Parent Orientation Night, Tuesday 9/17
6pm for LE Parents
7pm for CH, UE and MS

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Mark Your Calendar

Monday, September 16

  • MS Soccer 3-4:30pm
  • Going Far Cross Country Running 3:10-4:10pm

Tuesday, September 17

  • Upper El Soccer practice 3-4:15pm  
  • CH Spanish 3-4pm
  • Orientation Night, 6pm for LE Families, 7pm for CH, UE, MS Families

Wednesday, September 18

  • Mountain Biking 3-4pm 
  • Lower El Soccer 3-4pm
  • Going Far Cross Country Running at Academy School 3:10-4:10pm  

Thursday, September 19   

  • Peace Day
  • MS Soccer 3-4:30pm
  • Upper El leaves for Pinnacle Trip

Friday, September 20 

  • Pizza Lunch 
  • Upper El back from Pinnacle trip 

Looking Ahead...


Tuesday, September 24 and 25  

School Photos next week! UE and MS on Tuesday, 9/24 and LE and CH on Wednesday 9/25. Rain or Shine.


Thursday, September 26
Neighborhood gathering at Hilltop. See Barn Update for more info.


Barn Update

barn razing 1
Demo Day


Curious children and adults have been asking, "Why hasn't the whole barn been torn down?"

Here's the scoop:

  • We're using that part of the barn in the new design, the core frame is sound
  • This frame will serve as the structure for the SIPS panels (Foard Panels) which will cover the framed building. If you're not familiar, SIPS stands for structured integrated panels 
  • The materials in that section of the barn are being re-used and therefore saved from going to a landfill
  • It's more economical to keep that portion of the building 

FYI, now that they've seen the trucks going by and heard the loud noises, we've invited our neighborhood up to our campus to see barn plans and tour the campus. 5-7pm. Parents and friends are more than welcome to join us. RSVP with Ann.

Watch this space for more updates...
Notes from Tamara
Parent Orientation Night

Please come on Tuesday night and get "oriented" to your child's (or children's) program. This meeting is an important opportunity to see the teachers, learn about the curriculum for the year, and participate in the community that your child spends every school day with. The teachers will be covering the daily schedule and the happenings of the classroom. This information will help you communicate with your child about their school day.

Instead of holding all the meetings from 7-8 p.m., we would like to hold the Lower Elementary meeting from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. (and have the other programs from 7-8 p.m.), so that the many families with children in Lower Elementary and in another program can attend both. This schedule will also allow Dan Filler (as Director of Elementary) and me (as new Head of School) to attend both the Lower and Upper Elementary meetings.

Schedule Change:  Parent Orientation Meetings Tuesday, September 17th:

Lower Elementary - 6-7 p.m.
CH, UE, MS - 7-8 p.m.

Child care will be provided from 6-8 p.m. Please sign up at the front desk, if you haven't already.

We look forward to seeing you Tuesday evening!

Birch Room

We would like to welcome our new families to the Birch Room.



Pete and his parents Andrea and Patrick, Sylvia and her parents Linda and Todd,

Sebastian and his parents Roselle and Paul, Jade and her parents Ciri and Andrew,

Caroline and her parents Rosie and Matt, Matai and his parents Jennifer and Christian


This past week the combined Children House" olders" joined forces to tackle the greenhouse cleanup.   We all donned work gloves and pulled overgrown plants and vines along with many weeds. The entire pile of "compost" went home in the trunk of my car to feed the pigs. Nothing is wasted! We are hoping to plant a fall crop in the greenhouse beds with the hopes of a harvest to add to our stone soup later in the season.


In the classroom we have easily moved from orientation week's schedule to our regular schedule.   It has been a very smooth transition for the children. Saying your goodbye at the playground gate has helped your child understand that school is beginning for them , and that your day is also beginning for you elsewhere. These clear, consistent and repetitive procedures assist in starting your child's day feeling comfortable and familiar. Thanks so much for your consistency.


Have a safe and happy weekend.



Willow Room

Care of the Environment/Practical Life


The Montessori curriculum area, Practical Life, provides children the opportunity to engage in activities supporting the development of order, concentration, coordination and independence. These are the foundation skills for all learning! Care of the environment activities such as plant care are important lessons in our classroom.

As the children water plants and wash the leaves they engage in a work that requires careful attention to the needs of a living thing. They learn how to use a gentle touch so the plant is not injured as they wipe the dust from the leaves.  


Delia washes leaves
Mark and Rhys and their 1000 chain


After a leaf is cleaned there is immediate visible reinforcement of a job well done, there is no need for the teacher to tell them "Good Job" the evidence speaks for itself. The cotton ball that was once bright white is now dirty and gray in color. A look of amazement always follows and then a look of deep satisfaction. This sense of accomplishment and pride is the motivation to continue with the work.

