Naina from Pakistan visits Lower El.

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Toddler Room
Willow Room
Birch Room
Lower El
Upper El
Community Events
Next Week at Hilltop

Cultural Cooking 

Middle School Basketball 3.15-4.30 


UE Basketball 

All School Gathering 

Drum Circle 3.15-4.15

Creative Movement 3.30-4.30

FRIDAY 12/12
Fire & Stone 3.15-4.30

Middle School Basketball 3.15-4.30 

Notes from Head of School 

Next Thursday, December 11th is our last All School Gatherings (ASG) before Winter Break, and then there is a two month hiatus of ASG during Winter Sports. Families are welcome to join us Thursday morning on the 11th from 8:45-9:15 (approximately) for a lovely community gathering of sharing and songs. Children's House will be "hosting" next week. We will have coffee available in the Arts Barn lobby beforehand for those who are coming in from the cold. I welcome parents, grandparents and friends to join us for ASG! 


- Tamara 

Project Feed the Thousands

Two weeks until Friday, December 19th! 

We will be loading a school bus on this day at the Hannaford parking lot with our food contributions for Project Feed the Thousands! Let's help fill that bus! Leave your non-perishable foods and or personal hygiene items under the Project Feed the Thousands sign in the front lobby.



Cookie Swap & Hilltop Bazaar

Calling all bakers and crafty types! Get ready for the GINORMOUS Cookie Swap/Sale and First ever Hilltop Bazaar! Students, Staff, Friends and Family are welcome to sell their crafts! Email Amelia to reserve a spot.


The Holiday Cookie Swap and Boutique Bazaar will be Friday, December 19th, in the Arts Barn. Doors open for grownups at 2pm. Come early and shop kid-free then sign out your child at the regular dismissal time and come back for more fun! 


Class Representatives will be writing you soon for cookie donations and we're looking for a few fabulous volunteers for the event. Email Amelia if you are interested.




What's Cookin'?
Sign up for After School Enrichment Activities for Winter 2015! 

Sign up forms for the January-February 2015 After School Programs will go home with students today. Some of these programs are particularly popular and fill up quickly so kindly return forms (or come to the front desk to fill one out) as soon as possible, and by next Friday, December 12th at the latest. Please contact Jennifer with any questions or concerns.

Lost children's gloves

Did someone bring home the wrong gloves by accident? A Lower El student is missing a pair of L.L. Bean black gloves that were perhaps picked up after After Care. Please contact Jennifer if you have them, and thanks!

Toddler Room


Few things are nicer in winter than the smell of baking bread and getting cozy reading a book. This week we did both! Baking bread is a simple and fun activity for toddlers. Combining the ingredients, mixing, kneading, and shaping the dough are exciting for little hands to do and challenge the children to engage in multi-step works. Below, Kennedy and Asha watch Hattie mix dough.



Middle Schoolers Rachel and Luke joined us for another week of mentoring. In the picture below, Luke reads to Oliver.



We've seen great strides made in the children's ability to dress and undress themselves. 18+ month old children really can take off boots, hang up snow pants, and "flip" on their own coats! There are many months ahead to practice AND please encourage your child to do as much as possible for him/herself. Not only does this help shorten time needed to get ready to go outside, but more importantly, children use these experiences to further develop self-esteem, self-reliance, and a can-do attitude.


Oliver and Kennedy use the new snowman puzzle. 


Happy weekend,


Ellie and Hannah


Willow Room

Hello, All!

The cold and snow are here to stay! We have greatly enjoyed playing in the snow: building, digging, moving, and sliding about! 

Thank you to all who participated in Grandparents' and Special Friends' Day. The children were busy showing their special friends their favorite works. This was followed by our Stone Soup celebration, during which we spent all day with our Peace Buddies. The soup was made with kindness, sharing, love, and, of course, a stone. Naturally, it was enjoyed by all! 

In the Willow Room, we have been exploring new works, including Sanding, Snowflakes, and Volcanoes. We will be exploring more seasonal themes including "Lights" and how they are used around the world during the shorter days of the year. We also look forward to making Latkes and other traditional foods. 

