30 Community Highlights: Cider Days to Fiber Festival. Sphagnum Bog to Tinsmithing.

Franklin County celebrates its plentiful apple harvest and the delicious batches of cider that follow at the 20th Annual Franklin County CiderDays this weekend! The event includes fun events and activities county-wide – including an apple pancake breakfast, wagon rides and orchard explorations, cider pressing, lots of tastings and demonstrations, and chances to learn about apple varieties, heirloom apples, organic orchards, and more! It’s a chance for families to develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of the apple industry – and to drink endless cider! A full schedule can be found on the CiderDays website. Franklin County, MA.

Cider Days to Fiber Festival. Sphagnum Bog to Tinsmithing. Magnets to Autumn Leaves… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured learning highlight this week: The Eastern States Exposition and the New England Sheep and Wool Growers Association present the 5th Annual Fiber Festival of New England at the Mallary Complex this weekend. Come learn about fiber art by watching demonstrations and seeing work by local crafters. There will also be a fleece sale, a “make it with wool” competition, vendors, a fashion show, and more. Those who like fiber and textiles will have fun at this festival! 413-205-5011. 1305 Memorial Avenue. West Springfield, MA. ($)


Halloween NightSTEMOrnithologyMuseum AdventuresAviation/Women’s StudiesFilm StudiesLocal FoodFiber/TextilesNatural HistoryNature StudiesHistoric TradeLiving HistoryArt WalkArt/Music HistoryHomeschoolCommunity MealEducator WorkshopParent WorkshopsParents’ Night OutPreschool Highlights


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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Suggested Events for November 1st-7th, 2014

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“A network I can SEE. Values I can relate too. People and places I know. Fresh, up-to-date content. And as a small business owner, if I want to do outreach, Hilltown Families will be my go-to place! Thanks for keeping this site going for so long so well.” – Julie Meyer (Florence, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Bulletin Board

Oct 31

Chandler’s Restaurant at Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield (25 Greenfield Road) is hosting their annual Witches Ball on Halloween Night! Come dressed in your Halloween costumes and enjoy a buffet including oozing zombie zits, lumberjack fingers, shredded mummy guts, vampire eyeballs and more. The fun doesn’t end with the food- Cloud 9 Productions will be at the Witches Ball for kid’s karaoke, there will be pumpkin decorating, and Teaching Creatures will be bringing some creepy crawly creatures to learn about, some of them you can even touch! Seatings for this event are at 4pm and 5:30pm, be sure to make your reservations soon! 413-665-1277. ($)

Nov 1

Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun – Joshua Glenn and Catherine Newman. Saturday, November 1st at 11am. Joshua Glenn with the help of local blogger, Catherine Newman, will show you indoor games to play that test your skills and stretch your imaginations. The book offers a gold mine of creative, constructive fun: intricate clapping games, bike rodeo, Google Earth challenges, croquet golf, capture the flag, and the best ever apps to play with Grandma, to name only a handful. Gaming is a whole culture for kids to explore, and the book will be complete with gaming history and interviews with awesome game designers. FREE and Ages 8+. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley. 413-534-7307. www.odysseybks.com.

Nov 1

November 1. Free Family Fun @ SCMA 1-4pm. Celebrate creativity through the arts! Everyone is welcome to the Smith College Museum of Art’s free Family Fun @ My Museum: Once Upon a Painting event on Saturday, November 1 from 1-4pm. Kids can create their own fairy tale book with story elements drawn from works on view. Listen to fairy tales—familiar and fractured—read aloud by 4th and 5th grade students from the Smith College Campus School, in the galleries: 1pm; 1:30pm; 2pm; 2:30pm; and 3pm. Pick up something bound for your library, at their Pop-Up Book Fair. Come dressed as your favorite storybook character. Free admission and snacks; open to all; no registration required. Wheelchair and stroller accessible. Questions: museduc@smith.edu.

Nov 2

Picture Book Launch: The Mitten String- Jennifer Rosner. Sunday, November 2nd at 2pm. The Odyssey Bookshop is proud to be launching local author, Jennifer Rosner’s debut picture book, The Mitten String which is a story of “of kindness, love, and overcoming difficult circumstances, be it a disability or the frequent loss of mittens.” Come for a storytime, read by the author herself, and a finger knitting demonstration with sweet treats! An American Sign Language translator will be translating the event. Discover an original folktale about a girl who knits, a deaf woman, and a piece of blue yarn. FREE and All Ages. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley, 413-534-7307. www.odysseybks.com.

Open House Nov 3

The Williston Northampton Middle School in Easthampton, MA, is a close community of 80 seventh- and eighth-graders that offers an educational experience characterized by active engagement. Students develop their individual interests and talents with the guidance of our exceptional faculty. The Williston Northampton Middle School will hold its open house on Monday, November 3 from 6:30-8pm in the Whitaker-Bement building on the Williston Northampton campus. Interested families and students are welcome. Find more information online at www.williston.com/admission, call 413-529-3241, or email admission@williston.com.

Nov 10

Open House at Amherst Montessori School, November 10 at 9am. For mid-year and Fall 2015 enrollment. Following the pioneering approach developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, Amherst Montessori School nurtures the child’s spirit, curiosity, confidence, and leadership, building the foundation for a lifelong love of learning. AMS programs feature thoughtfully-prepared classrooms to support the child’s development, and a curriculum that integrates music, art, practical life, outdoor time, PE, Spanish and more. Young Toddler (12 months) through Sixth Grade. To register for the Open House, call 413-253-3101 or email Laura Miller, Director of Admissions, at lmiller@amherstmontessori.org. www.amherstmontessori.org

Hettie Belle Farm Local Meat and Poultry CSA! Thanksgiving Turkeys! 100% grass-fed beef & lamb. Pastured pork, chicken, turkey, goose & ducks fed only certified organic grain. Meat & poultry grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. 100% antibiotic and hormone free. It really does matter! Monthly distribution in Greenfield, Florence, and on-farm in Warwick, MA (November-March). Details at www.hettiebellefarm.com. SNAP benefits accepted. Monthly payment plan options to make this sort of direct farmer/consumer relationship possible. Questions? Email Jennifer@hettiebellefarm.com. Do consider becoming a member family!

