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Our Mission is for students to attain responsible independence.

Like us on FacebookHilltop Montessori School                              May 10, 2013

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Open House
Tag Sale
Annual Report
Next week at Hilltop
Community Event
Notes from the Head
Tiny House
Willow Room
Birch Room
Lower El
Upper El
Middle School
Open House
Parent and Child Open House for our pre-K and kindergarten program: Wednesday, May 29 from 9 -10:30 am. Please share with your friends who have young children! 


Tag Sale
Come join the fun at our multi-family Tag Sale, Saturday, May 18th from 9-2pm. $20 a table. Keep all your earnings or donate some of the proceeds to Hilltop. Bouncy house, food, fun and bargains galore! The Hilltop Girls on the Run team will be there selling baked goods for the Morningside Shelter.Tell your friends!
Want to help out with the food? See Amelia.
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...
Monday, May 13
CH Spanish 3:00 - 4:00

Tuesday, May 14
Moving Up Day 1
Girls on the Run, 3:00 -4:30
UE/ MS Spanish 3:00 - 4:00

Wednesday, May 15
LE Spanish 3:00 - 4:00

Thursday, May 16
Garlic Project Weeding Party

Friday, May 17
Moving Up Day 2
UE Pinnacle hike
Girls on the Run 3-4:30

Saturday, May 18
HMS Tag Sale!!

Remember - May 24 is Grandparents and Special Friends Day. Join us from 8:30 - 12 noon for classroom visits, All School Gathering and lunch. 
RSVP to 802.257.0500 ext. *102 or [email protected].
In the Community
Green Mountain Camp for Girls - Open House: Sunday, May 19, 1-4 pm. Art activities, snacks, tour and meet staff. Lots of HMS girls attend this camp. Located in Dummerston, 565 Green Mountain Camp Road. www.greenmountaincamp.com

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! 


Preview of a few HOT ITEMS that we're selling in the Multi-Family Tag Sale:


Sub-Zero Freezer. Good condition. It's in the barn adjacent to the Elementary building, if you want to take a look. Make us an offer!


Foosball Table. Also in the barn. Take a look and make an offer



Hilltop family looking for temporary housing this summer while their campus housing is renovated. Email Jenny Smith if you have any leads. Thanks!


Fix-A-Flat Tire Clinic 
Saturday, May 25th 9am at West Hill Shop, Dummerston.
Bring your bike, and plan to get greasy.
And it's FREE! 
Let us know you are coming 
so we can plan ahead 802-387-5718 or [email protected].









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Notes from the Head




I have overheard parents reflecting in astonished tones at the "personality changes" they have observed in their children with the onset of spring. For some it's been delightful - the grumps have turned into active, busy, sunshin-y family members. For other there's the wail of "what happened to my active, busy, sunshin-y child?"


Perhaps it's just the season, perhaps it's the school year cycle, but it is certainly what seems to happen around spring break. We see it at school as well. There's a restlessness, an anticipation, a mood that can be accompanied by distraction, noisy outbursts (good ones and bad ones), moments of lethargy and moments of high energy and incredible focus.


Most upper el and middle school students can articulate what's working and what isn't which can make it easier to come up with solutions - whether it's earlier dinner or setting up a new schedule or even re-arranging a bedroom. For younger students it's more of a challenge - and endless questions to try and find out what's going on can frustrate both parents and children.


There are no perfect answers - mostly it's being able to relax, step back and say, yes, this too shall pass. Another stage is sure to come. The question is how soon!



Keep it up!


You have raised $8,250 so far - Over a 1/3 of the way there (goal is $23,000). Let's keep up the selling. Just ONE MONTH before the raffle drawing.


Here are new photos of the Tiny House - it looks amazing!







SummerFun 2013 is so happy to welcome our very own Hilltop teachers to camp.


  • Sarah and Mariam are an awesome team for the 3 - 5 campers.
  • Cheryl, Keirstin, Dan and Tom will share their expertise with the 6 - 11 campers.


