20 Community Highlights: Hot Chocolate Saturdays to Cuban Culture. Houses on Main Street to Space Studies.

Hot Chocolate Saturdays to Cuban Culture. Houses on Main Street to Space Studies. Parent Workshops to Chess Club

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:  Children love to volunteer and to feel like they are making a difference in the world and the lives of others… especially in the lives of the animals.  Volunteering with a local animal shelter offers children the chance to bring about support to the welfare of animals right in their own community.  On Saturday, January 4th, the Berkshire Humane Society will host an orientation for their “Humane Hero” program, for kids and parents. This is a new volunteer program just for kids. Families can learn about this new program at one of two different orientations: Berkshire Humane Society in Pittsfield in the morning; Berkshire South Community Center in Great Barrington in the afternoon.


Outdoor Adventures/HikingCultural Studies/Cuba  ♦ Local History/StockbridgeCommunity Service/Animal WelfareSTEM/ChessParent WorkshopsAstronomy


Outdoor Adventures: Hiking

What better way to spend the first Saturday of the New Year than a hike through the winter woods with your family, especially with a fresh snow fall!?  On Saturday, January 4th, explore Bartholomew’s Cobble with the Trustees of Reservations in Sheffield as their yearly Hot Chocolate Saturdays series continues! Throughout the winter, families can hike, snowshoe, and/or cross-country ski at the Cobble, and end their excursion with a cup of cocoa in the visitor center. Families can practice looking for signs of birds and mammals, and can explore the changes that have taken place to the landscape since winter set in.

Cultural Studies: Cuba

Cuban society has been changing since Fidel stepped down. Religion is practiced. Hints of private business and home ownership are emerging in this socialist yet stratified land “haves and have nots.” Art, music dance have always been central to Cuban life, and now there are changes in these fields too. Learn about Cuban culture, life, art, music, dance and cars at the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts when Springfield Museums Docent Amy S. Dane will present “Cuba: Cars and Culture” on Thursday at noon, January 9th. The lecture is part of the Museums a la Carte lecture series.

Local History: Stockbridge

Have you ever driven down streets in Stockbridge, passed an interesting house, and wondered why it was there and who had lived in it?   This winter, on the first Tuesday evening of each month, the Stockbridge Library’s Museum & Archives will offer a series of programs about the interesting people who have made their homes in Stockbridge over the years. Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Stockbridge will feature current Stockbridge homeowners talking about the families who lived in their houses before them. Each program will include stories of two existing homes, as well as one other home that has been lost over the years.  On Tuesday evening, January 7th, this month’s program is entitled, “Two Sturdy Brick Houses on Main Street.” Those interested in local history and architecture will enjoy these programs.

Community Service: Animal Welfare

Children love to volunteer and to feel like they are making a difference in the world and the lives of others… especially in the lives of the animals.  Volunteering with a local animal shelter offers children the chance to bring about support to the welfare of animals right in their own community.  On Saturday, January 4th, the Berkshire Humane Society will host an orientation for their “Humane Hero” program, for kids and parents. This is a new volunteer program just for kids. Families can learn about this new program at one of two different orientations: Berkshire Humane Society in Pittsfield in the morning; Berkshire South Community Center in Great Barrington in the afternoon.

STEM: Chess

Research shows that, when played from a young age, chess can be beneficial to a child’s learning and development. The game requires the use of high-order thinking skills, such as weighing actions and consequences, and helps players practice decision making. The Susan Polgar Foundation offers a page of information on this topic. If your child is interested in learning to play chess or is in need of new people to play with, there are opportunities to do so locally throughout the school year at various libraries. The Jones Library in Amherst hosts a chess club on Saturday afternoon, welcoming all ages and levels. The Storrs Library in Longmeadow hosts a weekly drop-in chess program for kids ages 7yo+ on Monday afternoon. On Wednesday afternoons in the Pioneer Valley, the East Longmeadow Public Library host chess for youth ages 5-14yo, and in the Berkshires, the Bushnell-Sage Library in Sheffield hosts a Chess Club. And at the end of the week, kids ages 7yo+  can stop into the West Springfield Public Library on Friday afternoon, January 10th

Parent Workshops

Remember the Ice Storm of 2008? Hurricane Irene in 2011?  It’s hard to forget the loss of heat and electricity for days on end in the middle of winter, or roads washing away or being stranded in your car… especially when you have kids to care for! Earthworks Programs’ Frank Grindrod will present a free emergency preparedness talk on Tuesday evening, January 7th, at Green Fields Market in Greenfield. This introduction to emergency preparedness will teach you what to do in emergency situations like extreme weather, power outages, being stranded in a car, lost in the wilderness, etc.

After spending a full day with your toddler, or feeling alone in the challenges raising a child brings all parents, conversation and sharing a meal with other caregivers can be a welcomed respite, especially in the dark months of winter! Child Care of the Berkshires is holding a Parent Café at the Haskins Community Center in North Adams on Thursday afternoon, January 9th. Come enjoy a free catered meal and talk with other parents and break the silence of feeling alone. There is free childcare and transportation too!

The Great Barrington Waldorf High School presents renowned scientist, author and educator Michael D’Aleo, who will discuss “From Playing Fields to Electromagnetic Fields: Going Beyond an Object-Based World Conception” on Friday afternoon, January 10th. Given current urgent educational discussions about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), D’Aleo’s lecture is a timely look at educating for America’s future. The author of two books, Sensible Physics Teaching and Embracing Materialism and Letting it Go: An Experiential Guide to Overcoming an Object-Based World Conception, he has taught and trained physics teachers at the high school and graduate level for many years and lectures internationally on science, education and environmental issues.

Astronomy

Studies of our universe can be mysterious and intriguing to young minds and there are many resources to support a students interest in the study of space, both online and in Western MA. In Western MA Planetariums and Online Resources for Space Studies we featured several online resources and seven resources right here in Western MA.

List of Weekly Suggested EventsFind out about these events and many other events & activities happening all next week in our List of Weekly Suggested Events. All of our listed events are “suggested.” Please take a moment to confirm that these events are happening as scheduled, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before heading out.

[Photo credit: (cc) Jennuine Captures]

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