See you soon!

Jonathan and Rebecca

August shows Senji the Addition Strip board.

Max explores our sanding block.

Leo shows Uri how to draw a volcano.

Sunday makes art.

Birch Room

Fira shows us some clothing from Indonesia.

This week, the Birch and Willow room classes came together to visit with a SIT student from Indonesia. Fira told us about her culture, shared materials with us, and showed us a brief video of life in her country. One of the interesting things that we learned was that Indonesia is made up of over 17,000 separate islands! The Birch Room children later got a chance to learn more about Indonesia and where it is located in the world through a geography lesson. The lesson also included an introduction to archipelagoes.

Some materials from our geography lesson.

Another visitor also came to the Birch Room this week. Cassidy Stebbins is taking a course on early childhood education at BUHS and will be interning in our room on Wednesday mornings for the next 6 weeks or so. Cassidy is also a Hilltop graduate and we are very happy to welcome her back to the school!
Jade and Luci work with Willow Room friends Avery and Aiden to make a snow sculpture.

Just a reminder...Our extra clothes bins are running low. Please check and make sure that your child has an extra set of warm, dry clothes for snowy, slushy days!

-Cheryl and Serina

Lower El

We were fortunate to have four visitors to our classroom this week! Our own Becky Eisenhandler held the guest spot during our Fundamental Needs time, to show us slides of her homes' construction. Becky and her husband Felix (and Buddha and Marlo, their adorable kittens) have been living and working on their Guilford property throughout the summer and fall, building their straw-bale house from the ground up. We also got a personalized video tour of the interior of their house.  

Tamara took time out of her busy schedule to read a book and lead a discussion on why manners matter, as part of our grace and courtesy study (a sub-theme of our larger Peace curriculum). Many children had a lot to say on this topic!  

Thank you, Tamara and Becky! 

As part of our Asia study, we welcomed two SIT students to give presentations on their home countries: Fira, from Indonesia, and Naina from Pakistan. They presented slide shows with pictures of their schools and families. In addition, Fira showed us a video she had taken of her city, Yogyakarta (the only Indonesian city with a king), and Naina wrote some of our names in Urdu and led us in a dance to some Pakistani pop music. It was a great experience for everyone, and renewed LE's enthusiasm for those Asian countries.

Other LE studies to ask your child about this week (not everything will apply to everyone):

-Why did we take a walk outside before Writer's Workshop Tuesday?
-What does the word "pictograph" remind you of? 
-How can making a graph help you?
-If we were in Indonesia, what color would LE's uniforms be?
-What is a haiku usually about?
-In what tense is a haiku usually written?
-What is the "Noun Family?"  
-What are examples of Positive, Comparative, and Superlative Adjectives? (or, for younger students, what IS an adjective?)

On Thursday, December 18th, at 8:45, our annual poetry performance will take place. A potluck breakfast will follow immediately afterward. Please come and share a dish with us, if you are able. The performance should last for approximately 30 minutes.  

Winter Gear: Please help your child remember to bring snowpants, a hat, and mittens/gloves, in addition to a jacket, to school from now on. Only students who wear this winter uniform will be allowed on the sledding hill and in the snow (when we get some more). Extra clothes and indoor shoes are needed, too. And, perhaps most importantly: Make sure every article of clothing is labeled with your child's name!  

Have a nice weekend.

-Kerstin and Patrick

Upper El


This week our fifth years have been presenting their essays and hand-drawn portraits of their hero. The heroes include: Dian Fossey, Roberto Clemente, Malala Yousfezi, Richard Feynman, Dorothy Eustis, Jane Adams, Dorothy Day, Clara Barton, Henry Ford, Leonardo DaVinci, Paul Robeson, Jane Goodall.



Students also presented their skits on the three branches of government and the legislative process. While exploring themes such as whether new gun control legislation violates the U.S. Constitution, the skits focused on the responsibilities of each branch within the system of checks and balances. Recent lessons have introduced the Bill of Rights, with students evaluating historic Supreme Court decisions in their individual work.



