Fire fighters come to visit Children's House!

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Like us on FacebookOctober 10, 2014 

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Next Week at Hilltop
Parent Teacher Conferences
Save the Dates
Thank You!
Toddler Room
Birch Room
Lower El
Upper El
Middle School
Shop for Hilltop
Community Events
Next Week at Hilltop

Saturday 10/11

Upper El Soccer Game 

West River Fields 8.30am


Sunday 10/12

Harvest Festival at the Putney School 10am-4pm

Support Hilltop Middle School and buy soup!


Monday 10/13

Fall Foliage Day 



Tuesday 10/14

Mountain Biking Upper El and MS 3.30-4.30


Spanish 3.30-4.30


Soccer Upper El 3.30-4.30


Wednesday 10/15

Upper El trip to 

Sturbridge Village




Historical Fencing Upper El and MS 3.30-5


Home Soccer Game MS vs. Compass School 3.30-4.45


Thursday 10/16

All School Gathering 8.45-9.15


Drum Circle 3.30-4.30


Graphic Jam 3.30-5


Soccer Lower El 3.30-4.15


Alumni Night 7-8pm


Friday 10/17



Annual Fund Kick Off Carnival 3-6pm


No Soccer Practice


Saturday 10/18

Upper El Soccer Tournament in Putney 




There is no school on Monday! Have a great weekend.

Parent Teacher Conferences & Mad Science Morning!

You should have received an email from Jennifer at the front desk instructing you to sign up for a conference using a website called VolunteerSpot. If you did not receive any such email, please contact Tara (who's sitting in for Jennifer while she's away) next week! Conferences are coming up on the 23rd and 24th. 

We need 6 more children to sign up for the morning of Mad Science, Friday, October 24 in order to offer the program. Sign up ASAP for this fun-filled offering guaranteed to educate and entertain! Email Jennifer to get on that list!

Upcoming Events!

Alumni Night!
Thursday, October 16th 7-8pm

Every year we ask alumni who are attending the area high schools (BUHS, BFUHS, Putney, Northfield Mt.Herman, Vermont Academy) to share with us their secondary school life, what they feel are the strengths and weaknesses of the schools they are attending, and how their time at Hilltop did or did not prepare them. The alumni form a panel and await your questions about the transition to high school. All are welcome!

Annual Fund Week
October 17 - 27
"Oh, The Places They Have Gone"
Celebrating our Alum 
(249 have graduated from Hilltop Middle School!)

Next Friday, October 17th
Annual Fund Kick-Off Carnival, 3-6 pm

This year's challenges:
  • Pledge or give to the Annual Fund on Friday, the 17th or before, and be entered to win either a pie baked by 2013 Pie Baking Champ and parent, Seth Harter, or a batch of red velvet cupcakes baked by Baking Royalty, Upper El parent, Lynn Stewart!
  • First 20 first time donors receive a batch of homemade cookies.
  • If we achieve 20% participation the night of the Carnival, we have a donor who will double their $1000 pledge!
  • If we can get 5 donors, who for the first time give at the $1000 level, we have a donor who will MATCH each of those gifts for a total of $5000!
These are just a few of our challenges this year. Stay tuned to our email blasts during Annual Fund Week for updates!

We could still use some more 
stuffed animals. Bring 'em on!

We'll wrap up Annual Fund Week with Hilltop's VERY first Autumn Fun Run on Saturday, October 25 from 10:30am - noon.

Run, jog or walk on Hilltop's beautiful and well traveled 1/2 mile cross-country loop. There will be separate 1/2, 1, and 2 mile events.

Bring stable running shoes. Run at your own pace. Enjoy a refreshing morning on Hilltop's beautiful campus. Volunteers needed. Contact Ben for more information.

School photos make up

If your child missed photo day, Sarah Lavigne has agreed to offer a make-up session. Please contact Sarah directly to make arrangements.

Thank You!
Thanks to Debra Rosenzweig, Shoshana, Karen Blumberg and Ben who are taking charge of the garden surrounding the Hilltop sign down on Guilford Street! We so appreciate your hard work and vision!! If you'd like to help them out, email Debra.
Also, a BIG thanks to Steve Betit, grandfather to Talia and Matai, for donating the most awesome item to Hilltop! We will always think of you, Steve, when we're cookin' up the dogs!

Toddler Room


After many years of observation, Dr. Montessori identified Sensitive Periods (now also known as Critical Periods or Windows of Opportunity) as successive short periods of time when certain aptitudes for specific knowledge or skills show strongly.  This knowledge and these skills are acquired effortlessly and without fatigue.  These sensitivities last only for a time and do not recur.  The knowledge and skills can be learned later but it requires a lot of effort, will, and the learning period will involve fatigue.


During the toddler years, the Sensitive Periods presented at different points include Language and Movement.  Our job as teachers is to identify these Sensitive Periods in the children and link them to materials or "works" that will allow for the acquisition of knowledge or skill from the Period.  It is also to allow children the freedom to use the works without arbitrary interference.  For example, a child isn't interrupted during a work to allow another child to use it or to have his diaper changed.  The time to work is deeply respected.


The Practical Life and Language areas of the classroom support the Sensitive Periods. In the photographs below Mazin demonstrates a Practical Life activity - clearing his used glass and dish from the snack table.  This activity fulfills his need to practice large and fine motor movement and coordination when we he carefully carries the breakable objects from the table to the dish cart.  In the other picture Uri uses a Language work - matching water transportation vehicles with similar matching picture cards.  This activity feeds his innate desire to enrich his vocabulary and practice using the language he's already acquired.


Enjoy the long weekend and be well.

