Traditions and Events
All dates can be confirmed on our calendar.
Community Work Party & Family Potluck (August)
Parent Work Day is a chance for parents to work alongside each other and help prepare the classroom environments or materials. New parents have an opportunity to meet and work with the community and begin to make connections with other parents, staff and faculty.
Sixth Grade Dinner in Upper Elementary (August)
As leaders in the classroom community, sixth graders gather for dinner before the start of school and discuss their new roles and responsibilities with their teachers while sharing a meal.
Pizza Day Fridays and Bagel Lunch Wednesdays (September – December, January – June)
Students may sign up for Bagel Lunch served on Wednesdays or Pizza Lunch served on Fridays. Children’s House students staying beyond 12 noon on Wednesday or Friday may also participate. Pizza and Bagel Lunches are billed for the year in October. Lunch options and costs will be sent along during the first week of school.
Hilltop Family Picnic (September)
Join the Hilltop Montessori School community for an outdoor early evening potluck. Pack a blanket, bring a dish to share and utensils for your family, and enjoy activities and chats with the entire community.
Middle School Upland Odyssey (September)
The middle school students and faculty start the year with a community building 4-day odyssey (Tuesday – Friday second week of school) to their outdoor classroom on the Austine campus. Students will be cooking, living and learning in the outdoor classroom as well as getting to know their new community. Students will return Friday to Hilltop in time for normal pick up at 3:00 pm.
Upper Elementary Pinnacle Trip (September)
On Thursday of the second week of school, upper elementary students will leave directly after school and head to upper elementary teacher, Tom Griffith’s house, which is at the base of the Pinnacle, in Westminster West, VT. Students will have dinner at Tom’s house and then head up the hill. After unpacking their sleeping bags in the three-sided cabin at the top of the Pinnacle, students spend the evening looking at stars, playing games, and telling stories. Friday morning students head back down to Tom’s house for a day of games and fun. Students will arrive back at Hilltop in time for normal pick up at 3:00. pm
International Peace Day Celebration (September 21)
Students and staff celebrate with others world wide for a day a peace. Each year students and staff participate in a celebration of peace, with song, readings, a peace dove procession and observe a moment of silence with the rest of the world.
All School Gathering (ASG) (Thursdays 9 - 9:20 am)
Students and staff gather weekly beginning the 3rd Thursday in September. Once a week the entire school comes together in song and story to share 15 – 20 minutes the stories, learning and events in the classrooms and raise up our voices in song lead by Jay Cook our music teacher. (During the six Thursdays of Winter Sports in January and February All School Gathering will not be held.)
Lower Elementary Poetry / Movement / Music (October)
An interdisciplinary arts experience, using poetry as a basis, in order to enhance literacy, imaginative thinking and an understanding of the arts as expressive language.
Middle School Harvest Festival at the Putney School (October)
This is an important fundraising event for the middle school trips. All families are invited to join us for the fabulous community event at The Putney School in Putney VT. Hilltop is one of many and our tent will be selling our famous homemade soups, baked goods, hot coffee and cider.
Middle School Community Programs / Younger Mentoring / Elderly Companions (October – December)
Seventh grader students work with Children’s House and Lower Elementary students, one morning a week and eighth grader students form a relationship with someone from one of the elderly resident institutions in town during this six week program.
Grandparent/Special Friend Day (November & May, 8:45 am – 12 noon)
Twice a year we invite grandparents or a special friend to come visit in the classroom with their grandchild or special friend, attend an All School Sing and join us for lunch. We provide one in the fall before Thanksgiving and one in the spring Friday before Memorial Day weekend, so that those traveling long distances can choose a time of year that works best for them.
Stone Soup (November)
On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving break the entire student and faculty join to prepare the soup, set the tables and share in the fall Harvest as one big family. We also take this time to emphasize the needs in the community to contribute to local food banks and shelters with pies made by the middle school students and can and dry foods brought in by all students.
Tea and Coffee with the Head of School
A chance to meet with the Head of School to discuss a wide range of topics, answer your questions and continue to acquaint parents with the community, the Montessori environment and the essential information about the home-school-child connections that insure a successful year for the young child.
Elementary Present Making Day (December, the last day before break)
An opportunity for parents and friends to help elementary students create hand-made crafts for gifts.