The class is gearing up for our December Museum, in which they will share projects that reflect current topics of individual study. At this point, projects range from the history of the U.S. Capitol Building to the inner workings of the ear. Please join us for our Museum on Thursday, December 18th from 2-3PM or on Friday, December 19th from 8:30-9AM. 


Also on Friday the 19th, our last day before break, we have our annual Present Making Day. Parents are asked to help lead a small group in creating hand-made gifts. Let us know if you are interested and available. We have projects that could use leaders, so please see Tom if you can come in but you just need an idea.



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Middle School 


Today marks the fifth Friday morning the middle school students have been making deeper connections with our broader community. A group of seventh graders made their way across the circle to be of service to both the Toddler Program and Lower El. Here is a selection of reflections from these connections:

"We read stories and played with the toddlers for a bit until some of them wanted to go outside. It was challenging for me to get them dressed (I didn't want to break them.)"  Rachel Reynolds

"One of the toddlers watched us with wide eyes and scrunched up face like he was a sumo wrestler. We got to know them by the minute and they became less scared of us."  Luke Williams

"It was nice to be able to help a younger person with work that they like to do."   Emma Risch

"When I think about the toddlers they seem older than they actually are. I think they have a better understanding of things because they are treated as an equal person instead of a mindless little kid. I like how they are taught to do things on their own and figure things out by themselves and how the teachers give them space to do what they want instead of hovering over them."  Elle Jamieson

While the seventh graders are connecting with younger people, the eighth graders are visiting their elderly companions. For many years, our eighth graders have been going to both Holton Home and Pine Heights building relationships and broadening their perspective of what it means to be human. Here are some recent reflections:

"Connie told me a little bit about her life.... but when she asked me about my life I almost didn't know what to say. I thought that since I have been on this earth thirteen years that anything I had to say would be insignificant. It made me realize that most of my life hasn't happened yet."  Archer Parks

"[S]he started talking about never really know when death is going to come. I asked her if she felt like she was ready for death, and she said that she felt she could be ready to die. She asked me if I believed in God, and we had a really great conversation about spirituality and religion." Izzy Snyder

"Beverly shared stories with me and I shared mine with her. We talked about music and cows and Brattleboro among other things. It really was like getting to step into a time machine. It was like she led me through the journey of her life, making stops along the way."  Sophie Lurz


"I imagine having an extraordinary life, as she did, and then going to a nursing home where memories slip away. It would be so nice to be able to remind myself what things used to be like, and to share that with someone who still has a whole life in front of them."  Holden Hiler

"I have started to realize that Bernie has very strong opinions. I told him I played violin, he asked me if I read music, I said no and he told me that I do not play violin."  Aidan Murphy

"Kay smiled at me and motioned for me to sit in the chair across from her, apologizing for the stuffed dog that was draped over the back. We talked together as we played Rummy, which she had to teach me. Everything Kay talked about led back to her children or grandchildren.  She adores and cares deeply for them...The stories she told captivated me and took me to another place entirely."  Elery Loggia

Next Friday brings a close to this beautiful, moving, and important program for another year. It is not uncommon for the eighth graders to maintain a relationship with their elderly companion and we all enjoy watching the youngest members of the Hilltop community grow and prosper.


Josh scribes a math problem for the class.


Nora begins a math seminar.

Math minds
Community News


This spring, Hilltop parents Kate Jellema, Kim Lier and Greg Hessel will all be part of the Marlboro College
Board Leadership Institute, a series of skill-building workshops in March and April that, taken together, introduce board members to important knowledge and skills for successful board service. Board Teams and Individual Trustees can register here to reserve their place in the Board Leadership Institute.

In partnership with Youth Services, United Way of Windham County, and SEVEDS, Marlboro will also continue Get on Board Windham County, a program to engage young professionals in board work. You can apply now to be a 2015 Board Fellow, and/or nominate a young professional for this program. Nominations are due January 15, 2015.


Hilltop Montessori School