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 June 5, 2015


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Next Week at Hilltop
Where Are They Now?
End of Year Events
SummerFun Soccer Camp
Tiny House
Toddler Room
Willow Room
Birch Room
Middle School
Community News
Next Week at Hilltop

Cultural Cooking 3:30-4:45

UE Authors' Tea 

NO bagels today!

Last day of School -
Toddlers, CH, LE, and UE

NO All School Gathering

Field Day 1-2

Bead Ceremony 

FRIDAY 6/12 
Middle School Graduation 6-8

Where Are They Now?


Hilltop Class of 2011
Now graduating from high school
"Success is not a place at which one arrives, but rather the spirit with which one undertakes and continues the journey."
-Alex Noble


Artist and filmmaker, Alex Noble, was onto something we all know as we walk into this transitional time of the year at Hilltop Montessori School. June marks the end of our academic year with a fabulous wave of activity. The cleaning of cubbies, the finishing of projects, the moving up events, the last all school gathering, and all the rituals of ending a wonderful year are part of our path into summer. However, even with that rush of relief and comfort of closure, we will arrive at the final event of the graduation of our 8th graders next week with a sense that we are watching them launch into the next marvelous thing. It has been a spirit-filled adventure all along the way. It is a hopeful and beautiful celebration of the gifts and experiences these young people will carry with them as they walk away from Hilltop.


As we consider where the Hilltop Class of 2015 will go, we thought it might be fun to see where other Hilltop graduates have ventured and how they have let their bright and brilliant selves shine. Here is a sampling of a few alumni friends we were able to track down:


Elkanah Linder graduated from Vermont Academy this spring. She will be attending the University of Sciences in Pennsylvania in the fall and is enrolled in their Doctor of Pharmacy program. She will play DII tennis at college and apparently learned to play tennis left handed this spring after an injury to her right hand. Even with that adaptation, Elkanah won the entire Lakes Region Championship playing with her "other" hand. "Unheard of!" according to her coach. 


Elkanah's younger sister, Cara Linder, transferred to VA in the spring from Leland & Gray. She will be sharing the campus with McKenzie Curtis and Maggie McKay, who will be seniors in the fall. Ian Fenn has finished an "outstanding freshman year."


Northfield Mount Herman celebrates the graduation of Harper Baldwin, Paige Fenn, Jackie Elliott, and Peter-Owen Hayward this spring. Harper, Paige, and Jackie were inducted into the Cum Laude Society (the equivalent of the National Honor Society) earlier in the school year. Harper will continue her education at Middlebury College and was awarded the Cambridge Award, the Head of School Award, the C. Russell Bragg Memorial Prize for Environmental Studies, and the Grace Robertson Girls' Swimming Award. Jackie is going on to Georgia Institute of Technology and was awarded the Piscuskas Day Student prize, the Edward and William Rhodes Prize in Economics, and the NMH Girls' Varsity Tennis Award. Paige Fenn was awarded the Advanced Biology Award, the Michael Corrigan Girls' Junior Varsity Hockey Award and will be going to Lafayette College in the fall. Peter-Owen is headed to Syracuse University in the fall.

Many of you may remember Maureen Ketcham, our former PE instructor. Maureen and her family moved to the Burlington area and that's where her youngest son, Colin, attended high school. He was just inducted into his school's chapter of the National Honor Society. He'll receive the senior award for the Ultimate Frisbee team and will be going to Colby Sawyer College in the fall to study graphic design.
From BUHS, we hear news of:
Elias Periera who will attend UVM, Phoebe Wolfman and Cassidy Stebbins are planning on attending Roger Williams; Katie Reynolds will attend Mount Holyoke and Gabe Ferrante is planning for a career in engineering; it's his wish to be an aerospace and aeronautics engineer. Yes, he wants to be a rocket scientist! Next year he will be attending a local college (he was admitted to both Keene State and to GCC). It's his ambition to transfer to Cornell or a similarly-respected engineering school after 2 years.

Finally, we understand that Nickole Ritchie, a graduate of both Hilltop and The Putney School, will be racing in the Pan American games this year. 


We welcome these stories and look forward to connecting with other Hilltop alumni who would like to share their journey with the Hilltop family.

(Thank you to Leigh Marthe for compiling and writing this update.)

