Hike with Hilltop for
Morningside Shelter!
Sat. Oct. 5th 10am
see below for details

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Mark Your Calendar

Saturday, September 28

  • Upper El soccer games at Hilltop, 9am and 11am 

Monday, September 30 

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

Tuesday, October 1 

  • UE Soccer practice 3-4:15pm  
  • CH Spanish 3-4pm

Wednesday, October 2 

  • Mountain Biking 3-4:30pm  
  • LE Soccer 3-4pm
  • Going Far Cross Country Running at Academy School 3:10-4:10pm  

Thursday, October 3     

  • MS Soccer home game 4pm start time    

Friday, October 5   

  • Pizza Lunch   
  • UE Soccer practice and Tournament - Details to follow. 
  • Ukelele 3-4pm

Saturday, October 5

  • Hilltop Hikes for the Homeless, meet at the Mount Wintastiquet trail head at  10am for directions email Amelia.    
  • UE Soccer Tournament - Details to follow.

Looking Ahead...


Tuesday, October 8, 7pm 

High School Night: Teresa Imhoff, from The Dublin School, will be discussing with parents and students how to navigate the waters of considering a private high school. Teresa will focus on several aspects of the admission process, from finding the best match for a student to financial aid. Everyone is welcome.    


Thursday, October 17, 7pm
High School Alumni Night is a great way to learn how our students successfully transition to high school. A panel of alumni attending private and public schools will be in attendance to answer questions. All parents of current students are encouraged to attend. 


Friday, October 18, 3-6pm
Annual Fund Kick-Off Carnival!
Coffee Cart Opens!


Coffee Cart, a daily middle school fundraiser, has reopened! Coffee and student baked goods will be available Monday through Friday, 8:15 to 8:45. All products are by donation and all donations will go one hundred percent to the Hilltop Montessori Middle School Odyssey Fund and will support the education of middle school students through field trips such as the River of Spirit Odyssey, a week long world religion experience.  Start your day with our delicious homemade treats and help a middle schooler along their path of knowledge. Have a wonderful weekend!

-Jeremy May West

 Coffee Cart Manager


Tick Alert!
Please check children for ticks. They are still out in full force and they are tiny little buggers!
Thank You Corner
Thank yous this week to:
  • Children's House drivers and chaperones
  • Upper El drivers to the museum  
  • Leland Smith for coordinating the food and festivities for our neighborhood party
  • Jen and Christian Betit-Engel for giving us a great deal on wine for the neighborhood party 
Annual Fund Kick-Off Carnival - Coming Friday October 18th
  • Donations of small to medium sized stuffed animals to be used as game prizes - there will be a bin in the lobby to leave them
  • Volunteers to help with set-up, games, logistics, signage. Email Amelia to enlist! 
  • Pie bakers to enter the "Hilltop Pie Baking Contest" - stakes are very high. Email Emilie Kornheiser if you are game. 
Barn Update


Math Trivia Answer:  How big is a tank that holds 25,000 gallons of water?? The water tank for the sprinkler system is 40' X 10'!

This week is about digging. Digging out old soils, rocks, old pieces of concrete, and some miscellaneous old garbage. The soils are less than ideal, it turns out, for pouring new footings. This means more digging. We will be bringing in new material for the new footings and prepping for the pouring of the new slab. 

Digging continues in the form of test pits along the parking lot, emergency access road, and behind the garage. These pits will help us determine where the best place is for the pump house and tank for the sprinkler system. 

Keep an eye on the giant hole! Who knows what you will see!

Notes from Tamara

Montessori Principles Are Embraced . . .  


Time and again we see studies and articles that espouse exactly the conclusions that Maria Montessori drew from her observations 100 years ago. It is affirming to see components of the educational approach we use acknowledged and embraced by others. Most recently, there was an article in the New York Times about the importance of "social-emotional learning".  

Lessons that teach children how to identify and handle emotions and resolve interpersonal conflicts can have a significant impact on their success in life. "So-called noncognative skills - attributes like self-restraint, persistence and self-awareness - might actually be better predictors of a person's life trajectory than standard academic measures." 


This article shows the benefits of exactly the kind of lessons that occur daily in every classroom at Hilltop Montessori School. In addition to, and integrated with, the lessons in math, language, science, and culture, there are lessons on social-emotional learning, such as:

  • a young child identifying the emotion felt by a child in a photograph
  • having children role play how to solve interpersonal issues
  • an elementary class holding a class meeting to discuss the social issues that come up in Haytown
  • the Middle School students discussing what it means to "speak with integrity".

On Tuesday, I attended a focus group in preparation for the Governor's Early Childhood Summit. Educators from Brattleboro and throughout Vermont heard a policymaker from Washington, DC (Tom Schultz) and made recommendations for how the Governor's early childhood education initiative can "promote a holistic, shared and consistent approach to pedagogy and practice from infancy through third grade." We discussed several studies that showed most school programs requiring children to spend an increased amount of time "listening, sitting, and watching" versus DOING. The consensus in the room was in support of so many components critical to Montessori: learning through doing, choice work, social opportunities, time outside, project based learning, an integrated curriculum, etc. 


