Join us tonight at Green Mountain Camp for our All School Community Picnic! Click here for directions. See you there!

Forms Due Now! 

Please return your Start of Year Forms to the front desk. The deadline for signing up for After School Programs is September 8th. If you have any questions, email Rebecca.

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September 4, 2015


Click heading to get to section
Coming Up at Hilltop
Notes from the Head of School
Toddler Program (TP)
Birch Room
Willow Room
Lower ELementary (LE)
Upper Elementary (UE)
Middle School (MS)
Help Wanted
Community News
Next Week at Hilltop
Monday 9/7
No School
Labor Day
Tuesday 9/8
UE Soccer 3:30-4:30pm

MS Upland Odyssey

Wednesday 9/9
MS Upland Odyssey

Thursday 9/10
MS Upland Odyssey

LE Soccer 3:30-4:15

UE Pinnacle Overnight Trip

Friday 9/11
Pizza Lunch begins!

Check out the 2015-16 School Calendar 

Notes from the Head of School

We have had an amazing first week of school! Each class has a new energy and tone, as the "Olders" from last year have moved to be the "Youngers" in the next.

Montessori programs are designed to be 2 and 3 year cycles that have children going from "Olders" to "Youngers" and then transition to the next program as "youngers" again. This cycle seems to be especially obvious this year.

Toddler Program
 - we have many returning students this year. What a change from last year, the first year of the program, when everyone was new! We now have "older" toddlers feeling at home, and younger ones getting settled in smoothly. 

Children's House
 - with the Olders from last year having moved-up, we have new leaders stepping into their shoes with an impressive sense of seriousness and responsibility. One mother shared her son's enthusiasm for starting his year as an Older by saying  "this year I am going to be a good role model". It is going to be a great year!

Lower Elementary
 - the new youngers have moved from being the "king of the hill" in the Children's House, to seeing a whole new world of expectations and growth ahead of them. Our Olders are learning teaching skills and patience in working with students who now seem much younger in comparison with their new older status. Youngers show intense curiosity and inspiration about what they will be learning as they observe older students. Add to this the new interest in working together in groups, sharing discovery and knowledge, one can understand and expect a busy hum of excitement in this new group!

Upper Elementary
 - This year's group has a nice distribution of ages, and boys to girls.  With our Olders stepping into their new leadership roles, this year's class is settling in to a new dynamic with many students finding room for their voice as they step further out into the world.

Middle School
 - The class dynamic is off to a great start. The group of 7th graders, although big in numbers, size, energy, and personality, are stepping up to the increased expectations for community and academics as they cross the driveway. The new 8th graders are leading the way through example and guidance. The stage is set for the work of the adolescent, a time of tremendous growth and boundless energy.

There is a reason we go from Olders back to youngers in each cycle transition. Children grow in confidence spending three years in a program, feeling at home and in control. Then, they take that confidence to a new arena and use it to grow at the next level. In their new environment they have new leaders who teach, model and inspire new growth. 

We have seen that this week in every program!

For more information on the multi-age progression and other Montessori principles please take a look at "Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius" by Angeline Stoll Lillard. This and other Montessori books are available from the school. Let me know if you'd like to borrow one! 

Toddler Program

Welcome and welcome back!  We've had a super start to the school year getting to know 3 new friends and reconnecting with our seasoned toddlers.  Already we know we have a wonderfully playful and independent group.  Here are a few pictures from the week:


Also, many thanks to the Wilcox Family for building the fantastic teepee structure in the garden area!  It is a wonderful addition to the play area.

Happy weekend.
Ellie & Hannah

Birch Room

We had a great first week in the Birch Room!  Our returning children quickly got reacquainted with each other and with the materials in our classroom, and our newer friends used their quiet mornings to become comfortable in their new school.  Below, we shared a few pictures of our newest Birch Room classmates with you. 

Thanks so much to everyone who has already brought in their child's water bottle and extra clothes.  If you haven't had a chance yet, please bring them in as soon as you can! Have a great weekend!

Cheryl, Serina, and Mariam

Henry enjoys a snack.
 Asha listens to a story...
Ellie works on the pink tower
Willow Room

Welcome to the Willow Room and Hilltop Montessori School for the 2015-2016 school year! 

We are ready for a wonderful year full of many explorations and discoveries. We had a good first week back, easing into the routine. For the first week, children have had the opportunity to learn how to navigate through the classroom, choosing their own work and activities, as well as knowing where to put their materials away when finished. We met new friends, and greeted each other each morning. Thank you to all who attended our Orientation on Monday evening. For more detailed information on the expectations and guidelines, please review the Parent Handbook. 

Have a wonderful year! 

Jonathan and Rebecca

Lower El

It has been wonderful to see returning students and get to know our new students this week! Despite the heat and humidity, everyone had enough energy to join in our community-building activities and outdoor games.  Students participated in a partner interview, created their own name puzzles that friends put together, and played numerous tag and beanbag games. 

For our first music class, which meets on Wednesday afternoons, Jay took us up into the woods to engage our senses of hearing, touch, sight, and smell.  

