Hindsight Parenting: Coping with Your “Child” going to College

Five Things You Don’t Do The Day After Leaving Your Child at College

By JlsElsewhere at en.wikipedia. Later version(s) were uploaded by Wasted Time R, Stewart715 at en.wikipedia. [Public domain], from Wikimedia CommonsAlthough he’s twenty, just last week, Son1 went “off” to college for the first time. For the past two years, he’d been attending classes at our local community college trying to figure out what he wanted to do. This past spring, all his hard work there paid off and he was accepted to many colleges and universities. He chose a college in Connecticut. (Not a huge surprise since Magicalfairyprincessgirlfriend goes there as well.)

Since this is a first for me, a child leaving…really leaving the nest…I had no Hindsight to lean on, and so I had to rely on my gut instead. The week before, I kept checking in with myself on how I was feeling with all this moving away to a new state, new city, hours away from his family. And well…for the entire week before…heck even while I was setting up his chic dorm room my gut said that I was just fine. All I was feeling, seemingly, was pride and excitement. This move ultimately was what every parent strives for while raising their children. He was unfurling his wings, moving into adulthood with grace and assurance. I am proud. I was and am excited. Even as I said goodbye, the pride swelled in me. “Off you go first born love of my life. Go and live this experience to the fullest.” Then I got in the car…Then I got home. Then…then I woke up the next day and well, the pride and excitement was still there, but so was this distinct melancholy; a weepy sort of lonely feeling that got worse as the day went on. I realized very quickly that the day after dropping my child off to college was going to feel worse than the day of. Tear triggers were everywhere and I learned the hard way the top five things NOT to do the day after dropping your child off at college… Read the rest of this entry »

Culture in a Box Broadens World View and Promotes Diversity

Culture Box Swaps Offer Children the Collaborative Experience of Sharing and Learning about Different Cultures.

What would you include in a box to swap with someone from a different culture that best represents where you live? A western MA family could include maple syrup, a leaflet to an agricultural fair, an apple cutter, post cards from our many small towns, pictures of native animals, press local wild flowers… what else would you include? Think about what best represents your local culture that could easily be shared with someone wanting to learn more about life in your region.

Families in western Massachusetts are lucky to live in such a culturally diverse area, where communities are filled with opportunities for folks to learn about, and share cultural traditions. Engaging children in cultural studies – whether formally or informally – is a wonderful way to teach them about the many different traditions, histories, and world views that make up their own community and the entire world. Exploring a culture that’s different from your own can help children to try on many different metaphorical hats – they can test out different worldviews, consider the belief systems behind a variety of religions, and imagine existing in a community that’s vastly different from their own. Equally as meaningful as learning about different cultures is teaching others about your own. In working to explain the importance of certain things within their own family or community, culture can help children to better understand themselves, their community, and the roots of the traditions and belief system they share.

Families can engage in a combination of both of these activities – learning about other cultures and teaching about their own – by taking part in culture box swaps.  Culture box swaps are similar to participating in international pen pal relationships, except that the exchange takes place only once, and instead of letters, families send actual items that they’ve collected. Items included in culture boxes are intended to teach recipients about the culture from which they’ve emerged. While families must always be careful to obey international mailing rules, boxes can be filled with a wide variety of items to show families abroad what family culture is like here in western Massachusetts. Conversely, families who create and send boxes teaching about their local culture will receive a culture box in return, filled with a collection created by another family to showcase important parts of their own culture – wherever it may be from! Read the rest of this entry »

County Fair Teaches Importance of Community Service

Volunteer at the Franklin County Fair!

Volunteers are needed to assist with the recycling and compost program at the Franklin County Fair in Greenfield. This volunteer opportunity would be good for older students, especially those interested in composting and/or recycling. Volunteering at a large event like the Franklin County Fair can teach students the importance of community service and how valuable volunteers are when it comes to making events like this run with minimal waste.

Volunteers are needed to assist with the recycling and compost program at the Franklin County Fair in Greenfield. The fair runs from Sept 4-7, 2014, and volunteers are needed from Sept 3-10, 2014.  Volunteers will be responsible for collecting recyclables and compostable material from the designated bins, sorting and processing the materials, and monitoring the bins during fair hours.  All volunteers get free admission to the Fair and are able to explore the fairgrounds and enjoy all the fair has to offer before and after shifts and during breaks.  A great community service opportunity for teens and families to do together!

Last year volunteers helped the Fair recycled and composted over 3.3 tons of materials!  This volunteer opportunity would be good for older students, especially those interested in composting and/or recycling.  Volunteering at a large event like the Franklin County Fair can teach students the importance of community service and how valuable volunteers are when it comes to making events like this run with minimal waste.

The sign-up deadline for volunteers is Sept 3rd, 2014, at 5pm.  Sign up &  more information here.  Please email or call Amy Donovan if you have any questions at amy@franklincountywastedistrict.org or 413-772-2438.  The fair takes place at 89 Wisdom Way in Greenfield, MA.  More information on the Franklin County Fair can be found on the fair’s website.

