Off the Mat: Lessons in Unconditional Love from Piggett

Things that Fly

My boy is at school. Kindergarten. A whole new world. He’s only a mile away, much closer than the preschool over-the-river-and-through-the-woods. Still, it feels farther. Distant. I was in and out of his preschool room. Most days we said goodbye at his cubby-hole, but there were regular opportunities to come in and play, read a book, or just cuddle until he was settled.

Now, we say goodbye as he sprints out to the bus. If he remembers to say goodbye. He goes into a big building and hangs his new big backpack in a cubby I have never seen. May never see.

Apparently, stuffies don’t go to kindergarten.

I remember him that very first day, all wrinkled and noisy. Read the rest of this entry »

An Ever Expanding Portrait of the American Hero Serves to Inspire & Educate

Exhibit Invites Deep Critical Thinking & Promotes Civic Engagement

Claudette Colvin, one of the lesser known people who have initiated considerable community impact, and is featured on “Americans Who Tell the Truth”

An ongoing art project promoting civic engagement and community involvement, Robert Shetterly’s Americans Who Tell the Truth addresses the current participatory decline in civic life by young people. Composed of portraits of significant figures in American history, the project pairs beautifully painted images with poignant quotes highlighting each leader’s significance and reminding us all of the importance of engaging with our community, and playing an active role in current events.

Shetterly, a children’s book illustrator from Maine, has been touring Americans Who Tell the Truth as an exhibit since 2003, and in 2005 published a book including many of the project’s portraits. Centered around Shetterly’s belief in the importance of dissent in democracy, the artist’s goal was to share the themes of community sustainability, obligation to citizenship, and the importance of truth in politics and the media. Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Good Character Episode with Guest DJ, Dave Kinnoin

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Good Character Episode with Guest DJ, Dave Kinnoin

With songs, stories, jokes, and quotes, Dave Kinnoin takes us on a journey to discover what it means to have good character. Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship are highlighted without being the least bit preachy. — www.songwizard.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
October 4th & 5th, 2014
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Sarah Geltz – Something Good
  • Friendly Little Neighbor – Dave and the Boombox featuring Kate Josway and Ryan Koch [Make Some Noise]
  • Dave Kinnoin – Caring Avenue [CHARACTER COUNTS! Strikes a Chord]
  • quote by Edward E. Hale
  • Judy Pancoast – Walk Away – [Are We There Yet?]
  • Dave Kinnoin – Any Other Kid [Teaspoon At a Time]
  • poem (Emily Dickinson)
  • Les Julian – Donkey In a Ditch [Color Outside the Lines]
  • Jonathan Sprout – Hall of Fame [American Heroes #4]
  • Randy Sharp and Maia Sharp – You Gotta Love ‘Em [not on an album yet]
  • quote by Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Jack Pearson – Just Don’t Kick the Cat [The Merry Pirate School]
  • Jack Pearson – Mi Casa, Su Casa [To All Purple Tree Trunks]
  • Jack Pearson – Circle Sam and the Tambo Tree (STORY)

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for October 4th & 5th, 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 4th-10th, 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, 27 Community Highlights: Scarecrows to Bogs. Ginkgo Trees to Butter Churns., 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!

October 4th-10th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Creative-Free PlayLocal HistoryEntomologyBiologyCultural HistoryHistoric TradesFood CultureCraftsSkillshareLanguage ArtsSTEMGeologyImmigrationPreK ActivitiesLocal/Handmade

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. 10 Picture Books for Halloween
  2. 5 Ways to Enjoy Shorter Days with Less Light
  3. Let’s Play: Nature Based Play & Art in Autumn
  4. Seasons at Our Table: Harvest Season
  5. Social Learning Made Easy with Sophia

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

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27 Community Highlights: Scarecrows to Bogs. Ginkgo Trees to Butter Churns.

Do you like spooky scarecrows? What about silly scarecrows? You can make your own scarecrow and decorate it however you like at Atkin Farms in Amherst on Saturday, October 4, and the Art Garden in Shelburne Falls on Sunday, October 5. Terrific intergenerational activity the family can do together while supporting creative-free play!

Scarecrows to Bogs. Ginkgo Trees to Corn Relish. Stethoscopes to Butter Churns… 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 Hatfield Fall Festival is on Sunday, October 5 from 11am-3pm and is full of tons of fun activities and exhibits related to local history! Stop by for classic fall festival activities, like a parade, farmers’ market, cider pressing, crafts, demonstrations, kids’ activities, and others. In addition to these activities, there will be many opportunities to learn about what Hatfield was like in the past. Check out the Cutter Farm Museum to see demonstrations of historic trades, meet farm animals, learn about antique vehicles, and see the actual sleigh that Hatfield town physician Dr. Charles Byrne used for winter house calls in the late-1800s. Inside the Historical Museum (2nd floor of Hatfield Public Library), there will be a used book sale, a viewing of the exhibit, “Simple Tools, Elegant Script: The Lost Art of Cursive,” which features traditional writing implements, and an activity for visitors of all ages to use some of these tools to practice writing. The Hatfield Fall Festival is great fun for history buffs of all ages! Call 413-315-9793 for more information. Hatfield, MA (FREE)


