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Like us on FacebookHilltop Montessori School                              April 12, 2013

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Annual Report
Next week at Hilltop
Notes from the Head
Get Happy Hour
Tiny House
Spanish Class
Willow Room
Birch Room
Lower El
Upper El
Middle School
Making summer plans for your child? Look no further! SummerFun, right here at Hilltop, is just the ticket.
Annual Report
The 2012 Annual Report is now available in web and print versions.
Click here:  to read the web version. 
Print copies are available at the front desk.
Coming up...

April 15 - 23

Tuesday, April 23
Back to school

Girls on the Run 3-4:30pm

Wednesday, April 24
Teaching Creatures with Rae Griffiths: 9:30 and 10:30 Part of the Month of the Child; stories and live animals. Pre-School children, rsvp with Amelia.

Lower El workshare 8:30am

Friday, April 26
Girls on the Run 3-4:30pm

Coming up in May...
FREE Tennis clinic coming to Hilltop, 4 consecutive Tuesdays starting May 7. First two sessions at Hilltop, second two possibly at the Outing club. Open to students ages 6-13. Jacob Miller of the Outing Club will teach tennis basics. Let Amelia know if you are interested.

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.Thanks! 



Morningside Shelter is redesigning their space and in need of: office, bedroom & living room furniture, area rugs, plants (& pots) of any size, table/floor lamps, fabric, mirrors, artwork. To donate or volunteer,

please contact Tara Davis /

802.254.3992[email protected]



HOST a student from Spain for the month of July!!  An incredible opportunity for your child and your family to make an international connection.  Malick and I hosted a student last summer and it went great!  He's coming again this year!  You receive a financial stipend so as to not add financial stress to your family.  If your child goes to camp, so will the exchange student (and the bill is paid for by the Spanish family). For more information please contact me at [email protected] and check out the website at  www.homestaysusa.org/webs/young-person-from-Spain/default.asp  




Host families are needed for the exchange students who will be attending BUHS next fall through PAX, the Program of Academic Exchange. Choose a student from over 70 different countries-Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, or Latin America. We are happy to help you select a boy or girl whose interests match those of your family.

Host families are also needed for Spanish teens for four weeks this summer-June 26 to July 21st. Expand your family's horizons and join the students for weekly activities and field trips.

To learn more, contact Ann Newsmith at 802-257-4710[email protected].  



River Gallery School  
April Vacation Art Camp for children ages 6 -12
Week of April 15th
Mon. - Fri. 9 am - 3 pm. Fee: $150. Or $32. Per day 
Your child can enjoy a week of drawing, printmaking, painting, sculpture and more.  Register for the week or for the day. Art  materials and snack provide, just bring your imagination and curiosity. Please call RGS at 
257-1577 for more information or to enroll.


Sat., April 20, 7:30 pm

Take a Seat: 

Five Storytellers on a Mission 

Nationally renowned storytellers from The Moth, This American Life and Wait, Wait... Don't Tell

Me tell hilarious tales to raise money for the historic Latchis 

Theater in Brattleboro. 

Hosted by NYC 

comedian Brooke Van Poppelen. Storytellers include PJ O'Rourke, 

Adam Wade, Peter Aguero, 

Ed Gavagan and Jim O'Grady. Sponsored by VPR and The Hatch. Tickets start at just $25 and are available at Brattleborotix.com or at the front desk of the Latchis. 




Check out what's happening 



The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) invites kids in grades K-6 to take part in VT Kids Design Glass II. Draw an 

imaginary creature, give it a 

name and description, and drop 

it off at the museum by June 1

Every drawing submitted will be featured in a museum exhibit 

next fall. Some drawings will be selected by local artists to be 

turned into amazing glass sculptures! Entry forms are 

available at BMAC or at www.brattleboromuseum.org. There is no entry fee and no 

limit to the number of entries 

allowed. Questions? Contact 

Susan Calabria at 802-257-0124,

 ext. 102 


Now through June 23, the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) presents 

three exhibits showcasing contemporary Chinese art. 

Liu Bolin: The Invisible Man 

features photographs of the 

artist painted from head to toe, 

so as to disappear into his surroundings. Inspired by Liu's artwork, the museum is offering 

an interactive exhibit on 

camouflage in its Ticket Gallery. Create your own camouflaged creature and see if you can 

make it disappear into the gallery walls. BMAC is open 

Sun, Mon, Wed, Thu 11-5; 

Fri 11-7; Sat 10-5. 

Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $4 for students, free 

for BMAC members and children under 6. For more information, visit 

www.brattleboromuseum.org or call 802-257-0124, ext. 102.  



Notes from the Head


The World's a Stage


This Isn't Peter Pan


Looking forward to Theater Space!


Wednesday morning. Honing in on Thursday's performances of "Night at the Museum" the Upper El class is assembled and Dan and Tom begin pulling together the various skits that exhibit what has been learned throughout the school year. Skits have been written by the students, edited and refined by Tom, Dan or other students. Songs have been written by the students, edited, refined and practiced with other students and Jay. Tom directs onstage; Jay oversees the music; Dan is in the art room finishing up props.


