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

It's Green Up Day!

Like us on FacebookHilltop Montessori School                                                    May 3, 2013

Click heading to skip to section
Tag Sale
Next week at Hilltop
Notes from the Head
Raffle Update
MS Play
Willow Room
Birch Room
Lower El
Upper El
Middle School



The COUNTDOWN for SummerFun has BEGUN!


It's no wonder that with the exciting camps we have to offer, SummerFun camp registrations are arriving at the door and camps are beginning to fill.  Be sure to take advantage of the early bird registration and save 15% by registering for camps by Friday, May 24th.  If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact Melissa at

[email protected] 


Join the FUN!!





Tag Sale Anyone?

Hilltop Family Tag Sale 


Response to the Tag Sale idea is BIG! Sign up for your table ASAP and dream of $$! We're going to have a bouncy house for the kids, food and fun for the whole family.


"Rent" a space for $20, bring your tag sale items and a table if you have one, to Hilltop on Saturday, May 18th We'll sell from 9am till 2pm. Set up your own table, sell your own items, keep all the money for yourself or, if you're feeling generous, donate some to Hilltop. It's up to you! When you're done selling, pack up what's left and take it with you. Sound like a plan?! Who's with me?


This is a rain or shine date. Shine--we'll be outside, rain-- inside the barn. We will take care of advertising. All you need to do is show up with your wares, and make some extra $$.


Emilie Kornheiser has graciously volunteered to be our "food" contact. Email her if you'd like to help.


By the way, our Tiny House will be on display too!



Coming up...

Monday, May 6
CH Spanish 3-4pm

Tuesday, May 7
Girls on the Run 3-4:30pm

FREE Tennis clinic for ages 6-13 3pm. Sign up at front desk. 4 consecutive Tuesdays. 2 at Hilltop and 2 at the Outing Club courts.

UE/MS Spanish 3-4pm

Wednesday, May 8
LE Spanish 3-4

Thursday, May 9
Middle School Performance, "Return to Sender"

Friday, May 10
Girls on the Run 3-4:30pm

Middle School Performance, "Return to Sender"
10am and 7pm

Save the Dates!

Saturday, May 18th
Hilltop Multi-Family Tag Sale 9-2pm

Grandparents and Special Friends Day is coming Friday, May 24 from 8:30 am - 12 noon.
If your child doesn't have a grandparent nearby please let us know if you'd like to invite a special friend. We'd be happy to send a postcard invitation to that person.


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!


New family to Hilltop (and Vermont) this fall is looking for a 3+ bedroom house to rent in the greater Brattleboro area, starting in August.  Please email or call Linda Schmidt: [email protected] or 608.320.9298 (cell). 


Want to HOST a student from Spain for the month of July!! For more info contact [email protected] and check out this link



Host families are needed for the exchange students who will be attending BUHS next fall through PAX, the Program of Academic Exchange. 

Contact Ann Newsmith at 802-257-4710[email protected].  


Camp for a Common Cause
A collaborative fundraiser to benefit 
Morningside Shelter and the Brattleboro Area Drop-In Center
Friday, May 3rd| The 2nd Annual Melinda Bussino Memorial Food Drive 
Friday, May 3rd | Camp out on the Brattleboro Common 
Saturday, May 4th| Community Pancake Breakfast | 7 - 9:30
All events take place on the Brattleboro Common Park Place, Brattleboro @ the intersection of Routes 5 and 30
To register and donate, visit: MorningsideShelter.org


For the third year in a row, on Saturday, May 11th from 8:30 till 12:30 The Putney School students are available to help with yard and housework, such as raking, trimming, hauling, or painting. Cost to you will be $8 per  hour per student.

All of the money earned by Putney School students during the work day will support CHABHA, Children affected by HIV/AIDS organization in Rawanda.  Putney School students and the weaving teacher will establish a weaving workshop in Kigali. In July a group from Putney school will bring looms and yarns to Rwanda. They will teach young Rwandans to weave, giving them a source of income to provide for their education and healthcare (we have already lined up a company willing to purchase their weavings.) 

Your support will make this possible.  Please pass this on to anyone you know who might be interested in hiring the students and helping with this fundraisier. 
You can also ask me if you have any questions. 
-- Jenny Smith 
The Red Clover Rovers fun run season has begun! Join in the fun on Wednesday evenings for 1-3 mile "fun runs". See http://redcloverrovers.com/ for more information. All ages encouraged! 
Nomi has outgrown her bike!  Just in time for bike riding weather! For sale, beautiful candy apple red "Schwinn Mesa Mini" bike that is in excellent shape - it is almost like new.  It has never been left out in the rain or gone through mud.  20" frame and 20" wheels.  You can check out the specs on the Schwinn website at http://www.schwinnbikes.com/bikes/kids/mesa-20-girls
We are asking $150. Call Anna Berry at 254-1233 or email at [email protected]





Notes from the Head


A Responsible Community


There is so much going on - raffles and playground building, tag sale prep and helping with carpools, organizing wood chips and coaching Girls on the Run. Much of what happens goes unnoticed, seems just what one does, but in fact, it's all these little pieces that make for a strong school.


