Traditions and Events
All dates can be confirmed on our calendar.
Community Work Party
The Community Work Party helps us prepare the classrooms and campus for the new school year. This is the perfect opportunity for new parents to meet the Hilltop Community and for returning families to reconnect after the summer. It’s fun and makes a huge impact in a few short hours.
Parents paint, move furniture, garden and clean – whatever is needed – so please wear work clothes that can get messy.
Food will be served and kids are invited to play outside (adult supervision provided).
Elementary & Middle School Conferences
Parents of students new to Elementary and Middle School meet with faculty before school starts to set goals for the year and get to know each other better. Elementary conferences include parents and teachers. Middle School conferences include parents, teachers and students.
Children’s House Parent Orientation
Children’s House parents meet and learn about Hilltop’s unique and nurturing environment for children ages 3-6, and the expectations of independence and responsibility for our youngest students. This meeting is required for new parents and very strongly encouraged for returning parents.
Visiting Day for New Students in the Children’s House and Lower Elementary
New students in Children’s House and Lower Elementary (grades 1, 2 & 3) are invited to stop by the classrooms and visit along with a parent to become familiar and secure with their new environment. Plan to spend 15 – 30 minutes in the room between 9:00 - 11:00 am.
Sixth Grade Dinner in Upper Elementary
As leaders in the UE 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.
The First Day of School and Orientation Schedule
CH Orientation Schedule for Children’s House: During the first four days of school, students who are 3 years old (by Sept 1) arrive at 8:30 am and stay until 10:00 am, while 4 & 5 year olds arrive at 10:15 am and stay until their scheduled dismissal time at 12, 2:45, 4 or 5 pm. On Monday, Sept 9, all students arrive at 8:30 am and stay for their first full day of school.
LE Orientation Schedule for Lower Elementary: On the first day of school, Sept. 3, students new to Lower Elementary arrive at 8:30 am and returning students arrive at 11 am and are dismissed at 3pm. The regular schedule for Lower Elementary begins on the second day of school, Sept. 4.
UE/MS All students attend the full day 8:30am -3pm from Sept. 3 on.
Bagel Lunch Wednesdays and Pizza Day Fridays
September – December / January - June
Students are invited (but not required) to 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 can participate as well. Pizza and Bagel Lunches are billed for the year in October. Lunch options and cost information will be sent home during the first week of school.
Hilltop Family Picnic
Join the Hilltop Montessori School community for an early evening picnic. Pack a blanket, bring a dish to share and utensils for your family. Connect with old friends and make some new ones.
Middle School Upland Odyssey
The Middle School students and faculty start the year with a community-building 4-day odyssey (Tuesday – Friday during the second week of school) to their outdoor classroom on the Austine School for the Deaf 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
On Thursday of the second week of school, Upper Elementary students will leave directly after school and head to UE teacher, Tom Griffith’s house, at the base of the Pinnacle, in Westminster West, VT. Students 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.
Parent Orientation Night/All programs
This is an evening meeting for parents to learn about the upcoming year’s curriculum, program, expectations of students, and ways to be involved in your child’s education. Parents with children in more than one program should send one parent to each program level. Childcare will be provided — please reserve childcare at the front desk.
International Peace Day Celebration/September 21
Students and staff celebrate with others worldwide for a day a peace through song, readings, a peace dove procession, and a moment of silence.
Soccer Programs/LE, UE, MS/September through early November
Soccer will run from September through early November. Soccer practices for the MS will be on Mon and Thurs. UE practices will be on Tues and Fri, and LE on Wed. Hilltop offers co-ed soccer skill building for Lower Elementary students and co-ed teams for UE and MS students who play games with other area schools. Whether your student is a beginner or advanced soccer player, they will surely enjoy this serious but fun sports opportunity.
Other After School Programs
We offer a growing selection of After School Programs. These programs are taught by experts in the community who we bring in to expand the experiences of our students. A series class often meets for one hour one afternoon a week right after school for a six-eight week session. The offerings will vary from season to season and details will be announced in newsletters and be available online. Past programs have included Spanish lessons and a wilderness program. Future offerings may include sewing, mountain biking, yoga, origami, etc. If you have a skill that would make a good program, please stop by the front desk and let us know!
All School Gathering (ASG)/9 - 9:20 am
Students and staff gather weekly beginning in September for 15 – 20 minutes to share stories, learning, and events from the classrooms and sing with our wonderful music teacher, Jay Cook.
Student and Classroom Photo Day
Class photos are taken late September or early October and families can purchase individual photos of their children and a class photo.
The Annual Fund
Fundraising is critical to allowing us to provide vibrant programs at Hilltop. A healthy Annual Fund keeps Hilltop humming. Contributing to the Annual Fund is a practice in giving that we model for our children. In this instance, it’s our children who benefit from this generosity. Every dime contributed to the Annual Fund serves Hilltop students by further enriching our strong programs, whether it is a new set of knobbed cylinder blocks for the Children’s House, tickets to Sturbridge Village for Upper Elementary students, or computers for the Middle School.
Children’s House Parent & Child Pre-Conference Classroom Visits
Mornings before Conferences October and March 8:30 - 9:15 am
Children are invited to bring their parents to school in the morning to show parents what they’re working on and learning. Students are excited to have a parent’s undivided attention and endorsement of the work they are doing at school. Since the classroom can get crowded we suggest one parent attend and alternate the dates.