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, community event, program, after school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
November 1st-7th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

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Berkshire Family Fun: November 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
November 2014

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of November. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

“Being new to the area I love that you keep me informed about all that’s going on in the area. I find it so helpful for getting to know our new home.” Brittany Handfield (Williamstown, MA)


Berkshire Family Fun is sponsored in part by:

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Connecting Math Education to Real Life Scenarios

Statistics Have More Meaning When Pulled From A Greater Context

How many potatoes will Britons eat over the next 3 minutes?

Have you ever wondered how much humans consume, how far we travel, or how long we spend on certain activities? If you’ve ever driven by a landfill or watched a trailer of food getting unloaded at a grocery store, you certainly might wonder about the amounts of things being transferred, consumed, and perhaps eventually recycled or discarded. Families who have traveled on planes or trains may have wondered at times about the speed at which they’ve moved or the amount of fuel that it takes to transport them.

Quantifying all of these questions (and countless others) is a fantastic way to provide context for children’s budding math skills. Encompassing all four mathematical operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division), basic statistics and data collection allows children to understand not only how to calculate rate and collect information, but provides them with a meaningful context for the mathematical concepts that they learn. By embedding math skill development in studies of everyday life, we can provide children with a reason to learn to understand when to divide or multiply, and when to add versus subtract. Read the rest of this entry »

Time to Talk: Constructing The Two-Sided Conversation

Barriers to Communication: Conversation

A conversation is meant for two.

Every day I use my problem solving skills to figure out the barriers that people have when communicating. This week I looked more deeply at one of my students. Once again I remembered that understanding how someone thinks will help me to know the most effective way to teach. A parent once defined my job as teaching her child how to think. Here is a good example of how speech language pathologists figure out how to help students.

Having a conversation with my student is a difficult experience because she always tells you what is important to her, which is usually an emotionally charged detail she recalls. I wait to find out what we are talking about so I can participate in the conversation, but mostly I feel like am at the mercy of the twisting and turning details she drops like breadcrumbs in Hansel and Gretel. Read the rest of this entry »

Open Sesame: Florida Backdrop Provides Canvas for Chaotic Caper

Skink – No Surrender
New Teen Novel By Carl Hiaasen

When Malley runs away with a guy she met online to avoid going to a New Hampshire boarding school, her cousin Richard knows she’s in trouble. With the help of an ex-governor-turned-wild-renegade named Skink, Richard sets out on a crazy recuse mission deep into the Florida swamps.

Skink–No Surrender, the new novel by author Carl Hiaasen, delivers a fantastic story from start to finish. High-risk adventure spiked with laugh-out-loud humor ensues as Richard and Skink track Malley and her kidnapper. Action, drama, suspense, surprise, outrageous characters, and a heroic journey – the book has it all. Even a landscape full of its own set of dangers. From breezy, ocean beaches to steamy, buggy swamps, the Florida landscape plays a multi-dimensional role, serving as backdrop for the story, providing both beauty and tension, and producing threats like intense heat, fierce storms, killer pigs, and hungry gators. It may even reveal the extinct ivory-billed woodpecker. Read the rest of this entry »

Become A Citizen Scientist Through Project BudBurst

Mapping Nature Observation Connects the Seasons of a Plant’s Lifecycle

Nothing captures the passing of time quite like the impact of the seasons on plant-life. A great opportunity for Citizen Scientists to claim some seasonally-based nature education opportunities.

Generally when we study trees and their leafing habits, it takes place during the springtime when buds are just beginning to bust out into leaves. At that time of year, trees’ leaves are still intact and are easy to observe. However, fall is also a great time to participate in leaf-based citizen science, and Project BudBurst offers families the opportunity to participate in a large-scale phenology-based science project.

A project sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Project BudBurst’s fall opportunities for citizen science involve making observations of not only deciduous trees and their leaves, but conifers, evergreens, wildflowers, herbs, and grasses, too! Families’ role in Project BudBurst is to help scientists understand the seasonal changes that take place in plants by making observations about their fall state. Information reported by families is used to help scientists understand not only the way that plants look during the fall, but the full cycle of growth and change that they undergo throughout the year. And in supporting scientists in their quest to learn about plants’ changes, families will learn about them too! Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: Short Guide to River Movies

Rivers in Reels: Short Guide to River Movies

A classic film set on the Potomac River…a river mighty enough to hold two film icons.

Witch hazel crane over Halloween rivers, their branchtips glowing with yellow blossoms—tassled tiny chandeliers of color, calling for sensitive notice. Catch one in the sunlight; examine the blaze that pops vibrant against the drab of forest dun and river dark. Rivers seem darker when leaves have fallen down. Soon the tiny chandeliers of the hazel will drop, too, into the flow to spin and drift and sail away deep into the frosty months of winter. Soon enough, water will show us its sterner self, as snow and ice will be with us.

Still a few weeks where we might catch some peace in a warm little microclime beside a Hilltown river: yet there’s no fighting it; it’s time for us to retreat from the outdoors a bit, and pull back into our shells of home and work. And imagination.

When it gets cold in the coming weeks, light a fire and let yourself go on a voyage on a river—at least, a voyage of imagination and feeling. Rivers are real as the rain, but they are also imagined. I love imagining rivers, and of experiencing what others have imagined, too. Rivers are always apparent; they don’t hide. But they are inscrutable and relentless, always a mystery.

Here are a few of my favorite river movies, starting with the child friendly titles then moving into PG13-land:  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: Oct 27-31, 2014

learning ahead

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all year long!

