Guided Tours for Learning about Architecture & Local History in Western MA

Guided Tours for Learning about Architecture and Local History

Take a tour of the historic Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield during the annual Housatonic Heritage Walks on Sept 24. Hear the story and history behind this historic theatre and movie house from the guilded age.

Buildings are designed with both form and function in mind, therefore, architecture can teach us about artistic, as well as practical trends. Changes in architectural styles of homes can reflect changes in lifestyle. Similarly, some historic structures fall out of use due to changes in economics and industrial trends. Architectural learning can also support placemaking as individuals gain a greater understanding of how their communities have developed over time. Several upcoming events in September and October will provide opportunities for individuals and families to learn about history through the lens of architectural structures.  Read the rest of this entry »

Astronomy Learning this Leading Up to the Autumnal Equinox… and Beyond!

Astronomy Learning this Leading Up to the Autumnal Equinox… and Beyond!

An interest in studying astronomy can develop from an interest in mathematical calculation, or a simple appreciation for the beauty of the sky. Observing the stars can be an act of scientific or spiritual curiosity, or both. While some people lament the shorter days of fall and winter, longer nights provide more chances to learn about astronomy through observations of the night sky!  Read the rest of this entry »

Lifelong Learning Resources in Western MA

Adult Education and Lifelong Learning Resources in Western MA

It’s back to school season for many. Some families are buying school supplies and adjusting to new schedules. Autumn is a time for learning, no matter your age. Western Massachusetts is home to many resource centers for adult education, often providing classes on topics related to workplace readiness and self-directed interests. Courses tend to be highly individualized, and focused on helping students reach their professional and personal goals. There are also subject-specific opportunities for learning about everything from mathematics to photography to bicycle repair!  Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: A Vision of Our Future

River People: A Vision of Our Future

From the Hudson of New York, the Thames of London, the Tiber of Rome, the Nile of Cairo and the Ganges of Varanasi, all the great old cities of the world are sited next to the rivers that gave them food, water, and a port. These cities, slowly flooding as the icecaps melt, are where the essence of the cultures we identify as Eastern and Western distilled themselves, on the riparian edge between forest and brackish (or fresh) water. Imagine the long course of evolution that took our species out of the trees of Northeastern Africa, led us on the great tribal migrations that dispersed us across the globe, and left us to settle on the banks of these rivers. Imagine, also, how this riparian habitat provided the nourishment and stimulation, and gave us the slow swirls of time and leisure that became the centers from which our cultures emerged. Even if we live high in the mountains, out on the plains, or in Las Vegas, we are river people. Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: August 22-26, 2016


Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

This summer, select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


See your banner here! Sponsor Learning Ahead!

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 20th & 21st, 2016

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

Check out our comprehensive list of summer camps with 70 summer programs in and around western MA from which to choose!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for August 20th-26th, for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Ongoing Story Hours & Playgroups and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 41 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Local History to Car Shows. Agriculture to Woodworking, and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

August 20-26, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

 Agriculture ♦ Literacy ♦ Writing ♦ Local History ♦Woodworking ♦ Dance Studies ♦ Guided Nature Walks ♦ Foraging ♦ Music Studies ♦ Automotive ♦ Car ShowZoology ♦ Bird Language ♦ Opera ♦ Art Studies ♦ Culture Studies

Family Volunteer Days

 

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Illustration History: Online Educational Resource & Archive for the Art of Illustration
  2. What to Play?: 25 Undone Family Summer Fun Ideas
  3. Sewing Skills Connect Local Culture, Local History, and Self-Sufficiency
  4. 11 Ideas for Creative Free Play
  5. 16 Picture Books That Celebrate Apples!

RECAP MAP SPONSOR

Recap Map is sponsored in part by Hampshire Shakespeare Company.

See your banner here! Sponsor Learning Ahead!

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

41 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Local History to Car Shows. Agriculture to Woodworking.