Winter Sports Programs (January, February)
The winter sports program takes place on Thursdays for six weeks after the December break and before February vacation. Children’s House olders have ice skating lessons at Living Memorial Park. Lower elementary may choose skating at the park, downhill skiing at Mt Snow (2nd grade or older) or cross-country skiing or snowshoeing at the BOC (grades 1-8)- Brattleboro Outing Club. Upper Elementary and middle school students have the option of cross-country skiing or snowshoeing at BOC or downhill skiing at Mt. Snow.
Upper Elementary Poetry Performance (February)
A presentation of poetry and music written and composed by Upper Elementary students.
Clay Class / Pottery for Children’s House Olders (February and March)
Clay class with Bonnie Sterns takes place one afternoon a week for 5 weeks at her local studio. Bonnie often integrates clay exploration with classroom studies, using pottery work to deepen children’s understanding of mammals, dinosaurs, Native American storytelling pieces, picture frames or wind chimes.
Parent Education Night, The Montessori Curriculum (March)
The Parent Education Nights are designed to deepen a parents understanding of the Montessori Curriculum at all program levels. Whether it is Math, Language, Cultural or some other focus of the curriculum, parents are invited to attend an evening where they will be able to move from one program level to the next with lessons provided by the head teachers as their child would experience them. The evening culminates in a Q & A hosted by a panel of faculty from all programs.
Middle School Odyssey (Spring)
This trip is the culmination of the middle school’s extensive study of “What it means to be human?”
Friends of Hilltop Benefit Auction (March)
Hilltop’s fabulous fun auction is held in the Spring. Parents are asked to participate in many ways - organizing and planning, donating an item and / or food, helping with set up and clean up and above all joining in the fun and festivities.
Upper Elementary Play (April)
A play written by the Upper Elementary students to share their learning with the Hilltop Community.
Middle School Performance (Dates TBD)
A student created reflection of the curriculum’s concepts and ideas.
Young Children’s Art Exhibit River Garden (April)
Art from the HMS Children’s House goes on display at the River Garden during the Month of the Young Child community event.
Eighth Grade Apprenticeships Program (April, May)
Eighth graders spend one morning a week as an apprentice in a local business or service agency.
Hilltop Green Up Day (May)
Hilltop participates in the long-standing Vermont tradition of Green Up Day on the first Friday of May each year. The Hilltop community takes this opportunity to clean up the garbage and debris that has accumulated on our campus and roadways over the previous year. Students spend part of their school day caring for their outdoor classrooms by picking up trash, clearing trails, sweeping sidewalks, weeding garden beds, etc.
Spring Grandparent / Special Friends Day (May)
Twice a year we invite grandparents or a special friend to come visit in the classroom with their grandchild or special friend, attend an All School Sing and join us for lunch. We provide one in the fall before Thanksgiving and one in the spring Friday before Memorial Day weekend, so that those traveling long distances can choose a time a year that works best for them.
Hilltop hosts its “100 Family Tag Sale & Garden Market” the day after Grandparents Day (and the items will be available for grandparents to peruse as well) Please start to save your items to bring to school starting in early January. The more we have, the more we can sell, and the more we can sell, the more we can earn towards Hilltop’s fund development efforts. Good quality housewares, books, furniture, toys and gear, sports equipment, bikes, were all top sellers last year.
Upper Elementary end of year field trip (Early June)
Two day overnight camping trip.
Middle School Spring Upland Odyssey (Early June)
The middle school students and faculty end the year with a 3-day odyssey to their outdoor classroom on the Austine campus. Students will be cooking, living and learning in the outdoor classroom. Students will return Friday to Hilltop in time for normal pick up at 3:00 pm.
Strolling of the Heifers Parade (first Saturday in June)
Hilltop families join the local community to march in the Heifer Stroll. Students may join in the parade with their juggling and unicycle skills, playing an instrument, skateboard or bikes, but all are welcome.
Field Day and Moving On Celebrations (June)
Field Day is an all school event lead by our physical education teacher along with students, staff and parents who want to join in field activities from sack races, running races, obstacle courses to balloon toss and much more. After field day we all join together for popsciles and watermelon to celebrate and thank all the parent volunteers and their contributions to Hilltop during year.
Hilltop Montessori Graduation (June)
All families are welcome to the Hilltop Montessori graduation ceremony. This event speaks to all the student’s experience and is a wonderful community celebration. We are not only celebrating the great passage of the eighth graders but also the tremendous work and growth of all the students (and their families). Graduation takes place under a vast tent that overlooks the pond and our sublime view.