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Like us on FacebookHilltop Montessori School                               March 1, 2013

 Working on the Tiny House

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Annual Report
Next week at Hilltop
Elementary Art
Girls on the Run
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.
Coming up...

All School Gathering Returns! Thursday, March 7, 8:45 am.

March 12
Open house for prospective Children's House students. Tell your friends! 9-10:30.

March 12
Girls on the Run first meeting! We'll meet at 3:15 in the kitchen


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! 



WANTED: We're looking for a big coffee urn for boiling hot cocoa water. If you have one kicking around that you don't use, bring it in. We'll put it to work!
Nature Play at BEEC!
Exciting after school adventures take place every Tuesday at Bonnyvale Environmental Ed Center from 3:30pm - 5pm.  Join us for learning and play as the winter forest wakes up for spring.  All children grades 1-4 welcome!  
Registration and more information  Call 802-257-5785 or email [email protected].
Play Days at BEEC!
During March 5th and 25th school breaks, your child can play all day at BEEC!  We will explore the forests and fields of Bonnyvale, play games, and learn about the plants and animals around us.  9am - 3pm.  All children grades 1-4 are welcome.  Registration and more information at beec.org.  Call 802-257-5785 or email [email protected].

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BIG News on the Tiny House!


Hilltop Montessori School holds a yearly spring fundraiser and as many of you know, in past years Hilltop parents have held a benefit Auction. The spring fundraiser is an essential part of our budget, and parents have all pitched in to make it a success. 


While it's hard to say goodbye to old favorites, like the Auction, this year we're going to try something new and wonderful. We want to make our fundraiser something the whole family -- and broader community -- can support. In lieu of an auction, we've decided to have two spring raffles, featuring the Tiny House and mini vacation packages. The raffles will be open to our local community, as well as friends and family from outside of the area. And best of all, the Tiny House raffle will benefit Hilltop and Morningside Shelter in Brattleboro.  


Tiny House Raffle / $20 per ticket. Tapping into the enthusiasm, creativity and unique qualities of the Tiny House Project, Upper El'ers, aided by Chad Farnum (Lower El parent) and Sam Groves of Farnum Insulators, have been swept up by the Tiny House movement and can't wait to show off their handiwork to the Brattleboro community and beyond. The Tiny House is a 90 square foot, solar powered and energy-efficient home on wheels. This is an actual small house -- perfect for a guest cottage, studio, or camping. It's a wonderful example of environmentally friendly design and building and it's a one-of-a-kind creation. Follow the progress on our lobby bulletin board.



Tiny house crew


Vacation raffle / $5 per ticket. Trips include NYC and Boston, complete with tickets to shows and sports events (Red Sox vs Yankees in Boston), and an ocean get-away.  Great for mini vacations this summer! 


Our goal is to sell $20,000 worth of tickets. As part of each family's obligation to support the school with 10 volunteer hours, we hope and need all Hilltop families to sell tickets for both raffles. If every family sold only 5 Tiny House raffle tickets that would get us half way to our goal! Both raffles offer terrific prizes and are an easy sell to friends and neighbors. Students are encouraged to get involved.

We'll be sending tickets and information out to each family this month so you can get started. We'll also set up tables at Gallery Walk and other locations throughout the area to sell tickets during the spring months. The drawings will be held right after the Strolling of the Heifer parade, June 8.



Elementary Art  



Here are some beautiful examples of artwork from Lower and Upper El. LE created self portraits in at least two different mediums, and chose their favorite to display outside the classroom. They've also been working on weaving.


Upper El work explores Native American art forms of weaving, beading, pottery and rock art. We also studied the art of the Pacific North West through totemic paintings as well as sculpted individual spirit animals. 




Girls in grades 3, 4, and 5 are invited to join Hilltop's Girls on the Run team this spring. This wonderful program is all about helping girls navigate the tricky pre-teen years and feel good about themselves, make wise choices and celebrate their unique gifts. No running experience necessary. Registration forms and a brochure went home with all eligible girls, and you can get extras at the front desk. For more information contact Amelia Farnum. We have some scholarship money available, and we really encourage anyone with interest to register!


The culminating event, a 5k race, will be held May 25 at BUHS.  


Willow Room 


Dr. Montessori viewed the growth of each individual from birth to age 24 in four "planes of development": birth to 6, 6 to 12, 12 to 18, and 18 to 24 years of age. She designed an educational methodology to respond to the unique needs and characteristics of each developmental plane. A child's three year developmental cycle is at the core of the Montessori educational experience. The three-year cycle is well defined with a beginning, a middle and an end. The Montessori learning experience is a cumulative learning experience. The third year of each educational cycle is a culminating experience academically, emotionally, socially and developmentally.   


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."


As an Older, a kindergarten student, your child will continue to work with the Montessori materials using them as a bridge to more abstract thinking. The lessons and goals of our materials respond to the individual's expanding educational needs. Sometimes it almost seems like "magic" as you observe each child's learning journey through the cycle. It is a truly amazing experience and privilege to be the teacher in this progression, to marvel over the child who left his/her Middler year just beginning to write letters and who now as an Older is independently writing and reading sentences. It may seem like "magic", but it is the culmination of all the hard work and learning from the first two years in our Montessori classroom.


Our multi-age Montessori classroom provides Olders with the opportunity to be role models. For the past two years your child has been preparing to be a class leader, to become an educational and civic leader in the classroom community. Olders thrive on helping the Youngers and Middlers. Your child's social and academic growth exponentially benefits from this mentoring role. There is no better way to internalize learning than by the act of sharing your work with another and no better way to build self and social confidence.




Birch Room 


Welcome back! We hope everyone had a restful, and fun vacation. 


