Birch Room children and Serina preparing cornbread for next Tuesday's Stone Soup

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Toddler Room
Willow Room
Birch Room
Lower El
Upper El
Community Events
Next Week at Hilltop
MONDAY 11/24
Grandparents' and Special Friends' Day

Cultural Cooking 

Middle School Basketball 3.15-4.30 

Spanish 3.30-4.30 


Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy the long weekend with your family and friends. 


Notes from the Head of School

The mornings in our classrooms have a lovely natural rhythm. 

For the Toddler and Children's House programs to start off on the playground gives those energetic students an opportunity to play with friends and get exercise first thing in the morning, before coming inside and settling down to choosing their work. Depending on the day, there might be a circle first thing, before the students get engaged on their own, or the teachers will let things evolve organically as students get busy. 

The Lower Elementary Students who arrive by 8:30 have a few minutes to mill around and get settled before an opening community circle, to introduce a new work and set out the plans for the morning. Then they get to work, with individual or small group lessons.

Upper Elementary gets right to work when they arrive, choosing their activities based on a combination of the plan set out the day before and their scheduled deadlines, and their interest of the moment.

Middle School starts with a community circle, sharing about readings from the night before, setting out the activities of the day, or exploring a new topic.

By 9:30 there is a wonderful, productive buzz in all the classrooms. The students enjoy the freedom to work on something that interests them and are able to focus on each activity for as long as they want. At about 10:30 a restlessness arises, followed by another period of focused concentration. This is a natural rhythm of a Montessori classroom arranged to capitalize on each child's innate love of learning and to foster each student's ability to concentrate and focus.

The predictability and consistency of this pattern is uncanny. The community works together when all are on the same cycle. If a child arrives late or attends inconsistently, their rhythm is not in sync with the rest and they feel it. This article illustrates the point nicely.

When the community is humming together, it works beautifully! If anyone hasn't visited recently, please feel free to stop in for a visit during the work cycle and see this in action in every program.

- Tamara 
Notes from the Board 


New Board Member, Joan Bowman


Joan Bowman has over thirty-five years experience assisting others with personal growth goals and teaching how to be the change that creates good, as an executive in business, a lecturer, and as a writer. She received her MBA from the Eli Broad School at Michigan State University, concentrating on Change Management theories. She has broad experience in relationship building, business start-ups, executive search and international operations. Since 1980, Joan has enjoyed speaking tours on the subjects of empowerment and entrepreneurial growth strategies. Joan's son, Christopher Gabriel, attended the Beatrice Ayer Patton School of Montessori in Bridgewater, Connecticut for many years. Joan feels that her son's Montessori experience laid the foundation for his self-motivated approach to learning through high school, college and now as he builds his career. The joy he takes in creation was nurtured and refined so that today he is never afraid to tackle any project or problem. Joan is pleased to be able to give back to the Montessori community by supporting Hilltop as a board member. 

Click here to read more about the Hilltop Board of Trustees.

Don't forget - TOMORROW at 5pm - Very Special Presentation!

TOMORROW, Saturday, November 22nd at 5pm in the Arts Barn, Hilltop Montessori is thrilled to present one of its own - Middle School Teacher and Artist, Finn Campman, as he stages his one man puppet show entitled "Of Bread and Paper". Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. There  is limited seating so reservations are required. Sign up a the front desk, or email Amelia. All proceeds are to benefit Hilltop's 2014 Annual Fund. 

Invite grandparents and special friends to join you. What a great precursor to Monday's Grandparents' and Special Friends' Day!


Stone Soup and Project Feed the Thousands


On Tuesday, November 25th, all students and faculty join to prepare Stone Soup, set tables and share in the fall harvest as one big family. Early dismissal children should stay until 1PM to join in the festivities. 

We also encourage students to bring in non-perishable foods for Project Feed the Thousands, which has become a town-wide effort. In addition to food, we are also collecting personal hygiene items - including diapers - in the front lobby. On Friday, December 19th, we'll be loading a school bus with our contributions that will then head to the Hannaford parking lot where other area schools will come to load their donations. This year's Feed the Thousands' goal is 200,000 meals. Let's help fill that bus!