This week we are featuring 11 events that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events. Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Power of Music Episode with Guest DJ, The Dream Jam Band (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Power of Music Episode with Guest DJ, The Dream Jam Band

Music has the power to make us feel many different ways. Join Guest DJ, The Dream Jam Band as they play a melting pot of songs that have influenced the band’s music. Dance around to different rhythms, clap your hands and stomp your feet to movement songs. Feel the power of music that will make you smile, laugh, feel love and appreciate the beauty of our world in this hour of classic and current music. — www.dreamjamband.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
October 25th & 26th, 2014
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Oliver Raccoon greets the day with hopeful anticipation and is swept away on a fantastical journey, in this animated music video from the album, The World of Nickhoo by the The Dream Jam Band.


Archived Podcasts Radio Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Raffi- “Rise and Shine” [Rise and Shine]
  • The Cars- “Shake It Up” [The Cars Complete Greatest Hits]
  • The Dream Jam Band- “Nicky Nicky Knock Knock” [The Dream Jam Band]
  • Peter, Paul and Mary – “The Marvelous Toy” [Peter, Paul and Mommy]
  • The Lovin’ Spoonful – “Do You Believe in Magic” [Do You Believe in Magic]
  • Ralph’s World- “Dance Around” [Welcome to Ralph’s World]
  • The Dream Jam Band- “Great Day” [Leave it in the Soup]
  • Stevie Wonder- “Sir Duke” [Songs in the Key of Life]
  • Bob Marley- “Three Little Birds” [Legend]
  • The Dream Jam Band- “Look Around” [The Dream Jam Band]
  • Frances England- “Lady Bug” [Mind of My Own]
  • Dan Zanes- “All Around the Kitchen” [Family Dance]
  • Pete Seeger, “Clap Your Hands” [The Very Best of Pete Seeger]
  • The Bellhops- “Boogie in the Barnyard” [No Reservations]
  • Kira Willey- “Colors” [Dance for the Sun]
  • Donovan- “Jennifer Juniper” [Donovan’s Greatest Hits]
  • The Dream Jam Band- “Melanie the Mermaid” [Leave it in the Soup]
  • The Beatles- “Hello, Goodbye” [Magical Mystery Tour]

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for October 25th & 26th, 2014

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for October 25th-31st, 2014 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, 31 Community Highlights: Symphony to Silk. Spiders to Ghost Tours., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For the best Autumn in New England experience here in Western MA, check out our Autumn Bucket List for recommendations on what to do and where to go from local families in the know! Plus, we have a comprehensive list of Halloween Events in Western MA for spooky community & learning events.

October 25th-31st, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

HalloweenSTEMSymphonyHistoric TradesAnimal StudiesCultural StudiesHaunted HistorySkillshareHikingParent WorkshopsPreschool Activities

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. HFVS Halloween Episode with Guest DJ, Andy Z (Radio Show/Podcast)
  2. DIY: Mexican Sugar Skulls
  3. Rag Shag Parades – A Western MA Tradition
  4. Railroads & Locomotives: Three Childrens Books About Trains
  5. 19 Children’s Books on Food Security/Scarcity

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Warm thank you to our sponsors!

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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31 Community Highlights: Symphony to Silk. Spiders to Ghost Tours.

Symphony to Silk. Spiders to Ghost Tours. Hikes to Parent Workshops… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured learning highlight this week: Have some spooky fun this Halloween season at the Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra’s first-ever Kids’ Monster’s Ball in Abbey Memorial Chapel (50 College Street, South Hadley, MA) on Saturday, October 25 at 3pm. Kids of all ages can attend the Ball in costume and dance away the afternoon to classic waltzes and polkas by Chopin and Johann Strauss II. There will also be soundtrack music from popular television shows to enjoy and dance to. Students can experience classical music at this event, see and hear a variety of instruments up close, learn to dance with friends and family, and ask the musicians questions about their instruments. The Kids’ Monster’s Ball is a super fun and unique way to introduce kids to symphony music and get them thinking about the amazing world of musical instruments. Tickets (>$) can be purchased in advance.


HalloweenSTEMSymphonyHistoric TradesAnimal StudiesCultural StudiesHaunted HistorySkillshareHikingParent WorkshopsPreschool Activities


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for October 25th-31st, 2014

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“I check Hilltown Families almost every weekend to see what’s going on. My son and I have done so many fun things we wouldn’t have done, because we wouldn’t have known about them, because of Hilltown Families. It has helped me to feel more a part of my community.” – Ann Lynch (Easthampton, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Bulletin Board

Open House Oct 25

Smith College Campus School, a coeducational day school enrolling children kindergarten through sixth grade, will be hosting an Open House on Saturday, October 25th from 9:30-11am. All prospective kindergarten through second grade students and their families are welcome! Come explore classrooms, see what their students are learning, and meet teachers, administrators and current parents. For more information about Smith College Campus School or to preregister for the Open House visit online at www.smith.edu/sccs or call the admission office at 413-585-3270. Smith College Campus School is located at 33 Prospect St. in Northampton, MA. There will be another kindergarten through sixth grade open house in January.

Open House Oct 25

Open House at The Hartsbrook School, Saturday, October 25, 10am to 12noon. Tour their classrooms, meet with teachers, stroll around their beautiful campus. Student work will be on display and current families will be available to answer questions. All ages welcome! The Hartsbrook School is a Waldorf school in the Pioneer Valley. Their program from early childhood through high school integrates academic, artistic, and practical work to awaken clarity of thought, warmth of heart, and strength of purpose. Join them at 193 Bay Road in Hadley, MA. www.hartsbrook.org

Oct 25

Halloween Chills & Thrills at the Springfield Museums (21 Edwards St.) on Saturday, October 25th, from 10am-5pm. Bring the family and come enjoy a full day of spooky art and science activities plus live animal demonstrations, special planetarium shows, and more! Two great performances are free with museum admission – there’s The Garbage Monster and Other Songs by Tom Knight Puppets (11am, Wood Museum – designed for ages 2-5, but all are welcome) and Strings on Stage by The Wayne Martin Puppets (2pm, Davis Auditorium, D’Amour Museum). For information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Oct 25