We have just begun our unit on sugaring.  Many works throughout the classroom are related to the sugaring process. 


In practical life the children are pouring liquid from a variety of maple syrup containers. In the twisting area we are using a very old hand drill once used to tap trees. In the cultural area equipment used during the sugaring process is available to handle and explore.  Labeling the layers of a tree, counting rings to estimate a tree's age, and working with maple leaf and tree puzzles are just a few of the actives on the shelves.  In the language area a choice of nomenclature books are accessible to label the parts of an evaporator, sugarhouse and maple tree. Learning new vocabulary such as evaporator, arch, tubing, sapwood and hydrometer expand and enrich the children's learning.  


Our classroom is a great place to be!  Have a "sweet" week! 



Conferences are March 21 and 22- sign up sheets will be posted March 4th.


Pottery/Clay class -Older group (Kindergarten) begins on Thursday March 7: car seats necessary.


 Luci doing math



 Kaya tweezing



 Luke pouring



Luci sorting 





Lower Elementary 


Despite our abbreviated week, we still managed to dive into some new studies.  In biology, we have begun our study of the five kingdoms of vertebrates.  We began with the fish, with guest fish visiting us from the Upper El classroom.  The Youngers learned that there are five different kinds of fins on a fish, and that they all serve the fish in different ways.  The Middlers are busy learning about the functions of the fish's body: respiration, reproduction, circulation, movement, and protection. Meanwhile, the Olders started their study of the classification of vertebrates, delving into the kingdom, phylum, class, and order of each.  This study will end with invertebrate classification.  


Problem solving was our focus in math this week, as each student learned the math language of word problems.  For example, "altogether" is a hint that you will need to use addition, and "difference" is the name of the answer in subtraction.  

We have the opportunity to attend the Windham Orchestra's Children's Concert at the Latchis on Thursday, March 21st.  It begins at 9:30 and lasts for approximately one hour.  This is the morning of our half day, as parent conferences begin in the afternoon.  If you are willing and able to drive, please let us know.  Thank you!  

Enjoy your weekend.  
Jessica, Kerstin, and Connie



Upper Elementary 

Welcome back. It was very nice to see everyone on Tuesday. Despite the truncated week, we began new units of study within our larger cultural studies. As part of the zoology study, fourths and fifths will spend the next few weeks looking at animal adaptations. Fourths and fifths will also be examining Native Americans of the northeast woodlands. The sixths have moved on to a study of slavery and the Civil War. In the human body study, the sixths are now looking at the muscular system. 
This is a busy time of year. In a few weeks we have conferences. Sign up sheets are posted in the front lobby. Soon after that the whole class will travel down to southern Connecticut to the Mashantucket Pequot Museum. After that we begin writing, rehearsing, and then performing our play! So, some important dates:

March 21 and 22: conferences

March 28: trip to the Mashantucket Pequot Museum.

April 11: UE play at 1 and 5 p.m.

We do need drivers for our trip to the museum. We will leave at 8:00 and return between 5 and 5:30. If you are able to drive, please email Dan with the number of students you can transport. The museum is pretty amazing and well worth the travel time.

One last note. We have had some tired children in class this week. Getting back into school routines and schedules can be tiring for kids, so please keep an eye out for droopy eyelids and extra yawns.

Middle School  


We jumped in on Tuesday morning with our visit from Dr. William Leons and his wife, Kim. Dr. Leons was a student at UCLA in 1961 when he heard about the Freedom Rides in the South and decided to join the direct action protests.  He ended up taking a train through the Jim Crow South from New Orleans to Jackson, Missisippi with both black and white passengers where he was promptly arrested for "breaching the peace". He was sent to the infamous Parchman Farm where he spent 29 days on death row along with his fellow passengers before bail was posted.  What motivates a person to make a stand, to intentionally and actively question unjust laws knowing that one is putting themselves into potential danger and deprivation?  For Dr. Leons, witnessing the brutality of the Nazi invasion of Holland and surviving as a hidden child of the Holocaust, made the choice a simple and direct one. Before embarking on this perilous journey, Dr. Leons attended days of non-violence resistance training. "Try to love those who oppress you - your jailers, for example...it gives you a great sense of moral authority" (Brattleboro Reformer 5/16/11). His visit was a testament to courage and what Dr. King described in one of his speeches: "...the arm of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice." It was a great privilege to have Dr. Leons with us. 






Ever since we were in Gee's Bend, Alabama two years ago, Nora has been carrying around this idea that she unveiled to Finn and me on Monday. The idea is, wouldn't it be wonderful and a great testament to our friendship with the community of Gee's Bend to make a quilt that we would give to the community when we are there in April.  Gee's Bend is a small rural community deep in the black belt of Alabama. Many of the residents share the same last name of Pettway, which was the name of the current plantation owner when the slaves were freed in 1865. As was common throughout the slave owning south, slaves adopted the last name of their owner. After slavery, most slaves remained on the land, sharecropping for generations. In more recent generations the women of Gee's Bend have made quilts that have been acclaimed for their originality and vibrancy. Gee's Bend remains one of the poorest communities in America. Over the years we have been going to Alabama we have had the incredible fortune to have established a relationship with the community of Gee's Bend. For our upcoming odyssey, we will be attending church and hosting a picnic on the shores of the Alabama River. The plan is to piece and construct our quilt this month and perhaps finish it in a community-quilting bee during our picnic. To that end, we are asking students to bring in fabric scraps or better yet to go into their closets and find some well used clothing that they can cut to piece their square. The original Gee's Bend quilts were entirely made from worn out overalls and clothing, grain bags, and fabric scraps. From their great poverty, beautiful art was made.







Hilltop Montessori School