Explore local rivers and ponds at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, and learn about the role beavers play in our local ecosystem. This program is suitable for ages three and up. 413-637-0320. 472 West Mountain Road. Lenox, MA.(<$)

Local History to Car Shows. Agriculture to Woodworking. Writing to Foraging. These are just a few of the community-based 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 community highlight this week: In honor of the National Parks Service centennial, you can participate in a guided hike on Thursday, August 25, 9:30am-12pm to learn about the history of America’s State and National Parks. Learn about the forces which shaped, protected, and preserved these national resources on a three mile hike. This hike will go over moderate terrain and take approximately three hours. The event is appropriate for ages twelve and up. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Mount Holyoke Range State ParkMeet at the Notch Visitors Center. Please bring water, bug spray, and sunscreen and wear appropriate clothing and footwear. 413-253-2883. 1500 West Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)


 Agriculture ♦ Literacy ♦ Writing ♦ Local History ♦ Woodworking ♦ Dance Studies ♦ Guided Nature Walks ♦ Foraging ♦ Music Studies ♦ Automotive ♦ Car ShowZoology ♦ Bird Language ♦ Opera ♦ Art Studies ♦ Culture Studies


Join our stellar team supporters!
Become a sponsor of Learn Local. Play Local. and see your banner here:


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Suggested Events for August 20th-26th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“When we moved here from Australia three years ago with our two young children, Hilltown Families quickly became our go-to source for local events and activities. My SAHD husband, in particular, turns to the newsletter every week to discover things that we can attend with our kids. Hilltown Families supports families of Western MA in one of the most important ways: providing connection and information…Thank you to Hilltown Families for linking us to this fantastic community of which we are so lucky to be a part.” – Natane Halasz (Pelham, 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.

Join our team…

Bulletin Board

Open House: Aug 27

The Center Dance Studio, an innovative dance studio in Amherst, is holding an Open House on Saturday, August 27 from 10am-3pm. Stop in to tour the space, take a sample class and learn about the school’s philosophic approach where children spin stories from movement using classical and contemporary dance techniques. Directors Ashley and Caddy Carlisle combine their years of dance training with a special teaching approach that gets kids reading, writing and dancing; connecting, collaborating and creating. It’s a holistic approach to dance. For more information visit www.thecenterdance.com or email thecenterdanceschool@gmail.com. 321 Main St. Amherst, MA. 413-230-1944.

Exploring educational options for your family? Check out Oak Meadow’s flexible, creative homeschooling curriculum for kindergarten to grade 12, or enrollment in their teacher-supported distance learning school. K-4 curriculum is child-centered, experiential, playful, nature-based. 5-8 encourages student autonomy and intellectual development. High school offers challenging courses, exciting options for earning credit, and college counseling, for teens who wish to pursue their passions and interests while earning their diploma. Check out their new online teacher training program, Foundations in Independent Learning. Ready to make a change this fall? Visit Oak Meadow’s website to learn more.

Preschool Openings: Sept 2016. Clarke’s Integrated Preschool Program in Northampton offers a high-quality, affordable preschool program. Preschoolers engage in activities that facilitate all aspects of development. In our enriched learning environment, children come to know themselves and the world around them through classroom and extended experiences. Both children with typical hearing and children with hearing loss attend five days per week. To learn more or schedule a visit, please contact 413-582-1144. clarkeschools.org/prek

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, 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 advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE.

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 20-26, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Kitchen Scrap Gardening Offers Hands-On Learning

How Compost Can Support Experiential Learning

While almost all food scraps make great compost, certain scraps can make something even more wonderful – more food! Families can engage in hands-on experiential learning by collecting bits of these special foods and creating their own mini-gardens. Young gardeners can learn about how plants grow, and can enjoy delicious homegrown foods with ease! Read how in our post, 17 Kitchen Scraps Born Anew for Experiential Learning.

[Photo credit: (cc) mannewaar]

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Reuse Centers & Businesses Support Sustainable Living & Learning

Community Resources Support Creative and Practical Reuse

As humans have become more aware of our impact on the planet, we’ve also become more aware of the need to live in a way that is more sustainable than how we’ve lived in the past. Part of our search for sustainability includes being mindful of the things that we consume, their source, and the place(s) where they end up when we’re no longer using them. By recycling and reusing objects and materials, families can decrease their impact on the earth – and an added bonus of reuse is the potential to acquire items very inexpensively (or maybe even for free!).