End of Year Events

The end of the school year brings high emotions and the opportunity for closure and transitioning events. At Hilltop Montessori School, the students and teachers have traditional and evolving ceremonies that each program shares within their classroom community. Thursday, June 11th is the final day of school for Toddlers through Upper Elementary (Middle School has school the morning of the 12th and then graduation in the evening). Each program will have their own internal celebration of transitions and then in the afternoon of the 11th, the whole school community will come together for Hilltop's Field Day and the Bead Ceremony. 

Thursday, June 11th 
Field Day 1 p.m. - A celebration with Peace Buddies running around having fun together - sack races, obstacle courses, balloon toss and more! (No naps for the CH!) Parent volunteers and observers welcome.

Bead Ceremony 2 p.m. - A ceremony acknowledging and including all students moving on to the next stage or program. Parents are welcome to observe this annual ceremony for the whole community, which takes place on the grass by the pond. 

Friday, June 12th 
Graduation 6 p.m. - The Hilltop Montessori School has a formal, public graduation for the 8th grade graduates. 

SummerFun Update!

SummerFun kicks off the week of
June 22nd!

Sign up now!

The following camps are FULL:

Woods & Tools I (Week 4, 9-12 year olds)

Soccer (Week 2, 6-9 year olds)

Underwater Adventures (Week 5, 3-5 year olds)

Java Programming, (Week 3, 9-12 year olds)

The following camps have been cancelled:

Land Art, (Week 2, 9-12 year olds)

Ultimate Frisbee, (Week 5, 9-12 year olds)

Backwoods Basics, (Week 2, 9-12 year olds)

And the following camps have just a few spaces left: 

Peacemakers, (Week 1, 3-5 year olds)

Natural Discoveries, (Week 2, 3-5 year olds)

Cooking & Gardening, (Week 3, 3-5 year olds)

Around the World, (Week 4, 3-5 year olds)

Outerspace & Beyond, (Week 6, 3-5 year olds)

Cultural Cooking, (Week 6, 6-9 year olds)

Find out more about SummerFun on our website
Strolling of the Heifers and The Tiny House

Come join the fun!

Look for the Tiny House in front of People's Bank on Main Street tonight at Gallery Walk from 5-8:30pm. It will be decked out with furnishings from Twice Upon a Time. 

Then, after you watch the parade tomorrow morning, stop by and see us on the Common. We'll be selling raffle tickets until 3pm when the winner will be drawn! 

We're up to $8,740 in ticket sales, but we had a few steep expenses. Please share the link below with friends and family. We will be giving Groundworks Collective (formally, Morningside Shelter) 20% of our proceeds.


Vintage Swing Gala & Auction
Meaghan Fagley was taking photographs at the Vintage Swing Party. If you'd like to see them and download, visit


Toddler Room

"The chores of practical life correspond exactly to what children are looking for at this age: an activity that requires their muscular energy, and that can lead to visible results that are useful to themselves and the persons who live with them."  

-Dr. Silvana Montanaro


This week in Practical Life we brought out the dishwashing stand again and it drew in several children for long periods of time. Dishwashing not only gives children a sense of belonging because they are contributing in a tangible way to the community*, it also aids in the understanding of sequence, growth of concentration and independence, and integration of will, intelligence, and movement. Pouring water, making bubbles with the soap, scrubbing the food from the dishes, carefully putting the dishes into the dish rack to dry, and readying the space for the next friend to use - there are so many parts to this work.


We are excited to welcome a new toddler to the Hilltop community. The children loved showing their new friend around the Toddler Room and playground.



And here are a few other pictures from the week. 


Next week is already the last week of school! In celebration of the children moving up to new programs, we'll have a school-wide bead ceremony on Thursday, June 11 around 2 PM. We hope you'll join us.


Happy weekend.

Ellie & Hannah 


*The dishes are not used again until they've been sanitized in a dishwasher.


Willow Room

We are ready for the final week of school. With the buzz of activity at Hilltop, and new explorations and discoveries still emerging in the Willow Room, we will successfully complete our learning cycle for the year. This cycle, however, continues into the coming years, as children move into a new year in the Willow Room, or onto new classrooms.  