Off the Mat: The Art of Choosing a Parenting Response

Enjoy the Ride

My five year old son is in his room, slamming the door. Deliberately and with precision. He’s got highly sensitive ears – auditory processing the occupational therapist calls it – and I can only assume he’s seeking Just. The. Right. Sound.  The SLAM! that will echo through the walls and into my bones set my teeth on edge. Sound rises above the bathroom fan but is muted by the water pressure, warm streams trickling down my hair, ears, face, shoulders. The water, the curtain, the closed door give me the ever so slight space I need to view the scene with a hint of detachment. Amusement, even, though shame lingers around the edges, like mildew never quite scrubbed from the grout.

Occupying the weeks between school and camp, we’re back from a 3 day urban adventure: Amtrak, NJ Transit, and a myriad of subway lines.  He’s a stellar traveler, fueled by curiosity and wonder and an obsessive love of trains.  Take him out of his ordinary and he shows his extraordinary. I thoroughly enjoy time with the big boy he’s becoming.

So it’s no surprise really when blubbery-whiny-tedious boy returns upon arrival home.  And along with him, short-tempered-uninspired-reactive Mama. Read the rest of this entry »

Bird Identification in Western Massachusetts Made Easy, and Fun!

The Fun of Bird Identification in Western Massachusetts Made Easy

Blue bunting in West Chesterfield, MA.

Birds are everywhere this time of year, some migrating, some that stay with us over winter. Do you know who you’re sharing your yard with? Birds of all sorts have long since migrated to and from western Massachusetts, nesting here for the summer or passing through in their migrations… and it’s high time to get out and get birding!

Birds species can, of course, be identified by looking at them – their size, shape, color, feather pattern, and other distinctive markings help to distinguish one species from another. But what happens if you can’t get a close look at a bird? What if a flash of red passes by up ahead on a trail, or you’ve spotted a raptor soaring high above you? Often times you’re left with only a roadside silhouette of a sighting with which to try and identify a species, and using physical features alone can sometimes be very difficult. On top of the challenges presented by partial sightings are the similarities that some species share – it can be hard to tell which small, semi-spotted brown-and-white bird you’re seeing if you don’t have binoculars allowing you a closer look.

Click here to read on for resources on how to identify birds by their calls and upcoming birding events in Western MA…

Berkshire Family Fun: September 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
September 2014

Housatonic Heritage Walks take place Sept 20 & 21 and then again Oct 4 & 5. Don’t miss these community-based educational opportunities taking place in Western MA this fall!

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of September. 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 love Hilltown Families for helping us find something to do on any day of the week. We have meet such wonderful people at the various events they have posted. They are a great source for community.” – Alisa Blanchard (Pittsfield, MA)


Berkshire Family Fun is sponsored in part by:

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HFVS with Guest DJ, Danny Weinkauf of They Might Be Giants (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Guest DJ, Danny Weinkauf of They Might Be Giants

Danny Weinkauf of They Might Be Giants has returned as our Guest DJ! Danny plays some of his favorite music including songs related to Monkeys, Sports, and other fun stuff! − www.dannyweinkauf.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
August 30th & 31st, 2014
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

FEATURED VIDEO:  “Marsupial” from Danny Weinkauf’s album No School Today


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • They Might be Giants – “”Roy G Biv” (Here comes Science)
  • Danny Weinkauf – “No School Today” (No School Today)
  • The Flaming Lips – “She don’t use Jelly” (Transmissions from the Satellite Heart)
  • The Little rockers band – “Fortune Cookie” (Count me in!)
  • Danny Weinkauf – “Our Love Fits” (No School Today)
  • Stacey Peasley “Little Soccer Player” (Lucky Day)
  • They Might be Giants – “One Everything” (Here come the 123s)
  • Justin Roberts – “Obsessed by Trucks” (Jungle Gym)
  • Recess Monkey “Braces” (Wired)
  • Danny Weinkauf – “The Moon is made of Cheese” (No School Today)
  • The Monkees “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” (The Best of the Monkees)
  • Candy Butchers “Making up Time” (Making up Time)
  • The Davenports “Everyone’s talking about Baseball” (Hi-tech lowlife)
  • Jonathan Coulton “The Princess who saved herself” (Many Hands – Family music for Haiti)
  • Caspar Babypants “Everybody’s got something to hide except for me and my Monkey” (baby Beatles)
  • R.E.M. “Superman” (Life’s Rich Pageant)
  • Danny Weinkauf – “Oh No Oh Yeah” (No School Today)

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 30th & 31st, 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 August 30th-September 5th, 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, 23 Community Highlights: Corn Maze to Kimchi. Hoosac Tunnel to Marble Quarry., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

August 30th-September 5th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

AstronomyMusic StudiesHaunted HistoryGeology/Natural HistoryAgricultureFood HistoryMuseum AdventuresSkill Share/FermentationAgricultural FairsCulture/MusicCommunity MealOrnithologyPlant Studies

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. How to Get Kids to Practice Their Musical Instruments
  2. 5 Solutions to Packing a Waste-Free Lunch
  3. Change of Seasons Bring Nature, Art & STEM Discoveries
  4. HFVS Back to School Episode with Guest DJ, Joanie Leeds (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. Let’s Play: Organizing & Creating for Back-to-School

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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23 Community Highlights: Corn Maze to Kimchi. Hoosac Tunnel to Marble Quarry.