Creative-Free PlayLocal HistoryEntomologyBiologyCultural HistoryHistoric TradesFood CultureCraftsSkillshareLanguage ArtsSTEMGeologyImmigrationPreK ActivitiesLocal/Handmade


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 4th-10th, 2014

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“I love seeing “Hilltown Families” pop up in my inbox on Thursdays! I signed up soon after moving to the Valley, 3 years ago. It’s my go-to for things to do with my family. I especially like checking your list of family-friendly weekend activities. I often review the list on Friday evenings so I can plan the weekend. Thank you for being such a great resource for the community!” – Suenita (Amherst, 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 4-5

Festival of the Hills (FOH) will move to Conway Grammar this year only. Sat, Oct 4; bake sale on town common 9-2. Art exhibit at the Library Sat & Sun, used book sale at Town Hall. Sun, Oct 5; bands 10-4; Michael Nix/Chris Devine-Zach Danziger-Art Steele-T.J/Peepers-Janet Ryan/ Straight Up. Children’s authors; David Costello/Holly Hobbie/Heidi Stemple/Amy Gordon/ Aimee Anderson signing books. Crafts/food/games/hand-made candy/raffle/fun demo’s/fried dough/maple cream/pressed cider. S.Conte WOW Express van. Hist Society will open Boyden School House 12-4. Parking at 116/Roaring Brook Rd. 10K adult, kids 1.2m on Roaring Brook Rd. Police will help all cross Rt116 to events. www.festivalofthehills.com, email mdzialo114@yahoo.com with questions.

Oct 5

Whole Children is kicking off their 10th anniversary with a Fall Festival & Open House at 41 Russell St. in Hadley, Oct 5 from 1-4pm. They welcome the community to help them celebrate a decade of groundbreaking and innovative afterschool programs with a free day of music, games, food, tours, & exciting classes for kids. The Festival will feature performances by the Friendship Band and Joyful Chorus, two of their inclusive performing arts groups. Local musician Jamie Kent will also be singing. There will be pumpkin decorating, candy corn bingo, henna tattoos, and lots more fun for kids. They will also be running demo classes for Kung Fu, Dance & Recess Games. This is a free event, open to all. Call 413-585-8010 or visit www.wholechildren.org

Oct 11

Enjoy the magic of live theatre and the power of imagination with Bonnie Duncan’s Squirrel Stole My Underpants: A Poignantly Silly Adventure Tale for Families on Saturday, Oct 11 at 11am & 1pm at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. A lonely girl is sent outside to hang up the laundry and keep herself busy. The moment her back is turned, a mischievous squirrel appears, steals her favorite piece of clothing and runs off. When she gives chase, she finds herself lost in strange lands and an entire world emerges from her laundry basket. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased in advance at the Museum Admissions Desk or by calling 413-658-1126.

Oct 11

Oak Meadow Open House is Saturday, Oct. 11, from 11 am to 1 pm, at 132 Main St. Brattleboro, VT. Join Oak Meadow for this fun, annual event! Learn about their progressive, creative, experiential homeschooling curriculum for kindergarten to grade 12. Speak with teachers and college and educational counselors, browse curriculum materials, network with other homeschooling families. Enjoy crafts, music, and refreshments for kids of all ages. FREE and open to anyone who’s interested in learning more about homeschooling. Open House will be held in their new, though incomplete, offices in the renovated historic Brooks House in downtown Brattleboro. Help them imagine the possibilities their new space holds! For more info, visit www.oakmeadow.com

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 4th-10th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

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The Lost Art of Cursive

The Lost Art of Cursive
New Exhibit Debuts at Hatfield Fall Festival

What ever happened to the art of cursive writing?  Find out about cursive writing and interesting related historical facts at the Hatfield Fall Festival on Sunday, October 5, 2014, from 11am-3pm.  There will be exhibits related to local history and fun activities for the entire family. During the Fall Festival, stop by the Historical Museum (2nd floor of Hatfield Public Library) for a new exhibit titled, “Simple Tools, Elegant Script: The Lost Art of Cursive.”

Did you know that the Declaration of Independence was written with a quill pen? Or that feathers from the left wings of birds were favored by right-handed people? Did you know that children’s school work, and business and municipal records up until the 1920s and ’30s were mostly written using dip pens? Come see how the tools have changed over time and what handwriting looked like when writing was an art.

To complement the exhibit, organizers will be offering an all-ages activity, “Calling All Scribes!” where you can try your hand at writing using old-fashioned tools, led by Hatfield resident and calligraphy neophyte Hollington Lee. (Located in the Children’s Room, 1st floor of the Hatfield Public Library.).

