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Welcome to Hillcrest Elementary School

Thanks for stopping by the Internet home of Hillcrest Elementary School! We are part of the Gill-Montague Regional School District located in the New England town of Montague, Massachusetts. Montague enjoys a rich colonial and industrial history, featuring historic mills and rich farmland. Our school and our dedicated teachers and staff serve a student body of pre-kindergarten through first grade students. We invite you to get to know us better and learn more about the enriching and fun experiences all of our young students take part in each day at Hillcrest.

We invite you to explore the pages of our online home to learn more about our school as well as the exciting news and upcoming events that keep our students busy and happy and striving for excellence.

A Message from Our Principal

Dear Hillcrest Families, 
At our December all school meeting, we had an opportunity to see mathematics learning in action. Our preschoolers showed their understanding of one-to-one correspondence while counting forward, our kindergarteners demonstrated their understanding of patterns, and our first graders presented their knowledge of counting backward. These are just three examples of some critical early mathematics skills that your children are developing here at school, and they can certainly continue that learning with you at home. Incorporating basic math into your daily routines can be really fun and can often be combined with household tasks like setting the table, sorting the laundry, or creating a budget for household purchases. Most families already have regular habits around building early reading skills -- the nightly bedtime story or the weekly trip to the library are familiar examples. Promoting early mathematics learning, on the other hand, is not always a regular routine. When math homework begins in the elementary school years, some parents tell us, “I’ve always struggled with math," and "I’m really not sure how to help my child with math homework.” 
With that in mind, I wanted to share some ideas for building some at-home math habits. Here are a few easy ways to incorporate math into your family’s life:
  • Encourage counting during household chores. For example, ask your child to pick up five toys and then ask him to pick up one more. Ask, “How many toys did you pick up in all?” 
  • Practice sorting the laundry. You could sort by color, by family member, or by clothing type (ex. shirts in one basket, socks in the other basket)
  • Play pattern games while waiting in line or during a long car ride. For example, start a pattern and ask your child to finish it. Start with simple patterns like “dog, cat/ dog, cat/dog, _____” and build up to more complex patterns like “dog, cat, cat, dog/dog, cat, cat, _____.” 
  • Practice counting forward from a number other than one. For example, ask your preschooler to start counting at five and continue to 10. Ask your kindergarten child to start counting at eight and continue through the teens, or ask your first grader to count from 63 up to 78.
  • And, don’t forget to practice counting backwards, too. Your preschooler can count backwards from five, your kindergartener can count backwards from 12, and your first graders can count back from any number less than one hundred (start at a number like 25 or 82 so that there is an opportunity to cross over a decade). 
  • On a trip to the supermarket, give your child a small amount of money to spend and ask him or her to figure out what items will fit his/her “budget.” Ask him or her to figure out if he/she will receive any change. 
  • Most importantly, encourage your child to see math learning as a rewarding process. Point out times when you are using math at home or in your work.  Let your child know that math problems can be broken down into smaller, simpler steps. And encourage him/her to enjoy the challenge of problem-solving. 
  • Perseverance and a positive outlook are critical to success in mathematics. 
Wishing you all happy holidays!

Sarah Burstein

Sarah Burstein, Principal