Second Annual Holiday Cookie Swap & First Annual Hilltop Bazaar

How could we possibly improve on last year's fabulous Ginormous Holiday Cookie Swap? This year, along side the Swap, we invite students, family and Hilltop friends to sell their crafts in the very first Hilltop Boutique Bazaar. Are you a knitter? A felter? A painter? Do you keep bees and have honey to sell? How about maple syrup? Cheryl from the Birch Room will be there with her signature wreaths and other crafts. Students are welcome to sell their crafts too! Great opportunity to purchase gifts or something special for yourself. Stay tuned for more details. The Holiday Cookie Swap and Boutique Bazaar will be Friday, December 19th, at 2PM in the Arts Barn.


More FOUND items!

The following items were found in the past couple weeks:

A gift card (found in the parking lot)

A children's watch

A Coach coin purse

Please call or come by the front desk to claim if any of these items are yours. Thank you!


Toddler Room


Isaac unfastens his boots

Mazin takes off his coat

Kennedy zips and unzips, and zips and unzips, her snow pants

Hattie demonstrates the "coat flip"


The good thing about the weather getting colder is that it affords children the opportunity to learn great practical life skills. Dressing and undressing all their layers of winter clothing take a bit of time, but we can already see the progress towards greater independence. Even very young children can learn to take off their boots, put on their coats and hats, and store their gear with the right adult support. 


Looking forward to seeing grandparents and special friends on Monday. 



Happy weekend,


Ellie and Hannah


Willow Room

Hello all!

We have so much to be excited about and to look forward to! Next week is full of wonderful activities: Grandparents' and Special Friends' Day on Monday and Stone Soup on Tuesday In Children's House, we are preparing for Stone Soup by making corn bread. We are mixing all of the ingredients together with care, and sharing our hard work with the rest of the school. Please note: Early dismissal children should stay until 1PM to join in on the Soup festivities. 

Hazel and Astrid

Sharing is an important concept in the Montessori classroom. We begin sharing our materials and work, our feelings, and our thoughts and ideas. Rebecca and I have the opportunity to share thoughts and ideas with each other at the end of every day. This sharing time can begin with reflecting on the challenges of the day. However, by the end of our conversation, we are marveling at the little successes and signs of growth. Some days those signs are hard to read, but we must acknowledge that they are always there. Here at Hilltop Montessori School, sharing is part of our daily routine. This is a wonderful community in which thoughts, ideas, successes and opportunities for growth are shared daily. We wish to express our gratitude for the children, staff and families of Hilltop Montessori School community. Have a wonderful break, filled with sharing and family.

With Gratitude, 

Jonathan and Rebecca

Ava investigating "Sink and Float" 

Max and Aiden

Sunday exploring the alphabet

Birch Room

Children's House with visiting author, Nancy Wallace

This week, the Birch Room and Willow Room olders enjoyed a visit by children's book author/illustrator Nancy Wallace. Nancy read from one of her books, showed us some of her art techniques, and led the children in creating their own collage art. We loved hearing from Nancy how much she enjoyed working with our class. She was especially impressed to see two children notice another who was getting frustrated with figuring out a what to make. They invited this child to join with them and work together to make a single piece of art, something Nancy had never seen in her 15 years of working with groups of young children! Of course, it didn't surprise us at all - we see collaboration in action in our classroom everyday! Some samples of the children's artwork, as well as the stories they wrote to accompany it, are on display outside of the Birch Room.

Luci and Ciana

Collaborative collaging

The whole class also made muffins and cornbread to share with everyone at school during next Tuesday's Stone Soup celebration. Cheryl read "Bread Bread Bread" by Ann Morris and Serina told a felt story version of "If You Give a Moose a Muffin" by Laura Joffe Numeroff to help us get ready to bake! Please note: Early dismissal children should stay until 1PM to join in on the Soup festivities.

Have a great weekend!