Teens and tweens can learn how to play the ukulélé at the Sunderland Public Library on Saturday afternoon, August 30! This is a free chance for kids to get introduced to this fun and unique instrument. Celebrate the SPL’s new ukulélés with this ukulélé workshop facilitated by musician, Julie Stepanek. Open to youth ages 10-18. Beginners welcomed!

Ukulélé to Shape Note SingingCorn Maze to KimchiHoosac Tunnel to Marble Quarry… 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:  Do you want to learn more about astronomy, but don’t know where or how to start? Arunah Hill Days is a free, family-oriented weekend all about astronomy, nature, and science education at Arunah Hill Natural Science Center  in Cummington. Come to Arunah Hill on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this Labor Day weekend for astronomy-related talks and activities for astronomy fans of all ages! Observe the night sky and search for Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, galaxies, star clusters, and more using large, powerful telescopes; see sunspots and solar prominences with a special filtered solar telescope in the daytime; enjoy guided nature walks, disc golf, and a rocket building/launch fest; and hear talks on telescope design and other astronomy topics. Bring the whole family and come early to camp on the Hill! This is a great opportunity to learn as a family and enjoy quality time spent together outdoors.


AstronomyMusic StudiesHaunted HistoryGeology/Natural HistoryAgricultureFood HistoryMuseum AdventuresSkill Share/FermentationAgricultural FairsCulture/MusicCommunity MealOrnithologyPlant Studies


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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Suggested Events for August 30th-September 5th, 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

“I moved to the area this past summer and Hilltown Families has been a wonderful resource for me as a newcomer. It has pointed my family towards some great activities and local eateries (Cummington Fair, Bread Euphoria, etc.). More importantly, it has given me, as a newcomer, a broader sense of how active this community is and what people here care about. So thank you for that!” – Jenni H. (Sunderland, 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

Fall Openings

Openings Alert: The Center School is accepting applications for just a few spots left in K/1 and middle school for this fall. The Center School features rigorous academics for deep thinkers and creative spirits with a stellar teacher-student ratio. Since 1982 the Center School has provided a progressive, project-based, and dynamic education for PreK through 8th grades at its lovely campus, adjacent to conservation land and trails, on the southern edge of Greenfield. Center Schoolers come from all over the Pioneer Valley with over a third from Hampshire County. Interested? Contact their admissions office today to learn more about the school for your child. www.centerschool.net or 413-773-1700, ext 2.

Begins in Sep

Sign up for Theater Improvisation with Heidi Haas! Improv increases spontaneity, creativity and self-confidence. Classes focus on tuning into one’s scene partners, creating bold characters and developing skits with each other. Classes are offered for 6th-8th graders on Wednesdays from 3-5pm and for 1st-5th graders on Thursdays from 3:30-5pm in Florence, MA. The first 10 week session begins in Sept. Heidi has been teaching theater to children since 1996 and is also a clinical social worker with a specialty in child/family concerns. Check out her website at www.heidihaasimprov.com to register call: Heidi Haas 584-5562 or email Heidi_Haas@comcast.net.

Sep 7

On Sunday, September 7, from 2 to 4 pm, the Northampton Community Music Center will host its annual Open House & Instrument Petting Zoo. Come see, hear and try out different musical instruments, meet our teachers, take free demo classes, and enjoy a performance by NCMC’s ukulele choir. NCMC is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1986 with 50 professional faculty members serving more than 800 students annually. NCMC also hosts more than 75 performances and events each year. Programs include instruction in 25 different instruments, choruses, instrumental ensembles, vocal performance classes, recording studio classes, summer programs and special workshops. Financial aid available. For information, call 413-585-0001 or visit www.ncmc.net.

Fall Openings

Amherst Montessori School has immediate openings for young toddlers, ages 15-24 months, and pre-schoolers ages 3 and 4 years. Following the pioneering approach developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, Amherst Montessori School nurtures the child’s spirit, curiosity, and self-confidence while building the foundation for a lifelong love of learning. AMS programs feature uniquely-designed classrooms to support the child’s development, and a curriculum that integrates music, art, practical life, outdoor time, PE and yoga. To learn more about their openings or to schedule a visit, contact Laura Miller, Director of Admissions, at lmiller@amherstmontessori.org. www.amherstmontessori.org

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your community event, fall program, after school class, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business 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
August 30th-September 5th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

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Time to Talk: Putting Words on Feelings

Creating a Environment for Children to Understand & Articulate their Feelings

Our memories provide a way for us as parents and grandparents to start discussions about emotions and the vocabulary of emotions with our children, explaining that we often have many feelings when things are changing. These conflicting feelings are called “double dip feelings,” as written about in Double-Dip Feelings: Stories to Help Children Understand Emotions.