Yes, The world's a stage: the topics range from Native Americans to the three branches of government, to the human body.  Nine skits that represent a physical expression of topics covered over the year.  Eight songs that the band has practiced throughout the year, the words of which have been rewritten to reflect the skit topics.


This isn't Peter Pan. There is no "I Won't Grow Up" where the audience knows the tune and the words, where parents and teachers help rehearse the lines. The script - well, it's not available through any source except for the students themselves and the lines have to come from and be internalized by the students. It's a script that requires creativity and responsibility from each student. It's a script that demands the courage to explain one's learning in one's own words in front of an audience.  It's a script that demands both independence of thought and the ability to create a cohesive skit with classmates.


When everyone is crammed into the Upper El tomorrow afternoon or evening there is no question that we will be looking forward to the new theater space in the Barn. Next year's performances - and there will be many to enjoy - will happen in the new theater and will be fitting for the kind of creative, student-driven performances Hilltop produces.



Hilltop (Get) Happy Hour

We're celebrating all the wonderful things happening on campus and our fantastic school on Saturday, April 27 from 5:30 - 6:30 at the Whetstone Station. Come enjoy drinks on us, along with delicious appetizers at a Hilltop Happy Hour. 


Childcare will be available from 5 - 7 pm at Hilltop for those who only want to come for the Happy Hour. RSVP to Amelia.


Want to make a night of it? Book your own babysitter and make a dinner reservation.


Thanks to David Hiler, Hilltop parent and co-owner of Whetstone, for making this happen.


Tiny House and Summer Getaway Raffles


Raffle tickets are selling like a bottle sunshine would sell this week - fast. Thanks to all the families who are bringing their tickets and payments in. We've already sold $4,600 worth of tickets - well on our way to our goal of $23,000! If you need more tickets stop by the front desk.


Packets were sent home to most families (except MS and a few folks we haven't seen on campus) with raffle tickets and information for each family. Both the Tiny House and Summer Getaway raffles are included so it's time to start selling! These prizes are way better than frozen pizzas, magazine subscriptions and wrapping paper so you'll have no problem finding buyers. 


Big thanks to Madeline Fan for her help securing the baseball and theater tickets.


We're asking each family to sell 10 Summer Getaway tickets ($5 each) and 2 Tiny House tickets ($20 each), but of course, we hope you'll sell more. 


Put cash and checks (made out to Hilltop Montessori) along with ticket stubs into the plastic bags we've provided and bring them to the front desk. 


More raffle tickets are available - remember that these raffles support our financial aid program, and the Tiny House raffle also supports Morningside Shelter.


Thanks for all you do for the school. 



Spanish Classes Return


A note from Elissa McLean:


¡Hola familias!
My family and I have had an enriching semester in Costa Rica and we are looking forward to our return on April 23rd!

Many families have asked about a spring Spanish session and I am happy to offer Spanish classes for the remainder of the school year. I will need to have at least 5 students per class, so please let me know ASAP if you are interested. I might have to merge classes if there is not enough interest. 
Spanish classes are fun, engaging, and student-centered. The focus is on developing fluency with the most frequently used words and phrases in Spanish through stories, games, personalized discussion and comprehensible, repetitive Spanish.  They are perfect for complete beginners as well as for students with previous exposure to Spanish. More information about our classes can be found at www.EscuelitaSpanishSchool.org. A healthy snack is provided. Scholarships are available. 
Spring session: $70 
Children's house - Mondays, April 29- June 3 (no class on Memorial Day), 3-4pm
Lower El - Wednesdays, May 1-29, 3-4pm
Upper El - Tuesdays, April 30-May 28, 3-4pm
Middle School - Thursdays, May 2-30, 3:10-4:10pm

Please email me at [email protected] to enroll or with any questions.





Willow Room

The Willow Room has a new and exciting work in Practical Life. The children have been very busy preparing peanut butter sandwiches for each other. This food prep work provides the children with the opportunity to practice skills previously taught while incorporating the use of a new tool, the sandwich shape maker. This new tool is exciting and enticing and naturally draws the children to the work.  It's fun to create sandwich shapes with the press and to learn how to press the plunger. This multi-step activity supports the development of concentration, coordination, order and independence, the foundation skills for all learning. This work also provides the children with the opportunity to learn how to care for others, practice their social skills, take pride in a job well done and share in the bounty.





The Olders attended their final clay class with Bonnie Stearns on Thursday. They were busily engaged with glazing their pieces while imagining what their works of art will look like following the final firing. We will journey together with the Birch Room Olders to Bonnie's studio on Thursday April 25th for an informal exhibit. The children always enjoy the opportunity to view each other's work. 




We hope you enjoy April break and look forward to having everyone back at school on Tuesday, April 23rd.