-Cheryl and Serina

Lower El
Thank you to everyone who drove us to Lilac Ridge Farm today: Alix Barstow, Andrea Burke, Jean Gibson, Amanda Rupard, Michael Davidovits, Suzanne Ahn, Kevin Warzecha, and Linda Schmidt. Lower El had a great time meeting the cows, hearing about milk production, and pretending to be cows at the milking station.  

Enjoy your weekend!  We'll see you (and your relatives) at Grandparents' and Special Friends' Day!

-Kerstin and Patrick

Everyone received a warm welcome

Students are introduced to a one day old calf

Davey gets to work bringing hay to the cows

Upper El


The big debate

The Upper El set the 'Wayback Machine' for 1787 on Thursday when some students assumed the identities of delegates to the Constitutional Convention. Contrasting plans were proposed to ameliorate the country's problems under the Articles of Confederation, the document that formed the framework for our government at its beginning. Much of the discussion centered around how people should be represented in Congress - an equal number of representatives for each state (favored by the smaller states), or by population (favored by the larger states). Another delegate's plan suggested that representation should be based on the amount of taxes paid by a given state to the federal government. Thinking on her feet, one delegate offered an ad lib reply that caught our attention: "With that plan, the poor states would be under represented, and aren't those the people the government needs to help the most?" Finally a compromise was offered and agreed upon: the bicameral Congress we have today. The delegates should be congratulated on their spirited debate.



Meanwhile, other students are preparing skits to show the balance of power between the three branches of government, as well as how a bill becomes a law. We have plenty to talk about after Obama's speech on immigration last night!


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Middle School 


Coffee cart managers

As you have most likely noticed, the middle school students have been very busy with their micro-economies/fund-raisers. It would be difficult to avoid the early morning stalwart coffee cart students with enticing fresh hot coffee just waiting to serve you as you deliver your student. You may already take advantage of the middle school Wednesday bagel lunches (over 50% of the school population does) or dropped your young one off on your way to a fun night on the town with their "Kids Night Out" business. Once again the middle school students are making beautiful organic soup and offering it on Friday afternoons. In addition to all these endeavors, students have held bake sales, sold hot cider at soccer games, and will be hosting a contra dance in March.

The Bagel Boys
Super souper

Why all this entrepreneurship? Beyond all the value of designing, implementing, maintaining and computing the financials for these various businesses, the middle school students are making our odyssey to Alabama this April a reality. Without their efforts our extensive travels outside the classroom would not be possible. Over the two years of their middle school experience, students raise a full 50% of the cost of the odysseys, Upland trips, and other adventures. Our travels are a privilege, which every student helps to earn. Their hard work, participation, and contributions to the micro-economies makes every bite of Southern barbeque, seat on an airplane, museum admission, guest speakers, comfortable bed, subway ride, and long rides in the fifteen-seat van so much more appreciated.

We want to thank all the families who have supported the student's endeavors.



Community News


Host Family Needed for a Mexican Exchange Student

Would your family like to host a 16-year old exchange student from Mexico who is attending BUHS this year through PAX, the Program of Academic Exchange? Mariano is a dynamic and compassionate boy and an excellent student. He likes sports, music, and outdoor activities such as fishing and camping. 

Mariano is currently in a family without children and is eager to be in a younger, more lively environment. A separate bedroom is not necessary; Mariano is happy to share a bedroom, and perhaps a place to study, with a host sibling. He has his own spending money and medical insurance. To learn more, email Ann Newsmith or call 802-257-4710.


From Morningside Shelter: 

Community Support For A New Mom
Volunteers for childcare and Meal Train, as well as donations, needed. 
We're expecting a new baby at Morningside any day now! We're reaching out to the community to help support the expectant mother and her family.
We are looking for volunteers to sign up for childcare (the mother already has a young daughter and son), and for a Meal Train that will begin once the new baby arrives. We are also looking for all types of baby items and winter clothing for the older brother.  Please email Jon to sign up. Thank you in advance.


Hilltop Montessori School