As an Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP,) I work with people of all ages on their communication skills. This includes how to express emotions appropriately. As we all transition our children and ourselves to new routines, I’m thinking about the emotions that these changes trigger. I remember as a child the excitement and dread of starting a new year at school. It was always great to see friends again- especially if I hadn’t seen them all summer. But the sense of losing freedom, being on someone else’s rigid schedule, having to learn the new teacher’s style of teaching, and all the demands of acting older were kind of terrifying. I remember checking out the text books as we covered them with brown paper bags. I could never imagine how I’d learn all the hard stuff between the covers. It sure would have helped to have had someone notice my trepidation and to reassure me. Hardly the culture of the 50s! Read the rest of this entry »

Let Them Grow: Power in Separation

Let Them Grow by Candice Chouinard

Making Separation an Adventure

With the beginning of a new school year upon us, many parents might be planning on sending their children to school, daycare or even playdates for the first time. If your child experiences separation anxiety, there are a few things you can do to help ease their transition and enjoy their time away. As a daycare provider who often helps families move through separation anxieties, I cannot stress enough how significant it is to help your child build this early trusting relationship. In my opinion, children often learn to trust during these times of separation. They learn to trust that you as the parent will always return. “Mommy’s and Daddy’s always come back” is my go-to line. Read the rest of this entry »

Open Sesame: 5 Picture Books For Kindergarteners

School is the New Frontier: 5 Picture Books For First-Timers

The first day of school is a huge leap for many young children. The world of school is different than the world of home. Excitement, anxiety, curiosity, fear, and uncertainty are feelings shared by all petite pioneers as they head into the big, new territory of school. Sometimes a good story is all that’s needed to calm a fear, tickle a nerve, boost confidence, and generate joy.

Here are five new picture books for young adventurers getting ready to explore school for the first time. You’ll find an astronaut, a cat, a panda, monsters, and even a Norse goddess, venturing into the unknown, finding fun, friends, and their own brand of special… Read the rest of this entry »

Multimedia Exhibit at MASS MoCA Brings Extinct Pigeon Back to Life

Video Installation Commemorates a Species’ Centennial of Extinction at MASS MoCA through Spring 2015

When you think about pigeons, what immediately comes to mind? Chances are, you’re remembering an encounter with a rock pigeon–a gray bird with black stripes on its wings, often spotted pecking at the sidewalks or perched on architectural features in urban areas. These birds are so eponymous with the word “pigeon,” and so closely associated with cities like Boston and New York, that it may surprise you to learn that this particular breed of pigeon is actually native to Europe – and that, long before the rock pigeon arrived in North America, a native breed called the passenger pigeon dominated the skies. Prior to the 20th century, this one breed was so populous – estimated at between three and five million – that they represented more than one-quarter of all the birds in North America. They lived and traveled in enormous flocks: their numbers were so great that a migrating flock could darken the sky, concealing the sun, for several hours at a time. By the end of 1914, however, the breed had become entirely extinct.

“I was so moved by this exhibit, and my daughter was fascinated!” – Sarah Rankin (Hilltown Families reader)

Eclipse, a new multimedia exhibition at MASS MoCA, explores the phenomenon of species extinction through the history of the passenger pigeon, a century after the death of the last known bird. On view through spring 2015, the exhibition is comprised of an immersive video and audio installation in the four-story “lightwell” at the center of the MASS MoCA complex. Read the rest of this entry »

Source to Sea Clean Up: Community Service Opportunity for Families & CT River Watershed

Join Up for a Day of River Care, and Empower Your Family to Create Community Impact

Families can show their love and appreciation for the river by participating in the Connecticut River Watershed Council’s annual Source to Sea Clean Up, an event that mobilizes volunteers from all over the Connecticut River watershed for a day of cleaning and caring for the river.

The Connecticut River dictates the landscape of much of western New England. Western Massachusetts’ hills and mountains provide a river- and stream-filled frame for the Connecticut River as it flows through towards Connecticut and, eventually, into the Atlantic Ocean. The Pioneer Valley’s rich farmland is a gift from the river, and delicious local food is grown and raised on the valley’s river banks. The Connecticut River is the lifeblood of our local landscape, and we depend on the many different natural features that make up its watershed for everything from swimming and hiking to healthy food and fresh water. Read the rest of this entry »

10 Literary Guides for Expanding Family Reading Time

Literary Guides 2014

This summer’s installment of the annual series Summer Reading Resource: Literary Guides for Expanding Family Reading Time presents families with suggestions for rich reading material to explore together. Each suggested title is accompanied by a teacher-designed guide that includes a description of the book’s educational potential, critical thinking questions to help readers process what they’ve read, activities to support and strengthen literacy skills, and suggestions for activities that allow readers to explore the themes presented in each story deeply and experientially. Written by graduate students in Antioch University New England’s Integrated Learning program, the literary guides offer families a comprehensive resources to help enrich at-home learning and touch upon a wide variety of topics.

