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Like us on FacebookMarch 21, 2014 

Tour the Barn
If you've wondered what is going on in there lately, you may want to join us on a tour today at 3:00.


Hard Hats not required. Frank Bella the architect will lead the walk through along with Moss Kahler our representative.

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Next week at Hilltop
Notes from the Head of School
Soup is back!
Development Update
Birch Room
Willow Room
Lower El
Upper El
Middle School
Community Events
Next week at Hilltop


Monday, 3/24

Spanish CH & LE 3 - 4
Tuesday, 3/25
Fire & Stone 3 - 4
Mindfulness MS 3 - 4
Wednesday, 3/26
Bagel Lunch 


Girls on the Run
3:00 - 4:30


Thursday, 3/27
Teacher Conferences


Early Dismissal


No After School Programs


Friday, 3/28
Teacher Conferences
BEEC Program
8:30 - 12:00
Family Contra Dance
Dummerston Grange
5:00 - 8:00 PM
No After School Programs

No Pizza Lunch


Notes from the Head of School 


Language of Respect and Empowerment


Speaking in ways that engage and empower students is a subtle art. These scenes recently observed in the Children's House are beautiful examples.

A child is making noise while a teacher is trying to give a lesson. The teacher doesn't say, "Please be quiet so I can give this lesson," but instead says, "How could you help this child be able to hear me while I give this lesson?"

A boy is wandering around the classroom without choosing a work. Rather than say, "Please choose a work," the teacher engages him in a discussion about the picture on his shirt and, before you know it, he has gotten out paper and pencil and he is happily writing a story about the animal on his shirt.

This kind of respect for, and confidence in, the children brings out other conversations, such as between two girls working with metal insets and sharing their pride in their drawings:

Girl 1: "We're artists!" 
Girl 2: "Yes, we are!"

Interesting articles - quick reads:

 I Can Do Hard Things

Email Tamara


Soup News


HMMS SOUP Available on Tuesdays


The Middle School will be making and selling vegetarian, vegan, gluten free soup! It will be made fresh with a commitment to local ingredients. 


Soup can be pre-ordered or it can also be bought at pickup for $8.00 a quart. We urge you to return your soup jars in the main lobby.  All proceeds from the soup will go toward funding the Middle School River of Spirit odyssey to Boston.


Please pay in cash or with a check written to the Hilltop Montessori Middle School.




Thank You, 

Hilltop Montessori Middle School

Development Update  The Wait is Finally Over!
Dig out your swirl skirt, ladies, and your comfy dance pants, gents, The Hilltop Family Contra Dance is coming up next Friday! 

The students have been practicing their dances and some are rehearsing to play a tune along with Becky and Keith. Dinner starts at 5pm. Come when you can.

Tickets available at the door or on sale at the front desk. $10 for adults and $5 for students.

Middle School will be selling desserts and coffee, proceeds going to their Odyssey fund. 

See you there!


Thank You
Thank you so much for the lovely camera, to Jade, Ciri, and Andy Gillespe-Shepard; it will be put to wonderful use on a daily basis in the Birch Room!

Birch Room
Wednesday morning, March 19th, was a Children House work share. Many parents visited and were able to get a glimpse into their child's busy morning.

Children's House Work Share


Thursday, April 10th, we are planning a Sugaring field trip to Lilac Ridge Farm. Both Children House classrooms will go on the same morning. Lilac Ridge has asked that we "stagger" our times to accommodate limited parking space. One class will go at 9:15/30 the other at 10:15/30. Stay tuned for more information and a chaperone sign up! 



Willow Room


This week an exciting lesson on the properties of water was given.   After collecting a kettle of boiling water and a metal bowl of ice, Melissa demonstrated how water vapor changes back into liquid water when it comes in contact with the cold bottom of the bowl of ice.  Each time a drop of water formed and fell, the children clapped and cheered at the wonder of science.

Evaporation Lesson


This lesson is a perfect segway into our discussion of sugaring.  Once sap is boiled at a sugar house, water evaporates and maple syrup remains.  The children will have a strong sense of what this process looks like before our field trip to Lilac Ridge Farm's sugar house will be Thursday, April 10th.    


Thanks to parents for visiting on Wednesday!  Looking forward to meeting you for conferences next week. 


Happy Spring!

Melissa & Ellie


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Lower El


Our Geometry explorations continue this week in Lower El.  Naming triangles by length of sides, becoming acquainted with the various parts of a circle, and reviewing the characteristics of a point, a line, and a surface ( the elements of a solid ) have been part of our work this week.  




Our continent study of Africa also began this week.  We will be exploring the peoples, the biomes, and the flora and fauna of this continent through our books and materials in the classroom, as well as in Art class.


Extra Clothes:  There are still many children without extra clothes in their boxes, and children who have come to school without snow or rain pants.  It is important to us that everyone get outside at recess, and not having the appropriate clothing makes this difficult.  We are entering Mud Season, and we want everyone to be comfortable and dry when they return from P.E. and recess!  


