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Like us on FacebookApril 11, 2014 

On Campus
Teaching Creatures presented "Story Stars" today for Children's House and other visitors young and old.  
One of the Stars!
 SummerFun brochures available at the front desk and online here.
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Next week at Hilltop
Notes from the Head of School
Puppet Show
Development Update
Barn Update
Birch Room
Willow Room
Lower El
Upper El
Middle School
Community Events
Next week at Hilltop

April Break

Students return 

Tuesday, April 22.  

Notes from the Head of School 

Time and again, Montessori is shown to be spot on. Often a Montessori tenant will be touted as a "new" method, yet we know Dr. Montessori developed these 100 years ago. 

Here is an article noting the benefits of a Montessori approach in the classroom: The New Culture of Learning

Here is a "news" story that doesn't mention Montessori, but it certainly sounds familiar! RIE Parenting

On a different note - Spring seems to finally be here! We hope everyone enjoys a lovely Spring break! And, if you do have some trying times at home with a little one, here are 6 tips!

Email Tamara


Puppet Show this Weekend

Finn, Nora, and Paul would love to see Hilltop families come and enjoy their original creation tonight and tomorrow.  The puppets are stunning, the singing of Tony Barrand and Zara Bode (of the Sweetback Sisters) is beautiful and moving, and the violin playing of Kathy Andrew is magnificent.  The show is  appropriate for all ages.


Three in the Wilderness is a new mystery play by Paul Dedell and Finn Campman based on the gospel stories of the temptations of Christ in the wilderness.


Performed by Tony Barrand, Zara Bode, Kirk Murphy, Kathy Andrew, Stefan Amidon, Helen SchmidtFinn Campman, and Paul Dedell. Nora Gordon is making all the puppet costumes and running all things tech.


Three in the Wilderness is suitable for both children and adults, and lasts slightly over an hour.  


April 11 at 7:00 
April 12 at 3:00 and 7:00 
Donation $10/8


St. Michael's Episcopal Church

16 Bradley Avenue

Brattleboro, Vermont

Development Update 
Take me out to the ball game! Hilltop's Spring raffle is underway.


By now every family should have received a packet of raffle tickets to sell for our Spring raffle - the prize being 2 tickets to a Red Sox v. Yankees game on August 3rd at Fenway Park (time tbd) - fabulous seats donated by very generous Upper El grandparents.
The drawing will be held after the Strolling of the Heifer Parade on June 7th on the Common in Brattleboro.
We ask that every family sell at least 10 or 12 tickets (12 if you are able to sell two sets of  6 for $20). And don't feel like you have to stop there! The more tickets we sell, the more money raised for Hilltop.
The raffle is only 2 days old and you've already raised $455!!!! Our goal is $4500.
These tickets are a relatively easy sell - Red Sox AND Yankee fans are everywhere! You can even sell tickets on line. Share this link with family and friends.https://www.eventbrite.com/e/take-me-out-to-the-ball-game-hilltop-montessori-game-time-tbd-tickets-11281177305 

We've still got lots of mugs to those who sell their allotted tickets! 

Seven Weeks till the Ginormous Hilltop Family and Friends Tag Sale!

This week's exercise... ponder this: could you cut down the number of your personal items to just 100? It's a little extreme, and realistically, for most of us probably not, but I think there's something to take away from these folks.  Check out this article from the NY Times and this book by David Bruno called The 100 Think Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My Soul

Over the next two weeks think about what material items you and your family really need to be happy. Then watch that tag sale pile grow!

Have a great spring break!

Barn Update
Construction for the barn is going full force! They opened up the ceiling in the entrance way, making it light and airy! Footings for the new pump house went in this week. During our spring break (next week!) they plan to do digging in front of the school for both the connector from the main building to the Arts barn and for the sprinkler pipes. They will also be digging across the driveway between the pond and the pump house to lay those pipes. 
This work has been timed to be over break to have the least impact on our school community. This ditch across the driveway will be filled back in and repaved before students return on Tuesday the 22nd. There is likely to still be construction in the entrance way. We appreciate your patience as we work to incorporate the Arts Barn into our campus!

Birch Room
Thanks to the parents who chaperoned on our trip to Lilac Ridge Farm and to Amanda Thurber who taught us about the process of making maple syrup.  It was a beautiful day and a good time was had by all! Enjoy April vacation, Cheryl and Sarah.

Field Trip to Lilac Ridge Sugar House



Willow Room

We had a wonderful field trip to Lilac Ridge Farm on Thursday!  It was the perfect ending to our sugaring unit and the perfect beginning to Spring.  We want to thank all our chaperones and drivers; Megan Buchanan, Jennifer Betit-Engel, Tara Davis, Penny Witherbee, Kevin Warzecha, Amanda Rupard, and Kathryn Einig for helping and making our journey possible.  And we want to send a special thank you to Amanda and Ross Thurber for sharing their expertise with us.





We hope everyone has a wonderful April break and we look forward to seeing everyone back at school on Tuesday, April 22nd.


Melissa and Ellie


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Lower El

 The 3rds have begun their biography projects, and are currently taking notes on their subjects. 

All Lower El students are enjoying their weaving projects, which they started in Art class as part of our Africa study.   Many thanks to Alix Fedoruk, who loaned us a large mortar and pestal from her time in Africa, so that we can grind our own millet flour from the grains.  We hope to bake some bread once we have enough.  Pictures of this process will appear in future newsletters.  