This is a great opportunity for children moving to new classrooms to establish relationships with their new teachers. It also provides children with the opportunity to deepen their experience with their current teachers!


A Few Camp Teasers

Ages 3 -5

  • New sand toys, trucks, bubble wands and wading pools are arriving!
  • Superhero capes, pirate hats and magic wands are on order!
  • Treasure hunts, adventures in the woods and trips to the pond are being planned!


Ages 6 - 8

Down by the Pond

  • Nets are waiting for eager hands to explore the pond!


Viking Camp

  • Design your own sword and shield!
  • Help build a catapult!


Woodland Gnome Camp

  • Get ready to commune with some local gnomes!
  • Construct a gnome house!


Ages 9 -11

Native America Wisdom

  • How stealth like can you be in the woods? Come to camp and play "Counting Coup" to find out!


Outdoor Adventure

  • Are you ready for exciting adventure challenges?
  • Test your strength and skill on the obstacle course in the woods!
  • What's a firestarter and how do you make one?


Food and Culture

  • We'll make food monsters and then put them in the movies!
  • Come cook and enjoy foods from Japan and Mali!


Nature Science

  • Exploring ecosystems and tracking animals will be part of the fun!
  • Be ready to dig in and get dirty!
REGISTER NOW and take advantage of the Early Bird Discount - 15% off if you register by May 24


Willow Room

The children have really enjoyed the new arrangement of the playground! Old favorites are being used in new ways. The brick patio off the back of the Little Red House lends itself well to dramatic play activities. There have been many slices of "pizza" (aka wedge of wood) served this week. The new locations for the sandboxes are popular too. Refreshed sand and new wood frames make them welcoming places to be. And this weekend a 4-bay swing set will be installed, thanks to Tony Farnum and Adam Hubbard.


In the coming weeks we anticipate Phase II to begin: a patio poured in the courtyard area of the playground to be used by the whole school community and sails to shade both the patio and the large sandbox. Many exciting things are happening on the Children's House playground! It has been wonderful watching a year+ of planning come to fruition.


Sincere thanks to all of the hard working volunteers who helped to make these Phase I changes reality (and we had a great time doing it)!


Kathryn Einig

Mallory and Mike Elliott

Jen Betit-Engel and Christian Engel

Rebecca Fontaine

Rochelle Garfinkel

Stephanie Betit-Hancock and Jamie Hancock

Mellany and Mike Harrison

Jamie LePlante and Eddie Monroe

Melissa Mroz-Gaskill and Peter Gaskill

Andrew and Ellie Pennell

Eden Terrell

Vicki Warzecha

And the children


If you were not able to make it to the work day but would like to contribute, please consider giving an item from on our Playground Wish List. Items include small tables and chairs, benches, wheelbarrows, snow shovels, wagons, plants, building materials, and the like. These toys and tools are ordered from specialty catalogs that design playground equipment that is rugged and will last through years of loving play and heavy use. (We have found toys and tools purchased for family use do not hold up well on our playground.) Please let us know if you are interested.


The children are thrilled with the new playground and we need everyone's help to keep momentum going while we continue to improve our outdoor learning space.


Enjoy the weekend!

Melissa & Ellie



Lili, Briana and Bibi




    Kaya and Brooke

email the Willow Room


Birch Room 






"If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing." Zimbabwe Proverb


Humans are born to sing. As soon as a child can focus on the mouth of the mother, he is studying how lips move and how sounds are made. When he begins to make intentional sounds and the adult imitates them, the first duet is born. Let us help the child continue with this joyful human creation.


There is no such thing as a nonmusical child; there are just nonmusical adults who did not get this practice as children. Songs give children a way of expressing emotions, and the very act of singing is a physical release. We love listening for the casual, unintentional singing in class, knowing that it is a positive sign. Always remember that we do not need beautiful voices to model singing for children. It's the

modeling itself that is important.



Singing also gives practice in language, new words, poetry, and historical and other cultural information. In a class, where children work individually instead of having group lessons, the teacher will sing a song, make music, dance, at any time during the day with two or three children who aren't busy. Others may join in as they please. Any child can make music whenever she feels like it. We have been practicing a new song for Grandparent's / Special Friend's Day with Jay, our music teacher. The song is actually in book form also. It is called Everything Grows by Raffi.