Locally, there are a handful of community resources that support families in their pursuit of learning about reuse. Read the rest of this entry »

Accessible Outdoor Trails in Western MA

Accessible Outdoor Trails in Western MA

With the last stretch of summer upon us and fall around the corner, there are still tons of outdoor activities to take part in! Both summer and fall are great seasons for walking and hiking on trails and mountains. Did you know that the Pioneer Valley is home to a number of trails which are designed for persons with disabilities?  Read the rest of this entry »

Literary Guide for Jonathan Bean’s “This is My House, This is My School”

Literary Guide for Jonathan Bean’s “This is My House, This is My School”

Download literary guide for This is My Home, This is My School

Jonathan Bean’s This is My Home, This is My School introduces young readers to the idea of self-directed learning. Centered around a somewhat chaotic household and its many inhabitants, the story points out that, for the homeschooled narrator, home and school are one and the same – making home a place for living and a place for learning. Based on the author/illustrator’s childhood, the book helps readers see the ways in which a family can use their everyday experiences to support the acquisition of almost any kind of knowledge.

Beginning with pages that repeat the story’s title, the book follows the narrator through a quick tour of his home, wherein it is learned that his siblings are his classmates, his mom is his teacher (and dad the substitute), his kitchen is his cafeteria, his back yard is his playground, his family van is his school bus, and all of the rooms of his home (as well as the outdoor spaces nearby) serve as his classrooms. Readers see family members (students!) engaged in a wide variety of activities during the tour, from traditional “school-style” activities like computer research and worksheets to less structured activities like basement science experiments, cooking projects, family music jams, treehouse building, and stream exploration. Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: August 15-19, 2016


Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

This summer, select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


See your banner here! Sponsor Learning Ahead!

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 13th & 14th

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

Check out our comprehensive list of summer camps with 70 summer programs in and around western MA from which to choose!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for August 13th-19th, 2016 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Ongoing Story Hours & Playgroups and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

August 13-19, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Family Volunteer Days

 

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Our Growing Roots: Real Food, Real Connection
  2. Learning Landscapes: Development of Self-Regulation
  3. Literary Guide for George Ella Lyon’s “The Outside Inn”
  4. HFVS Back to School Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. People-Watching! Supporting Language Arts, Theater & Community Awareness

RECAP MAP SPONSOR

Recap Map is sponsored in part by Hampshire Shakespeare Company.

See your banner here! Sponsor Learning Ahead!

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for August 13th-19th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families reminds us all that right beside our own backyards, on our own main streets, in our own hometown rivers and lakes….we can find world class fun, family-friendly arts and culture activities, and a few embedded surprises that even 40+ year natives can be awestruck by.” – Deb Doulette (South Deerfield, 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

Sep 25

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts’ annual Will Bike 4 Food charity cycling event is returning for its sixth year on Sunday, Sept. 25 in Hatfield. You can pedal towards a hunger free community by riding in this fun event as an individual or forming a team with your friends, family and coworkers. With 4 routes to choose from (10, 25, 50 or 100 miles), riders of all ages can get involved. There’ll be music, food, beverages, games and more. Last year’s event raised $100,000 to help feed our neighbors in need. You can make this year’s event even more successful. Early bird registration ends Aug. 31. To register, or to learn more about WB4F, visit their website at willbike4food.org.

Aug 12-14

The Middlefield Fair. The 161st Middlefield Fair will run August 12-14 this year. Friday: Gates open 4pm-Diesel Truck Pull, Bingo. Saturday: Gates open 8am-4×4 Truck Pull, Youth Sheep Show, Horse Pulls, Old Time Fiddle Contest. Sunday: Gates open 8am-Pancake Breakfast, Spooner Well Band, Cattle Show, Garden Tractor Pull, Oxen Pulls. Home-style meals Sat & Sun by the Hinsdale Lions Club. Free entertainment and children’s activities throughout the fair: Exhibit Hall, Farm Museum, Petting Zoo, Balloon Animals, Magician, Smokey the Bear. FREE Children’s Bike Giveaway each evening. 7 Bell Road, Middlefield, MA 01243. Parking: $2, Admission: Adults $6, Seniors $5, Children under 12 FREE. www.MiddlefieldFair.org