Does handwriting matter in modern times? Are your kids learning cursive writing in school? Psychologists and neuroscientists say new evidence suggests that the links between handwriting and broader educational development run deep. Check out these articles and share your thoughts:

Graveyards Inspire Curiosity and Learning in October

Learning Lurks Amongst the Gravestones in Historic Cemeteries

Rich with community history, cemeteries across western Massachusetts offer families a variety of rich learning experiences this fall. From gravestone rubbings to tours of historic burying grounds, there are many ways in which families can tap into the knowledge buried amongst the graves.

Accompanying fall’s spook-filled Halloween celebrations come opportunities to explore and learn about cemeteries and graveyards across western Massachusetts. Filled with stone markers that chronicle a community’s history, local cemeteries can provide visitors with a look deep into the past. Some local communities have been existed for over 300 years, and gravestones in such places speak volumes about centuries past. Everything from the names of buried people to the style of the stone can tell visitors something about the time period to which that a headstone dates back. And on top of learning about the history of a place, visitors can celebrate and honor the things that members of generations past have contributed to their present day community.

A study of a local cemetery (or a few of them!) can help students to understand how individuals’ life stories contribute to the re-telling of history. For young cemetery explorers, making gravestone rubbings is a fun way to introduce the study of headstones, and can help children learn that cemeteries don’t have to be scary. Turning the beauty of hand-carved headstones into a similarly beautiful art-producing activity adds to the intrigue of a cemetery, but decreases the fear factor.

Boden Cemetary - Letterboxing-3

To broaden and deepen independent cemetery studies, browse through resources offered by The Association for Gravestone Studies. The locally-based organization offers resources for learning to preserve and conserve cemeteries, support for decoding the symbolism found on headstones, and extensive online archives. For a look at cemeteries a bit further from home, apply what you’ve learned by exploring nearby burial grounds to images historic headstones from around New England.

In addition to self-guided studies of cemeteries are many upcoming opportunities for community-based learning surrounding cemeteries. From walking tours to stone carving, these intergenerational community events offer a wide range of exciting learning opportunities! Read the rest of this entry »

Parenting Green: People’s Climate March

Reflections on the People’s Climate March
NYC Sept 21st, 2014

I felt it was important to go to the Climate March because it was going to be historic—the largest climate rally in history, and people from all over the globe had an opportunity to share a collective stance. Indigenous groups joined with hundreds of thousands of people to be speaking with the same voice with a lot more presence. Singer Angelique Kidjo spoke with Amy Goodman from Democracy Now as she represented the women in Africa who are paying the price for climate change as it is directly affecting their crops and their livelihood right now. In some way I felt just as unheard as them. Al Gore and Bill McKibben stood strong leading the march though all fame aside there was an overall voice throughout of truly this being about ‘us the people.’

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So what made my husband and I want to bring our children when the thought of taking 3 kids to the grocery store is daunting? Well, I guess it’s because we recognized that daily discomforts and mood shifts would be a part of our day with kids anyway, so we were ready for that. It was just something we were going to do. To have them not only experience a civil action for a cause they believe in, but also to let them know just how important our actions are. It’s a unique opportunity to broadcast the small ‘work’ we all do every day as individuals to minimize our impact.  Read the rest of this entry »

Open Sesame: 9 Picture Books Capture the Great Beauty of Fall

Autumn’s Paintbox: Picture Books That Feature Foliage

It’s that time of year when sweaters come out of hiding, and soup bubbles on the stove, when the cold descends and wood smoke rises, when morning fog gives way to crisp afternoons and long, star-filled nights. It’s that time of year when pumpkins smile from porches and apples pile up in the kitchen. It’s a time of change and preparation, of magic and mischief, of quiet and camaraderie. It’s fall in New England, and the signs of the season are abundant. Just look to the trees, the lure of leaves, where autumn’s paintbox hangs on every deciduous limb. This month’s selection of picture books, featuring one newly published book and a handful of perennial favorites, is an ode to autumn leaves, those fiery, smoldering, golden bursts of color before the landscape pales and freezes.

