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 May 22, 2015


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Next Week at Hilltop
Notes from the Head of School
Summer Fun
Tiny House
Toddler Room
Middle School
Next Week at Hilltop


Ultimate Game @ Compass School 

Fire & Stone 3:30-5

Ultimate Frisbee 3-4:30

All School Gathering 8:45 

Circus Arts 

FRIDAY 5/29 

Notes from the Head of School
Not So New to Us!

So often things that are reported as new "discoveries" or trends in education are things that Maria Montessori observed 100 years ago and incorporated into the time tested, scientifically proven approach we use at Hilltop. Three such ideas are: the importance of movement in learning, the benefit of developing internal motivation rather than being given external rewards, and how to have STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) in education in an integrated, concrete, real-world way. These are all important components of the curriculum and experience that students have at our school from toddlers through Middle School.

The connection of the Hand to the Mind:
This article, "Why Kids Need to Move, Touch and Experience to Learn," explains the reason behind our classrooms that encourage movement, and materials that require manual manipulation. The human mind is wired to learn through moving and experiencing, not through sedentary rote memorization. The classroom and outside environments at Hilltop, encourage concentration, movement and experiential learning.

Internal Motivation, Not External Rewards:
This article "Could Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose be the Keys to Motivating Students?uses a TED talk by Daniel Pink to suggest that, just as financial incentives have been seen to not motivate employees to do creative problem solving, so using tests and grades and other external motivators are not beneficial to children. To foster intrinsic motivation students should be given opportunities to do real-life problem solving and feel a sense of purpose from doing real tasks where they can develop a sense of skill, pride and accomplishment. This can be:
  • serving a friend snack, as the toddlers do with great enjoyment and pride
  • washing a table, a classic Montessori activity often accomplished in our Children's House classrooms
  • writing persuasive letters to the Head of School on why Lower El needs a bigger garden, and seeing it through with materials, digging, and planting!
  • building lamps for the auction, using precise measurements, calculations, and skilled craftsmanship
  • running a bagel business, soup business, coffee cart, and providing childcare to raise money for an odyssey (as our Middle Schoolers do.)

STEM and STEAM have been what Montessori is all about for 100 years:
There is a movement in education circles to talk about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) or when you throw the Arts back in there it becomes STEAM. This approach emphasizes how all fields relate to each other and that project based learning on real life situations is a better approach to learning that segmented subjects with hypothetical questions. Again, this is what Montessori is based on and what happens every day at Hilltop Montessori School. 
  • The metal insets combine art, with geometry, and are a preparation for writing.
  • The "timeline of life" is a lesson in history, biology, geology, and can be beautifully rendered in colored pencils, or felted wool!
  • Developing the "Museum" projects in Upper Elementary requires combining disciplines to prepare a written and physical illustration to communicate a complex concept.
  • Building water wheels combines math, physics, and design in a hands-on building project
At Hilltop Montessori School we do STEAM!

SummerFun at Hilltop-Spaces are filling up fast


Camps are filling up! Woods and Tools I (Week 4, for ages 9-12) and Soccer Camp (Week 2, for ages 6-9), and Cultural Cooking (Week 6 for ages 6-9), Underwater Adventures (Week 5, for ages 3-5) are all FULL!

There is still availability in all other camps, but sign-ups are coming in fast. Be sure to register now!
Find out more about SummerFun on our website


Tiny House 
Over $7500.00 raised!

Please share the link with friends and family: 

Looking for 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. 

Mini-May-Bag-O-Fun Fundraiser
Special Offer! Only for the merry month of May!
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

Toddlers were busy making and tasting food this week. We scrubbed and baked potatoes and tasted them with fresh chives from our garden. We also made smoothies and popsicles with Mariam.

Huxley from Upper El came by for a visit too. The children really enjoyed playing with an older boy - especially outside!

Many thanks to Judy Schoolwerth, Oliver's grandmother, for sharing samples of tadpoles and salamander eggs, and an informative poster of the lifecycle of the frog too! The children were fascinated to observe them for the morning before they were returned to their respective homes.

Thanks also to the Cartelli family for gifting the beautiful book called Swirl by Swirl to our classroom library.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend.

Elli & Hannah

Lucas looks at tadpoles

Huxley talks livestock with toddlers

Asha tries a baked potato with chives from our garden

Kennedy scrubs potatoes

Asha, Henry, and Mariam make smoothies


Willow Room

Enjoy these moments from this past week, and have a wonderful long weekend!