Aug 16

Camp Odyssey on Tuesday, August 16th at 3pm: Make Your Own Computer Game with Odyssey Webmaster Ann Childs. Learn how to make computer games in Scratch with the awesome Odyssey webmaster, Ann Childs. Campers will create a game together on the big screen and will also be able to access and play the game after the event! A nonrefundable $5 supply fee per child or the purchase of the book (for up to 2 children) is required, as well as pre-registration at least 2 days prior to event. Events last for approximately (but not always) one hour. Minimum age is 7 years old. Younger children accepted if parents stay to assist. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA. Call 413-534-7307 or email kids@odysseybks.com to sign up!

Smith College faculty member Alexandra Burgess, Ph.D., is recruiting families with children ages 8-12 years to participate in a paid psychology study about children’s emotions, thinking styles, and problem solving abilities. Study activities are fun and interactive, including tasks like solving a variety of puzzles, playing memory games, and writing about a favorite game. All caregiver-child pairs are encouraged to participate, and will earn $40 for their time. The study takes place on the Smith campus, with free parking. Participation is a great way to teach kids about the process of science! Please contact Dr. Burgess at childperfectionism@gmail.com or in her office 413-585-3386 to find out more and schedule a time to come to the lab!

Exploring educational options for your family? Check out Oak Meadow’s flexible, creative homeschooling curriculum for kindergarten to grade 12, or enrollment in their teacher-supported distance learning school. K-4 curriculum is child-centered, experiential, playful, nature-based. 5-8 encourages student autonomy and intellectual development. High School offers challenging courses, exciting options for earning credit, college counseling, for teens who wish to pursue their passions and interests while earning their diploma. Check out their new online teacher training program, Foundations in Independent Learning. Ready to make a change this fall? Visit Oak Meadow’s website to learn more.

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

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.

Join our team…


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
August 13-19, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Language Learning Resources in Western MA

Language Learning Resources in Western MA

Learning a second language is a fun and exciting challenge for the brain. Since learning a second language is easiest during early childhood, language learning can be the perfect intergenerational pursuit for parents who want to expand their knowledge. Fluency in more than one language opens up career opportunities, as well as the ability to converse easily with a greater number of people, both at home and when traveling. But with over 3000 languages, how do you pick which one to learn?

“Over the course of human history, thousands of languages have developed from what was once a much smaller number,” writes TED-Ed. “How did we end up with so many? And how do we keep track of them all? Alex Gendler explains how linguists group languages into language families, demonstrating how these linguistic trees give us crucial insights into the past.”

Click here to view the full lesson.  Read the rest of this entry »

In Appreciation: In Praise of Imperfection

In Praise of Imperfection

The fear of failure, for many, can be the ultimate buzzkill. As a high-achievement junkie myself, I’ve struggled with those fears firsthand, and recently I’ve been reading and thinking even more on it. In the last few months, I’ve watched my six-year-old daughter get so frustrated playing piano that she gives up after a few minutes because she made a mistake (and she isn’t even taking lessons!). Or she refuses to draw a picture of a dog because she doesn’t do it well enough. So how do I teach her to appreciate and embrace the challenges that inevitably come with learning, instead of deciding to give up because she believes she just don’t have what it takes?

Research by Stanford Psychology Professor Carol Dweck tackles this very conundrum. Dweck breaks down what she calls “implicit views of intelligence” into a spectrum. On one end are individuals with a fixed mindset. According to Dweck, someone with a fixed mindset believes their intelligence, or talent, is fixed, or innate. Because their intelligence is part of who they are, their priority is to be perceived as smart. They find challenges frustrating and anxiety-provoking for just this reason.

On the other end of the spectrum is someone with a growth mindset. A growth mindset individual believes intelligence is learned through a variety of methods and hard work, and can be developed over time. Growth mindset individuals view challenges as opportunities and are excited by them. Dweck also found that students who had a growth mindset performed better overall. So how do I teach growth mindset to a six-year-old with a perfect dog picture complex? Dweck and others offer some tips.  Read the rest of this entry »

SciShow: Teaching the World of Science Through Video

SciShow: Teaching the World of Science Through Video

Spotlighting the most engaging and fascinating of scientific topics with brevity, SciShow brings kid-friendly web-based doses of science to screens everywhere! Offered through SciShow’s Youtube channel are dozens upon dozens of videos teaching about everything from plasma to the influences of science fiction.