Uke/Recorder Parents: Please note that Uke and Recorder classes are now happening on Thursdays again and that children will need their instruments.


Enjoy your weekend!

Kerstin and Patrick





Upper El


Students began to prepare for their upcoming parent conferences by thinking about their progress in our areas of study and by choosing a work from each area representing their accomplishments. They were also asked to think about a goal or challenge in each area for the remainder of the year.


Fifth grade students have begun their Journey North work, in which they are tracking sunlight in various mystery locations around the globe.  They are also studying the photoperiod for Brattleboro, and are graphing or charting all of this information.


The sixths are winding up the seminar book, Across Five Aprils, which has given us a close-up glimpse into one family's experiences during the Civil War.  We have created maps and timelines to help connect the reading with their current history study.   Students have been personally moved by the remarkable mix of family events described in this book - all based on true stories and letters from one southern Illinois family.


In Art, the class continues to work with various types of geometric design in connection with the Silk Road study.  Ask your student how to circumscribe an equilateral triangle, a square (fifths), or even a regular pentagon (a few of them!) using only a compass and straight edge.


One of the major highlights of the week was the trip to the Latchis Theater to hear the Windham Orchestra perform. The program included a piece written by a local composer, Dan Seiden, and featured our own Owen James on guitar solo! Owen shared the stage with two small student ensembles as well as the orchestra. He was fabulous!


Although Spring has technically arrived, students do need outdoor boots, jackets, hats, etc. for recess and P.E.  Snow pants can still be appropriate for many of their current recess activities, and separate indoor and outdoor shoes are a must during mud season.


We look forward to seeing you at conferences next week, and at our April 10 play performance at 1:00 and 5:00.


Kim Lier has kindly offered to coordinate the UE potluck after our play on April 10. It would be great if someone could help Kim with this. If you are interested, please email Dan.





  Dan is tying geometry into Latin, looking at the etymology of an annulus.


Middle School
Middle School Clump

Atman - The self, one's own nature; the individual soul.

Brahman - The absolute, the world soul, the unifying principle of the universe.


In Hinduism the goal is to merge the Atman into the Brahman, to find the unity of Dharma, the universal law that holds all life together. The individual, through practice and wisdom, moves beyond the attachments of self to the realms of compassion and love. This can take many lifetimes but presents the soul many opportunities to practice truth in every step of their life.


"Shree Krishna sharanam mamah" (I surrender to you Krishna).

Chanting with Sheetal
Chanting with Sheetal
We just finished chanting this mantra with our first religion guest, Sheetal Kinkhabwala. Sheetal was born and raised in India and moved to America when she married. She and her husband, Ketal, are the owners of the Austrian Haus in West Dover and you may have seen her at the Brattleboro Farmer's Market where she sells her delectable vegetarian Indian specialties. Sheetal is also a practicing Hindu and brought her deep understanding and love of her faith to our classroom. We had a delightful, often profound, and engaged conversation with perceptive and curious students leading the way. Sheetal ended our dialogue with several shlokas or mantras from the Vedas (ancient Hindu texts) that she taught us and we chanted together. It was a wonderful morning.





The exploration of self and the individual's connection and responsibility to the environment and community (otherwise known as the cosmos) is the center of the middle school program. As we explore the world's religions and the realms of spirit and faith, students are also building puppets, which is an art and craft as ancient as the religions we are studying and perhaps emanates from the same wellspring.




Releasing the Puppets 

Sarah Young doing a handstand on skis, easier said than done!


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Community News

Green Mountain Camp for Girls is looking for a Registered Nurse to serve as the camp nurse for the dates between June 30 and July 25. Hours are 8:30 - 4. Position could include tuition for a camper. Email Camp Director Billie Ogenoff at [email protected] or phone 257-1751.


Youth Services will host their Annual Summer Camp Fair on Friday, April 4, on Gallery Walk Night from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Robert H. Gibson River Garden in downtown Brattleboro. Including our own Hilltop Montessori SummerFun!


Parents will be able to pick up information about and register their children for nearly two dozen summer camp programs at the Camp Fair. There will be activities and entertainment provided for the children by many of the staff from the camps. Youth Services will hold two free drawings for $100 credit toward a camp of the winner's choice. For more information, call Youth Services at 257-0361.


Food Connects wants to hear from you about food! Join us and other parents for dinner and a conversation about accessing healthy & local food in our community. Your input is valuable and will help to inform our work!

WHEN: Monday, March 24th from 6-8 pm

WHERE: The Root Social Justice Center 28 Williams St, Brattleboro, VT (ground floor)


Dinner and childcare will be provided. Participants will be entered into a raffle for a local food basket and other exciting prizes!


If you can attend, or can help us spread the word, please RSVP to Helen ([email protected]) or (703) 835-7224


Hilltop Montessori School