Fall Leaves, written by Loretta Holland and illustrated by Elly MacKay, is a brand new picture book celebrating the changing season. From the onset, the book pulls you right into its ethereal setting: an image of an autumnal forest with two children playing at the edge of a pond. While soft yellow and orange light filters through the trees, their reflection on the water shows a much different winter scene. Opening the book, readers find a multi-layered experience. The light-box illustrations were cut piece by piece from yapo (plastic) paper and set up in a three-dimensional mini theater, into which light was shone from different angles. The effect is stunning and luminescent, and captures that golden, autumnal light of the season. Throughout the scenes, the two children move in time with nature, playing, bird-watching, biking, and dancing, until fall itself leaves, and the orange, red, and umber turns to the gray, lavender, and blue of winter. Two-word lines in large print play on the meaning and usage of the words, fall and leaves, creating a poetic context for what is happening in the pictures, such as “Fall arrives/Birds leave/Leaves twist/Rain falls/”. Below these pieces of poetry, is a nonfiction component that explains what is happening in nature from a scientific standpoint. While these explanations may be too wordy for young enthusiasts, older naturalists will appreciate the information. A beautiful book to herald the season. — Published by HMH Books for Young Readers, 2014. ISBN: 978-0544106642. Read the rest of this entry »

7 Living History Events in Western Mass this Fall

Living History Events Bring Multi-Faceted Education Experience for All Ages

Combining the magic of theater and the mystique of history, living history events provide families with the opportunity to experience the past (and its people) as they were – in character and in context. By teaching history with a theatrical – yet incredibly realistic and accurate – approach, the age range to which a topic appeals becomes wider, allowing younger children to learn about the aesthetic aspects of certain historical eras, while their older counterparts explore the culture, politics, and relevance of the same time periods

Season of Thanks: Society of the 17th Century, Hall Tavern Visitor Center, Historic Deerfield, MA.

Early fall in western Massachusetts brings with it this year a wealth of immersive living history events, affording families a multitude of opportunities to learn experientially about a variety of historic eras, events, people, and practices. By attending one (or many!) of the upcoming living history events, families can explore new ideas and deepen their preexisting understanding of the roots of modern American society. Read the rest of this entry »

Under the Hat: Let Your Imagination Fly Through That old Art of Reading

Love to Read

Over the last few years, we’ve spent a lot of time touring around the US and Latin America. No matter where we go, we see kids playing video games and watching lots of television. Whatever happened to reading?! It’s not just kids, of course. All of us are spending more time in front of screens than we used to.

The songs I wrote for my new Mister G album, The Bossy E, are meant to reconnect kids with their innate love of learning and being creative. All of us love being transported by a great story. When I was a kid I used to stay up past bedtime reading under the covers with a flashlight. Does that happen these days? I certainly hope so.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I think it’s a fundamentally different experience to read a book (and use your imagination to envision the characters), versus watching a movie (where everything is explained for you). Read the rest of this entry »

Hindsight Parenting: Meet Your Child Where They Are

Who She Is Is Just Fine With Me

When our children encounter difficulties, when they run into brick walls or have a problem that needs to be solved, we need to meet them where they are, help them grow with what they already have in a way that they can.

I have been working against my daughter, Ila, under the guise of “improvement” and the misguided statement “she must be able to do such and such in order to be successful.” I have been working against her, which in turn has been sending her a message that she is not good enough just the way she is, which, of course, is not a message I want to send her at all.

Confused?  Let me give you an instance:  Ila gets anxiety everyday before going into her kindergarten class.  When the door opens, and the teacher steps out, she buries her face into my legs, or if I am squatting down at her level she grips my hair or scarf with a vice-like hold.  I have to peel her off me by prying her fingers open and kind of giving her a loving pat on the bottom towards the classroom while her chin quivers as if I am torturing her. This, as you can imagine, is agonizing each day, and so I decided that as her mom, I needed to “right” it, fix it, and make it so the anxiety was gone.  I decided to start with a good heart to heart conversation. Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: October 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
October 2014

October 4 & 5, the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area presents Heritage Walks, which celebrate the Berkshire communities, natural areas, history, and different cultures of the many places recognized as part of this National Heritage Area. A full list of Heritage Walks can be found here.

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of October. 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.

“I’m relatively new to the Berkshires so I’m mostly familiar with the southern Berkshires. I love finding out about all these lovely little towns north of me, and knowing about all the various events going on ALL THE TIME, from concerts to theater, to apple picking. I moved here to live in the country and Hilltown Families keeps me informed of all the wonderful things country life has to offer.” – Valerie Sheehan (Lenox, MA)


Berkshire Family Fun is sponsored in part by:

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HFVS On the Road Episode with Guest DJ, Steve Weeks (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

On the Road Episode with Guest DJ, Steve Weeks

Come join us as the Hilltown Family Variety show goes on the road with Steve Weeks.  We’ll be visiting the Dakotas, the gulf coast, the Great Smoky Mountains, Southern California, the Canadian maritimes and more as we hear from folks all across the country and discover what’s going on in their local communities.  Bring your map, buckle up, and tune in for a Hilltown Family Variety Show road trip!” —  www.steveweeksmusic.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
September 27th & 28th, 2014
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

