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 May 8, 2015


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Next Week at Hilltop
Notes from the Head of School
Here Comes the Sun!
Summer Fun
Tiny House
Toddler Room
Willow & Birch Rooms
Middle School
Community News
Next Week at Hilltop

Ultimate Frisbee Tournament at Eaglebrook 9-4 

Girls on the Run 3-4:30

Ultimate Frisbee 

Cultural Cooking 

Power of Play Workshop
at Hilltop 6-7:30

Fire & Stone 3:30-5

Ultimate Frisbee Game vs. JFK at Hilltop

All School Gathering  

Girls on the Run 3-4:30

Circus Arts 

FRIDAY 5/15 
Lower El Field Trip - 
Post Office 9:30-11:30

VBike Workshop 


Looking to Next Year!

With enrollment strong and Spring in the air, this is the season for teacher contracts and staffing plans. As so many parents noted in the Strategic Plan survey, one of Hilltop's greatest strengths is our staff. We have great continuity going into next year and we are pleased to announce a couple of changes in responsibilities for staff:


More Middle School Math and Science w/ Becky Eisenhandler

With a BS in Mathematics-Physics and a MS in Leadership for Sustainability Education, Becky is poised to join with Nora for a growing Middle School Math and Science program. She will be shifting from Lower El Assistant and Elementary Aftercare to this Middle School position that had originally attracted her to Hilltop. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to add her to the team.

Becky Eisenhandler


Lower Elementary Assistant and Elementary Aftercare
Kelsey Carew will be assisting in Lower Elementary and leading the Elementary Aftercare. Many parents of younger children already know Kelsey from her help with Children's House and the Toddler Program at the beginning of this year. Kelsey will bring her calm, patient, and warm manner to the work cycle in the mornings with the Lower Elementary class, as she helps this group with lesson follow-up work and staying productive. In the afternoons she will be assisting in Lower Elementary and Children's House, as needed. Then after school, she will oversee the Elementary children as they continue to enjoy the outdoor campus and Arts Barn in aftercare. 

Facilities Helpers
We are also pleased to have two familiar faces helping in a new way. You may notice Amber Mosca (mother to Layla in the Birch Room) and Ben Boyarko (father to Luci in Birch and Uri in Willow) helping us keep the buildings and grounds spiffy for us all to enjoy. 


Amber Mosca

Ben Boyarko


Here Comes the Sun...
Sunscreen forms needed for Toddlers and Children's House!
Spring is here at last and the sun and bugs are out! Please be sure your children apply sunscreen and insect repellent in the morning before school. We are very active during the spring months, and it's important for us to be able to reapply sunscreen and insect repellent to our students to make sure everyone is protected.


We will have permission sheets available at the Front Desk for you to sign to give us permission for us to reapply sunscreen and insect repellent to your child as needed throughout the day. You can also download the form here.


Please provide a supply of your preferred sunscreen and repellent, clearly marked with your child's name, to your child's teacher. 


Thank you!

SummerFun at Hilltop-Spaces are filling up fast

We are excited for new offerings such as Fun with Fabric, Land Art, Java Programming, and Backwoods Basics! Additionally, we are proud to offer a Montessori work cycle in the mornings for ages 3-6. This will include Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math, Science, and Geography. 

The Early Bird Registration offer ends soon. Make sure you sign up for SummerFun before May 15th to take advantage of the 10% discount!

Find out more about SummerFun on our website

Tiny House 
We've reached $7000.00!

Please share the link with friends and family: 
Thanks to Johnny (seen here) and Darren from A.L. Tyler & Sons Electric for getting our tiny house wired for electricity.

Special thanks to Hilltop Children's House parents, Andy Shepard and Josh Traeger, for helping to stain the tiny house this week. 

Off for insulation this weekend, then interior finishing and flooring. We're almost done.

We need help selling Tiny House Raffle Tickets at the June 5th Gallery Walk and on the Common on Saturday, June 6th. Email Amelia if you can help out. 

Swing into spring with Hilltop!
Our party is coming up! Please let us know if you are planning on coming so we can plan accordingly. Reserve your tickets at the front desk, purchase on-line, send up a smoke signal, morse code, sky writing...

If you'd like us to send someone outside of the Hilltop community an invitation, let Amelia know.

Mini-May-Bag-O-Fun Fundraiser
Only for the merry month of May, 
and just in time for Mother's Day! 

When you purchase a Thirty-One brand tote this month, Hilltop will receive $12 of the purchase price. These totes are super handy - great for the supermarket, sleepovers, beach, etc. Price is $40, $8 additional for monogramming. Click here for an order sheet.

