, to learn more about attitudes towards Chinese immigration to America in the second half of the nineteenth century. 

In math the fourths continue their work with fractions. They are now multiplying fractions by fractions. The fifths are busy with Journey North. Last week they were working hard on graphs of changes in daylight for a mystery city. The sixths continue their work with area.

Middle School  

We are constantly reminded of the great intellectual and emotional depths that adolescent students can plumb and how beautifully they articulate their insights. On Thursday, I had the delightful opportunity to watch Nora conduct a seminar on an excerpt from Darwin's Descent of Man as part of the students' exploration of science, truth, and race. After a quick examination of the numerous vocabulary words Darwin employed, the students plunged right into natural selection, the difference between species and breeds, and the factors that affect the development of either. The students are finding connections from earlier readings, especially those that explored the "truth" of racial differences. This morning we looked at the brilliant, humorous, and disturbing chapter from Steinbeck's Travels with Charley titled "Ain't Those Cheerleaders Something?". This chapter chronicles Steinbeck's witness of the mob mentality and entrenched attitudes of thousands of people who gathered every morning to mock and denigrate a very young black student (accompanied by Federal Marshalls) and the only white family who chose to stay in a formerly segregated public school in New Orleans. We wondered where that kind of courage came from and compared it to the Little Rock Nine.


Tomorrow we will be exploring the Freedom Rides in preparation for a visit from Mr. William Leons on Friday morning at 9:30 who is a veteran of that remarkable time and spent, along with hundreds of other advocates of justice both white and black, an extended sentence in Mississippi's infamous prison, Parchman Farm. Mr. Leons has a remarkable life story beginning as a hidden child of the holocaust who now lives in Brattleboro. You are most welcome to join us.


In our continuing quest to raise funds for the just around the corner Odyssey to Alabama, the students have created the Morning Caf� in the main lobby. Every morning fresh Mocha Joe's coffee and Middle School baked muffins are available by donation. Please avail yourself of this wonderful and tasty opportunity when you drop your student off in the morning. Speaking of the Odyssey, we are having a parent information night on Tuesday, March 26.


Some photos from Winter Sports!







Hilltop Montessori School