Meet Hilltop’s Animals

As an authentic Montessori school, many of our classrooms have animals that reside in appropriate cages or homes. Aside from being cute and interesting to watch, pets bring a lot to a classroom. Having pets to care for helps teach responsibility, compassion, empathy, and an understanding and respect for other living things. Pets teach children to value life other than their own, in addition to teaching them about the natural growth and life cycles of many different species which they can observe on a daily basis. Another benefit is the stress reduction that occurs as a result of observing and petting the animals, from which both the children and the animals can benefit. We invite you to come in and meet our representatives from the Animal Kingdom.

Rooney

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Rooney the chinchilla lives in Ms. Stephanie’s lower elementary class and enjoys having lots of attention from his students. Chinchillas are fascinating creatures and Rooney is no exception.

Stella

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Stella the Salamander lives in Ms. Teresa and Ms. Anna’s Clare’s class and enjoys offering a quiet presence to the students as they are working on their Montessori materials.

Swimmy

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Swimmy is a rain forest frog that lives in water with Ms. Cindi. He’s been around a long, long time but shows no signs of slowing down. If you visit him, he’ll swim right up to say hi! His favorite pastime is just floating!

Mario

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Mario is a giant bearded dragon that lives in Ms. Cindi, Ms. Jamie and Ms. Brittany’s class. The most interesting thing about Mario is that he is actually a “he” that lays eggs, which is not typical. He has “boy” parts and “girl” parts, which is highly unusual and is always interesting for the children to observe.

Chloe

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Chloe lives in Ms. Cindi, Ms. Jamie and Ms. Brittany’s class with Mario. While still very young and immature, she looks up to Mario for guidance about proper classroom behavior. Both Mario and Chloe love to accompany the children outside during recess so they can soak up the fresh air!

Chewbacca

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Chewbacca lives in Ms. Dama and Ms. Ona’s lower elementary class and he has a gorgeous home, thanks to the Reynolds family. He loves his flight of stairs, private bedroom and living area. He really loves kicking out his alfalfa all over the floor so his children find themselves frequently sweeping his mess! He’s definitely worth all the trouble though!

Violet

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Ms. Michele’s frenchie can sometimes be found in the office lounging or pulling on the bows on Ms. Shiela’s shoes. Although Violet does not intrude into the classrooms, the students enjoy dropping by when Violet is on campus to say hello. Although Violet is young, she’s expressed interest in being a therapy dog so we look forward to having her offer her services as she grows and matures.

Oreo

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Oreo lives with Ms. Shellie and Ms. Mary’s class. You can frequently find him under his “box” in the classroom, venturing out into the hall for some fun or even lining up with the students when they head outdoors.

Severus

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Severus is a ball python that resides in Ms. Roopa and Ms. Melissa’s classroom. If you can’t find him at first glance, just look under his rock! He might be hiding!

Apiary

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The Agape Apiary in honor of Cindi Stehr and Susan Nelson: Our bees are quite famous and greet the students in the carpool line every morning. Although they are not indoor animals, their work is a frequent topic of discussion as it gives our students a glimpse into the life cycle of these hard working creatures. HMS honey is on sale annually and frequently is featured in the “Farm to Fork” kitchen program as the secret ingredient!

Libby Listens

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Libby Listens, the Golden Retriever & Other Guests: Libby Listens is just one example of one of the animal visitors that might frequent campus. The school regularly hosts visits from chickens, geckos, birds of prey and other opportunities to experience the animal kingdom up close as part of the curriculum. 

Hermit Crabs

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Ninja hermit crabs: The upper elementary class has hermit crabs and a beautiful habitat in which to observe them. Their crabs are extremely eager to explore and usually can be found at the very top of their cage.

Cotton

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Cotton is a beautiful, white bunny that resides in Ms. C and Ms. Stacia’s toddler environment. Soft and cuddly, Cotton is the newest addition on campus. The toddlers love the feel of her soft fur and she’s extremely tame so that our very youngest learners can have positive experiences with such kind creatures.

Fish

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Ms. Mary Jo and Ms. Christy’s class offer the calm and peace of fish and it’s not uncommon to have learners starting their morning by observing these calm creatures.

More Hermit Crabs

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Mr. Pincers and Spirit have beautiful shells and also reside in Ms. Cindi’s room. Hermit crabs are fun to watch but be careful! Mr. Pincers loves to pinch! The students enjoy watching and waiting for the crabs to change their shells. The crab habitat is fascinating to watch during the morning work cycle.

Tu the Gecko

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Tu is a gecko that resides in Ms. Cindi’s class with Mario, Chloe and the rest of the crew. With Ms. Cindi’s background in biology and extensive experience with Montessori primary education, her environment merges the study of the animal kingdom with an authentic primary learning environment. Geckos are fascinating lizards found in warm climates throughout the world.