-- Melissa and Ellie




email the Willow Room


Birch Room 




"...one's movements must be coordinated with the center -- with the brain. Not only are thought and actions two parts of the same occurrence, but it is through movement that   the higher life expresses itself." - Maria Montessori


Movement is important to include in the whole education of the child, for it is both a skill and a means of expression. Our job as teacher is to develop the children's bodily powers and give them confidence and skill in their use. To achieve this, the children must come to know the parts of the body and their relation to each other and to the whole. Movement work provides the opportunity for experiment and practice in acquiring this "body awareness".  


First, consider the space immediately surrounding the child's body. It can be divided into that above him, that around the lower part of his body, the space in front and that behind him, and the space on either side of him. Children need to be encouraged to explore and use movement in all of these. Movement can be high, encouraging children to stretch up, to use their arms above their heads to reach into the space all around the body when it is in a standing position; or they can be low, exploring the space around the child on the floor.





Secondly, exploring total space is very important, for children need to be confident and happy in their use of the whole area. If they are not encouraged to explore it, their movement will be confined and restricted and will lose in freedom, variety and originality.


We can provide opportunity for the child to experiment in moving all parts of the body, beginning with simple, broad movement of arms, legs, trunk and head and progressing to more and more intricate movements as opportunity, ability, and imagination allow. Not all activity should be vigorous, fast and exhausting. Small, delicate, light movements using fingers, wrists, elbows, ankles, knees and toes, are just as important and as fun. The children gain increasing control of their muscles and find satisfaction in extending the range of movements. The child's concentration and coordination will be used to the utmost; this is why it is important to include movements of partial or complete relaxation.




"Through movement, he/she acts upon his external environment and thus carries out his own personal mission in the world."  - Maria Montessori



Lower Elementary 


Our study of Oceania continues with stories and art this week. Australia is part of this area of the world, and we have been learning about that continent's first people, the Aborigines. By listening to stories like "The Rainbow Serpent and the Story of Creation" and reading about one Aboriginal tribe's "walkabout," Lower El is discovering what was, and is, important to the Aborigines. From the Middlers' research of animals that live in Oceania, the students are learning about the strange creatures that inhabit this area, and that are often featured in Aboriginal paintings. We looked at paintings made by contemporary Aboriginal artists, and one student noted that although the pictures appear simple, they are made up of numerous dots and lines that reveal a great deal of detail. Everyone made a hand stencil on our brown paper "cave wall" using chalk pastels - emulating early Aboriginal hand stencils that were made with ochre. We decorated our hands with designs inspired by the pictures we studied. 


While we created our designs, Connie's CD of didgeridoo music played in the classroom. Earlier, Jay had talked about this woodwind instrument and shown a video of a musician playing it. Although Connie shared an actual didgeridoo with us, all we could do was admire it - nobody was sure how to play it!  

Enjoy your time together over vacation!  We will see you back on Tuesday, April 23rd!

-- Jessica, Kerstin, and Connie



Upper Elementary 
Last night, the Upper El students presented their play to family and friends. It was a wonderful performance! 

Middle School  


On this cold and wet Friday, the memories of our time in sunny and warm Alabama continue to beckon us with the extended hands of friendship and love that was in many ways the defining experience of our odyssey. We were received with such open arms and heard numerous times that we were loved. The artist, Joe Minter of Birmingham qualified that love as "agape". In his essay, "The Power of Nonviolence," Dr. King defines agape love as an "understanding, creative, redemptive good will for all men. It is an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return". That was our experience.


On the morning of our return, after a delicious hot breakfast of four different kinds of sausage (this is a meat centered culture), scrambled eggs, and French toast fingers prepared by our generous hosts, David and Sharon Jackson, we had a surprise visit from the mayor of Selma, Alabama, George Evans. Mayor Evans welcomed us and thanked us for visiting his city, told us a little about himself and then asked for questions. Even after seven intense and exhausting days and nights, our Middle School students asked probing and informed questions. The mayor answered questions about his opinion on the pending potential changes to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the controversial statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest in Selma. It was the perfect cap to our odyssey.  As in all the past odysseys, new doors were opened and already there are exciting new possibilities for odysseys to come.


Now to the present and the immediate future. How do we come to understand all the dimensions of our recent journey? How do we, individually and as a community, process this incredible and often life changing experience? Over the April break, students have been asked to read over their journals, list the ways they feel they were changed by the odyssey, and write a monologue that explores these changes. The monologues will become the inspirational ground for the creation of our performance.  For the three weeks following April break, mornings will be dedicated to the development, writing, and rehearsing of what will become our show. The performance dates and time are Thursday, May 9 and Friday, May 10 - both at 7pm.


The Middle School students were inveterate travelers and an honor to travel with. Have a wonderful and restful vacation.


Paul, Finn, and Nora



Middle School Hosts, The Jackson's



We sing farewell to Selma



Mayor Evans receives some Vermont Gold






email the Middle School


Hilltop Montessori School