Our last ASG of 2014!

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Toddler Room
Willow Room
Lower El
Upper El
Middle School
Next Week at Hilltop

MONDAY 12/15
Cultural Cooking 
3:15-4:30 LAST CLASS

Middle School Basketball 3:15-4:30 


UE Basketball 

Lower El Poetry Performance 8:45

Upper El Museum 2:00

Drum Circle 3:15-4:15

Creative Movement 
3:30-4:30 LAST CLASS 

MS Poetry Night 7:00

FRIDAY 12/19
Upper El Museum 8:30

Cookie Swap/Sale and Boutique Bazaar 

Fire & Stone 3:15-5:00

All new After School Programs begin when we return on January 5, 2015. 

Have a happy holiday break! 
Notes from Head of School 
We realize and appreciate that you are trusting us to educate your child and to help her or him grow in a way that, for many of you, is very different from your schooling. We know that without grades and test scores, you are having to use other measures to know that your child is growing and thriving in this environment. We really emphasize the process in the work that is done here, but often it does result in an amazing product too. Many of the events coming up next week give you an opportunity to appreciate the products of the works of the students in our older programs. Please mark your calendar to attend these events. If your child is younger, you and your family are more than welcome to attend these events. The Poetry Night for the Middle School is sure to be magical in our new Arts Barn theater. These events are a wonderful way to see what Hilltop Montessori School encourages in all students.

Lower El Poetry Performance 
Thursday, December 18th 8:45AM

Upper El Museum 
Thursday, December 18th 2:00PM 
Friday, December 19th 8:30AM

MS Poetry Night 

Thursday, December 18th 7PM

MMMMM! What's that smell?!
It's cookies baking!!!! 

Don't forget, next Friday, December 19th is our Ginormous Cookie/Swap Sale and Bazaar!

Bring in a batch of cookies and go home with a VERY impressive array of treats. Small box $6; Large $12.

Door opens at 2pm for adults to shop kid-free. Then, sign out your child at the regular dismissal time and return to the swap/bazaar with your child(ren). 

Cookies can be dropped off in the morning to the Arts Barn Kitchen. Email Rebecca if you have questions.
Winter Weather
Oh my! Tuesday morning was a mess. We certainly do not hope to have that set of circumstances happen again. As most of you probably know, Hilltop Montessori School follows the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union's (WSESU) call on whether to close, delay opening, or have an early closing. On Tuesday they did not close, so we tried to soldier forward, although several staff had ended up having to go back home early in their commute. Then at 8:15 with Summit Circle a sheet of ice and blocked by stuck cars (including some with snow tires), we made the decision to close school. It is certainly NEVER my plan or hope to announce closing school at the time of arrival.

I appreciate all the understanding and cooperation in getting Lower El students to NEYT, and in getting your own students back home safely.

Since our experience on Tuesday, we have both reminded the town that we rely on that stretch of hill being salted, and we have asked the company contracted to do our driveway, to also sand/salt the town road (Summit Circle) if it looks like the town has not addressed it yet.

For future reference:

SNOW POLICY- FROM THE HANDBOOK (p. 22): Hilltop follows the WSESU school closing policy for snow days. Cancellation of school will be announced over local radio stations by 7:00 a.m. (WTSA 96.7FM, 1450 AM or WKTV 92.7 FM, 1490 AM). School closing information is also posted on the date in the Public Access Calendar at our website, by going to www.hilltopmontessori.org and clicking on "calendar" and at www.sover.net. (Click on "School Closings" and then select Hilltop Montessori under "Select a District".) Other school functions will be cancelled in the same manner when necessary with as much notice as possible.


In the event of a two-hour delay, school will start at 10:30 a.m. and early morning care will be cancelled. In case of early closing of WSESU schools, Hilltop will email parents to notify them and will post the closing on the website. All attempts will be made to keep the school open. The after school program is sometimes shortened or cancelled and relevant parents will be called. In the event of 6 or more snow and/or emergency days throughout the school year, these days will be made up at they end of the school year.

All this being said, we want all families to feel safe driving to and from school. So if the weather looks questionable and you feel that it is not safe to venture out, or the weather turns bad during the day and you would like to retrieve your child early, we understand completely. Thank you for your patience!

Project Feed the Thousands


One week until 

 Friday, December 19th! 

Leave your non-perishable foods and or personal hygiene items under the Project Feed the Thousands sign in the front lobby. Then, listen for our Middle School students being interviewed on WTSA around 9:30 on the morning of the 19th from the Hannaford parking lot!



Sign up for After School Enrichment Activities for Winter 2015! 


Some programs are particularly popular and thus fill up quickly, so kindly return forms (or come to the front desk to fill one out) as soon as possible - by Monday, December 15th at the latest. Please contact Jennifer with any questions or concerns.

Toddler Room


Asha drums.

Cooper puts the roller to good use. 

Hattie and Kennedy have a ride on a sled.

Isaac swings.

Mazin samples the snow.

Story at circle time.



Happy weekend,


Ellie and Hannah


Willow and Birch Rooms

"Every child, by instinct, wants to learn and grow to the limit of his abilities.  In the first six years of life he does this by imitating those around him.  To support this need, we must carefully prepare the physical and social environment, provide tools that enable the child to work to create himself, watch for those first tentative moments of concentration, and get out of the way, following the child as his path unfolds." - from Susan Mayclin Stephenson's Child of the World

Each child instinctively chooses what they need at that moment in time, perfecting their abilities through repeated practice.  The teacher is there to guide and support only as needed. 

Addy, Lydia, Ava and Ciana host All School Gathering on Thursday.