Toddler Room

It's already the last month of the school year. We've been traveling an exciting path together this first year of the Toddler Program. In the process we have forged some wonderful relationships. Children seek other children for assistance. Children know how to be helpful to the group without being asked (collecting circle seats after circle or refilling a water pitcher at the snack table.) They use the floor cloths to wipe up water spilled (and then replace a clean floor cloth on the hook). They are beginning to figure out how to work out conflicts and how to tell someone space is needed. One reason for this is because the children are practicing Grace & Courtesy - part of the Montessori curriculum - but mostly it's children finding a sense of belonging and knowing how to contribute to our little community.  

Oliver and Hattie explore the bugs language objects

Lucas and Hannah make banana muffins for snack

Cooper and Asha help Jennifer feel welcome in the TR

Asha and Cooper laugh over a banana bread snack

We hope to see some of you at the Toddler/Children's House playground clean up tomorrow morning, 9AM-12PM. Stop by for an hour or stay the whole time. We'll be spreading mulch, refilling the sandboxes, refinishing the tops of the sandboxes, preparing planters, and a few other little jobs. We'll have coffee and muffins too.

Happy weekend.
Ellie & Hannah


Birch Room

It was a busy week in the Birch Room. We started the week by finishing our class project for the school's Vintage Swing Gala & Auction, then moved on to hosting All School Gathering with our Willow Room friends. At the end of the week, we had a celebration to say goodbye to Gabe, who is moving with his family to North Augusta, South Carolina. In between, we spent lots of time on garden themed works inside. Outside, we enjoyed the summer-like warmth and sun. Speaking of which, don't forget to bring in sunscreen for us to reapply in the afternoons! See the item above for our required permission form.

On Saturday from 9AM-12PM, we will have a Toddler/Children's House playground clean up to get our outdoor space ready for all this great warm weather.  Come join us - for an hour or the whole time - if you can!



Willow Room

Dear HMS families, 

The sun is shining, flowers are blooming and the children of the Willow Room are excitedly working with open windows. Enjoy these moments from the past week, as we have been exploring all things Spring, from the parts of a flower, to the life cycle of a frog! We also look forward to Moving-up days, in which children get to visit and explore "the next big step" in their learning!

As we will be outside in the sun, we encourage you to send in a labeled water bottle and apply sunscreen in the morning (and as mentioned in a note above, please bring in the Sunscreen Form to allow teachers to apply lotion). Sun hats are also recommended! 

Have a wonderful weekend and see you next week!

Jonathan, Rebecca and Mariam

The Willow Room auction project in progress

The life cycle of a frog

Sofia has a peaceful moment with our sand garden

Carrot peeling and cutting

Aiden and Talia work on the Addition Strip Board

Graham washes and dries a baby

Sunday prepares a flower for our classroom

Lower El

Middlers learned about pronouns and how helpful they can be in replacing the noun (the antecedent). The Montessori symbol for the pronoun is a tall, purple pyramid.

Olders were introduced to basic sentence analysis, which emphasizes a word's role in the sentence: is it an action? the person/thing who performed the action? the recipient of the action? More terms will be introduced next week. Their Explorer's Journals are well under way. They wrote a group description of evolution and natural selection this week.

Youngers practiced using adjectives with the adjective drawers. They have also begun their personal timelines, writing a brief story of their lives to go along with the adorable pictures that everyone has enjoyed viewing.  

Family Tree: The time has come for the Middlers to make their family tree! This is a work from our History unit, and comes the year after their personal timelines were created.  Please send your child in with the names of their maternal and paternal grandparents, as well as your full names, by Monday, May 11th. We will get to work on it next week.

We apologize for not having any new pictures today. We will work on our camera cord problem next week. In the meantime, please enjoy some older photos of your LE students!

Have a great weekend.
Kerstin and Patrick


Upper El

This week's highlights in UE:

  • Diving into our last individual research segment of the year, in preparation for the second UE museum
  • Mini-lessons on memoir writing and personal belief statements
  • Exciting new topics in geometry (circumference and challenging, hands-on equivalence work)
  • Extending art to the out of doors in a lesson on watercolor technique
  • Composing rhythmic underpinnings, bass lines, and beginning to layer it with melody, in a brand new Garage Band unit in music
  • Preparing lanterns for our class contribution to the annual auction
  • Fantastic discussions in our literature seminars; one of our current book ties in beautifully with our study of 1800s Vermont by detailing life in a textile mill
  • Helping verbs, transitive vs. intransitive verbs, and independent vs. subordinate clauses
  • Individual conferences with the older students who are wrapping up their Independent Study Projects, which range widely (such as ... the stock market, effects of pollution on Great Lakes and a Hawaiian Island monument, the history of space travel and telephones, astrology, spectrometry and spectroscopy, history of early film industry, quarter pipes, horse domestication, communication among dolphins, and one already presented: the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire--whew!). The class very much looks forward to hearing these presentations in coming weeks.
  • Enjoying the amazing gift of spring in Vermont

Upcoming dates:

Thursday, May 21, 2:00 p.m. and the following morning


Grandparents' Day (and our Swing Gala from 6-10PM for adults!)