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The Ripple: Setting our Watches to the Geological View of Time

There’s Gold in Our Hills!

Gold in Mt. Tom anyone?

I met a person who was panning for gold in one of our hilltown brooks this summer who knew a lot about geology—at least enough to know that gold is produced by volcanic activity. We don’t think of our biome as having volcanic bones; Iceland, Hawaii, and the Pacific Rim come to mind, but Huntington?

Look closely, though, and you’ll find evidence of igneous geology all over the place: from Mounts Holyoke and Tom which were bubbling lava when hungry raptorsauri ran wild here 200,000,000 years ago, to the weirdly eroded lava ash boulders people place out by their driveways in Goshen, to the cocoa puff pumice balls that float in eddies just downriver from the Turners Falls dams. Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Ocean Episode with Guest DJ, Casey Schaefer of The Whizpops (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Ocean Episode
with Guest DJ, Casey Schaefer of The Whizpops

The Hilltown Family Variety Show presents Casey Schaefer of The Whizpops. Casey will take us on an exciting thematic adventure underwater, playing a wide range of music that will help you learn about the importance of ocean wildlife and the fascinating world of symbiotic relationships. — www.thewhizpops.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
August 23rd & 24th, 2014
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

FEATURED VIDEO:  “Sea Turtle” by The Whizpops


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • The Whizpops! – “Manatee” [Sea Blue Sea]
  • Aaron Nigel Smith – “Rowing In The River” [Everyone Loves To Dance]
  • Sisbro Studios – “The Peg Leg Song” [The Riddle Solvers - EP]
  • Otis Redding – “Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay” [Dock Of The Bay]
  • Raffi – “Down By The Bay” [Singable Songs For The Very Young]
  • The Whizpops! – “Sea Turtle” [Sea Blue Sea]
  • The Whizpops! – “Coral Reef” [Sea Blue Sea]
  • Sisbro Studios – “The Parrot Fish Poop Song” [The Riddle Solvers - EP]
  • Recess Monkey – “The Hermit” [Desert Island Disc]
  • Weezer – “Island In The Sun” [Weezer (Green Album)]
  • Israel Kamakawiwo’ole – “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” [Alone in IZ World]
  • The Beach Boys – “Surfing USA” [Endless Summer]
  • Bill Harley – “Pirate Song” [Big Big World]
  • Sisbro Studios – “The Great White Shark Song” [The Riddle Solvers - EP]
  • The Beatles – “Yellow Submarine” [Revolver]
  • The Whizpops! – “Octopus” [Sea Blue Sea]
  • The Beatles – “Octopus’s Garden” [Abbey Road]

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 23rd & 24th, 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 August 23rd-29th, 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, 29 Community Highlights: Poetry Slam to Classical Music. Back-to-School to Stargazing., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun: August 2014, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

August 23rd-29th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Plant StudiesLocal FoodTransportation HistoryLocal HistoryMusic StudiesBack-to-SchoolInsect StudiesSafetyAgricultural FairsSTEMAstronomyPoetrySummer Celebrations

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. HFVS Back to School Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
  2. 11 Suggestions on How Western MA Families Can Make Wise Back-to-School Purchases
  3. Q&A: Hair Cuts in Western MA
  4. Tips for a New School Year
  5. 6 Back-to-School Lunch Ideas

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

29 Community Highlights: Poetry Slam to Classical Music. Back-to-School to Stargazing.

With only a few more weeks left of summer, wildflowers like goldenrod and joe-pye weed dot our landscape. The Hitchcock Center for the Environment is offering a Native Wildflower Workshop with naturalist Nancy Goodman on Saturday, August 23. Discover many of the beautiful and unique wildflowers that grow in the area and learn how to use Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, the most well-respected guide to northeastern wildflowers. Older students and adults can learn about these fascinating plants and their importance to our local ecology at this program in Amherst.

Poetry Slam to Classical Music. Back-to-School to Stargazing. Tomatoes to Pickles…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:  In the summer evenings, when the darken skies fill with a cacophony of sounds, have you ever wonder what insects are making these beautiful noises?  You can find out at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary’s Night Insect Sounds program in Easthampton on Thursday evening, August 28. Learn about katydids, grasshoppers, crickets, and others. The program starts with a slideshow of the insects and their sounds and then proceeds outside where you can try your hand at identifying the sounds. Best for older students and adults.