FEATURED VIDEO:  “Change of Heart”by Steve Weeks


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Scribblemonster – “Our Summer Song” [Shark Sandwich]
    • Interview: Traci Juhala of North Dakota
    • Interview: Marivel Zambrano-Esparza of Santa Barbara, CA
  • Steve Weeks – “Dog Beach” [Once I Lived Upon the Sea]
    • Interview: Megrez Rudolph of Fairhope, AL
  • Peter Mulvey – “Sympathies” [Silver Ladder]
    • Interview: Ellis Rice of Las Vegas, NV
    • Interview: Rachel of Oak Ridge, TN
  • The Osborne Brothers – “Rockytop” [Appalachian Stomp]
    • Interview: Celeste of New Orleans, LA
  • Steve Weeks – “Once I Lived Upon the Sea” [Once I Lived Upon the Sea]
    • Interview: Gary LaFranier of Lame Deer, MT
  • North Bear – “Daddy’s Girl” [Feelings & Emotions]
    • Interview: Elia of Yuma Arizona
  • Gustafer Yellowgold – “Telephone Called” [Wisdom Tooth of Wisdom]
    • Interview: Cindy of Gulfport, MS
  • Steve Weeks – “My Grandpa Gave Me a Hammer ” [Once I Lived Upon the Sea]
    • Interview: Caleb Miles of Bridgetown, NS
  • Caleb Miles – “Satya” [Long Dark Road]

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for September 27th & 28th, 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 September 27th-October 3rd, 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, 38 Community Highlights: Rubik’s Cube to Watershed Blitz. Pudding Festival to Garlic Festival., 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!

September 27th-October 3rd, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

STEM  ♦ Citizen Scientist  ♦ Music/Cultural StudiesHistoryMuseum AdventuresAnimal StudiesCommunity ServiceFall FestivalsCommunity MealsJapanese StudiesParent WorkshopsMythologyCollaborative Consumption

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Family-Friendly Farms for Pumpkin Pickin’ in Western MA
  2. Maps of Massachusetts: Supporting Social Studies & Local History
  3. Oak & Acorn: Kale Chips for Kids (and their Adults too!)
  4. Lessons Worth Sharing
  5. The Dinner Table: Don’t Yuck on My Yum!

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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38 Community Highlights: Rubik’s Cube to Watershed Blitz. Pudding Festival to Garlic Festival.

Bear Swamp Orchard in Ashfield

Find a PYO apple orchard near you and take your kids pickin’ this weekend!

Rubik’s Cube to Watershed Blitz. Pudding Festival to Garlic Festival. Cuatro to Kouta… 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: Double Edge Theatre will perform an outdoor presentation on Don Quixote, Odysseus, and Shahrazad on Sunday, September 28, 6pm-7:30pm. They will use poetry, flying, humor, music, puppets, and visual arts to tell these tales, and will then discuss them after the show. Older students with an interest in literature, mythology, and performance arts will enjoy this lively outdoor performance, which takes place at Amherst College. 860-335-8421. Amherst, MA. (FREE)


STEM  ♦ Citizen Scientist  ♦ Music/Cultural StudiesHistoryMuseum AdventuresAnimal StudiesCommunity ServiceFall FestivalsCommunity MealsJapanese StudiesParent WorkshopsMythologyCollaborative Consumption


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 September 27th-October 3rd, 2014

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in western Massachusetts, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

“Your researchers of events and activities are outstanding and I believe unmatched in this area. I like the family emphasis; a wide variety of experiences engaging with the natural environment and cultural awareness are so enriching in a child’s growth.” – Josh Weinstein (Shelburne Falls, 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

Sept 27

Finger Painting Art Party for Kids with Author/Illustrator Kelly Light. Who Loves Art? LOUISE LOVES ART! And so does Odyssey Bookshop! This Saturday, September 27th, at 2pm, meet debut picture book author and illustrator, Kelly Light as she doodles and reads from her new book LOUISE LOVES ART. Chomp down on cupcakes and frolic with finger paints as you add your art to the Odyssey’s HUGE mural that will be on display in the children’s department. This event is free and great for kids 7 and under. Don’t forget to wear a smock. For more info visit www.odysseybks.com. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley, MA. 413-534 -7307

Sep 27 & 28

Garlic and ArtsCelebrate life at the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival on September 27 & 28 from10am-5pm in Orange, MA. There’s something for everyone at this fabulous family destination. Over 100 booths: regional artists, farmers and fabulous food. Enjoy amazing music, performance, spoken word, and dance; celebrated chef demos & renewable energy education. Great for families! An animal area featuring two farms worth of heritage and working animals, a kids area vibrant with a pottery tent, climbing wall, native craft, and featured Birds of Prey and Wolftalk presentations, plus hula hooping, horse-drawn hayrides, and garlic games all weekend. Only $5/adults; Kids 12 & under are FREE! For more info visit www.garlicandarts.org.