RAFFLES:  Summer Getaway tickets are selling like wildfire! Thanks to all those who have taken them to work, walked around the neighborhood, let their Red Sox or Yankee fans know...and if you haven't sold yours, please use any of these methods to do so. Remember that every family has the responsibility to sell 10 Summer Getaway tickets.


The Tiny House continues to intrigue a wide variety of people from California (!) to the New York Island. Of course it's hard to imagine a Tiny House being pulled across to CA or settling anywhere on the New York Island. I've been surprised at friends of mine who have bought one on-line so send out the link and encourage your friends and relatives to take a peek.  We're counting on you to sell at least 2 Tiny House raffle tickets.


Special thanks to Farnum Insulators (especially Chad Farnum) for their lead sponsorship and help making this Tiny House a reality!  


PLAYGROUND RENOVATION:  Thank you Ellie and Andrew Pennell for taking on the sandbox moving project and to all the volunteers coming this weekend to build a new sandbox so that next weekend the swing set can be installed. Group photo please so we can identify all the participants!


TAG SALE:  In talking about clearing out the barn in anticipation of the June 10 demolition (yahooooo), up came the idea of having an easy to manage tag sale. Poof, within a day there were 10 families who signed on, food organized and a bouncy house to keep bouncy guys organized.


CARPOOLS:  To all of you who organize and drive carpools - a huge thank you. It cuts down on the carbon footprint and eases traffic in the circle.  It does take a village to organize one, keep to a schedule and to take a turn and drive a group of noisy passengers.


WOOD CHIPS AND GARDENING: Soon there will be pots of color and a big pile of wood chips to beautify the grounds.  If this is something you like to do please contact the green thumb lady - Lynn Stewart.


COACHING GIRLS ON THE RUN; An extraordinary coaching group of Amelia, Sarah, Lynn Dewald and Deb Loevy-Reyes run 16 Hilltop girls ragged. Or is it the other way around? In any case there's a lot of laughter, panting and red faces by the end of each session. Reminder that pick up is 4:30.


Thanks to all of you for the role modeling of "responsible independence" and helping the Hilltop community hum through the rest of the year.





Tiny House and Summer Getaway Raffles


Thanks to super star parents (and their kids) for helping table at the Brattleboro Co-Op and at Amy's for Gallery Walk -- Jenneifer Betit-Engel, Kathryn Einig, Madeline Fan, Tim Berg, Kim and Hal Lier, Lynn Dewald and Alix Fedoruk. 


They helped Hilltop raise $415 in just a few hours. 


That brings our total to over $8000! Only $15,000 to go to reach out Net goal of $23,000. If every Hilltop family sells 3 more Tiny House tickets and 18 Summer Getaway tickets we will meet our goal.






MS Presents "Return to Sender"


Willow Room

It's so wonderful to have the warm weather!  The trees and flowers are beginning to blossom and there's excitement in the classroom.  We've plied our Cultural shelves with works about birds, frogs, and seeds to reflect the new life and growth we're witnessing outside.

This time of year the children are well settled into the classroom routine.  They are self-directed, independent, and able to concentrate for extended periods of time.  Dr. Montessori observed that when children are given opportunities to concentrate (with interesting and engaging materials in an environment that fosters concentration) children achieve a sense of inner peace.  She called this normalization. Around our classroom signs of normalization include a quiet chatter that comes from children being busy and happily concentrated, not from an enforced mandate.  Children are delving deep into challenging activities; there's been an explosion of new readers!  The classroom is always a busy place with interesting things happening, and the spring has certainly inspired a renewed sense of peace and pleasure in doing works. 


Brooke reads



Brooke and Lily by the pond




Drawing by the pond



Mark and Rhys Read



Parker with her nose in a book


The Olders are studying the art of Claude Monet.  On Wednesday they took a walk to the pond with paper and pastels.  The green beauty of the pond made a perfect place to practice imitating Monet's signature painterly strokes. 


On Sunday an enthusiastic group will be gathering to work on the playground (moving and rebuilding the sandboxes and relocating structures) to make room for the new swing set.  Come and join us!  We'll start around 9:30.

Enjoy this lovely weather.



Melissa & Ellie


email the Willow Room


Birch Room 


We asked the children what they thought Green Up Day was all about. Here are their responses.


Green-Up Day is...


Clean-up trash

Picking up litter and cleaning up the woods

Everyone should clean up

Good for the planet-cleaning up trash

It's like gardening

Is when you plant things...the soil is ready for planting

We clean the greenhouse

We pick up trash to keep our world clean

We pick up litter to keep the environment healthy

You clean up, rake, etc

Hey... it's like spring cleaning!