Ellie & Hannah


Uri matches objects and similar cards

Mazin clears dishes from snack table



Birch Room & Willow Room

The children in both Children's House classes have been busy learning about Fall over the past few weeks.  As part of that study, on Thursday, October 16th, the Children's House programs will have a Fall Festival to celebrate the season.  Activities will include making apple sauce, baking with seasonal ingredients, and decorating small, pumpkin-shaped gourds to take home.  Leland Smith, whose daughter Maeve goes to school here in the middle school, will bring her bike-driven apple press for us to use as well!  Kristen Perry, from Scott Farm, will also give an heirloom apple lesson and tasting.  The festival will run from 10:30 to 12pm, and we have a few openings for parent volunteers.  If you'd like to help, or want more information, check in with Cheryl or Jonathan.  

Also, speaking of Fall, don't forget to update and re-stock your child's clothing bin for colder weather!  

Have a great holiday weekend,

Cheryl, Jonathan, Serina, and Rebecca

Talia enjoys a quiet moment in our new outdoor peace area.

Firefighters from West Brattleboro teach us about fire prevention and show 
us their special clothing and equipment.

Avery makes an Apple Book

Firefighters visit the Willow Room

Lower El
Math Fact Challenge in Lower El!
Some students and parents found the math sheets and books that went home on Monday to be "too easy"! We purposely send home things that the children can do independently and with success.

The Math Fact Sheet that went home is part of a new program we are implementing in Lower El. Becky (Lower El Assistant) is helping the teachers administer a weekly "Math Fact Challenge". The goal is both mastery and speed! So, students might have had problems they can do easily, but they weren't doing them fast enough in school to advance to the next set of math facts. Each group needs to finish 25 problems within a set time (3 minutes for Youngers, 2 minutes for Middlers, and 1 minute for Olders - though we aren't emphasizing the years, just each individual child's goal). 

All of the students had done this the past three weeks and took home a page at the level they were working on. If your child wants to progress to a more challenging set, they should practice problems at home, like the ones on the sheet, using one of the many online tools ( and many more - Google "math fact"), flash cards, others quizzing them, etc. Sometimes practicing the mechanics of writing down the answers at a faster pace is also helpful.

If you need another copy of the sheet explaining the program, or have any questions about the system in general, or your child's progress in particular, please contact Patrick  or Tamara 

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Upper El


We began a new unit in human body focusing on the respiratory system.  Sand in a balloon helped us picture the alveoli in a lung which, when opened up, could take up the surface area of a tennis court.  The class also continued their journey through Colonial America, this week looking at the affect of geography on economy and thus on the people of the northern, middle, and southern colonies.


Older students have been examining the system of poor farms (one of the ways townships dealt with the indigent and disabled population-in colonial America).  This is in preparation for a class field trip next week, in which they'll hear historic reenactors answer questions on this and other issues.  This trip should bring to life many of the individual topics students have been researching for this first portion of our American History Timeline, such as indentured servitude, slave laws, fur trade, Jamestown, the lost colony of Roanoke, coinage, colonial blacksmithing, 17th century games and sports, and medicine--to name a few.


We also unveiled a new math material:  the Pythagorean Squares!   The lovely pieces of this material, color coated to match the bead bars, allow students to lay out the squares and rectangles that represent the square of a binomial such as (6+3)2.  The layout is likewise drawn on graph paper and recorded numerically. This work is preparation for squaring and square root of multi-digit numbers--all of which is a part of the self-paced UE math sequence.


Our older students will each take a stint this year at teaching, choosing a topic of personal experience to share with the class.  Ernie and Tula started us off by presenting cake decorating and how to make slime. They each taught it twice to half the class at a time, allowing for improvements the second time around.


***Next Wednesday, the class will depart at 8:00 a.m. for Old Sturbridge Village.  Pick-up time is 5:30 p.m. Students will need appropriate dress for the outdoors regardless of the weather, as well as a bag lunch.




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Middle School


Last Tuesday, the Middle School visited the village of Harrisville, New Hampshire. The mills in Harrisville have processed and spun wool since the early 19th century. The Harris family built the first mills and eventually the Colony family from Keene bought up and expanded the mills beginning in 1850. The last of the mills closed in 1970 after years of economic challenges.  To preserve the textile heritage of the area, John Colony moved some of the machinery into a new smaller mill down river and continues to card and spin high quality yarn that is sold regionally.  


We were fortunate enough to tour the mill with John and some of his experienced employees. The machines and the technology are exactly the same that have been used for generations and it was easy to imagine oneself in this very old New England economy and tradition.


Earlier in the day we toured the village with Linda Willett, the executive director of Historic Harrisville. When the last large mill closed in 1970, a group of people formed Historic Harrisville to help preserve and renovate the buildings for new industry. Forty-five years later the village is home to numerous businesses and artist studios and maintains the architectural heritage of its beginnings.  We discovered that the design and materials used in a building tell us a great deal about the people who lived and worked there.


Harrisville is truly a lovely and bucolic place today but it is not hard to imagine when life was regulated by the ringing of the mill tower bells and the clang of carding, spinning, and weaving machines filled the air. Students had the opportunity to try and capture that history through roaming the village and cemetery, painting a scene of their choice, and climbing into the shoes of a millworker by writing a letter home or to a loved one relating their imaginary life in a New England mill town.  


We talk to John Colony

Paul describes our goals of the day

Josh and Mira draw in the Harrisville cemetery

Colony Mill #1



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Price Choppers Tools for Schools Program


Want to earn points towards school supplies for Hilltop Montessori School by just doing your grocery shopping? Well, now you can!

Visit the Price Chopper Website , enter our school code 15137 and register your Price Chopper Advantage Card. That's it! Every time you shop you'll be earning Hilltop points towards supplies.

Community News


Bonnie Harris parenting workshop, Saturday October 18th from 10am - 4pm. Click here to see full description. Please sign up soon and tell your friends! 

Hilltop Montessori School