Oct 4-5

Festival of the Hills (FOH) will move to Conway Grammar this year only. Sat, Oct 4; bake sale on town common 9-2. Art exhibit at the Library Sat & Sun, used book sale at Town Hall. Sun, Oct 5; bands 10-4; Michael Nix/Chris Devine-Zach Danziger-Art Steele-T.J/Peepers-Janet Ryan/ Straight Up. Children’s authors; David Costello/Holly Hobbie/Heidi Stemple/Amy Gordon/ Aimee Anderson signing books. Crafts/food/games/hand-made candy/raffle/fun demo’s/fried dough/maple cream/pressed cider. S.Conte WOW Express van. Hist Society will open Boyden School House 12-4. Parking at 116/Roaring Brook Rd. 10K adult, kids 1.2m on Roaring Brook Rd. Police will help all cross Rt116 to events. www.festivalofthehills.com, email mdzialo114@yahoo.com with questions.

Oct 5

Whole Children is kicking off their 10th anniversary with a Fall Festival & Open House at 41 Russell St. in Hadley, Oct 5 from 1-4pm. They welcome the community to help them celebrate a decade of groundbreaking and innovative afterschool programs with a free day of music, games, food, tours, & exciting classes for kids. The Festival will feature performances by the Friendship Band and Joyful Chorus, two of their inclusive performing arts groups. Local musician Jamie Kent will also be singing. There will be pumpkin decorating, candy corn bingo, henna tattoos, and lots more fun for kids. They will also be running demo classes for Kung Fu, Dance & Recess Games. This is a free event, open to all. Call 413-585-8010 or visit www.wholechildren.org

Now Enrolling

Clonlara School’s Home Based Education Program is enrolling now! Clonlara is an accredited school that works with homeschool families to develop a unique education plan for each student. Clonlara collaborates with families to select subjects to be studied, methods to approach learning, educational materials, resources to use and more. For more information visit www.clonlara.org/home or call 734-926-4611.

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
September 27th-October 3rd, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

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Time to Talk: Practice & Monitoring is Key to Speech Development

Observing and Coaxing Your Child’s Speech Development is A Sensitive Art

If a child seems lost for words, let them work a little to find them.

So we all know that kids make cute speech errors when they are young. My son is almost 40 years old but I still think “hopicopter” when I see a helicopter. It seems like yesterday that he was saying that! One of the dilemmas for a new parent is when family members think something is wrong with a child’s speech. How do you know if they are correct?

First off, speech is developmental. We don’t learn how to use all the speech sounds at once; they come into our speech over years of practice speaking. The first big concern is making sure our children are speaking so they will achieve the motor maturity to practice the sounds they can say and attempt new sounds. So getting your toddler to talk is always good. Unfortunately, we as caretakers are enablers. And we are psychic! We fill in words or ask yes/no questions rather than make our kids work a little (After noticing the child reaching for the ball, we say, “did you want the ball?”). Acting dumb is often my first instruction for parents. Choice questions really work (“I don’t know what you want. Do you want the ball or the block?”). Read the rest of this entry »

Seed Capital Provides Return for Nature-Based Education

Seed Saving for Kids Provides Framework for Self-Sufficency, Local Food Production &  Nature-Based Education

From seeds grows all kinds…food, education, self-sufficiency. The list goes on…

Spring’s first garden green can often seem like a miracle, but it’s really the fruit of fall’s labors – quite literally. As the growing season winds down, the chillier weather makes way for seeds – rather than endless home-grown foods – to become the center of farmers’ and gardeners’ attention. Learning about all things seed-like is a science exploration that can help children to deepen their understanding of where their food comes from, the anatomy and reproduction of plants, and the specific traits that distinguish one plant variety from another. Additionally, a look at the role that seed saving plays in modern farming and gardening can provide eye-opening insights for older children about the corporate monopolies that control the vast majority of the American seed (and pesticide) market. Read the rest of this entry »

Let Them Grow: “Toddlers, Meet the New Baby”

Let Them Grow by Candice Chouinard

Getting Big Ones Ready for a New Little One

Chocolate Chip Cookie…inspiration for the name of the new arrival!

I just had my first baby. I have been waiting excitedly for nine long months to meet her and finally two weeks ago she arrived. I am not the only one who has been waiting anxiously for this little love. There is a gaggle of toddlers all in which can’t wait to meet the little munchkin, whom they named Chocolate Chip Cookie for all of my pregnancy.

Chocolate Chip Cookie will be joining our troupe as the youngest among a slew of rowdy toddlers. So the question is how to prepare them to handle a newborn, how to encourage them to be kind and gentle, to be caring and loving. How to teach them about the world infants and how it differs a great deal from toddler universe. Read the rest of this entry »

Watershed Blitz: Support the Conservation Efforts of the Westfield River

Nature Hike Offers Community Based Crash Course on Environmental Science

It’s easy to see how the turkey tail mushroom got its name. These are just a sample of the biodiversity you’ll discover in the Westfield River watershed during the Westfield River Committee’s Watershed Blitz on Sept 27!