Last Saturday I attended a workshop titled "Growing Up WILD," presented by Ali Thomas of the VT. Fish and Wildlife Dept. This program is an Early Childhood Education Program that builds on children's sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. As we know, a growing body of research indicates that young children learn in ways that are markedly different from older children and adults. Children in the early childhood years learn primarily through their senses and from direct experience. They develop and understanding about the world through work, exploration, and creative activities, and by watching and imitating adults and other children.


This initiative is the culmination of many years of thoughtful and deliberate initiatives by enthusiastic Project WILD State Coordinators to make Project WILD available to the many early childhood educators who wished to incorporate nature learning into their classrooms.


"If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life." -- Rachel Carson



Lower Elementary 


Signs that spring has truly arrived are everywhere in Lower El: scooters and shorts have replaced sleds and thick pants, and everyone's snow fatigue has turned to spring fever!  Energy is high, and the desire to stay inside has waned.  Most of our lunches have been eaten outside this week.  We are getting reacquainted with that enormous, flaming star, the sun, and were reminded at recess and P.E. that it makes us HOT and THIRSTY! Please send your Lower El child to school with a water bottle and a hat if they don't already have one here; it's necessary during those long, shadeless P.E. classes on the field.  


 Lower El Celebrates Spring with Pajama Day


Our science table offered a bird beak adaptation activity this week; students experimented with various tools that represented beaks to try and "eat" the food from four different habitats: pond, marsh, forest, and plains.  The Olders continued their feather study with a variety of tail and wing feathers provided by Siri's dad, Mitch Harrison. 
Thank you to him for sharing part of his collection with us!

Our field trip to VINS is on Monday.  We will bring our lunches and eat them there.  Chaperones, we plan on leaving at 8:45.  

Enjoy your weekend!
Jessica, Kerstin, and Connie



Upper Elementary 


Part of the proceeds raised from the sale of Tiny House tickets will go to Morningside Shelter. Josh Davis, the director of Morningside Shelter, came in on Monday to talk about what the shelter does and why it is needed. Josh presented the students with some very sobering numbers about the housing challenges facing Vermonters. Students had many, many questions for Josh. If you are out tonight for Gallery Walk, bring some canned goods and head up to the Brattleboro Common to support the second annual Melinda Bussino Memorial Food Drive and Camp for a Common Cause, an event to support the Drop-in Center and Morningside Shelter.


Students have begun new literature and seminar books. Four and fifth grade students are reading either Bud, not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis or I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino. Bud, not Buddy is about an orphaned African-American boy searching for his father in depression-era America. I, Juan de Pareja is about the slave of painter Diego Velazquez. Juan de Pareja wants to be a painter himself. The sixth graders are reading Inherit the Wind, a play based on the Scopes Monkey Trial. Jerome Lawerence and Robert E. Lee wrote this play.


This week the fourths and fifths researched the fundamental needs of the Maya. Over the next few weeks, students will work together to create charts comparing how the Maya, Aztecs, and Inca met their fundamental needs. The sixths learned about the human microbiome, the bacteria, viruses, and fungi that live in and on the human body. Students were a little grossed out to learn that only one of every ten cells in the human body is actually human!



Important events:


Friday, May 17 Pinnacle day hike for third, fourth, and fifth graders.


Thursday, May 23 and Friday May 24, UE Museum. Thursday from 2 - 2:45 and Friday morning for Grandparents and Special Friends Day.


Wednesday, May 29-Friday, May 31, UE trip to Farm and Wilderness.


Is there a better way to celebrate a beautiful spring day than making music under the trees?



Middle School  


The creative spark has really begun to arc showering everyone in inspirational flashes. We must now gather all the free flowing energy, the disparate elements, the crashing chords, and the many parts into our new performance: Return to Sender. The show is cast, parts and lyrics are being distributed, the set is well on its way, and everyone has some memorizing to do this weekend. The performances are next Thursday and Friday at 7pm and a school show is scheduled for Friday morning at 10:00. On Friday night the plan is to have a festive reception after the show.


The performance has not been our only focus this past week. The first day of May was marked by a growing middle school tradition of inaugurating the swimming season in our pond. A number of hardy (some might say daft) students took the plunge. It is always wonderful to witness the pure joy that so often occurs at this kind of event.


On Thursday we enjoyed a visit from a class of graduate students from the School of International Training. Our friend and a professor at SIT, Ryland White, brings her class on Social Justice to the middle school every year where we sing (songs of social action of course) and talk about our studies, our work, and the world. It is always a wonderful and insightful conversation. This year we concentrated on the Alabama Odyssey. Students shared their experiences as well as some of their poems and songs. It was a powerful reminder of why we are building this show.


We look forward to seeing you at Return to Sender!



























email the Middle School


Hilltop Montessori School