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Middle School scholars are off to Boston for their River of Spirit Odyssey 

Like us on FacebookApril 25, 2014 

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

Monday, 4/28

Spanish CH & LE 3 - 4


Ultimate Frisbee


Tuesday, 4/29
Fire & Stone 3 - 4
Gardening 3 - 4


Mt. Biking MS 3 - 4:30


Wednesday, 4/30
Bagel Lunch 


NE Traditions 3 - 4


Girls on the Run
3:00 - 4:30


Ultimate Frisbee


Thursday, 5/1
Parent Coffee 8:30 - 8:45


All School Gathering

Tennis 3:15 - 4:30


Drum Circle 3 - 4


Friday, 5/2
Pizza Lunch
Fencing 3 - 4:30


Jr. Bakers 3 - 4
Girls on the Run
3:00 - 4:30 
Thank You
Thank you to Jen Sutton-Smith and Kim Lier for organizing the after-play potluck for Upper El. And Amelia for producing our video of the play. 

Notes from the Head of School 

It is with great excitement and confidence that we announce staffing decisions for a growing teaching team for next year! 


Hilltop New Teaching Teams for 2014-2015


Email Tamara


Men at Work
Please go slowly as you drive through the construction area into the parking lot.  With workers going back and forth, and vehicles passing each other in narrow spaces, we all need to be mindful of our speed.
Development Update
Great work, everyone! Many thanks to all of you who have been out there selling raffle tickets! Keep track of our earnings with the baseball themed graphic on the bulletin board in the circle. Our baseball player has rounded first base! That's the $1000 mark! Let's get him to home plate. Don't be shy, if you need more tickets see Amelia.  Remember to email your friends and family with this url: http://bit.ly/HMSbaseball  
Raffle tickets can be purchased online

We'll be doing the drawing on the Common after the Heifer Stroll Parade.

Save the Date
Thursday, May 15 5:30-7pm  Arts Barn Reception. Invitations going out next week! Join us in celebrating all of our progress and help launch the "Final Mile" registry.
SummerFun at Hilltop Weekly Camps June 23 - August 1
10% Discount for Early Bird Registration on or by May 16.

SummerFun brochure and registration for summer 2014 available here.


Hilltop's SummerFun camp program offers the perfect balance of creative learning and fun recreational activities in the fields, woods, and water of our sprawling 43-acre campus for students ages 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12.


Grant Funding

Hilltop has received a grant of $15,000 towards toddler program start up cost. The mission of the A.D. Henderson Foundation, founded in 1959, is to promote early learning (0-5 years) and to increase the number of children entering kindergarten ready to learn in Vermont and Broward County, Florida. 


We have also received a grant for $1000, with the funds going towards Middle School entrepreneurship project to grow veggies for their soup business. The New England Grassroots Environment Fund (NEGEF) seeks to energize and nurture long term civic engagement in local initiatives that create and maintain healthy, just, safe and environmentally sustainable communities. The Fund uses grantmaking, networking, and skills-building to fuel local activism and social change. See the video request made by Amelia and Nora.

Open House

Hilltop Montessori School Open House for the Young Child

Tues. May 6, 9 -10:00 am 

Prospective Parents & Young Children (18 months - Kindergarten) are invited to learn more about our Toddler Program, 18 - 36 months, and Children's House Program, for age 3 through Kindergarten, during a morning visit. Meet the program directors and explore a thoughtfully prepared learning environment designed to facilitate exploration by the children. Learn how a Hilltop experience meets the academic and social needs of students at each stage of development in a supportive, enriching environment.


Our campus, with its 43 acres of fields, woodland, trails and a pond, and an Arts Barn, new this fall, to house our music room, theater and gymnasium, are the perfect complement to the thoughtfully prepared classrooms.


Hilltop accepts state child care subsidy, Vermont State public pre-K program funding, and middle school vouchers. Hilltop also maintains a strong need-based financial aid program for families who might not otherwise be able to attend HMS. 


Details available on our website, www.hilltopmontessori.org.

Birch Room
 3-Part Vocabulary Enrichment Cards
"Learning, as an active process, must entail the child's manipulation of the environment.  Simply put, the more the child 'does,' the more learned.  We, as adults, have the critical responsibility of preparing classrooms that encourage and nurture the child's desire to 'do'."  Marlene Barron
This particular sensorial exercise allows the child to concretely manipulate a variety of objects and make impressions in clay/ playdough.  The 3-part vocabulary enrichment cards further extend the experience and add the element of written language.  The main purpose of this material is to enrich and enlarge a child's vocabulary and to aid in the classification of the environment.  The cards are meant to give a small introduction to the child.  It sparks their curiosity leading them down the path of further discovery.  
Willow Room

The greener grass, budding trees, warm sunshine, and the April break have brought renewed energy and enthusiasm to our classroom community! The shelves reflect the colors of spring and we are beginning to study trees and dinosaurs.  The children have transitioned effortlessly.  They are self-directed and demonstrate a greater understanding of what they each need and want and how to get it.  We see confident, joyful, curious, helpful, and loving children!