Elementary Parent Work Shares
Every other Tuesday starting in October 2:30 - 3pm
Parents are invited to school before pick up so their children can share with them the work they do during the day. Since the classroom is crowded we suggest one parent attend at a time.
Parent Conferences / October and March
Parent conferences are scheduled for Thursday an early release day, and Friday, a no school day. Upper Elementary and Middle School students attend the conference with their parents. Parents sign up for conferences times in the front lobby.
Teacher In-Service Days
In addition to days in August before school begins and a two-day retreat in June, staff and faculty have in-service days throughout the year usually on the Monday after holiday breaks or a full day on Fridays (see the school calendar on the website for all dates). From preparing the classroom environment to professional development, these are important days for faculty, and they help improve and enhance the academic program at Hilltop.
Middle School Harvest Festival at the Putney School
This is a wonderful and 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 grade students work with Children’s House and Lower Elementary students one morning a week and eighth grade students form a relationship with an elder from one of the resident institutions in town during this six week program.
Middle School Parent Presentation Night
Middle School families witness the science, humanities, and language work that their students have been immersed in.
Grandparent/Special Friend Day/November & May
Twice a year we invite grandparents and special friends to visit in the classroom with their grandchild or special friend and attend an All School Sing. The first is held in the fall before Thanksgiving and the second on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. Those traveling long distances can choose a time of year that works best for them.
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 celebrate the soups made by Middle School students throughout the year and encourage students to bring in non-perishable foods for a local food pantry.
Elementary Present Making Day (the last day before break):
Parents and friends are invited 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 between the December break and February vacation. See page 30 for details.
Sibling Applications due January 15
Applications for siblings must be submitted to the Admission Office by this date in order to secure priority enrollment.
Financial Aid Applications due January 15 (see Financial Aid info on page 33 for more details about our Financial Aid program.)
Moving Up Night for Parents of students transitioning from K-1, 3-4, 6-7 / February
Faculty will present the overview and the details, outline the expectations, and answer the questions of all parents and prospective parents entering a new program level or any parent interested in what lies ahead for their child.
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 Stearns 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.
Re-enrollment/Due March 1
Re-enrollment information for the coming school year is sent to parents in February. The deadline for re-enrollment of current students is March 1. At this time all forms included in the enrollment packet as well as the annual non-refundable $375 registration fee, payment method and schedule, must be completed and returned to confirm enrollment. In order to be considered for a financial aid award, the re-enrollment contract(s) must be submitted on the due date. Should the financial aid decision be unacceptable to you, you may elect to cancel your contract and receive full refund of your registration fee.
New Student Applications / Applications accepted October 1 and completed by March 1
Application deadline for new students is March 1. Applications submitted after March 1 will be considered as space is available.
Parent Education Night
The Parent Education Nights are designed to deepen a parents understanding of the Montessori Curriculum at all program levels. Whether it is Math, Language, Culture or some other focus of the curriculum, parents are able to visit different program levels to experience lessons provided by the head teachers. The evening culminates in a Q & A hosted by a panel of faculty from all programs.
Middle School River of Spirit Odyssey
(sometime between middle of April and the first week of May)
The Odyssey is a culmination of the middle school’s extensive study of world religion and the role of faith and spirit in the human experience.
Upper Elementary Play April
Each year Upper Elementary students write and produce an original play and share it with the entire Hilltop Community.
Middle School Performance
This performance is 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.
After School Ultimate Frisbee/April
Ultimate is for grades 5-8 running April through the end of the year. This is a co-ed team with skill building and games with area schools.
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. Students spend part of their school day caring for their outdoor classrooms by picking up trash, clearing trails, sweeping sidewalks, weeding garden beds, etc.
Moving Up Days / CH, LE, UE & MS / May
Moving Up Days are designed to help students prepare and transition to the next program level, from Children’s House to Lower El, Lower El to Upper El and Upper El to Middle School. Students participate in various activities designed to help them become better acquainted with the new environment, older students and teachers. Dates and more details will be provided by classroom teachers.
Spring Grandparent / Special Friends Day
Twice a year we invite grandparents and special friends to visit in the classroom with their grandchild or special friend, attend an All School Sing and join us for lunch. The first is held in the fall before Thanksgiving and the second on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. Those traveling long distances can choose a time of year that works best for them.
You know what they say, one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. This seems to be the theme of the Hilltop Multi-Family Tag Sale! Start saving those good quality items you no longer want or need. This event is evolving into a wonderful community wide party complete with bouncy house and food concessions. Who knows what the Tag Sale committee will dream up next for this plucky event!
Spring Fundraising Event
Dancing, dining, silent auction – the Spring Fundraising Event is really about having a good time!
Upper Elementary end of year field trip/Early June
To celebrate the end of the year, UE students enjoy a 2-day overnight camping trip.
Middle School Spring Upland Odyssey
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
Every year Hilltop students, staff and parents create a “float” and march along with other local community organizations in the Strolling of the Heifers parade. In years past students have juggled, cycled, played instruments, skateboarded and cart-wheeled their way along the parade route. This is a great way to increase Hilltop’s presence in the community and a really fun event for all ages.
Field Day and Bead Ceremony
Field Day is an all-school event with sack races, running races, obstacle courses, balloon toss and much more. After field day we all join together for the Moving Up Bead Ceremony where students welcome younger children into their program.
Hilltop Montessori Graduation/second Friday in June/5:30 pm
All families are welcome to the Hilltop Montessori graduation ceremony. This event sums up each graduate’s individual 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.