Science-curious learners of almost any age can take advantage of the information offered through SciShow’s videos in numerous ways, including gaining exposure to new topics, solidifying understanding of topics already explored, or adding background knowledge to topics explored through experience.  Read the rest of this entry »

Nature Table for August

Patterns, Perception & Preservation

This month’s nature table is written by environmental educator Phoebe Gelbard, a recent graduate of Northampton High School and a freshman at the University of Massachusetts.

This summer, whether you are swimming in a river, admiring a striking sunset, or smelling a flower, you can observe recurring shapes and patterns in the landscape around you. Change is a constant, and as each month fades into the next, previous patterns fade and new ones begin to appear. While we are all familiar with certain designs that are found in our backyards, such as the heart-shaped leaves of clover and the spiral of a snail’s shell, other patterns that involve multidimensional interconnectedness are more difficult to recognize. These patterns, known as fractals, are described as expanding or evolving symmetry because of the way that they repeat themselves when taking both a closer look and when stepping back.  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Landscapes: Blending Nature with Self through Animal Allies

Animal Allies

What might be possible if children were initiated into a learning landscape in which the edges between the natural world and themselves were blurred or even non-existent? What might be possible if “becoming nature” through the body, mind and spirit of our animal allies were held as a central design component in our children’s education from the earliest years on?

Education is indeed our greatest resource, but it is not facts and figures that hold the power of change, regeneration and even transformation for humans and Earth. It is in the stories heard and experienced through the mindbody, heart and spirit that hold the richest transformative educational power.

“We spend too much time creating the world through our mind
rather than living through our hearts in the physical world.”
– Dr. David Blumenkrantz, Coming of Age the Rite Way

Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: August 8-12, 2016


Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

This summer, select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


See your banner here! Sponsor Learning Ahead!

HFVS World Languages Episode with Guest DJ, Sarah Aroeste (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

World Languages Episode with
Guest DJ, Sarah Aroeste

This week on the HFVS, Sarah Aroeste, a children’s singer and songwriter in the rare and eclectic dialect of Spanish called Ladino, will take listeners around the globe to explore some contemporary kids music in lesser-known dialects. From Quechua to Yup’ik to Amharic and more, Aroeste hopes listeners will agree that good music is good music, no matter the language! — www.saraharoeste.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
August 6th & 7th, 2016
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured video:  Sarah Aroeste, “Ora de Despertar”


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

  • Will Stroet – “La récréation” [Wordplay] FRENCH
  • Sarah Aroeste – “Ora de Despertar” [Ora de Despertar]  LADINO
  • Manos Vafiadis – “Horalia” [Xana Zoo]  GREEK
  • World Music with DARIA  – “Yaw, Yaw, Puka Polleracha” [Beautiful Rainbow World]  QUECHUA
  • Lillebjørn Nilsen  – “Reven ut på hønsejak” [Haba Haba!]  NORWEIGAN  the Fox & the Farmer
  • DJ Serdar Ayyıldız & DJ Selami Bilgiç “Mini Mini Bir Kuş (feat. Zeliha Sunal)” [Çocuk Diskosu]  TURKISH
  • Les Sambalelê – “Atirei o Pau No Gato” [Brésil] PORTUGUESE
  • Arik Einstein – “Adon Shoko” [Shirey Hayeladim] HEBREW
  • Sarah Aroeste – “Las komidas” [Ora de Despertar] LADINO
  • K3 – “Als het binnenregent” [10.000 luchtballonnen]    DUTCH
  • Pamyua  – “Bubble Gum” [Side a / Side b ]   YUP’IK 
  • Macdara – “Beidh Aonach Amárach”  [The Love Token] GAELIC
  • Elena Moon Park – “Diu Diu Deng”  [Rabbit Days and Dumplings] TAIWANESE
  • Loreen Hattar – “I have a Train” [Arabic Children’s Songs: A New Day] ARABIC
  • All Around This World – “Kabuli Tutu” [All Around This World: Africa] SWAHILI
  • Bole 2 Harlem – “Hoya Hoye” [Bole 2 Harlem, Vol.1]  AMHARIC
  • Geraldino – “Wenn du Singst” [Wow!] GERMAN
  • Sarah Aroeste – “Nochada Buena” [Ora de Despertar]  LADINO