Pumpkin Decorating with Author Sandra Horning at Odyssey Bookshop (9 College Street ) in South Hadley on Saturday, October 25th, at 11am. A storytime with author Sandra Horning, pumpkin decorating and a costume competition is some of the Halloween activities they have in store at Odyssey Bookshop this Saturday. Dress your best, put on your creative cap and come down to the Odyssey for a Pumpkin Party- Pumpkin treats, decorating and a storytime await… This event is free and for ages 2+ www.odysseybks.com

Oct 25

The first-ever OnTrend Craft Fair will be held on Saturday, October 25 at the brand new Hadley Farms Meeting House in lovely Hadley, MA. The fair will showcase talented indie crafters and makers of all kinds from throughout New England and New York. Shoppers with find high-quality handmade jewelry, paper goods, wood crafts, home goods, and much more. Bring your holiday shopping lists and support our talented local artisans! Free to attend. For more information, visit ontrendcrafts.com or email Jennifer at Jennifer@ontrendcrafts.com.

Open House Oct 26

The Academy at Charlemont (1359 Route 2 in Charlemont, MA) will host an Open House for interested families on Sunday, October 26, with presentations beginning at 1pm. Meet students, teachers and current parents and get a feel for their creative and rigorous academic program and warm, ethical community. The Academy offers vibrant arts, competitive athletics, and an emphasis on critical thinking and ethical leadership. Their students love school. Shouldn’t everyone? Details at www.charlemont.org.

Oct 31

Chandler’s Restaurant at Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield (25 Greenfield Road) is hosting their annual Witches Ball on Halloween Night! Come dressed in your Halloween costumes and enjoy a buffet including oozing zombie zits, lumberjack fingers, shredded mummy guts, vampire eyeballs and more. The fun doesn’t end with the food- Cloud 9 Productions will be at the Witches Ball for kid’s karaoke, there will be pumpkin decorating, and Teaching Creatures will be bringing some creepy crawly creatures to learn about, some of them you can even touch! Seatings for this event are at 4pm and 5:30pm, be sure to make your reservations soon! 413-665-1277. ($)

Nov 1

Celebrate creativity through the arts! Everyone is welcome to the Smith College Museum of Art’s free Family Fun @ My Museum: Once Upon a Painting event on Saturday, November 1 from 1–4pm in Northampton. Kids can create your own fairy tale book with story elements drawn from works on view. Come dressed as your favorite storybook character. Listen to fairy tales—familiar and fractured—read aloud by students from the Smith College Campus School and pick up a little something bound for your library, at their Pop-Up Book Fair. Free admission and snacks; open to all; no registration required. Wheelchair and stroller accessible. Questions: museduc@smith.edu.

Open House Nov 3

The Williston Northampton Middle School in Easthampton, MA, is a close community of 80 seventh- and eighth-graders that offers an educational experience characterized by active engagement. Students develop their individual interests and talents with the guidance of our exceptional faculty. The Williston Northampton Middle School will hold its open house on Monday, November 3 from 6:30-8pm in the Whitaker-Bement building on the Williston Northampton campus. Interested families and students are welcome. Find more information online at www.williston.com/admission, call 413-529-3241, or email admission@williston.com.

Red Fire Farm Fall Shares begin Thursday, November 6. Enjoy organic, local and affordable produce through the holidays with Red Fire Farm’s Nov-Dec CSA Shares, available for pick-up in Northampton, Montague, Granby and Springfield. Four hearty distributions of tasty fall vegetables like sweet potatoes, onions, winter squash, Brussels sprouts and greens! $135-140 for the fall season. The share pickups are every other week, on the weeks of Nov 6, Nov 20, Dec 4 and Dec. 18. Nov-Dec Shares are the farm’s most popular winter share! Get your Fall CSA Share now online at www.redfirefarm.com. Contact Red Fire Farm with any questions, thefarmers@redfirefarm.com or 413-467-7645.

Begins Oct 28

Kids ages 7+ Beginner Wheel Throwing Classes with Kathryn Roszko of CyclePottery in Hatfield begins October 28th: Tuesdays 4-5:30pm has two spots left. Adults ongoing, Tuesdays 9-11am and Thursdays 6:30-8:30pm with studio time on Sundays. Veteran’s Day Pottery Camp for ages 9+: 9-12, with the option of staying until 2pm for a long lunch break with a walk along the CT River. $60 for 9-12; $80 for extended day until 2pm. Only four students in all classes, so Kathryn can give lots of individual attention. A great time of year to make pottery for holiday gifts too! kathryn@cyclepottery.com. www.CyclePottery.com. 413-219-9594.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, community event, program, after school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
October 25th-31st, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Win Tickets to see Lyle Lovett & his Acoustic Group at the Calvin

Lyle Lovett
& his Acoustic Group
Calvin Theatre in Northampton, MA
Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 at 8pm

Enter for your chance to win! You pay for the sitter and we’ll pay for the tickets!

Hilltown Families and Iron Horse Entertainment Group have partnered up to offer a chance to win free tickets to see adult venues in the Pioneer Valley for a PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT! You pay for the sitter, we’ll pay for the tickets!

Continuing our fall promotions, we are pleased to offer a chance to win one of two pairs of tickets to see Lyle Lovett & his Acoustic Group, at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Tuesday, November 4th, 2014.

Win tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Thursday, 10/30/14 by 11:59pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT LYLE LOVETT

A singer, composer and actor, Lyle Lovett has broadened the definition of American music in a career that spans 14 albums. Coupled with his gift for storytelling, the Texas-based musician fuses elements of country, swing, jazz, folk, gospel and blues in a convention-defying manner that breaks down barriers. Lovett has appeared in 13 feature films, and on stage and television. Among his many accolades, besides the four Grammy Awards, he was given the Americana Music Association’s inaugural Trailblazer Award, and was recently named the Texas State Musician.