Sebastian shares his drawing of the solar system.

And of course, some fun in the...snow!
Natalie pulls Dylan and Layla on a sled.

Charlie and Malika build with snow.

Aiden wears snowshoes while pulling Lucas on a sled.

Have a great weekend!

-Cheryl, Serina, Jonathan, and Rebecca

Lower El
We have been immersed in poetry this week.  Jay is helping us put music to our poetry, and various groups are rehearsing throughout the Barn space.  When they're not playing music or practicing reading their poems aloud, they are drawing pictures or making collages as part of their poetry work.  

In other areas of the curriculum....
The older students are using graph paper to graph points on "x" and "y" axes.  Ask them what coordinates are and how they are used.  They are also learning how to collect their own data and are deciding on a topic.  Younger students, too, are learning how to collect data and turn it into a meaningful graph.  

Our Biology study continues, this time focusing on reptiles (following on the heels of our amphibian study).  Many older students are classifying, and writing reports, on animals from Asia.  The parts and functions of reptiles are the focus of younger students.  

Those of us who were able to attend "The Sound of Music" on our Ice Day had a wonderful time.  Many thanks to Mel Kahn and Bo Foard for treating us to that event!  

CHANGE OF SHOES: Several students still do not have a change of shoes, which presents a problem when they have P.E. in the gym.  Everyone MUST have an extra pair of shoes that they can wear into the gym, or boots for outdoors.  P.E. days are on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  

Enjoy your weekend!

Kerstin and Patrick

Upper El


Students are now in high gear preparing their projects for next week's museum.  As we move closer to our final week, it is great to see the high level of collaboration and cross-fertilization among their topics; students learn from watching one another and constantly jump in to lend one another a hand with brainstorms and hands-on work.

Several of our older students have taken their turn teaching the class about a personal interest.  We have had student-led lessons on sign-language (Sam), making a six-pointed star (Emeline), assembling the hardware on a skateboard (Riley), decorating pastries with frosting (Ernie), and judging gymnastics events (Leila).



In our U.S. history studies, the class has been especially engaged in recent work on the Bill of Rights. Students reviewed three Supreme Court decisions on how the Bill of Rights applies to students' freedom of expression and privacy in schools. After reviewing a 1969 case about students' right to wear black armbands to protest the Vietnam War, students then applied the court's reasoning to determine if a student had the right to wear a t-shirt that said, "Mexicans go home," in the context of the current immigration debate. The discussion was lively and thoughtful as students weighed their moral reasoning against the language of both the court decision and the First Amendment. Consensus emerged that the hypothetical t-shirt would not pass the 'disruption test' as outlined in the court decision and should therefore not be allowed.

We are still looking for parents to join us next Friday, December 19th, at 9:00AM for present-making.  You would lead small groups of students in a craft project that you could bring in, or we could introduce.  Please contact Tom if you can help!

Finally, it is mandatory that all students have adequate snow gear here at school, including snowpants and snowboots.  The success of our outside time depends on this.

Museum next week:

Thursday 2:00-3:00

Friday 8:30-9:00


See you there!





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Middle School 



Every morning in opening circle we are treated to recitations of anthology poems, recently composed sonnets, and guardian poet presentations, which include a short biography, an explanation of the poet's style, and what the student loves about their chosen poet.  The presentation also includes memorized recitations of two of the poet's poems.  It is wonderful to have the ringing of words, thoughts, and passions reverberating throughout the classroom.


Along the way students have been writing lots and lots of poetry and are working with Finn to pick two of their favorite original creations to redraft and redraft and redraft again.  All of this concerted effort is in preparation for next week's Poetry Caf�.  Poetry Caf� is Thursday, December 18th at 7pm and will be held in our beautiful new theater.  All are welcome to listen to these emerging, creative, and profound voices and to enjoy a celebratory reception afterwards.


Here is a student poem to whet your appetite:


Me to Deer by Mira Capcara


I saw a deer bounding across the road

just under the little dipper


I ran the road

and bright eyes appear in the darkness of night

I'm glued in place by surprise and fright


One jump and the deer stands there 

Held in the middle of the road

Mom slammed the brakes

Its eyes were glowing


Bright light blinding me

confining me, binding me

Then sudden release from fear

and the call of early fall's saplings


The deer jumped out of sight 

Into the the darkness of night



Josh and Finn parse words. 

Soup glee

Middle School happiness



Community News


Ski Equipment Sales

Attention downhill skiers and boarders! Bruce Abidon of Equinox Sports, one of ebay's largest ski sellers, is located right here in Brattleboro and has a barn full of up-to-date but mostly used (some new) downhill skiing and boarding gear. The prices are good (used ski boots for a size 8 were $45), and the gear is solid. Email him to let him know what you're looking for and to arrange a time to meet. 

Haiti Orphanage Sponsorship Trust
You may know that Mariam (our Assistant for Toddler and CH After Care) has been working with an orphanage in Haiti, one of many that "rose from the rubble" after the 2010 earthquake. The small, all-volunteer, non-profit Haiti Orphanage Sponsorship Trust, or HOST, has been helping with the costs of basic essentials and has supported improvements in water and sanitation. Ultimately, their vision is to help create homes with a family structure and guide children toward viable employment opportunities, as after all, they are the future of Haiti. To learn more and to donate, visit HOST's crowdrise page. 


Brattleboro Food Co-op Upcoming Events & Classes

There are many holiday and non-holiday related events going on now at the Co-op for both children and adults, such as building gingerbread houses and a Holiday Beer & Wine tasting (which is tonight!). Visit the Co-op website for more classes and info. 


Leadership at Marlboro College
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