Plant StudiesLocal FoodTransportation HistoryLocal HistoryMusic StudiesBack-to-SchoolInsect StudiesSafetyAgricultural FairsSTEMAstronomyPoetrySummer Celebrations


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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Suggested Events for August 23rd-29th, 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

“As a teacher who is so lucky to be home with my babies in the summer I constantly reaped the benefits of Hilltown Families with the weekly events that were highlighted! What a great resource to have at my fingertips, with all of the great things to do in the valley in one place!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!” – Kristy Dyer (Hatfield, 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

Aug 23

Open House at Pioneer Valley Ballet on August 23, 11:00am-1:00pm. Discover the region’s premier ballet training program. PVB offers classical ballet training for children ages 4.5 through adults using a unique Listen, Think, & Move philosophy to create determined, strong, and supple dancers who possess poise, confidence, and self-respect. Known for its opulent performances at the Academy of Music in Northampton (auditions for The Nutcracker on September 13!), PVB’s Open House includes free classes along with the opportunity to observe Advanced Dancers. Meet the trainers and tour the studio. PVB is located in the Eastworks building, 116 Pleasant St., Easthampton. For more information, call 413-527-6363 or visit www.pioneervalleyballet.org

Aug 24

Visitors are invited to a free Community Picnic at the Springfield Museums on Sunday, August 24 from 12-2pm. Picnic tables on the Quadrangle have been transformed into unique works of art as part of the Art Picnic program, a public arts project designed to beautify Springfield and bring local art students together with established artists. Visitors are welcome to bring a blanket and picnic alongside the new works of art while enjoying music, entertainment, and free ice cream (while supplies last). Funding provided the Xeric Foundation. And there’s still time to check out the special Life Through Time exhibit of roaring, stomping mechanical dinosaurs and Ice-age mammals (extra fee). Check www.springfieldmuseums.org for a full schedule.

Fall Openings

Openings Alert: The Center School is accepting applications for just a few spots left in K/1 and middle school for this fall. The Center School features rigorous academics for deep thinkers and creative spirits with a stellar teacher-student ratio. Since 1982 the Center School has provided a progressive, project-based, and dynamic education for PreK through 8th grades at its lovely campus, adjacent to conservation land and trails, on the southern edge of Greenfield. Center Schoolers come from all over the Pioneer Valley with over a third from Hampshire County. Interested? Contact their admissions office today to learn more about the school for your child. www.centerschool.net or 413-773-1700, ext 2.

Fall Openings

Amherst Montessori School has immediate openings for young toddlers, ages 15-24 months, and pre-schoolers ages 3 and 4 years. Following the pioneering approach developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, Amherst Montessori School nurtures the child’s spirit, curiosity, and self-confidence while building the foundation for a lifelong love of learning. AMS programs feature uniquely-designed classrooms to support the child’s development, and a curriculum that integrates music, art, practical life, outdoor time, PE and yoga. To learn more about their openings or to schedule a visit, contact Laura Miller, Director of Admissions, at lmiller@amherstmontessori.org. www.amherstmontessori.org

Sep 28

On Sunday, Sept. 28th, you can pedal toward a hunger-free community at The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts 4th annual Will Bike 4 Food (WB4F) charity cycling event. There’s still time to take advantage of the early bird special. If you register by Aug. 29, you’ll receive $75 off your fundraising minimum ($175 instead of $250 per person). Start a team or ride as an individual. With multiple courses to choose from—a 10, 25, 50 or 100 mile loop—riders of any level can take part. Don’t miss the post-race celebration with complimentary food, beer from Berkshire Brewing Company, and family activities. To register, or to learn more about WB4F, visit their website at www.foodbankwma.org/events/bike

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your fall program, after school class, school, community event, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business 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
August 23rd-29th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

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Listen Current: Learning Through the Power of Public Radio

Listen Current Provides a Database of Current Affairs Topics, Crucial for Stimulating Critical Thinking For Teens and Tweens

Water shortages in places like Detroit and Iraq are news items tackled in Listen Current.

For learners who prefer to be active while they learn, auditory sources of information can provide stimulating and engaging educational material. Listening to an audio book, a news story on television, or radio coverage of current events can provide learners with the opportunity to engage with information while also participating in a physically engaging activity, like drawing, note-taking, running, hiking, or otherwise moving their body. The combination of engaging in auditory learning and physical motion simultaneously can help learners whose educational strengths lie in verbal/linguistic and/or bodily/kinesthetic modes of learning.

While local libraries give us access to endless audio books, and radio and television news media fill screens and airwaves with a constant stream of audio and visual explanations of events all around the world, learning from these sources requires a somewhat long-term commitment to a certain topic. Audio books are generally many hours long, and in order to truly understand a news story, it’s generally necessary to have been following the story as it develops for a few days, weeks, or even months.

Luckily for auditory learners, online resource Listen Current offers a database of news stories from public radio stations, designed and curated specifically to teach middle- and high-school-aged students explore topics in social studies, science, and language arts. Read the rest of this entry »

11 Ideas for Creative Free Play

Creative Free Play Encourages Child’s Development

Puppetry can be the first step in a child developing story-telling skills. 

For many of us, our memories of childhood are filled with mud pies, wooden block castles, and games of house, and hide-and-seek. At the core of these common childhood activities is creativity and freedom – the elements of play that transforms it from a time-filler and kid-quietener into an opportunity for learning and discovery that knows no bounds. Creative free play is quite the opposite of the structured and prescriptive play afforded to children in certain settings and with defined materials. Generally sparked by a play environment filled with loose and/or adaptable materials, creative free play is both developmentally beneficial (for all ages) and incredibly engaging and exciting.