On Friday, we told "The Story of the Universe" (or how the Earth came to be), one of Montessori's "Great Lessons."  Many parts of the Lower El and Upper El  curriculum are grounded in this, and it is always the first lesson of the new school year.

Housekeeping items: Please make sure your child comes to school with the following, if they do not already have them: a mug for water, an extra pair of shoes, and extra clothes to keep in their cubby.   

Enjoy the long weekend!
Kerstin and Patrick

Upper El

Wow!  Was that only a four day week?  The cohesion and enthusiasm of this group is remarkable so early in the year.  We settled in together with a variety of community building games. We enjoyed impressionistic lessons and began experiments to kick off our culture studies on early humans and the properties of air.  The group also played math games, began mapping work, and played some more.  We ended the day Thursday with an engaging discussion of the meaning and value of different kinds of work, based on the book Frederick by Leo Leonni's.

Please make sure Parent Orientation is on your calendar for September 17, when we will share details about our classroom structure, our new program of Thursday afternoon electives, the revised homework structure for Upper Elementary, the new cursive standard for grades 4 and 5, and more.

Next week is our overnight trip to the Pinnacle.  Details went home via email, but we will be leaving school at 3 pm Thursday, and returning in time for pickup on Friday afternoon. Thank you to those who have offered to drive thus far; more drivers are still needed each way (3 pm Thursday leaving school, and 2 pm Friday leaving Tom's in Westminster West). Students went home today with their own copy of the packing list. They should be responsible for their own packing so they know what gear they have and where it is. Please have them label everything.

Thank you!

Middle School

It has been a very full first week.  We spent the days building our new community through conversation, building journals the students will be using in our "Walk in the Woods" curriculum, and learning compass skills. We took a silent walk in Upland, spending an hour of solitude in the woods observing, writing, and painting. We held our first seminar in Upland writing an essay about civility, while discovering and marking out the third of an acre plots the students will be visiting regularly in the weeks ahead.

It has been very hot and we are blessed with a pond.  Many students found themselves happily in the water during our lunch breaks and after hot walks to and from Upland.

Next Tuesday we begin our four days in Upland.  We have a very full and rich week ahead of us.

Chicken it a new tradition?
Our first Upland circle...
Silence in the woods...

Physical Education

We are off and running in PE already! The Children's House "Olders" (kindergartners), Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, and The Middle School all had PE classes this first week of school and will be continuing every week. 

CH Olders and LE have PE on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
UE has PE on Wednesdays and the other day will vary.
MS has PE on Monday and Fridays, when they are on campus.

For PE, we have the following requirements:

1) "Proper attire is required for PE class." (page 38 of the Student and Family Handbook) This, most importantly, refers to shoes. Sneakers and adventure sandals (covered toes and secured well to the foot) are best. They are made for moving and offer support and traction for active feet. Shoes that may not be used in PE are open toed sandals, flip flops, crocs, slippers, boots, and other clumsy, flimsy, or loose fitting footwear. Good shoes will keep us all doing our best in PE.

2) Water Bottles for PE Class - Active people need to stay hydrated, especially on these hot days. Please send your students to school with water bottles. The PE class often uses far corners of our campus, and running back to the water fountain is not feasible. 

3) Parent/Doctor Note for an Excuse from PE Class - The second request is that parents let us know in writing/email if a student is injured, ill, or has a physical condition that will hinder their ability to participate in PE class. If there is a physical ailment that will keep a student from participating in PE, please send a note to school, email the Front Desk, or email Ben James directly Ben James before school starts. 

Thank you, 
Ben James
Hilltop PE/AD

Important Dates

Thursday, September 17: Parent Orientation
Toddler ProgramLower Elementary and Middle School: 6-7PM
Children's House and Upper Elementary 7-8PM
This is an evening meeting for parents to learn about the upcoming year's curriculum, program, expectations for students, and ways to be involved in your child's education. Childcare will be provided. Please sign up for childcare at the front desk.

Help Wanted

Cleaning Person
We are looking for someone to help us with cleaning the Main building and the Arts Barn (The Middle School takes care of themselves - showing their "responsible independence"!). This task includes about 2 hours of work every weekday, ideally from 2:30-4:30pm. Vacuuming, mopping, cleaning the bathrooms, etc. Anyone interested should contact Tamara. 

Community News

Groundworks Collective's Hike for the Homeless on Saturday September 12th
In the past, we've had a Hilltop team hike the mountain together. If you would like to join in, meet us at the base of Mount Wistastiquit behind Wal-Mart at 10am on Saturday September 12th. To register and for more information visit: .

Tennis at the Brattleboro Outing Club
Jacob Miller is running a junior program for children 7 and older on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-5pm, starting on September 8th at the Brattleboro Outing Club. The class will run through October 1st. If you are interested, please contact Jacob Miller.
Brattleboro Hockey League
Registration for the new season starts now! Check out for more information. Also, don't miss the Equipment Sale/Swap as well as Registration Day on Saturday, September 12 from 9am-2pm, at the Brattleboro rink! 

Monthly Pot-Luck and Game Night 
Alix, parent to Annalise and Julia, is looking for someone who would like to plan monthly pot-luck game nights for Hilltop families. If you are interested email Amelia.

Hilltop Montessori School