Lower Elementary 


Our field trip to VINS was wonderful!  In addition to viewing songbirds and raptors up close, we enjoyed a presentation on raptors in the outdoor classroom.  It was exciting for everyone to watch the great horned owl - otherwise known as "the tiger of the sky," we learned - flying from one instructor to the other.  Turkey vultures, peregrine falcons, and eagles were some of the other birds of prey we observed that day.  Thanks to a Lower El parent, we have adopted a female peregrine falcon.  Once she recovers from her surgery - she had to have part of her left wing amputated due to a collision - our falcon friend will live in an enclosure at VINS, and Lower Elers can introduce themselves to her the next time they visit the institute.


Many thanks to our drivers for their time!

Last week, Ally Foard's friends from New Zealand visited us to explain a bit about life on that beautiful island. 
Annelise and Murdock entertained us with stories about New Zealand's government and  life in their school, and they pointed out their home and other notable areas on our biome map of Australia and Oceania.  At recess, they made themselves at home in Haytown, thanks to our Lower El hosts.  

Our first Moving Up day is next Tuesday, May 14th.  Our Kindergarten visitors will sample life in Lower El with their First Grade friends for an hour.  Friday, May 17th, they will return for another visit.  We look forward to hosting our new friends!  

Have a wonderful weekend!
Jessica, Kerstin, and Connie



The Olders in the Children's House visited the Art Room to make Relief Prints. View them on the board outside the classrooms. 





Upper Elementary 

This week Rae Griffiths from Teaching Creatures brought some visitors from the animal kingdom to introduce to the fourths and fifths. Rae brought an African pygmy hedgehog, a gecko, and a boa constrictor. Students have been studying animal classification, so Rae discussed the classification of the animals she brought. She compared the characteristics of the hedgehog and the porcupine, two animals that seem quite similar at first, to highlight the features scientists consider when classifying animals. Rae made clear why, despite one very striking similarity, hedgehogs and porcupines are, in fact, are classified in different orders. Thank you to Alan and Lynn Stewart for making Rae's visit possible.




The sixths began an examination of the endocrine system this week. During their first lesson on this system, students learned about how hormones regulate the body's reaction to acute stress. Later in the week, students were introduced to some current research findings related to the endocrine system. One important area of research is on the effects of chronic stress in young children. Students will continue to explore this topic by reading news articles. Each of these articles discusses research on chronic stress in children and considers how social policy might respond to the research findings.


A square is a rhombus, but is a rhombus a square? How do you find the area of a circle? Students were busy with geometry work this week. The fourths are working on set theory. The fifths are working on congruency, similarity, and equivalence with the constructive triangles. The sixths are working on area of a circle and volume.



We are in need of a mom to join us on our trip to Farm and Wilderness.  You can come up for only one night. Please let Dan know if you are interested. Thank you.


Important dates:


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


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


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


Middle School  


Our original performance piece, Return to Sender, is playing tonight, Friday, May 10 at 7pm for the last time. If you could not be here last night or this morning, come tonight. The show is the means we reflected on our yearlong exploration of our identity, as an individual and as a citizen, and specifically our recent odyssey to Alabama. The performance is powerful, insightful, tuneful, and fun. It is also totally student created with enthusiastic support of the staff. The middle school shows are a singular experience; please come.


The end of the year is rapidly approaching, especially for the eighth graders. On Monday we begin the graduation process, on Tuesday the apprenticeship program begins, and on Wednesday we will have the first seminar for their final piece of literature, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky. In just three weeks we will be journeying to Upland for the end of the year odyssey (June 3-5) and Friday night, June 7th is graduation night, a mere four weeks from tonight. Graduation is not only a celebration and a milestone for our graduates but also a community celebration. We will be in touch soon on how you can help make this a memorable occasion. 





email the Middle School


Hilltop Montessori School