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 6th & 7th, 2016

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

Check out our comprehensive list of summer camps with 70 summer programs in and around western MA from which to choose!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for August 6th-12th, 2016 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Ongoing Story Hours & Playgroups and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 37 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Entomology to Puppetry. Geology to Jazz Studies, and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

August 6-12, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Zoology ♦ Entomology ♦ Geology  ♦ Cultural Studies ♦Music Studies ♦ Jazz Studies ♦ Art Studies ♦ Panoramic Drawing ♦ Architecture ♦ History ♦ Storytelling ♦ Literacy ♦ Puppetry ♦ Agriculture ♦ Outdoor Adventures ♦ Wild Plant Walk 

Family Volunteer Days

 

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. 4 Outdoor Adventures for Exploring Geology and Local History
  2. Journal-Making: Creative Outlet for Bringing Family Together
  3. Literary Guide for Mem Fox and Kathryn Brown’s “Tough Boris”
  4. Open Sesame: 4 Summer Bedtime Stories
  5. The Good Life: Summertime Downtime

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37 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Entomology to Puppetry. Geology to Jazz Studies.

People of all ages can learn about dragonflies and butterflies at Lime Kiln Wildlife Sanctuary on Sunday, August 7, 9am-11am. Bring your favorite field guide and binoculars. Wear sturdy shoes and bring insect repellent. Call 413-637-0320 to register. Silver Street. Sheffield, MA. (FREE)

Entomology to Puppetry. Geology to Jazz Studies. Literature to Panoramic Drawing. These are just a few of the community-based 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 community highlight this week:  You can learn about New England history and local Native American culture at the Pocumtuck Homelands Festival! This all ages event, on Saturday, August 6, 11am-7pm, will include live music, drumming, dancing, storytelling, and native crafts. Spiritual teachings by Native American elders will offer further insight into a fascinating culture. This event is part of the Nolumbeka Project. Unity Park Waterfront. First Street. Turners Falls. (FREE)


Zoology ♦ Entomology ♦ Geology  ♦ Cultural Studies ♦ Music Studies ♦ Jazz Studies ♦ Art Studies ♦ Panoramic Drawing ♦ Architecture ♦ History ♦ Storytelling ♦ Literacy ♦ Puppetry ♦ Agriculture ♦ Outdoor Adventures ♦ Wild Plant Walk 


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Suggested Events for August 6th-12th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families is a fantastic clearinghouse of information about everything and anything that families might want or need to know.  We have found out about camps, activities, interesting places to go, and community events.  I also have learned things from the many blog posts that people share.  Without Hilltown Families, we’d miss this central location where information and experiences are shared.  It’s a great service to families in the area!” – Mimi Kaplan (Haydenville, 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

Mon, Tues, & Thurs in Aug

Learn in Motion believes that physical activity plays the most important role in a child’s academic success, offering a variety of fun and educational sports classes for children ages 3-5! They provide an innovative, comfortable and engaging environment where kids can explore movement and be stimulated intellectually and socially. Register For Classes: Thursday’s (8/4, 8/11, 8/18, 8/25, 9/1) from 4:30-5:30pm & 5:30-6:30pm at Look Park in Florence; Monday’s (8/1, 8/8, 8/15, 8/22, 8/29) or Tuesday’s (8/2, 8/9, 8/16, 8/23, 8/30) from 5:30-6:30pm at Wilbraham Middle School. They also offer birthday parties, school and after-school programming and more! Visit www.learninmotionma.com to sign up and to find out more! Contact chrisgibaldi@gmail.com

Weds in Aug

Enjoy an hour of free kid-friendly fun with your lunch this August at River Valley Co-Op in Northampton on their deck from 11am-12noon from different local organizations and performers, including: Bugs, Birds & Beasts with musician and storyteller Tim Van Egmond on Aug 3; Cats & Dogs: Sing-Along Songs & Stories with puppeteer Anna Sobel from Talking Hands Theatre on Aug 10; Live animals on Aug 17 with Kelly More from North King Animal Clinic, Aug 24 with Lori Swanson from Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society, and Aug 31 with Northampton Animal Control Officer, Shayla Howe. Stop by, grab your favorite lunch from the deli and come out to their deck for a delightful hour of music, art, literature, history or nature. 330 North King Street.