In some ways it can be frustrating to have others see as enlightening the concepts that seemed obvious to Dr. Montessori, to view as groundbreaking what we have been doing everyday. On the other hand, it is rewarding and fulfilling so see our ideas and pedagogy confirmed and endorsed by a larger community. It would be a better world if all children had access to a more Montessori approach. Or, as the article concludes, "If you have that kind of instruction [whole child, social-emotional learning], from kindergarten [or earlier!], I think that in 20 years the world will be a very different place."

Birch Room
Green Mountain Orchard Trip

What a wonderful day for a field trip!  Apples, apples pressed into cider, cider donuts, a hayride, cool breezes and plentiful sunshine!  Thanks to all of our great chaperones who accompanied us on our trip.  Your assistance is always greatly appreciated.  We all has a great time, learned a lot and feel lucky to have spent a spectacular fall morning together.


As we begin to focus on the autumn season different colors, items from nature, and Autumn works will slowly replace sea-life themed activities.

Yesterday we read a story, The Three Sisters Garden, in preparation for our harvest.  We visited our plots of corn, beans and squash planted in the spring and learned about the creation of the first scarecrow.  We will continue to lean more about these Native American stories as we harvest what we planted.   

  • Please bring indoor shoes to school.
  • October 7 - Fire Fighter visit to Children's House
  • October 18 - Field Trip/Hike - stay tuned for more information 
Willow Room

It's been an exciting week in the Willow Room. On Tuesday we journeyed to Green Mountain Orchards for our first field trip of the year. It was the perfect fall day with a beautiful blue sky and lots of sunshine. Our visit began with the cider press. The children cranked the wheel to crush the apples and then watched as the crushed apples were pressed and the cider flowed into the bowl. We enjoyed our freshly made cider with cider donuts and then it was time to pile into the hay wagon for a ride through the orchard. As we rode and bumped along the orchard roads we spied trees laden with apples and many signs of Fall. Then it was time to gather our bags and hike into the orchard to pick apples. We filled our bags with Cortland and Gala apples, loaded up the wagons and headed back to school. It was great to have so many parents accompany us on our trip. Thanks to Kathryn Einig, Jennifer Betit-Engel, Sarah Armour-Jones, Megan Buchanan, Tara Davis, Leah Nussbaum, Liz Richards, Jessica Gould and Rebecca Fontaine for helping make our trip so successful.


Toting wagons to the orchard

Lila crushes apples



On Wednesday we welcomed a new plant friend to the classroom. Max and his family gave us a Ponytail Palm to take care of this year. The spiraling leaves of this plant intrigued the children. We discussed the important role plants play in our world and the differences between plants and animals.


Max checks the soil of the ponytail palm


Thursday found us busy in Practical Life peeling and chopping apples to make apple crisp. As we prepared the apples we learned about the different parts of the apple and introduced the following vocabulary:

  • Stem
  • Blossom end
  • Skin
  • Pulp
  • Seed
  • Carpel

Everyone worked together sharing turns to help mix the ingredients and assemble the crisp. Apple crisp is yummy and tastes even better when you've helped make it from start to finish.


Making apple crisp

Hailey chops apples


Enjoy the weekend.


Melissa and Ellie


Lower Elementary
Our History of Writing study started on Friday.  This is a story that is going to generate much interesting work in our classroom and the Art room!  We began this "Great Lesson," as Montessori called it,  in the time of the early humans and their first attempts at written communication: cave drawings.  We have paused at the Romans and their alphabet, which they adapted from the Greeks - who, in turn, took it from the Phoenicians.  Our writing timeline will continue next week, as scrolls give way to the first books.  
Other things to discuss with your child:

- What is a "Map of Me?"
- What is a "Noun Scavenger Hunt?" ( ask your 1st grader )
- What do you call a group of elephants? ( it's a collective noun; ask your 2nd grader )
- What is an example of an interjection? ( ask your 3rd grader)
- What did we act out on circle this week?
- Make a list of "Happy Things" with your child; what will be on it? ( our Writer's Workshop exercise this week, making lists to generate topics for writing.  Our list was long! )

See you next week!  Enjoy your weekend.   - Kerstin and Patrick

Upper Elementary
Last Thursday and Friday, the UE enjoyed magical weather for our Pinnacle overnight.  We ate chili and cornbread at Tom's in the early evening, hiked up, set up camp, and told stories and jokes.  The next morning most awoke around 6:30 a.m. (which Tom said was the latest ever ... ??) to a stunning view of moon overhead, and fog-filled valley before us.  We spent most of the day back at Tom's for food, ducks and chickens, games, sketching, sheep, more food, and more games.