What do green frogs, turkey tail mushrooms, and poison ivy all have in common? They’re all things that can be found in and around the Westfield River – and they’re all things that volunteers will likely encounter at the Westfield River Committee’s Watershed Blitz! Held on Saturday, September 27, 2014,  from 9am-2:30pm, the event is being held in order to honor the 20 years of conservation that the committee has accomplished. More importantly, however, the event will gather important information about the Westfield River watershed’s biodiversity general health.

Participation in the event doesn’t necessarily require extensive knowledge of local plant and animal species, but it does require certain physical abilities. Volunteers should be prepared to hike 1.5 to 2 miles of the river corridor – territory that is challenging, but can make for a great adventure. Alongside nature-loving volunteers will be experts on all kinds of biology and environmental science topics – everything from salamanders to culverts! Armed with the knowledge of experts and some good field guides, participants will be able to help discover and identify all sorts of species to whom the Westfield’s banks are a happy home. Read the rest of this entry »

Cardboard Challenge Unleashes Creative Free Play

Kids Can Grasp the Spirit of Community Collaboration Through Creativity & Recycled Art

The Cardboard Challenge makes a great intergenerational project for families and community organizations to participate in, combining creative free play with recycling and design skills!

Have you heard of Caine’s Arcade? The spirit of Caine’s creative genius comes to communities worldwide through the Global Cardboard Challenge! An event that combines creative free play with recycling and design skills, the Cardboard Challenge welcomes folks of all ages to exercise their own Caine-like creative genius to make masterpieces of all shapes and sizes using recycled materials – specifically, cardboard!

Though the Cardboard Challenge is technically an event, it’s one with lots of flexibility. The challenge begins in September (so it has already started!) and comes to a close on October 11th. Participation is simple – gather up some cardboard, bring along some cutting and sticking supplies, bring some creative friends, and build away! The Cardboard Challenge makes a great family project – simply raid your recycling bin and see what it turns into. Teachers, youth groups, and community organizations can easily participate in the creativity-filled event – simply organize a date, time, and place (perhaps on October 11th to match up with the event’s official closing), and bring enthusiastic folks together to build. Read the rest of this entry »

Ragamala: Indian Exhibit Sings A Thousand Words

Miniature Paintings from 17th- and 18th- Century India Capture Moods of Music and Poetry at Williams College Museum of Art

Ragamala represents a dynamic intermingling of music, poetry, and painting in India. Ragamala is Sanskrit for a “garland of ragas,” which are unique musical compositions. Drawn from the museum’s rich Indian collection, this exhibition features sixteen ragamala paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” but what about a picture that illustrates those words… or even a song? How might you translate the mood evoked by an instrumental song into a picture, painting, or even a poem?

Between the 16th and 19th centuries in India, a classical Indian musical tradition called a raga, took on a new characteristic that did just that.  A raga, which translates roughly from Sanskrit into beauty, melody, and color, is similar to a musical scale: a selection of musical notes arranged specifically to convey, or color, a mood; discrete ragas are used to represent specific times of day and/or seasons.  These complex, richly textured melodies inspired poets to create poems based on the moods they evoked.  Artists then transposed these poems and melodies into paintings that visually convey the moods, events, and seasons represented by each raga and poem, and often include a few lines from the associated poem.

The Williams College Museum of Art will have a ragamala–a set of these miniature paintings–on display between September 27, 2014 through January 4, 2015.  Sixteen miniatures from the museum’s notable Indian art collection will be on view.  Read the rest of this entry »

Banned Books Week Highlights Freedom to Read

Graphic Novels Highlighted

Banned Books Week September 21-27, 2014

It may surprise some to find out there are hundreds of reported attempts to ban books every year in the United States. It may be even more astounding to hear that since 1990, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has received reports of more than 18,000 attempts to remove materials in schools and libraries for content deemed by some as inappropriate, controversial or even dangerous.

Banned Books Week, September 21-27, 2014, reminds Americans about the importance of preventing censorship and ensuring everyone’s freedom to read any book they choose. According to ALA’s OIF, for every banned book reported, there are many more that are not. Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: Your Local River is Alive…and Waiting

Touch the River and It’ll Touch You

The Connecticut River is the lifeblood of the Pioneer Valley.

Thinking of how important it is for nature-lovers to spend time “being in” nature, the conservationist Aldo Leopold wrote: “We can be ethical only in relation to something we can see, feel, understand, love, or otherwise have faith in.”

Ethics involve what we judge to be right or wrong; and Leopold is correct: if we are to be ethical—if we are to wisely judge the rightness or wrongness of a thing—we need to have a direct experience of it. It’s easy to forget that a river is alive, and has a life that is valuable unless, from time to time, you touch it. Unless we touch the river, we can’t understand enough about it to be ethical towards it.

