All School Pot Luck Tonight - Spofford Lake - 5pm
Monday, September 9
- ALL FORMS DUE to Front Desk (Medical, Pizza Lunch, After School Programs, etc.)
- Regular schedule for Children's House
- All children arrive for 8:30 am and stay until their scheduled dismissal time at 11:45, 3:00, 4:00 or 5:00pm
- Early Morning Care starts
- Middle School heads to Upland returning Thursday afternoon
- Going Far Cross Country Running Academy School 3:10-4:10pm
Tuesday, September 10
- Upper El Soccer practice 3-4:15pm
Wednesday, September 11
- Lower El Soccer 3-4pm
- Going Far Cross Country Running at Academy School 3:10-4:10pm
Thursday, September 12
- Middle School comes back from Upland
- Upper El leaves for Pinnacle Trip
Friday, September 13
- First pizza lunch Friday
- Upper El back from Pinnacle trip
- NO UPPER EL SOCCER PRACTICE
Tuesday, September 17
Parent Orientation Night, 7pm. Childcare is available, sign up at front desk.
Morning Care starts on Monday
Morning Care Reminder for CH, LE, and UE
Morning Care begins on Monday. If you need care for your Children's House or Elementary aged child before 8:15 a.m. and have not done so already, please stop by the front desk and fill out a Morning Care Contract. If you need early morning care periodically, please notify Ann at the front desk ASAP or, at least, by 3 p.m. the day before so we can ensure sufficient staffing and know to expect your child in the morning.
Elementary teachers need their classroom prep time until 8:15. Please wait until 8:15 to drop-off or to bring your Elementary child to their classroom, unless they are enrolled in Morning Care. Children's House teachers will be in the classroom preparing until 8:30, but the Assistants will be on the playground from 8:15 on to greet you child and supervise a gross motor playtime to start the day.
THIS WEEK'S BARN UPDATE:
Now you see it, but next week you won't! The barn, as we know it, is to be demolished over the weekend. On Monday, the site will be unsightly, and there may be restricted traffic access. This stage is unavoidable, but hopefully, will be brief. We're sorry, in advance, for any inconvenience. Keep the vision of the finished product in mind!
After the building comes down, preparations will be made for the demolition of the concrete slab which is slated for Sat. & Sun. 9/14-15.
Stay tuned for more updates...
SSAT Preparation for Middle School students with Jessica Turner
The Secondary School Admissions Test, or SSAT, is a standardized entrance exam taken by students seeking admission into independent high schools. It is a common measurement of academic capabilities, separate from school records.
Jessica will help students to increase their scores by preparing them with the test-taking skills necessary to read and solve problems using strategies to help them cope with both math and verbal questions. Students will learn to eliminate incorrect answers and make wise educated guesses with practice tests. Tuition
includes practice textbook. Class meets on Wed. afternoons from Oct 9th - Nov 6th. Preparation for the test date on Nov 9th. Class ends at 4:15. Cost: $275. Register for the class by submitting your check to the front desk ASAP.
Lower and Upper El classrooms could use new digital cameras
. If you've recently upgraded your camera at home and have an older one in good shape laying around, we've got a great home for it. Contact Ann
if you can help.
Jay is looking for some curtains
for the music room. If you possess sewing skills and can help him out, he'd be ever so grateful. Email Jay
if you can help.
Year of Observation . . . or Not
As a new head at an established, strong school, the typical advice is to take the first year to do the Montessori thing and observe, observe, observe - see how things are done, notice the flow of activities, soak in the culture, don't make any waves until you really learn the lay of the land. However, I was hired because I have specific skills and experience that is directly applicable to the programs at Hilltop Montessori School. The board specifically charged me with directly applying my expertise as soon as possible. While I can't make changes that significantly affect the budget that was set last year, I have found ways to tweak what is happening for the better.
For example, morning drop-off seemed a place to make an improvement.
- Having been a teacher, I really appreciate and want to guard the teacher preparation time in the early morning.
- Having been a parent of young children, I know that it is hard to organize your morning to have drop-off occur at a specific minute in time.
- Having been a manager, I know consistency always makes things more clear.
So . . . drop off time is now consistently a 15 min. window from 8:15-8:30 a.m. for all programs. CH and Elementary children will need to be in Morning Care if they are here before 8:15 a.m.. Teachers will have that valuable time in their classrooms preparing the enticing lessons for the day, without child supervision responsibilities, until 8:15 a.m.. This is a slight change that I hope will help things run more smoothly.
We'll be making more adjustments as we see the need. And, as part of the process of observing, learning about the school, and being a part of the community, please don't be surprised or alarmed if you see me cc'ed on an email from a teacher, or if I get back to you about a question you might have asked another staff person. I want to be involved, to learn about the school, and be engaged in the day-to-day workings of the school. Additionally, if you have some feedback to share, please email me or stop by!
