Join us for Curriculum Night
Language: Wired to Learn
Monday, March 30th at 5 p.m.

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 March 27, 2015


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Toddler Room
Willow Room
Birch Room
Community News
Next Week at Hilltop

Ultimate Frisbee 

Girls on the Run

Curriculum Night & Potluck 5-7:30
Spanish 3:30-4:30

CH Field Trip to 
Lilac Ridge

Ultimate Frisbee 

Creative Movement 

All School Gathering 

Girls on the Run 3-4:30

Drum Circle 3:30-4:30



Note from the Head of School 

At Hilltop Montessori School, as at most real Montessori schools, we do not assign much homework during the elementary years. The children work hard at school and their brains are ready for other activities after school. The only consistent piece of "homework" that we strongly encourage at all ages is reading every day with your children - reading to them, them reading to you, discussing books together, just enjoying written texts! Study after study has proven that this is a key predictor of later academic success and a future love of books and learning. Here are some tips to use at home for reading with your emerging reader.

To learn more about how we teach reading and writing at Hilltop, please join us for our Curriculum Night - Language: Wired to Read - on Monday evening. We will begin at 5:00 with a community picnic dinner of pizza with side dishes and desserts provided by us all - please also bring a blanket to sit on it the gym (This was a delicious community success last year!) Then at 5:30 we will begin the program with adults, who will be visiting each program and observing an example of how language is taught at each program level. Childcare will be provided in the Arts Barn.

This Parent Education night will be followed up the next week with an opportunity to hear more about our in-house language resources from our Learning Specialist, Wendy Lynde. We are offering two opportunities to hear Wendy share how she works with students to support their classroom and life learning, specifically in the area of literacy. Please join us for an hour of interactive, engaging information. Please sign up at the front desk for either:

Monday, April 6 - 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 7 - 8:30 - 9:30 a.m.

We look forward to sharing with you the engaging work we do with the children to foster their skills and enjoyment of reading.

Parent Survey


Last chance to take the survey! We are very appreciative of the 67 parents who took the time to respond. We are starting to synthesize the data and look for themes.  Your perspective is invaluable as the board moves forward with its strategic planning process.  We'd especially love to get a few more parents from the toddler's program.  Thank you very much!

Tiny House 
We've reached $2800 on our Tiny House Raffle! If you haven't shared our link on Facebook yet, please do so! Let's keep the momentum going!  


Want to help build the Tiny House? We're going to start Saturday, April 11th and meet the next 2 weekends in April. Email Amelia if you want to help. 


Come join us for SummerFun! Check out brochures at the website or pick one up at the front desk. 

The Swing Dance has moved to May!
Tickets are on sale NOW for our "Vintage Swing Gala and Auction"!  You can purchase at the front desk or on line at
Please join Hilltop and the community at large Friday, May 22nd from 6-10 p.m. for a night of swing style dancing featuring local musicians, Jazzberry Jam, which includes our very own Jay Cook!

Please invite friends who are not connected with Hilltop to the party! If you'd like us to send someone an invitation, let Amelia know.

We're still looking for auction items; contact Karen if you have something cool!

Toddler Room

Over the last couple of weeks Hannah attended a workshop on literacy and social/emotional development in infants and toddlers.  She came away with some helpful information and some really exciting picture cards to share with the children!

Often children transition from a prelinguistic to linguistic stage in their verbal development while in the toddler room (some children are already there before coming).  One of our important jobs as teachers is to expose children to a wide variety of language activities including ones that help children name their own feelings and identify the emotions of others.  This week we put out 4 cards - sad, happy, calm, and frustrated - to study and discuss with the children. 

Henry and Kennedy consider how the girl in the photograph feels

They were fascinated by the pictures and curious about the children on the cards.  For example, we talked about the characteristics of a person's face who is sad - corners of mouth turned and eyes cast down.  A child then asked, "Why is she sad (or happy or calm or frustrated)?"  Then we'd think about scenarios that a child might feel sad (or happy or calm or frustrated) about. There was lots of wonderful interaction, practice identifying feelings, and having fun. These cards are a valuable addition to our language area!

Thank you to all for joining us for conferences last week.  We really enjoyed meeting with all of you and discussing the exciting progress your children are making this year.  We hope that you will join us on Monday evening for the Parent Curriculum Night too.

Also, please include rain pants and rain boots in your child's bag.  There are many fantastic puddles to be stomped in on the playground and waterproof gear is essential.

Enjoy your weekend together.
Ellie & Hannah


Willow Room

Dear HMS Families and Friends, 

We are looking forward to an exciting week ahead. Please join us on Monday evening for Curriculum Night, the topic of which is "Language: Wired to Learn." We will explore the Montessori Language Curriculum through the young ages. We hope to see you there!

We are excited to visit Lilac Ridge Farm to explore sugaring on Wednesday, April 1st. Thank you to all who volunteered to drive, and see you soon! 

Have a wonderful weekend, and enjoy the "warmer" weather!