What a full schedule! We had our last All School Gathering for the year on Thursday, ending with the calming "Light a Candle for Peace." We also have been completing several small projects, and are continuing to explore new materials in the Willow Room. The Olders have been working on Peace Flags, using Tie-Dye and writing peaceful messages to send out into the world. We began to seed for our summer garden and explored constellations and the solar system, as well. Lydia exclaimed, "Wow, the sun is really a star?!" While exploring a model Solar System, Uri added: "Don't touch the sun, it's hot! But you can hold Earth, it's just right." 

Have a good weekend and see you soon, 

Jonathan, Rebecca and Mariam 

 Lydia creates a star constellation to look at through a viewing box

Aiden and Avery tie dye

Astrid says goodbye for the year!

Talia writes a peaceful message for the Olders' Peace Flag project

Uri explores our
solar system

Birch Room

Maria Montessori recognized the value of allowing children to teach one another in the classroom. Not only does this practice allow younger children to learn from their peers, it also gives the older children a chance to solidify their knowledge by explaining it to others. Plus, it builds a sense of community in the classroom.  Contemporary research supports the value that she placed on this kind of peer-to-peer teaching by showing us that children's learning is often stronger (sometimes dramatically so) when given a lesson by a peer.

Our Olders this week gave us a great example of this kind of learning as they introduced shapes to some younger students. They did this by first showing the other children pictures of a shape. Next, they invited the younger children to work together with them to make the shape with their bodies. The teamwork, mentoring, and learning were great to see, and we wanted to share a few pictures!

Enjoy your weekend!

Cheryl and Serina

Malika, Charlie, Sebastian, Eko, and Lucas make a circle

Lucas, Malika, and Sebastian make a square

A triangle!

Lower El

This week Lower El enjoyed a field trip to the Springfield Museum of Science. 
We participated in an activity about natural selection, using various "appendages" -clothespins, spoons, magnets, tongs - to replicate foraging for food as an opossum, raccoon, caterpillar, or woodpecker. Our water sources were limited. One was polluted, and a bear was preying on us. It's hard being a wild animal! Not all of us survived, but we all came back to life to enjoy lunch on the museum green. We unleashed our joyful energy on, in, and around the Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden, and then toured the museum's interior.  

Thank you so much to all of our drivers!

Next week is the last week of school! Please make sure your child comes to school with their backpack, as we will be sending them home with their completed work throughout the week. 

Have a good weekend!
Kerstin and Patrick 


Upper El

Upper Elementary enjoyed three days at Farm & Wilderness in Plymouth, VT this week. Check next week's newsletter for photos of our trip. Thank you to Amanda Rupard and Andrew Pennell for joining us on our trip, and Saskia Grooms and Kate Knopp for helping students shop for food for the trip. We greatly appreciate their help!

Please join us for our Authors' Tea on Tuesday, June 9 from 2 until dismissal. Each child will share a piece of writing during the tea. We hope to see you there for this final celebration and sharing of children's learning for the year.

Middle School 


Here we are, one week from graduation and the Middle School is buzzing with graduation songs, speech redrafts, spirit animal portraits, photographic portraits, and more speech redrafts. This weekend the eighth graders are going home with the final draft of their speech and memorizing it so they can practice their recitation skills while we are in Upland next week.


The sevenths have been busy as well planning their contributions to the graduation ceremony as well as a final community circle and ceremony on Wednesday before we head back to campus.


It has been extraordinary and memorable year.   

Community News


CPR and Pediatric Frist Aid Training session at Hilltop

Saturday, July 11th, 9AM-3:30PM

Rescue, Inc. will be offering a CPR and Pediatric First Aid course for parents. The course is $40 per person. If you are interested in attending, please contact Kathryn Einig (Willow Room parent.)



Making your summer plans? Why not include a fabulous student from Spain in your family's activities?!  We urgently need host families for several Spanish teens, age 15 - 17, who will be in Vermont from June 25th to July 20th, just 3 1/2 weeks.

The students are all from the Basque region of Spain and are at an intermediate English level. Host families provide a warm and safe home environment for the student, as well as meals and transportation to a meeting spot on the days there are field trips (Boston and Six Flags--host families are invited to come along.)

It's fine for a student to share a room with a host sibling, and the students have their own spending money, medical insurance, and phone cards. If you can help please call Ann Newsmith at (802) 257-4710 or email her here.



Hilltop Montessori School