"Getting to know you...getting to know all about you..."
We have had a great first week of school! Your children are settling in, meeting new friends, building trusting relationships, and becoming familiar with their routines and schedules. All of these new experiences take time, patience and consistency. Each tiny step is progress and leads us on a path to great adventures and exciting learning.
We have had a fantastic first week of school! It has been delightful to get to know the new children and welcome friends from last year back to the classroom. We understand that Orientation Week's abbreviated schedule can be challenging for families and we appreciate your patience. The new Youngers are becoming familiar with the classroom and us and are excited to meet the other children next week. The Orientation Week schedule makes this valuable opportunity possible.
Captions from right to left:
Melissa gives a Practical Life lesson on fingernail scrubbing to a captive audience, Melissa shows our new Youngers how to find their mugs on the pegboard, and Senji experiments with finger paint
Please be on the lookout for small picture books that will come home with your child. These books will help children and families learn the names and faces of the friends in Willow Room.
We are excited to begin the regular schedule next week! To ease the transition onto the playground, please say goodbye to your child at the gate (as if it were the threshold to the classroom). The children will take care of hanging up their belongings on the garden fence hooks.
Proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains help give students the energy and focus needed for the classroom. As a helpful reminder, here is our lunch policy:
- Pack trash-free lunches with reusable containers, fabric napkins, necessary utensils, and without prepackaged food items.
- Prepare nutritious foods and be mindful of the amount of food choices containing sugar. Remember that applesauce combinations, yogurt, granola bars, etc. all contain sugar.
- Stainless steel thermoses will keep food warm until lunch time, 12 PM. We do not have microwaves in the classrooms and are not able to heat food.
- Water is available to drink during snack and lunchtime.
- Candy, high sugar snacks, juice and other flavored drinks will be sent home for children to enjoy after school.
Enjoy the weekend!
Melissa & Ellie
The Lower El classroom is once again abuzz with the happy sounds of students working and chatting! This week we welcomed twenty-seven children into the classroom, and they have been busy learning many of the routines of Lower El. In addition to this, they have heard the Creation Story - one of Maria Montessori's "Great Lessons," which describes how the earth came to be - and they have also had math lessons, received their new journals, and had their first P.E. and Music classes. On Thursday, we took a break from our inside work to play a few thrilling rounds of "Category Tag;" ask your child how to play, and you, too, could take part in a fun game this weekend!
Some other topics you can ask your child about:
* their quiet place
* our morning greeting
* the "freeze game"
* some details from the Creation Story
* our book nook
MUGS: If you have not already done so, please send your child to school with a mug; these mugs now hang on our wall and are taking the place of the water bottles which monopolized the space on our counter last year. Water bottles can be left in backpacks for P.E. class.
SHOES FOR P.E.: Our P.E. classes are on Wednesdays and Thursdays this year. Please ensure that your child has sneakers for this class.
Enjoy your weekend!
Kerstin and Patrick
The year got off to a wonderful start as we welcomed new faces and caught up with old friends. We all got to know each other through games and we explored the new classroom layout with a scavenger hunt. The main studies have been launched and Jen presented "The Creation Story", a Montessori Great Lesson, to an attentive audience. The buzz has begun!
The Pinnacle trip is next Thursday, right after school. We return on Friday, just in time for regular pick-up. We need drivers to get us there and back (see separate e-mail). A packing list is coming home today.
See you tonight at the picnic! Thanks to Kim Lier for getting us organized.
Jen and Tom
As I write the first newsletter entry of the year, joyful yells resonate from a committed game of Red Rover outside while we wait for our delivery of late-breaking water color paper to complete our nature journals. Although this is only the third day of school, the community is coming together beautifully and we are looking forward to our Upland Odyssey next week. It has been a full, fun-filled productive week: lots of conversation, a little Slip n' Slide, an exploration of the meaning of an acre, and learning the finer points of cleaning our building. We also learned that smiling is the eighth best way to exercise your brain according to Anthony Newberg, MD (we have been practicing). This morning was spent discovering how we pace a quarter acre and used our new compass skills to complete an orienteering treasure hunt. We plan to spend the day tomorrow in Upland for our first seminar and an introduction to the art of observation.
The equipment list for next week came home with your student yesterday. Please check in with their packing and help your student be prepared for our Upland adventure. The weather looks ideal. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to call or write one or all of us over the weekend.
We are still looking for some parent coordinators. We have plenty of parents who are ready to help when needed and one parent who has offered to be a coordinator in partnership with others. Can you be part of a leadership team? Please consider and let us know.