-- Jonathan, Rebecca and Mariam       

Astrid polishes metal

Ava writes in her journal during an afternoon in the Birch Room

Max and Aiden explore pattern blocks

Talia explores order and length and using the Brown Stairs and Red Rods


Birch Room


Lower El

On the Wednesday before conferences, we were treated to a visit from Marco Yunga, Lucas and Asha's (of the Birch and Toddler rooms, respectively) father.  Since we are studying South America, Jay invited Marco, a musician from Ecuador, to play for us during music class.  Marco was informative and entertaining - he not only played music and sang for us, but he also explained a bit about the geography and traditions of his home country.  The students had lots of questions for him, and Marco was extremely patient, kind, and helpful in explaining things.  Many thanks to Marco for taking time out of his day to bring a part of our South America study to life!

Everyone has been busy researching the Timeline of Life.  The room was buzzing like a beehive this week, full of students creating posters of dinosaurs, life-sized trilobites, scenes from the Paleozoic Era, and generally getting excited about prehistoric times.  There were many moments of the Montessori model at its' best, with lots of collaborating among friends, and older and younger students helping each other.  Students spilled over into the Art Room to spread out their work to draw and paint.  

Here is a link to the video we saw on Monday, which was the inspiration for our evolution activity that was done last week. 

In other areas of the curriculum:
-Middlers learned, and Olders reviewed, the part of speech that describes how, when, or where an action is done: adverbs! 
-Geometry: Convex and Concave polygons and horizontal lines were taught.
-Math: We worked on test tube division, large bead frame, and practicing with the multiplication bead board
-Writer's Workshop: We practiced how to talk to our audience in our persuasive speeches, using phrases such as "You might think...." "Have you ever..." "If you are..."  

Enjoy the sound of melting snow this weekend.
-Kerstin and Patrick


Upper El

The Upper El's big work this week was reflecting on our classroom culture and how we are treating one another. We needed to do some early spring cleaning and reaffirm how we want to learn, work, and play together as a classroom community. Through a variety of activities, we worked towards creating a new set of expectations for how we will treat each other in the classroom. 

We began the week discussing group exclusivity and acts of unkindness in our classroom, for example discouraging someone from sitting at your table for lunch or ignoring someone asking for help with a work. An important part of this discussion was considering what factors in the classroom may have contributed to the creation of a less welcoming environment. Some examples include people's discomfort with differences, how we are seated at lunch, and power dynamics within the classroom. Next, we used role-playing scenarios to brainstorm and practice ways to step in when we see someone being unkind. Working in small groups initially, students next came up with possible changes to the classroom routines and environment that might address issues raised earlier in the week. Students also brainstormed possible renewed expectations for how we treat one another. Throughout the week students and teachers did reflective writing in their journals. We also played group games to balance this self reflection with some plain old fun. 

We ended the week with two lists, one outlining students' rights and the other the corresponding responsibilities. One list began, "We all have the right..." Items on this list include, " to express yourself and be heard without judgement or criticism," "to be wrong and not get teased," and, "to be included."  The other list began, " All students share the responsibility..." A few examples from this list include, "to offer help when needed," "to listen to others," and, "to communicate your needs to your advisor." We will use community meeting, advisory meetings, and reflective writing to help us put these new rights and responsibilities into action in the classroom in the upcoming weeks. 

Have a great weekend,
Dan, Jen and Tom


Middle School 

Our departure to Alabama is only a week and a half away and the excitement is palpable.  Students are deeply engaged in drafting and redrafting and redrafting again the poems, songs, and speeches they are memorizing and reciting over the course of our journey.  They are deepening their understanding of the Civil Rights Movement leader they selected through the writing of a speech in the spirit of that person and through the creation of charcoal portraits.  Students also finished a specific outline on their chosen subject and are currently writing a thesis driven research paper.  Earlier this week, students wrote a position paper on the scientific nature of race.


The itinerary for the Alabama Odyssey is falling into place and we all look forward to the warmth, generosity, and love we experience on this journey. 


Paul, Finn and Nora


A Tisket a Tasket, who owns this basket?!

If you are the person who donated stuffed animals to the Annual Fund Carnival back in October in this basket - it's in the Development Office just waiting to go home.



"Please, I wanna go home!" 


Community News

SummerFun Swim Instructor/Lifeguard Wanted 

We are currently searching for an energetic and experienced swim instructor/

lifeguard to join our team of camp counselors. The position will be part-time for 6 weeks, M-F, plus a possible extra few days for set-up before and clean-up after camp ends. The dates are:

June 22-26
June 29-July 3
July 6-8
July 13-17
July 20-24
July 27-31

Approximately 10 hours/week will be spent teaching daily swim lessons to 3-5 year olds at Hilltop. An additional approx. 15-20 hours/week will be lifeguarding for the 6-12 year olds at Memorial Park. Candidates must have First Aid, CPR and lifeguarding certification. Please contact Becky Eisenhander if interested.



Hilltop Montessori School