Lovett has been touring in support of Release Me since its release in February 2012. The album was #1 for several weeks on the Americana charts. Produced by Nathaniel Kunkel and Lovett, Release Me represents the end of an era as it was his last record for Curb/Universal Music Group after being on the label for his entire career. Release Me is quintessential Lyle, mixing a smart collection of originals and songs written by some of his favorite songwriters that show not only the breadth of this Texas legend’s deep talents, but also the diversity of his influences, making him one of the most infectious and fascinating musicians in popular music.

Since his self-titled debut in 1986, Lyle Lovett has evolved into one of music’s most vibrant and iconic performers. His oeuvre, rich and eclectic, is one of the most beloved of any living artist working today — www.lylelovett.com

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Have Your Kids Roll the Story Dice & Add Creative Color to Storytelling

Story Dice Utilizes the Power of a Child’s Imagination

Children’s creativity is endless, and often causes the line between fiction and reality to be fuzzy at times. Take advantage of their ability to add creative details to their everyday experiences by using story dices at home! A handmade set can be tailored to a child’s interests and preexisting knowledge, and will generate endless sets of story-crafting inspiration that will support children in developing a wide variety of skills.

For young children, the line between fiction and nonfiction in their own storytelling is flexible – tales of the previous day’s adventures can easily become intertwined with imaginary interactions with invented characters and impossible events. A normal part of childhood, the tendency to mix fact and fiction together isn’t a problem, it’s just the product of an active imagination! Storytelling of any kind helps children develop all kinds of essential skills, so take advantage of the fantastic imaginary realms of childhood by supporting children in telling all of their tales – tall or otherwise.

One fun way to make storytelling a regular family activity is to create story dice, which offer a tangible set of story-making clues and turn the process of putting together a story into a bit of a game. A set of story dice isn’t made up of a specific number of dice, but an amount that is more than three and less than ten offers a good amount of variety. If done as a DIY family project, story dice can be covered with images of your family’s choosing – generally, an assortment of people, places, animals, objects, and even colors, letters, and numbers cover the sides of the dice. When rolled, story dice generate a set of things around which to craft a story. Read the rest of this entry »

Let Them Grow: Messy Process of Creating Art Brings Creative Free Play

Let Them Grow by Candice Chouinard

The Convenience of Crazy

Paint brushes

Bringing a bit of order to creative free play.

Well, I am officially a mother now. Not just a care provider from 8-5, I am a Mama. I can’t send my daughter home after I have cleaned up and waved goodbye to all the other children. She stays – always.

I have historically been enthusiastic advocate for the arts and as my Bio states: “I revel in hands on messy projects.” But now, I see why some parents avoid it. The ‘messies’ are not convenient. Messy projects do not fit neatly into the nightly routine, the bath, the story and bedtime. It throws a big greasy wrench into the nice white mix of the night and clunks around in there distracting you. It distracts us from the dishes, the laundry and that book that you have really wanted to start. So how do we as parents, balance those projects with the rest of our lives? Read the rest of this entry »

Halloween Candy Collection Shows Kindness to Others

Halloween Candy: Catalyst Towards Service Based Learning

After the magic of Halloween has ended and bits of costumes have been strewn about the house, kids are left with fond memories and gigantic piles of candy. While the candy can be of moderate educational value, it primarily serves as an unnecessary dietary supplement that, if well-rationed, can hang around the house for months to come. As much as most children love to eat candy, health-conscious parents may not want the collected treats to hang around and be consumed. On Nov 1 in Easthampton, Easthampton CrossFit will be collecting unwanted candy to donate to Operation Gratitude!

Halloween brings haunted hayrides, cute costumes, and more candy than anyone needs–or even wants–to eat. This year, families can use Halloween candy as a catalyst toward community service by getting rid of unwanted candy and helping our troops at the same time. On Saturday, November 1, at a “Halloween Candy Give Back,” Easthampton CrossFit will accept donations of candy to be sent to the troops serving overseas through Operation Gratitude, a California-based non-profit that sends military care packages.

“Halloween candy brings a memory of home,” says Jim Rego, a military veteran and a coach at the gym. By donating their candy to the troops, children can learn about service and giving back, and also cut down on eating Halloween candy.

This is a great event for kids who want to trick or treat, but either can’t eat candy due to food allergies or who just don’t want to eat too much. Parents can allow kids to pick out a few pieces of candy to keep, and bring the rest to Easthampton CrossFit ((180 Pleasant Street) on Saturday morning from 11am to 1pm to be donated.

Can’t make it? Want to organize a similar event in your community? Find out how you can organize a collection drive in your community through Operation Gratitude.

Grandpa in the House: Stuck in Intergenerational Traffic

The Family Car: AKA Chauffeuring Dad While My Son is Losing It

Traffic lights- not so much the main issue anymore.

“I wish we did not have to drive so long. Can we turn around, that way, west, and go home?” My four year old is pointing behind us, back towards our house. I am impressed by his sense of direction but my joy in his new found skill is short lived. We have a shopping trip to do. We have been in the car for five minutes and he is already ready to go home. This does not bode well.

I imagine most parents with young children dread the “shopping trip.” Before becoming a parent, I was convinced that the strangers I witnessed dragging their screaming children through a store were doing something wrong. Surely they should not be subjecting their child – or the rest of us shoppers – to such torture. Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown High School Students Mobilize to Support Democracy

Members of Model United Nations Club Raise Awareness

The entrance to Gateway Regional High School in the Hilltowns features student words of support for Hong Kong protesters.

Hong Kong. A city of more than seven million people, is a global financial center known for its film industry and manufacturing sector. And more recently, known for the protests that have brought tens of thousands to its streets, all demonstrating for free and fair democratic elections. Recently, students at Gateway Regional High School in Huntington, MA, put together a campaign to raise awareness of the events in Hong Kong and to show support for the pro-democracy protesters half a world away. Senior, Cory Bisbee,  had followed the protests closely and decided to start organizing a group of fellow classmates to address them after police shockingly used tear gas and pepper spray on the protesters.  Read the rest of this entry »

Nature Table for October

This Month’s Nature Table Illustrates Rhythm of Nature

Every month, Hilltown Families features a new nature table whose contents inspire learning along a common theme easily spotted in our surroundings that month. A tradition carried out by teachers, environmental educators, and nature-curious families, nature tables bring a little bit of the outdoors inside for inspection, dissection, identification, creative play, art projects, and lots of other educational activities. The idea behind a nature table is to help open up children’s eyes to the unique attributes of each season, and to help them learn how to see these things in nature for themselves. A nature table can include a variety of items, and is often accompanied by a set of books and/or field guides so that children can take part in further learning at their own will.