Until then, enjoy the week together, and we'll see you back on Tuesday, April 22nd (Earth Day)!  - Kerstin and Patrick



Upper El




We did it! Great job by all of the Upper El students.





  So much learning covered in one short play.


Middle School
Middle School listening about Islam

We hosted our last guest from the River of Spirit speaker series on Monday.  Amer Latif, professor of comparative religion at Marlboro College, spoke to us about his life of spirit as a Muslim, played and sang an ancient Islamic tune on the most beautiful long wooden flute, and addressed the sections of the Quar'an we read in preparation for his visit.  

Several student reflections:


"The idea of not practicing religion out of greed or fear, but just to be your best self and to move closer to God was really interesting and beautiful to me" 



"Hearing Amer play the flute was very peaceful for me.  He said that chanting for him is a way to be in the moment, which I thought was really interesting because Kate Judd (spiritual leader of the Brattleboro Area Jewish Community and earlier guest) said that singing Jewish music for her is a way to be present."



"I really liked how Amer was able to make connections to other religions, and it really made me realize how similar the core ideals of religions are.  A few that pop into my head are love, compassion, trying to be a better person, and working to achieve a goal, whether that goal is enlightenment or getting into heaven."


Amir Latif YouTube video

We are off on our River of Spirit Odyssey on Thursday, April 24.  Here is a typical day taken from our itinerary: 


Sunday, April 27

10:00 - Morning service at Emmanuel Church, Bach Cantata BWV 42

Lunch on the street

1:00 - Common Cathedral - Brewer Fountain in Boston Common, an outreach mass specifically for the homeless population.

2:30 - A conversation with the Reverend Pamela Werntz of Emmanuel Church 

5:00 - "Blue Man Group" Charles Theater

7:00 - Dinner with Taize community at Trinity Church school purchase

8:00 -Taize Service Trinity Church - Copley Plaza


You can follow our travels by viewing our daily blog on the Hilltop website.


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Community News

Storytellers on a Mission, Saturday, April 19th 7:30pm 
The Hatch is an organization whose four founder's mission is to create entertaining events that raise money for area non-profits. Three of the four founders are Hilltop parents, Rita Ramirez, Tom Bodett and Rich Korson. Next Saturday, April 19th at 7:30pm at the Latchis Theater, The Hatch is presenting Storytellers on a Mission with special guest host, Peter Sagal of NPR's Wait, wait, don't tell me. Their mission this time around is to raise $35,000 for the Morningside Shelter. 

As you know, Hilltop has a strong relationship with Morningside, sharing profits in fundraising, helping to create a children's space in the shelter and promoting and supporting their events. This event is also sponsored by two Hilltop parents' businesses, Foard Panel and Farnum Insulators. You won't want to miss this show, it's going to be hilarious - although not appropriate for children. 

Tickets are going fast so order yours today. 

The River Gallery School, click here for more about April Art Camp


Vacation Art Camp with Colin Leech + Megan Stafford

$150 for the week or $35 per day

April 14 - 18 9 am - Noon


Young participants will explore and create using different materials,

techniques and processes such as printmaking, sculpture, painting, and drawing.


Story Telling + Cartooning

with Megan Baehr

$105. for the week or $25 per day

April 14 - 18 12:30 - 2:30 pm


FREE SPANISH CLASSES for Hilltop families this Spring

Elissa McLean (Director of Express Fluency and mother of Emmy Winter in UE) is offering two free Spanish classes for families at Hilltop. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn about an exciting and effective way to learn another language.  No matter what language you (and your children) choose to study, this class will help you know what to look for in a language program. This demo class is best for LE, UE, and MS students although parents with CH students are also welcome. Please RSVP to Elissa ([email protected]) or 802-275-2694. 
Tuesday, April 29 3:10 - 4:10pm and Thursday, May 8th 3:10 - 4:10pm
To learn more about Express Fluency's programs and teaching methods, please visit www.expressfluency.com



The Green Street School PTO will hold its major fundraiser, the Tulip Trot. Registration begins at 8:30 for the 10:00 a.m. race. There will also be a .5 mile "Sprout Race" at 9:30 for younger children. The 3.1 mile road/trail race route begins and ends at Green Street School. This rain-or-shine event is open to the general public, and will be professionally timed. Snacks, water, prizes, and music await everyone at the end of the route. For more information or to pre-register for the race, please go to www.tuliptrot5k.com. Pre-registration before May 17th includes a free t-shirt!




Host families are needed for several exchange students who will be attending BUHS next fall through PAX, the Program of Academic Exchange. These students, who are recipients of prestigious YES scholarships from the U.S. State Department, include Safi, a 17-year old Muslim girl from Indonesia who loves theater, choir and playing the guitar; Naina, 16, a Hindu girl from Pakistan, who is active in community service projects and debate; and Oche a 15-year old boy from Nigeria who loves soccer, computers and reading.


Host families also needed for Spanish teens for 3 1/2 weeks this summer-June 25 to July 20th.  Expand your family's horizons and join the students for weekly activities and field trips.


To learn more about either opportunity, contact Ann Newsmith at 802-257-4710[email protected].


Hilltop Montessori School