Rivers have always provided humans with perfect places to live, whether it be the nhà sông of Vietnam, the chickee hut of the Mississippi shrimp catcher, or the highrise of a hedgefund manager towering over the Hudson. We’ve always been attracted to rivers because they, of all landscape features, are the most alive: kinetic in movement and full of creatures. There is a big difference between viewing a river, though, and touching it. I want you to touch a river this month if you haven’t lately—and let that river be the Connecticut, which flows for over 400 miles from just over the Canadian border to Long Island Sound.

One way to touch the Connecticut River is to volunteer to assist the Connecticut River Watershed Council’s Source to Sea Clean-up, scheduled for Saturday, September 26 and Sunday, September 27, 2014. Read the rest of this entry »

Seasons of Honeybees: Autumn

Seasons of Honeybees: Autumn

Jacob Ellinger is a local beekeeper living in the Hilltowns with his wife and three children. As a freshman apiarist, keeping bees since 2013, Jacob relishes in the joy of sharing this new hobby and what he learns with his family, friends and neighbors.  For the next four seasons, Jacob will be sharing what it’s like to keep honeybees, what he learned in the previous season, and what he expects as the season transitions into the next…

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HFVS Harvest Episode with Guest DJ, Story Laurie (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Harvest Episode with Guest DJ, Story Laurie

Autumn means harvest time in the northeastern United States. But what are people harvesting in other parts of the country, and around the world? Join guest DJ Story Laurie for some lively songs (including two that were written by elementary school kids!); a crazy tale about a girl sailing around the world on a cabbage; and we’ll even check in with some folks in the Philippines, Finland and Korea about what they’re harvesting right now. —  www.storylaurie.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
September 20th & 21st, 2014
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

FEATURED VIDEO:  Story Laurie & Friends – Picking Pumpkins at the Pumpkin Patch


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Holy Modal Rounders – “Hot Corn, Cold Corn” [The Holy Modal Rounders 1 & 2]
  • Story Laurie & Friends – “Who Grew My Soup?” [single]
  • Taj Mahal – “Quavi, Quavi” [Shake Sugaree]
  • Palo – “Quimbombo” [This is Afro-Cuban Funk]
  • Harmonica Pocket – “Apple Apple” [Apple Apple]
  • Doug Elliott – “Creasy Greens” [Crawdads, Doodlebugs & Creasy Greens]
  • Dog on Fleas – “Ugly Fruit” [Bestest of the Best]
  • Mike & Peggy Seeger – “Oh, John The Rabbit” [American Folk Songs for Children]
  • Story Laurie – “The Cabbage That Sailed Around The World” [Live in Studio]
  • Field recording of a group of girls from Michoacan, Mexico, recorded by Henrietta Yurchenko – “La Bella Hortelana” [Latin American Children Game Songs]
  • Story Laurie & Friends – “Picking Pumpkins at the Pumpkin Patch” [single]
  • Leadbelly – “Pick a Bale of Cotton” [Leadbelly Sings for Children]
  • Jay Ungar & Molly Mason – “Bound for Another Harvest Home” [Harvest Home]
  • Story Laurie & Friends – “Homegrown Tomatoes” [Groovin’ in the Garden]
  • Taj Mahal – “Annie’s Lover” [Giant Step]

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for September 20th & 21st, 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 September 20th-26th, 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, 30 Community Highlights: Banned Books Week to Poetry Festival. Rosh Hashanah to Autumn Equinox., 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!

September 20th-26th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Film StudiesLocal HistoryAstronomyBanned BooksEntomologySkillshareOrnithologyNature StudiesPoetryGeologyLocal FoodMusic StudiesHistoryRosh HashanahAnimal Studies

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Q&A: Where to Pick Local Pears?
  2. HFVS Autism Awareness Episode with Guest DJ, Marc Bazerman (Radio Show/Podcast)
  3.  Pair of Fall Favorite Picture Books
  4. How to Plan a Bioblitz
  5. Recommend an Educational Podcast or Website for Families

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA
Cup & Top in Florence, MA

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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30 Community Highlights: Banned Books Week to Poetry Festival. Rosh Hashanah to Autumn Equinox.

What do rubber duckies have to do with poetry? Find out this Saturday at the Amherst Poetry Festival!

Banned Books Week to Poetry Festival. Rosh Hashanah to Autumn Equinox. Skillshare to Science Cafe… 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: Learn about the annual hawk migration with The Trustees of Reservations at “Hawks Over Holyoke” at Heritage State Park on Sunday, September 21 from 10am-3pm. Celebrate these unique birds and see live bird demonstrations like “Eyes on Owls” and “Hawks with Tom Ricardi.” This free day of family fun is a great chance for all ages to learn about these magnificent birds. 413-532-1631. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)


Film StudiesLocal HistoryAstronomyBanned BooksEntomologySkillshareOrnithologyNature StudiesPoetryGeologyLocal FoodMusic StudiesHistoryRosh HashanahAnimal Studies


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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