The rains have littered the October ground with a crackling sea shed from the maples outside our window. Fall at our West County elementary school is beautiful, as it turns out, and warmer than we expected. Stories about the chill of fall air sit on the shelf, waiting for the cooler mornings to last all day long and provide the proper climate-context for their telling. Even our wardrobes are confused, and small bodies alternate constantly between winter coats and t-shirts as the temperature bobs up and down. Our classroom “pets,” a collection of pond snails, move about their bowl at approximately the pace that fall has arrived at this year, and they devour green leaves at about the same rate that those outside our window have changed. Our caterpillar has come and gone, his quick chrysalis-ed exit to an outdoor overwintering suspected to have been the result of a few days’ worth of boredom in our room. Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: Oct 20-24, 2014

learning ahead

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all year long!

This week we are featuring 15 events that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events. Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Nature Songs Episode with Guest DJ, Little Miss Ann

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Nature Songs Episode with Guest DJ, Little Miss Ann

Come join Chicago’s Little Miss Ann as she shares some of her favorite “nature” songs that explore different topics like birds, wind, sun, moon, animals, etc. — www.littlemissann.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
October 18th & 19th, 2014
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

“Echo” by The Okee Dokee Brothers off of their Appalachian adventure CD, Through the Woods.


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Bruno Coulais, Mathilde Pellegrini, Hélène Breschand, Hungrarian Symphony Orchestra Budapest & Laurent Petitgirard – “Exploration” (Coraline – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  • The Okee Dokee Brothers – “Echo” (Through the Woods)
  • Little Miss Ann – “Follow Me” (Follow Me)
  • Elizabeth Mitchell – “The Little Bird” (Blue Clouds)
  • Steve Elci – “Four Little Birds” (Imagine Nation)
  • Little Miss Ann – “ Mockingbird” (Clap for Love)
  • Caspar Babypants – “Loud and Quiet (Featuring Frances England)” (Sing Along!)
  • Baze and His Silly Friends, – “Fly (A Caterpillar’s Tale)” (The Best Day Ever!)
  • Red Yarn – “Old Blue” (The Deep Woods)
  • Suzi Shelton – “Cinnamon Bear” (Smile in my Heart)
  • Bari Koral Family Rock Band – “Apple Tree” (Apple Tree & the Honey Bee)
  • Little Miss Ann – “I Love the Mountains” (Follow Me)
  • The Grateful Dead – “Box of Rain” (American Beauty)
  • Cat Stevens – “The Wind” (Teaser and the Firecat)
  • Papa Crow – “Daylight in the Swamp” (Full Moon, Full Moon)
  • Dan Zanes – “In the Sun” (Turn Turn Turn)
  • Istvan & His Imaginary Band – “Mr. Moon’s Song” (Sweet!)
  • The New Seekers – “Free to be You and Me” (Free to be You and Me)
  • Elizabeth Mitchell – “Ong Tai Sam (Little Spring)” (Sunny Day)
  • Kira Willey – “Underneath The Rainbow” (Kings & Queens of the Forest)
  • Little Miss Ann – “Goodbye, Goodbye” (Walk with Me)

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for October 18th & 19th, 2014

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for October 18th-24th, 2014 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, 35 Community Highlights: Mandarin to Historic Hike. Cemeteries to Pumpkinfest., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For the best Autumn in New England experience here in Western MA, check out our Autumn Bucket List for recommendations on what to do and where to go from local families in the know! Plus, we have a comprehensive list of Halloween Events in Western MA for spooky community & learning events.

October 18th-24th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

ArchaeologyChinese LanguageTextilesLocal History  ♦ PaleontologyWomen’s StudiesAnimal StudiesCemeteriesPumpkin FestsNature StudiesParent WorkshopsPreSchool Activities

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Parenting Possibilities: Chores and Halloween
  2. HFVS Halloween Episode with Guest DJ, Heidi Swedberg (Radio Show/Podcast)
  3. Community Service: An Alternative to Halloween Candy
  4. One Clover & A Bee: Poetry for Halloween
  5. Halloween Math: Counting Kit Kats & Charleston Chews

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

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Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

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35 Community Highlights: Mandarin to Historic Hike. Cemeteries to Pumpkinfest.

Are you carving your Halloween pumpkin this weekend? Pumpkins are the focus of many community celebrations this weekend, including the Franklin County Pumpkinfest, Mount Warner Pumpkin Fest, Easthampton Harvest Festival, and the Westhampton Great Pumpkin Roll! (Photo credit: (c) Sienna Wildfield)

Mandarin to Historic Hike. Archaeology to Paleontology. Cemeteries to Pumpkinfest… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured learning highlight this week: It’s hard to imagine dinosaurs roaming the earth, let alone the Connecticut River Valley, but that is exactly what they did some 190 million years ago, during the Jurassic period. Families can learn about dinosaurs in the region with geologist Dan Vellone at Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center’s Family Dino Day on Saturday, October 18 from 10:30am-2:30pm. Through exploration stations, arts and crafts activities, dinosaur tracks and bones, and a presentation (12noon), all ages can have fun learning about dinosaurs. Vellone’s presentation will focus on the origins of dinosaurs and how they are rooted in the Connecticut River Valley. Pack a picnic and explore Northfield Mountain’s trails after the dino festivities. Call 1-800-859-2960 to pre-register for this free event. Northfield Mountain is at 99 Millers Falls Road in Northfield, MA. (FREE)