With the final weeks of summer upon us, families still have time to take advantage of school-free days stretched out before us. Summer, by August, may no longer be such a novelty to kiddos and enjoying its warmth and sunny days is now a matter of course rather than a treat. However, filling some of the summer’s last few days with opportunities for creative free play as a family will stimulate your collective creativity, curiosity, and enthusiasm. Of course, the nature of creative free play is such that the possibilities for engaging in it are completely endless. It can be nice, though, to have some suggestions and gentle guidance, and for this families need look no further than Hilltown Families contributing writer Carrie St. John’s monthly column, What to Play? Play Ideas for Family and Community. Read the rest of this entry »

Hindsight Parenting: A Child’s Growing Independence Brings Change

The Winds of Change

She swings by herself. Grabs the chains that hold the brown plastic rectangle that serves as a seat. Her muscular arms pull her up deftly and her bottom plops down. Her legs that are a full two inches longer than they were in June start to pump. Feet flex as her legs straighten and toes point as legs fold. Soon, very soon, actually unbelievably soon, she has a momentum that would satisfy any child. I am sitting in the swing next to her and she is chattering away about the dog and his bone and the hole he dug, but I am lost in the sight of her wispy hair and the way it covers her round cheeks as the swing takes her back and wiggles in the air like an octopus’s tentacles as the swing moves her forward.

“Slow down,” I long to say, but I know it isn’t about the swing. It’s not about the swing at all. Read the rest of this entry »

Nature Table for August

Taking the Table on the Road Reveals Diverse Collection

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.

It’s no secret – the tail end of summer is fast approaching. The nights are cooler, the air is drier, and the natural wonders of fall are preparing to emerge. The recent rainfall is providing the perfect growing conditions for the first mushrooms of the season, and we’re greedily gobbling up the very last of the year’s blueberry harvest. While summer’s end can be bittersweet (and often times jam-packed with last-minute adventures), it’s also filled with natural treasures – summer’s final gems continue to slowly emerge throughout the month while signs of fall begin to appear, making for a simultaneous beginning and end.

Summer’s travels have made for a collection filled with items found locally, as well as items found in slightly more far-flung destinations. Alongside the Massachusetts forest’s wealth of galls, nests, and twigs are treasures from the desert and ocean – a crab’s shell from Maine sits alongside invasive zebra mussels from Nevada’s man-made Lake Mead and a delicate butterfly collected from a desert trail in the mountains from which the Colorado River flows.  Read the rest of this entry »

Literary Guide for S.D. Nelson’s “Buffalo Bird Girl: A Hidatsa Story”

Buffalo Bird Girl: A Hidatsa Story
by S.D. Nelson

Written by S.D. Nelson, Buffalo Bird Girl: A Hidatsa Story opens readers’ eyes to life in a Native American village in the Dakotas. Based on Waheenee: An Indian Girl’s Story, told to an anthropologist by Buffalo Bird Girl herself, the story follows Buffalo Bird Girl through a full year’s worth of seasonal changes and activities, teaching readers about Hidatsa culture and the ways in which the seasons dictated their lives.

The book begins in the spring, with Buffalo Bird Girl helping to prepare fields and process meat from animals hunted by the village’s men. In the summer, readers learn about Buffalo Bird Girl’s responsibility to protect corn fields from animals, and her adventures berry picking and tuber-harvesting. During the fall, the entire village harvested crops and celebrated with a feast and dancing. In the winter, cold weather drove Buffalo Bird Girl’s village to migrate to a place with a milder climate, so as to be spared the harsh winter of the Dakotas.

The rich story teaches readers a wealth of information about Native American life and culture. The fact that the story’s protagonist is not an adult allows young readers to develop connections to her life more easily – they, too, can imagine doing seasonal tasks as chores to sustain their family and they, too, can relate to capturing rare free moments to play with friends. It is in connecting to Buffalo Bird Girl that readers will do most of their learning for, though they may find many similarities between their lives, the cultural divide between our lives today and that of Buffalo Bird Girl is deep and wide. Though here in western Massachusetts, the seasons dictate many of our activities, they do not force such drastic change upon our lives as they did upon the lives of members of Native American cultures. Read the rest of this entry »

When Dinosaurs Walked…Western Mass

Paleontology Fascinates and Stimulates Learning in Kids

As one of They Might Be Giants’ best-loved (and paleontologist-narrated) children’s songs proclaims, “I love diggin’ in the dirt!” The potential for getting dirty is just what many kids need in order to become interested in dinosaurs, but it’s not the only hook. In addition to the fun that comes from digging and discovering, dinosaurs are fascinating to children for the magic and mystery that surrounds them – though we have lots of evidence that supports their long-ago existence, young ones whose understanding of time has not fully developed are astounded by the beasts of long ago. Drastically different from most of the creatures seen on Earth today (at first glance), dinosaurs’ shape, size, and even habitat are fascinating and almost unbelievable to youngsters.