This week in UE, aside from our trip to see the Red Grooms exhibit, students have been:
  • Researching topics on ancient Egypt (4ths/5ths), Colonial U.S. history (6ths), and Biomes (6ths)
  • Considering how colonial society treated those unable to care for themselves  as an introduction to the Old Sturbridge Village trip (6ths);
  • Making bar and pie graphs of those parts of speech we tallied earlier in grammar (5ths/6ths)
  • Beginning a study of simple machines with experiments using gravity and inclined planes
  • Viewing the powerful force of water to erode land (4ths/5ths)
  • Writing memoirs of an important personal event.
This week the Upper El students visited the Brattleboro Museum of Art to see an exhibit of sculptures and relief paintings by Red Grooms, grandfather of Leila and Sarah. Using a process known as Visual Thinking Strategies, a museum guide led the students through an observation and discussion of several of Red Grooms's pieces. Students sat for twenty minutes or more in front of one piece of art looking closely and sharing their observations with one another. The students were very engaged with the works on display. After their visit to the museum, students generated a list of questions for Mr. Grooms, who visited our classroom on Friday. Thank you to those parents who drove and chaperoned for our museum trip.  A very special thanks to Saskia Grooms for arranging her father's visit to the Upper El. It was a very special opportunity for the students (and teachers)!
Middle School

The word "amateur" originated in the Latin, amator, for lover and amare, to love. The definition of "amateur" is "a person who admires something; devotee; fan." (Dictionary.com). Our class has been graced with the passion, focus, knowledge, and deep enjoyment from a series of amateurs who have joined us in Upland to deepen our understanding of that place and our place in it. Richard Foye, a well-known potter, grew up on an Audubon Forest and is an expert on birds. He regaled us with his stories and took us out on an early morning bird walk where we listened to the calls of our late summer birds and enjoyed the morning light. Last Friday, Melany Kahn introduced the mysterious and beautiful world of mushrooms to us, which are plentiful in the Upland forest. And this past week, Roger Haydock, a self-taught geologist, presented the past 450 million years in eastern Vermont in thirty minutes and then led us on a tangible journey as we looked and touched the various rocks surrounding us. Next week we have a very special visitor, Tom Wessels, the author of "Reading the Forested Landscape" and a long time professor of environmental studies. He is joining us in Upland to guide us in interpreting the past, present, and potentially the future of the forest. We are indeed fortunate and grateful to have these avid experts expand our world and understanding.





You may have noticed that new layers of our "Walk in the Woods" study are entering your student's sphere, which is a nice way of saying the level of their responsibility, is growing. Every student is engaged in an individual lab they created with Nora and are presently gathering data on their plot. The finished product of this process is a complete lab report, which is due by the 8th of October. Students have also selected an art focused classification project, again primarily from their observations on their plot. Another layer of this study is the "Naturalist Project" in which each student explores a naturalist of their choosing. You might ask your student who they have selected and request to see the syllabus for this multi-step endeavor. It is important that students are consistently reading their seminar book, The Education of Little Tree, throughout the week. Their will be additional readings during the course of the week including this weekend's chapter from Thoreau's Walden, "Brute Neighbors", which will require some time and focus (well worth it). Of course math homework is a regular part of a student's responsibility during the week. Time management is a skill that requires practice just like everything else and your help in creating time and space for your student is invaluable.




Many of you have expressed an interest in seeing Upland so we would like to propose an Upland open house on Monday, October 7 from 11:00 to 1:00. Final details need to be ironed out, but the basic idea is to park at Hilltop, we will shuttle you to the trailhead, and students will lead you in. Once you have made the journey on the trail (not arduous) you can visit your student's plot, our Upland campus, and enjoy a lunch of our preparation (menu to be determined) before you are shepherded back to civilization. We realize that this is not a time that will work for everyone but we hope many of you can arrange to come. All is not lost if you cannot. On Tuesday, October 22nd we are planning a parent presentation night (at school) to fill you in on our first eight weeks of school. If you do plan to come to the open house on the 7th would you please RSVP to me at  [email protected] Many thanks.


New Music Class at the BMC for Ages 5-7 starting Oct. 5
with Heather Sommerlad - Saturdays, 10:30-11:30  Tuition:  $135 / 8 weeks
Mini Mozarts is a composition and singing based theory class that focuses on learning the basics of rhythm, melody, and harmony through a hands-on, creative approach.
Call the BMC today to register, 802-257-4523, or visit www.bmcvt.org.

Treating Trauma and Attachment Issues in Children and Familes Oct. 25
Kurn Hattin Conference. Click here for more info.

PAX, the Program of Academic Exchange is interviewing host families for two
exchange students who are attending BUHS this year. For more information contact Ann Newsmith at (802)257-4710 or [email protected].

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