ArchaeologyChinese LanguageTextilesLocal History  ♦ PaleontologyWomen’s StudiesAnimal StudiesCemeteriesPumpkin FestsNature StudiesParent WorkshopsPreSchool Activities


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for October 18th-24th, 2014

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“As a working mom, I don’t always have the opportunity to make community connections and Hilltown Families provides a needed resource for families like mine that are looking for opportunities to build community… What a great resource!” – AnnMarie D. (Belchertown, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Bulletin Board

Oct 17

Levellers Press, the publishing wing of Collective Copies, a thirty-year-old worker co-operative in Amherst, Massachusetts, has announced the publication of Building Co-operative Power: Stories and Strategies from Worker Co-operatives in the Connecticut River Valley. There will be a book release reading, signing and celebration on Friday, October 17 at 7 p.m., at Collective Copies’ Off the Common Bookshop at 71 South Pleasant Street, Amherst. At 6 p.m. Levellers Press celebrates its fifth anniversary as a publishing company. The public is invited.

Oct 18

Common School Children’s Carnival takes place on Saturday, October 18, from 10am-2pm in Amherst. (Rain location: Amherst Middle School.) Join the School for an old fashioned, family-friendly event. There will be games, prizes, activities, great food and fabulous entertainment. From Bounce House to Cake Walk to Live Music, there will be something for everyone. Open to the public. Free Admission. The Common School is located at 521 South Pleasant Street in Amherst, MA. Find out more at www.commonschool.org.

Oct 18

The annual Children’s Fair and Open House will be held at the Montessori School of Northampton on Saturday, October 18, from 11am-3pm at 51 Bates Street, Northampton. This day of fun for families features children’s games and crafts, face painting, bounce house, musical entertainment, food and beverages, Circus Folk Unite!, Northampton Martial Arts, Tom Ricardi & Birds of Prey, and author Jarrett Krosoczka. NEW THIS YEAR!–an obstacle course, a book fair, and an art & craft fair. Tours of the school and information on current openings as well as for Fall 2015 will be available. General admission is free; some activities require purchase of activity tickets at a minimal charge. For more info, call 413-586-4538. www.northamptonmontessori.org

Oct 18 & 25

Two Happenings in the Berkshires! Enchanted CobbleSat Oct 18, 3pm-Dusk. Carve/paint Halloween pumpkins at Bartholomew’s Cobble, plus marshmallows & campfire stories. Your creations come alive along Ledges Trail by their flickering “fire” light. 105 Weatogue Rd Ashley Falls-Sheffield. $15/pumpkin. Also, Hauntings in the GardenSat Oct 25, 11am & 3pm (Rain date Oct 26). Explore Naumkeag Gardens with wacky, magical Royal Frog Ballet. Family-friendly tours blend performance, visual art, music & movement to delight all ages. 5 Prospect Hill Rd, Stockbridge. Sponsored by Trustees of Reservations. Members $10; Nonmembers $15; Children $5. Member family max $20; non-member family max $35. www.ttor.org 413-532-1631 x0 westregion@ttor.org

Open House Oct 19

The Yiddish Book Center will host their annual Community Open House on Sunday, Oct 19 (10am-4pm). On the schedule is a full day of events for all ages. Free & open to public. They have a story performer, public tours, a talk and slide show by Yelena Lembersky entitled The Art of Felix Lembersky: Insights from his Granddaughter in conjunction with the opening of a traveling exhibit on Lembersky’s work, and a welcome/update from Aaron Lansky. And to cap it all off, the Sarah Rose Lazarus Concert features Yale Strom and Hot Pstromi at 2pm. Yosi Kosher Catering will be serving up lunch/snacks. The Yiddish Book Center is located adjacent to Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. For more info & full schedule visit yiddishbookcenter.org. 413-256-4900.

Open House Oct 25

Open House at The Hartsbrook School, Saturday, October 25, 10am to 12noon. Tour their classrooms, meet with teachers, stroll around their beautiful campus. Student work will be on display and current families will be available to answer questions. All ages welcome! The Hartsbrook School is a Waldorf school in the Pioneer Valley. Their program from early childhood through high school integrates academic, artistic, and practical work to awaken clarity of thought, warmth of heart, and strength of purpose. Join them at 193 Bay Road in Hadley, MA. www.hartsbrook.org

Open House Oct 25

Smith College Campus School, a coeducational day school enrolling children kindergarten through sixth grade, will be hosting an Open House on Saturday, October 25th from 9:30-11am. All prospective kindergarten through second grade students and their families are welcome! Come explore classrooms, see what their students are learning, and meet teachers, administrators and current parents. For more information about Smith College Campus School or to preregister for the Open House visit online at www.smith.edu/sccs or call the admission office at 413-585-3270. Smith College Campus School is located at 33 Prospect St. in Northampton, MA. There will be another kindergarten through sixth grade open house in January.

Oct 25

Halloween Chills & Thrills at the Springfield Museums (21 Edwards St.) on Saturday, October 25th, from 10am-5pm. Bring the family and come enjoy a full day of spooky art and science activities plus live animal demonstrations, special planetarium shows, and more! Two great performances are free with museum admission – there’s The Garbage Monster and Other Songs by Tom Knight Puppets (11am, Wood Museum – designed for ages 2-5, but all are welcome) and Strings on Stage by The Wayne Martin Puppets (2pm, Davis Auditorium, D’Amour Museum). For information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Oct 25

The first-ever OnTrend Craft Fair will be held on Saturday, October 25 at the brand new Hadley Farms Meeting House in lovely Hadley, MA. The fair will showcase talented indie crafters and makers of all kinds from throughout New England and New York. Shoppers with find high-quality handmade jewelry, paper goods, wood crafts, home goods, and much more. Bring your holiday shopping lists and support our talented local artisans! Free to attend. For more information, visit ontrendcrafts.com or email Jennifer at Jennifer@ontrendcrafts.com.