This year we would like to welcome new plants to the classroom. If you would like to donate a plant please sign up on the sheet located on the notice board outside the playground gate. All plants in the classroom must be safe for children.


Our first full week of school has been wonderful. The children are busy learning names of new friends and exploring all the classroom has to offer. If you're looking for ideas of what to ask your child about school here are a few:

  • Has anyone found the tiniest pink cube for the Pink Tower?
  • Did you do the Hokey-Pokey?
  • Have you been singing any songs about sandwiches?
  • Has anyone been spooning shells or pouring beads?
  • Did you hear a story about a rainbow fish?


Reminder to parents of Olders: please make sure your child wears or brings sneakers on Tuesdays and Thursdays for P.E. class.


Enjoy your weekend together.

Melissa & Ellie


Lower Elementary
It is just the second week of school and the children are already beginning to feel more comfortable with their classroom and their new friends. This week was also a big week because we had our first All-School Gathering of the year! We shared some news and sang some songs - all led by Jay, our music teacher.

This week, we talked about the formation of our solar system. We held our first annual "Planet Walk" for lower el, walking the relative distances between the planets' orbits. A small soccer ball played the role of the sun and our Earth was the size of a peppercorn. We also began our biological studies this week. Ask your first- or second-year child about the Who Am I? game. Ask your third-year student about the difference between vertebrates and invertebrates.

Finally, please try to join us this Tuesday, Sept. 17th at 6pm, for Parent Orientation Night, where we will discuss the lower elementary Montessori curriculum and your child's daily routine. We look forward to seeing you there!

Kerstin and Patrick
Upper Elementary

Students settled further into our community and our class routines this week. If you had stopped by, you might have seen students:

  • developing questions for a lit group discussion
  • spreading out the huge numerical "decanomial" (4ths-see photo)
  • examining early maps and charters for clues to patterns within early American settlement (6ths)
  • tallying the appearance of each part of speech in different types of literature for comparisons (5ths and 6ths)
  • selecting a biome for individual studies (6ths)
  • measuring the soccer field using sticks, string, body parts-anything but an actual meter stick (5ths)
  • creating large continent maps highlighting rivers and tributaries for studies of river civilizations (4ths and 5ths)
  • spreading themselves between the regular classroom and the newly renovated, multi-purpose art room for lessons, individual and group work (hats off to Dan!)
  • Meeting with Tom and Jen to review how the pieces are fitting together (what's working, what's challenging, how to advocate for what each of us needs-4ths)
  • sharing some personal struggles and triumphs with the larger group
  • singing !!

. . . and more. Whew. Is it only week two?


The group is truly coalescing. Tom and Jennifer have both been moved by the level of trust, sharing, and listening among the group during several whole class meetings. We're off to an exciting start, and look forward to the rescheduled Pinnacle trip.




Middle School



What a week it was! We started our Upland odyssey on Monday with sweaters and crystal skies, moved into our first rains and rumbles Tuesday morning, felt the oppressive heat rise through Wednesday, slept with the rain and thunder Wednesday night, and watched the waters rise around our tarp as the heavens let loose on Thursday. We walked out of the woods amidst the downpours and then with the help of Hilltop's intrepid administrative staff were scooped up and brought back to school soaked, relieved, and laughing. It was great.


Some highlights: holding seminar under the tarp where we deeply and loudly engaged in a discussion of "Be Impeccable With Your Word" of the Four Agreements while the first rain pounded the tarp, diving into the pond and reveling in the cold relief from the very hot day, reciting haikus while sitting in our Upland circle after the night walk on Wednesday illuminated by almost constant flashes of lightning, and witnessing the great power of nature huddled under the tarp on Thursday as the deluge turned the land around us into a great watershed of rivers, streams, and lakes. Our odyssey was full of challenge, incredible food, deep engagement, many hands to work, the excitement of a growing community in discovery of itself, and lots and lots of fun.



We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday for orientation night. Our plan is to have a discussion about the curriculum and the calendar.   See you then. Have a great weekend. 




Thursday, September 19:  

Parent Educator Speaks in Chester:  Kathy Bentley, recognized by Parenting Press as a 2004 Outstanding Parent Educator in North America will speak on the subject on issues of resilience. Thursday September 19th at the Chester Andover Elementary School in Chester VT from 6:30-8pm (childcare is provided). For more information visit'sParentingSolutions and contact Nancy Pennell at [email protected] to sign up for childcare)

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