Jonathan, Rebecca, and Mariam

Sunday observes Ciana and Hazel 

Uri colors with crayons

Astrid explores Matryoshka dolls from Russia

August helps Avery using a spice grinder

Birch Room

This morning, the Birch Room children joined our Willow Room friends to sing a song for our grandparents and special friends.  In case you want to sing at home, we thought we'd send you the lyrics.

Light a candle for peace
Light a candle for love
Light a candle that 
shines all away around the world

Light a candle for me
Light a candle for you
That our wish for world peace
will one day come true

Sing peace around the world (x4)

Light a candle for peace
Light a candle for love
Light a candle that 
shines all the way around the world

Light a candle for me
Light a candle for you
That our wish for world peace
will one day come true

Important dates to remember: 
June 9, 12-1PM: Olders' celebration 
June 11th: Final Day of School, Field Day, & Bead Ceremony

Have great weekend!

Cheryl and Serina

Matai explores a mini-environment of a pond

Layla experiments to see which objects sink or float

Ayla prepares a snack

Lower El

Enjoy some pictures from yesterday's Authors' Tea. Thanks to all the families who came!

Have a great weekend,

Kerstin & Patrick


Upper El


Many thanks to all who could visit our Classroom Museum on Thursday and Friday.

The end of the year is all about dates:
Thursday, May 28: 4ths and 5ths join the 3rds for a trip to the Pinnacle.
Wednesday-Friday, June 3-5: UE to Farm and Wilderness
Tuesday, June 9: Authors' Tea, 2PM
Thursday, June 11: Last day of school 

Pictures from Upper El Museum


Middle School 


We hope that everyone who was able to attend a performance of our show, "Unspoken Soles" enjoyed it. We had three full and terrific houses and really enjoyed performing in the new theater. We have now turned the corner towards the end of the year.  The eighth graders begin their apprenticeships next week. The apprenticeship program give our soon to be graduates the opportunity to work in a local business, nonprofit, or social service for six mornings. The students identify and pursue a field of their interest, arrange for their apprenticeship, and submit a resume and cover letter. There is a tremendous range of apprenticeships and once again the greater Brattleboro community have opened their doors to our students. A sampling of the apprenticeships this year includes: Lilac Ridge Farm, The Trust Company of Vermont, Early Education Services, and the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center.


We have also begun our preparations for graduation. The eighth graders have begun writing their speeches and the sevenths are designing their portions of the ceremony.  Graduation is Friday, June 12th beginning at 5:30.  


We will be heading to Upland on Monday, June 8th and returning on Wednesday, the 10th.  More information on both graduation and our days in Upland will be coming to middle school families in the near future.



Middle School students' masks



Community News


Trad Camp at Hilltop 
Now in its sixth year, the Brattleboro Music Center once again presents Trad Camp at Hilltop this summer: a one-week day camp focused on traditional music and dance for kids ages 9-14, from June 29th-July 3rd. Hilltop parents Keith Murphy and Becky Tracy, along with Andy Davis, host this fun-filled week of song, dance, instrumental playing, games, and crafts. From 8:30am to 3pm each day. More information can be found here.





GoFundMe Campaign for Mariam Diallo
Please be sure to visit the GoFundMe campaign page for Mariam Diallo. We are almost at our fundraising goal of $5,000 and every little bit helps!





You Can Help Build a Library in Sierra Leone!

The African Library Project is an organization that partners with needy schools in rural Africa, and builds libraries with books and funds raised in book drives. My name is Sarah Young (I graduated from Hilltop last year), and  I am a ninth grade student at The Putney School. I started this book drive for a school project, with the guidelines of following through with a plan of action for a social justice cause that we believe in. I chose to do a book drive because I love to read, and I can't imagine trying to learn how to read without access to any books. When I found out that this is a common thing in rural African schools, I knew that I had to help. In order for this book drive to be successful, and for us to build a whole library, 1,000 books and $500 need to be raised! I won't be able to complete this without your help! If you have any books at your house, please look through them to see if there are any you would like to donate. If you can't donate books, but still want to help, you can donate to my GoFundMe campaign. The book box is in the lobby of the elementary building, so you can bring books and find more information there!




Hilltop Montessori School