Open House Oct 26

The Academy at Charlemont (1359 Route 2 in Charlemont, MA) will host an Open House for interested families on Sunday, October 26, with presentations beginning at 1pm. Meet students, teachers and current parents and get a feel for their creative and rigorous academic program and warm, ethical community. The Academy offers vibrant arts, competitive athletics, and an emphasis on critical thinking and ethical leadership. Their students love school. Shouldn’t everyone? Details at www.charlemont.org.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, community event, program, after school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
October 18th-24th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

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Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Event: November 22nd!

Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Event
Saturday, November 22nd from 10am-1pm
Leeds Elementary School in Northampton, MA

Volunteer with your family to help local non-profits in a single free event on Saturday, November 22nd from 10am-1pm during the Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Event, held at Leeds Elementary School in Northampton— a one of a kind event for families to volunteer together while educating children about important social issues and the value of community service. Space is limited, so reserve a spot for your family today!

Join Hilltown Families for a Saturday morning of volunteering together with your family during our fall Family Community Service Event on Saturday, November 22nd from 10am-1pm in Northampton, MA!

Two years ago was our inaugural Family Community Service Night where we focused on human service organizations, and last year was our Spring Family Community Service Event where we focused on animal welfare and food security. Through both events, families were able to put in 750 hours of community service!  Check out this great video that shares the joy and excitement families experienced together while engaged in volunteerism for their community at two of our family community service events… and then make plans to join us for our newest event this fall!

Our third community service event will be on Saturday, November 22nd and will again be held at Leeds Elementary School in Northampton.  We will be offering five volunteer stations for families to participate in hands-on service projects for ALL AGES that support education, children’s welfare, and human services.  Families will also be able to bring home one of their service projects to continue their community service together from home.

Find out more! Sign up your family!

Let’s Play: A Tribute to Friendship

What to Play? by Carrie St. John

Forest People in Massachusetts and Michigan

This October I am paying tribute to one of my college roommates. I first met, Erica, Labor Day weekend 1991. Twenty-three years ago. I was starting my sophomore year at the University of Michigan School of Art. Erica and her two assigned roommates, Katie and Ellen, were two doors down the hall in a converted triple. This means three freshman are mushed into a double room. Lots of freshman entered the Residential College that year ready to start an intensive language program on top of their regular major. As the year progressed, I was amazed at how they made that tiny room work for three while becoming life long friends. I was in and out of my single room odd hours staying up late juggling studio work, academics and my job downstairs in our dorm. Those three women at the end of the hall were a definite bright spot during a very stressful year.

I learned early that Erica was excellent with kids. Some people just have the “kid thing.” Erica was one of them. She watched little ones for extra spending money. When my niece or nephew visited on siblings weekends (I was the youngest of five, so no little sibs to bring), Erica just had the ability to talk with them and help them fit right in with our house full of crazy college women. Read the rest of this entry »

Halloween Links to Local History Learning Opportunities

7 Halloween-Themed Events that Spotlight Western MA History

On Saturday, October 18 and Friday, October 31, come to Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke, MA, for ghoulish fun and eerie entertainment. Tour the ghostly Skinner Mansion by candlelight or take a bone chilling walk through the cemetery!

As the hills and valleys of western Massachusetts brighten with the changing of seasons, the evenings become just a bit darker and a bit spookier. While we enjoy the harvest and enjoy our fair share (at least) of apples, squash, and all things pumpkin, the days shorten and darken around us – serving as a reminder that Halloween is creeping up on us. In addition to Halloween’s costume frenzy and the potential for candy accumulation that the holiday presents, the spooking season brings with it a myriad of ways to learn about local history!

This area of New England is rich with history, and much of it spooky and surrounded by mystery. Towns across western Massachusetts are home to potentially haunted historic buildings, controversial centuries-old community history, and cemeteries that are the final resting place of folks who may have met questionable ends. All of these eerie tales amount to more than a good, healthy scare – they offer entry points for learning about the history of many small communities, as well as the western portion of the state as a whole.

Additionally, an examination of the history of a single community can help children to understand the history of the region and country better, as it provides context for understanding the specifics of a large, broad look at the events and aesthetic of a particular era. Learning about Civil War-era community members, for example, can help students imagine life during that time period, as they’ll be able to imagine the surroundings in which such people existed. Trying to understand life in the past without context, on the other hand, may lead to more guesswork on the child’s part – something that exercises their imagination but may not lead to as thorough an understanding (and definitely will not lead to developing deeper ties to their local landscape!).

To begin exploring local history through the lens of spooky history, take advantage of one (or all!) of the many upcoming Halloween-themed events that spotlight local history:
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Write Your Way Through Long November Nights

Western Mass Offers Writing Outlets for a Creative Hibernation

In a nutshell…National Novel Writing Month

November in New England brings shorter days, colder temperatures, and barer trees. For some, it signifies the seasons’ slow transition into winter, and marks the time when we begin to hibernate indoors, nestled in sweaters and clutching mugs of tea and bowls of soup. If you’ve got a good indoor project to work on, all of this hunkering down may not be a bad thing – even for families.

This November, early hibernators can make good use of their indoor time by participating in one of two fantastic writing projects that will be taking place! Offering opportunities for writers of all ages to craft either a new novel or a collection of poems, these writing opportunities come at a perfect time of year. We’re all preparing to head indoors for a while anyway, so why not begin a long-term indoor project at the same time! Read the rest of this entry »

The Good Life: “Time is the Longest Distance Between Two Places”

The Good Life: A Year of Thoughtful Seasons by Sarah Mattison Buhl

Where Has the Time Gone?

I’m not sure exactly what I did with my time when I was, say, 22. I know I was living with my BFF in an apartment in Milwaukee, WI, and working in an art gallery downtown. I did not have a computer, a smartphone, or a Facebook account. I think I read. I think I read the mail, read magazines, read books. I remember going to an upscale hotel where I had a gym membership and I exercised. I went out, I had people over. There was no reality TV, but I had plenty of time to watch it if there had been. But, where has the time gone? Really. Where has it gone? Read the rest of this entry »

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