Engaging children in dinosaur-related learning allows them not only to learn about the prehistoric beasts, but presents opportunities for lots of other types of learning as well. Learning to identify dinosaur species can help young children practice putting words to specific characteristics related to a species’ shape, size, and coloring, while for older learners, species identification serves as a means of understanding the role of each specific body part that distinguishes one type from the next – information that can help children to understand animal adaptations and evolution. Additionally, dinosaur studies supports children in learning about the climate- and landscape-related changes that the Earth undergoes over time. Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Favorite Songs in the Classroom Episode with Guest DJ, Debbie Lan (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Favorite Songs in the Classroom Episode
with Guest DJ, Debbie Lan

The Hilltown Family Variety Show presents Guest DJ Debbie Lan, from the award winning band Grenadilla,(pronounced “gren-a-dill-a”, the South African name for passion fruit). Debbie is also a Teaching Artist in a school, enjoying singing and making music with children in parent/child classes through 4th grade. This week, Debbie will share some of her student’s favorite songs. — www.grenadillasings.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
August 16th & 17th, 2014
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

FEATURED VIDEO:  “Smiling” by Grenadilla.


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Grenadilla “Sunday Afternoon” [Grenadilla]
  • Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers “Give a little love” [For Our Children]
  • Ella Jenkins “An Arabic Chant that means welcome” [Call and Response]
  • Kathleen Hannan “Ancient Green” [Bodies and Voices]
  • Pete Seeger “Put your finger in the air” [Children’s Concert at Town Hall]
  • Doris Brasch “Brave Brave Mouse” [Pollywiggle]
  • Grenadilla “Arabella Angelique” [Grenadilla]
  • Elizabeth Mitchell “Little Bird Little Bird” [You are my little bird]
  • Laurie Berkner “The Goldfish” [Victor Vito]
  • Larry Gros “John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith” [Children’s Favorites Volume 2]
  • Grenadilla “Got Light” [Grenadilla]
  • Pete Seeger “The Foolish Frog” [Children’s Concert at Town Hall]
  • They Might Be Giants “7 Days of the Week” [Here come the 123s]
  • Sheb Wooley“Purple people eater” [20th Century Rocks: 50's Rock 'n Roll, At The Hop]
  • Max Bygraves “Katzenellenbogen by the sea” [Vintage Children’s Favorites]
  • Grenadilla “Doodle doodle doodle doodle doo” [Can’t Wait]
  • Cheryl Wheeler “Potato” [Sylvia Hotel]
  • Sweet Honey in the Rock “I love to laugh” [Still the Same Me]
  • Bill Withers “Lean on Me” [The Best of Bill Withers]

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 16th & 17th, 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 August 16th-22nd, 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: Peach Festival to Greek Festival. Harvest Supper to Stone Masonry.. Tap Dancing to Rotochutes. and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun: August 2014, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For your summer plans, our Summer Bucket List for Western MA has a growing list of reader recommended places to go and see this summer, and our 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA has a list of over 55 summer camps & programs.

Other posts to read for summer fun include 5 Hikes for Families in Western MA State Forests and Parks for outdoor walking adventures, Beach Day Trips for a list of shoreline adventures, Swimming Holes in Western MA for local discoveries, and Local Agricultural Fairs for a list of upcoming fairs in our region.

August 16th-22nd, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

School HistoryLocal HistorySTEMAgricultural FairsCommunity MealRepair & RepurposeCulture/GreekTransportation/IndustryFoodOutdoor AdventuresHorsesMuseum AdventuresAnimal StudiesKindergarten Readiness

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Harriet the Spy Turns 50!
  2. MASS MoCA’s “It’s Only Human” Illuminates Art, Science & Education
  3. Springfield Museums’ New Exhibit Snapshots The Emergence of the 20th Century American Individual
  4. Time Capsule: Extraordinary Exhibit Lifts Lid on Historical Education
  5. Suggestions & Recommendations for Back-to-School

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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30 Community Highlights: Peach Festival to Greek Festival. Harvest Supper to Stone Masonry.

Peaches (cc) Phil Romans

Peach Festival at Outlook Farm this Sunday, August 17 in Westhampton!

Peach Festival to Greek Festival. Harvest Supper to Food Future. Stone Masonry to Copperheads… 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:  Summer is winding down and it’s time to get ready for school! Are your quills sharpened? Have you purchased your new chalk and slate? Wait a second – it’s not the 19th Century! What would “back-to-school” look like for children in the 1800’s? Families can step back to the time of quills and ink and one-room schoolhouses at Storrowton Village during their freeBack to School: 19th Century Style” event on Friday, August 22 in West Springfield. Here kids can experience hands-on school activities for this era, like writing with a quill, taking notes using chalk and slate, recess games, reciting in front of the class, and more. All ages will love getting to experience what school was like in another time and comparing it with school today!


School HistoryLocal HistorySTEMAgricultural FairsCommunity MealRepair & RepurposeCulture/GreekTransportation/IndustryFoodOutdoor AdventuresHorsesMuseum AdventuresAnimal StudiesKindergarten Readiness


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

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