These are a selection of photographs from this week and the week before the break.  We made pancakes to go with the Lilac Ridge Farm syrup we bought on our field trip and Rae from Story Stars came to share a couple of stories, a wood turtle, and a couple of frogs.


Enjoy the weekend!

Melissa and Ellie  
Making pancakes                   Aiden draws a stegosaurus 
Delia, Hailey, and Lila at Teaching Creatures 
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Lower El

What is sound?  How is it created?  What causes it to stop?  How do we know this?  We will seek to answer these questions - and more - in the weeks to come, as we hear lessons and conduct experiments on sound.  Dan began our lesson with a BANG -  of the cymbal, that is, and a twang of the rubber band, a whack of the yardstick, and a thump of the tuning fork.  

In Geometry lessons this week, our youngest classmates learned about straight and curved lines, and older students studied the relationships between two circumferences: external, internal, secant, internally tangent, externally tangent, and concentric.  
We launched our botany study today, with a walk outside to observe the plants that surround us.  We noticed the texture of a tree's bark, its height and width, its roots, and its leaves.  Future lessons will include a study of a flowering plant, moss, ferns, pine trees, fungus, and seaweed, as well as the body functions and classification of these plants.  We plan on spending plenty of time outdoors, gaining first-hand experience of our subjects.
Speaking of the outdoors, TICKS are an unfortunate part of it.  Please help your child to check for ticks every day, as Lower El is outside for recess, P.E., and nature walks. Children in Lower and Upper El have already found ticks on themselves.  
WORK SHARE: We apologize for the confusion this week!  This week was an official work share, although we didn't realize it.  Please feel free to come next Wednesday, as well as the following, "official" Wednesday. 

PARENTS OF FIRST GRADERS:  Please send your child to school next Monday with a list of family members' ages.  They will be creating a family age graph, as part of our History studies.  Family members can include parents, grandparents, siblings, and pets,or dear friends - in short, anyone who has a significant role in your child's life! 

Have a good weekend!  
Kerstin and Patrick





Maps of Africa
Studying Lines 


Upper El

Coming off of a magnificent play production and restful week away, students are diving into their final research topics of the year, as well as a number of special projects. 


Fourth grade students are beginning a persuasive writing project.  Fifth grade students are preparing to represent one of several countries in a Model UN simulation addressing water resource issues.  The countries involved include Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, India, and Pakistan.  Both grades continue their botany studies in preparation for a May 5 visit to the Botanical Gardens at Smith College.  (One more driver would be great!)  Silk Road studies have moved into eastern Asia, focussing on China.


To culminate their year of U.S. History studies, the sixths are now focussing on 19th century Vermont, beginning with the physiographic regions of the state.  Their human body studies have moved into brain research on muli-tasking and how modern technology use affects our brain wiring.  In addition to culminating their Independent Study Projects, sixths will construct a personal essay based on the beliefs that define them (This I Believe).


The final sixth grade seminar book of the year is Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, with the fourths and fifths reading either When You Reach Me or City of Ember

More information forthcoming, but mark your calendars for the 3 day class trip to DAR State Park on June 4-6.


If you have any of these items to spare, here is a wish list for the class:

  • Unusual plant cuttings to sprout
  • Hokey carpet sweeper
  • Digital camera (video capabilities accepted)
  • Vacuum cleaner
Jennifer and Tom



Middle School
For the last few weeks, the middle school students have been immersing themselves in a "river of spirit" as they study the history, traditions, writings, and role of faith throughout the world and throughout time. This week, the study culminates with our students traveling to the greater Boston area and experiencing first hand a variety of faith communities, spending time in both conversation and worship, sharing meals and meeting new people from a wide span of cultures and traditions.  
Follow their travels using the quick link "Middle School Odyssey" on the far right of our homepage.


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Community News

Hire Putney School Students on May 10th -- All Proceeds Go to an International NGO


Charitable Work Day is The Putney School's way of contributing to the global community by donating our labor towards a cause. This year's Charitable Work Day will be Saturday, May 10th.


This year we have elected to donate the funds we raise to Citta (http://citta.org/), an organization dedicated to providing access to healthcare and education in some of the poorest and most isolated places in the world. Citta also works holistically with these communities to help them develop their prospects for sustainable economic development.


Need something done around your home? If you live within 30 minutes of Putney, you can hire students to come to your home to do yardwork or housework for $8 an hour, for up to 5 hours. The proceeds from our labor will then go to Citta.


If you'd like to hire Putney School students on May 10th, please complete the Project Request Form at http://www.putneyschool.org/charitable-work-day by May 3rd. If you'd like to speak with someone for more information, please call 802-490-3743.


Host an exchange student from Spain for the month of July! 


An incredible learning experience for all!   We've done it for the past few years and it's been an amazing experience for my entire family and the exchange student (of course!)  The students speak English well.  They come to experience our culture and practice their English.  There's a stipend to cover costs.  And a weekend trip to NYC that your child/ren get to go on with the exchange students!  For more info please contact me, Ariel, at 802.246.7387 or [email protected]    

Hilltop Montessori School