Friday, May 22, 8:30-12 noon


Three-day class trip (details coming soon)

Wednesday, June 3 - Friday, June 5


Author's Tea

Tuesday, June 9, 2:00-3:00

Middle School 

We have had a busy and exciting week. Performance continues to be our primary endeavor but every morning we have been treated to student spontaneous projects. This week we have heard about racism in video games, blood types, gluten intolerance, Mississippi Freedom Summer, Freedom Songs, African American women in the blues, and racial stereotypes in comic strips. Math is a daily phenomenon and the design and construction of masks continues.


On Thursday, we had a very special visit from the School for International Training's "Tools for Social Justice" class. We sang together, students spoke about their experiences in Alabama, poems and speeches were recited, and we discovered that despite the age difference both classes are pursuing the same ideas and concepts. It was a powerful and moving couple of hours.


Here is an invitation to everyone and the schedule for our yet untitled performance:

Monday, May 18 - 7pm

Tuesday, May 19 - 10am

Wednesday, May 20 - 7pm


We are excited to be performing in our new theater in the Arts Barn.


Have a lovely weekend,


Paul, Finn, and Nora


Algebra works with pendulums

Masks in progress

Masks in progress

Big circle with SIT graduate students
Sharing ideas about race and activism

Talking with SIT graduate students

Sing with SIT students




Community News


GoFundMe Campaign for Mariam Diallo
Please be sure to visit the GoFundMe campaign page for Mariam Diallo, mentioned in last week's newsletter. We are getting closer to our fundraising goal of $5,000 and every little bit helps!

The Brain Science of PLAY workshop
Tuesday, May 12, 6:00-7:30PM at Hilltop
Play Connections in the Early Years Lay the Foundation for Life
A free workshop for parents & providers
Learn how play relates to three important developmental skills: Memory, Behavior Control, and Flexibility.

Childcare will be provided - please sign up at the Front Desk!

Spring Concert!
A couple of Hilltop parents are participating in the Brattleboro Women's Chorus' Spring Concert this weekend. It is going to be an AMAZING performance - please come and support us and spread the word to those who love beautiful music.

"On My Journey," the spring concert of the Brattleboro Women's Chorus, will be presented on Mother's Day weekend. Under the direction of Becky Graber, local women of a variety of ages will be accompanied by Lisa McCormick on guitar and Cathy Martin on piano.

The concerts are Saturday, May 9th at 7:30pm and Sunday, May 10th and 4:00pm. Both concerts are at the First Baptist Church on Main Street. Tickets are only at the door and are $10 Adult, $15 Generous, $8 Student and Senior. For information about the chorus, see or call 802-254-8994.

Bike Revolution at Hilltop, Again!  

"The ELF is an amazing solar/electric/human-powered vehicle. Learn about the ELF and lots more at Friday's workshop."

Friday, May 15 at 3:10
 (right after school pickup) at the Arts Barn


A great time was had by all at the Hilltop "Bike Revolution" workshop on Tuesday. After the presentation, folks had a chance to try out Dave's (also Rachel & Ely's) orange Yuba ElMundo cargobike. That was a blast, so why not do it again!!  

As you may know, Dave has been hired by Go Vermont, our state alternative transportation agency, to get folks on board with the new cargobikes, electric-assist technologies and other great bike transportation options that are sweeping the nation. He and his organization, VBike, have been contracted to provide bike consultations for Vermont families. This is the first program of its kind in the nation.

At the workshop learn about:
  • A new generation of bikes relevant to Vermonters, our landscape, and our lifestyles
  • Great low-interest loans to get you started
  • Why this can be so much fun for you and your kids
  • The tricky, hidden impacts of a car-centric lifestyle on our senses, psyche, body, and our children
  • The power of authentically responding to climate change
  • And get a chance to ride & experience an e-assist cargobike
To find out more about how bike revolution is coming to Vermont, tune into the VBike website. If you are unable to attend, just email Dave to set up a special time. You can reach Dave at [email protected]. Thanks!



Hilltop Montessori School