At a recent 5:00 pm pickup I entered the quiet room to find Eden, her twins, my son, and 12 other children from age 3 to about 10... constructing, coloring, reading, beading, finger-knitting, sharing, and generally enjoying their work. We two adults just smiled and observed. The whole world was in that one room.
Only children raised on Montessori could cram into a smallish room at dinner time and interact and work -- both collaboratively and separately -- with such kindness and peace and joy. It was marvelous.
Thank you, Hilltop Montessori School.
- Robin O.
July 27, 2013
We are writing this letter to let you know what an incredible time our daughter, Addison, had at SummerFUN camp this year. Everything was well organized and literally detailed down to even the tiniest ribbon on a fairy treasure bag! The summer was a perfectly smooth transition to the new school year and we are truly thankful that you run SummerFUN during the summer months!
The staff with which we primarily interacted included: Melissa Mroz-Gaskill, Sarah Skuse, Mariam Diallo and Cheryl Matthews. There was never a moment where we observed any stress or worry on any of them, even though we know how much effort it takes to ensure that every child (new and returning) is comfortable, payments are up to date, health forms are set, activities are lined up and ready to go (including at least two different activities due to Vermont’s ever-adjusting weather) and facilities are ready to be used. There were also times we had to leave messages at the front desk (we believe it was Ann who perfectly relayed our messages to Sarah and Mariam) or needed to have some random questions answered by Amelia Farnum and all was handled flawlessly. At all times, no matter what was going on, your staff accommodated us in an incredibly friendly, thoughtful manner. What a staff!
At the beginning of the summer, swimming lessons were provided on an individualized instruction level. Our daughter made immense progress in a short period of time due to the incredible patience and gentleness of the instructor. Addison is now successfully swimming in a pool solely using arm swimmies and is much more comfortable with putting her face in the water. At one point, Addy told us that her swimming instructor challenged her to touch her feet in the water¬—what a perfect way to teach a young child to put his/her face in the water!
We will certainly be sending Addy to SummerFUN next year for a whole new round of fun and are more than thankful to be part of Hilltop’s incredible community. Thank you for providing the opportunity for working parents, such as ourselves, the ability to confidently send our daughter to school and summer camp, knowing she is safe, nurtured, challenged and engaged. Hilltop and its staff are the best!
James and Stephanie
Several years ago, my family moved to Brattleboro from Seattle.
Shortly after arriving, we began asking our friends and neighbors about a preschool for our 4-year-old daughter. Hilltop was on everyone's short-list, so I gave them a call. Not knowing much about Montessori education, I wasn't sure what to expect. I was invited to observe a class in session, ask questions and see how the students and teachers interact.
What an incredible experience!
This wasn't like other classrooms I knew. Even those I remembered from my own childhood were much more chaotic and sterile. This room was different. It buzzed with curious minds, busy hands and infectious laughter. Children were 'at work' at tables or in pairs on the floor all clearly having fun learning new subjects or mastering useful skills. Their teachers – having taken time in advance to prepare the classroom, discuss the activities and encourage their interests – struck the perfect balance between observing and directing.
I decided then that this school was more than an enriching place for a pre-schooler. It was going to be our family's school through 8th grade. Filled with gifted and devoted teachers, Hilltop is truly an amazing place. The school is growing children that are smart, funny, caring, independent and aware – of themselves and the world. You can see it at home, on the playground...everywhere and at every age.
How cool is that? My daughter says 'it's the coolest.' And she's right. Come see for yourself and for your family.
Finally on the hilltop! (excerpts from a letter)
My children are twenty-eight and twenty-four, and when they started Hilltop at seven and three, it was 1990. It was full of life, committed to the principles of Maria Montessori and within a reasonable commute. Over the next eleven years my involvement varied from serving as Board President to barely managing to get my children to school.
[A few years ago] I got a call from Lauren inviting me to an alumni parent pot luck supper at the new ‘campus’. I came to the crest of the driveway and there it was, a campus, a fancy school, a place I did not recognize and could not have imagined in my wildest dreams. There was the whole school, the buildings, the computers, the space, the light, the notion of the entirety of the place was overwhelming.
[Along with other Alumni parents we at] around a table looking at old friends, laughing about the past, remembering ourselves and our children at what for us was Hilltop Montessori. We laughed so much. I left filled with memories for those days, but also filled with delight that Hilltop finally has a hill. I hope the parents who now drop their children off at the top of the driveway know the climb that was made to get there.
Alumni parent, Past Board President