Sep 25

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts’ annual Will Bike 4 Food charity cycling event is returning for its sixth year on Sunday, Sept. 25 in Hatfield. You can pedal towards a hunger free community by riding in this fun event as an individual or forming a team with your friends, family and coworkers. With 4 routes to choose from (10, 25, 50 or 100 miles), riders of all ages can get involved. There’ll be music, food, beverages, games and more. Last year’s event raised $100,000 to help feed our neighbors in need. You can make this year’s event even more successful. Early bird registration ends Aug. 31. To register, or to learn more about WB4F, visit their website at willbike4food.org.

Starting at 18 months at the Montessori School of Northampton: The Montessori School of Northampton is pleased to announce that it is now enrolling toddlers beginning at 18 months of age for fall 2016. The school offers full or half day programs with schedules available for as little as two or as many as five days per week. Small class size, a Montessori-trained toddler teacher, and a beautifully prepared child-centered environment make MSN the perfect place for your toddler to experience independence while engaging in enriching activities including self-care, singing, creative movement, cooking, and outdoor play. For more information, call 413-586-4538 or visit northamptonmontessori.org

Aug 5-7

Peter Pan! How, you may ask, how is everyone going to fly? Have no fear! This is PaintBox Theatre, where imaginations thrive. In fact, in our version the entire audience gets to fly. PaintBox favorite Troy Mercier (Zorro, Tarzan, and Roscoe, the dog) IS Peter Pan and Connor Paradis (last season’s Jim Hawkins) has reluctantly agreed to play Tiger Lily. This is going to be a rollicking good time. Performances are Fri. August 5, 7pm, Sat.-Sun. August 6 and 7, 10:30am & 1pm at the Williston Theatre, 18 Payson Avenue, Easthampton. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. PaintBoxTheatre.com.

Aug 6

Come celebrate summer with Starlight’s Youth Theater and children’s book author Aaron Becker on Saturday, August 6 at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. Watch a live performance of Seussical, Jr., The Musical performed by Starlight’s Youth Theater at 11am and 1pm! After the performance, hear Aaron Becker’s storytime reading at 2pm of his latest book, Return, which is the final book in his Journey series! The storytime will be followed by a book signing. Plus, see The Carle’s new Robert McCloskey exhibition! For more information, please visit www.carlemuseum.org or call 413-559-6300. Seussical is $7 (Members $6.50), and Aaron Becker: Special Storytime is free with Museum admission.

Aug 9

Camp Odyssey on Tuesday, August 9th at 3pm: Grass Hair Funny Face Jars. For a project that never ends, campers will decorate their jars (filled with grass seeds) with mustaches, bows, and googly eyes to make a funny face that just gets funnier and funnier once its hair starts to grow! A nonrefundable $5 supply fee per child or the purchase of related book (for up to 2 children) is required, as well as pre-registration at least 2 days prior to event. Events last for approximately (but not always) one hour. Minimum age is 5 years old. Younger children accepted if parents stay to assist. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA. Call 413-534-7307 or email kids@odysseybks.com to sign up!

Aug 12-14

The Middlefield Fair. The 161st Middlefield Fair will run August 12-14 this year. Friday: Gates open 4pm-Diesel Truck Pull, Bingo. Saturday: Gates open 8am-4×4 Truck Pull, Youth Sheep Show, Horse Pulls, Old Time Fiddle Contest. Sunday: Gates open 8am-Pancake Breakfast, Spooner Well Band, Cattle Show, Garden Tractor Pull, Oxen Pulls. Home-style meals Sat & Sun by the Hinsdale Lions Club. Free entertainment and children’s activities throughout the fair: Exhibit Hall, Farm Museum, Petting Zoo, Balloon Animals, Magician, Smokey the Bear. FREE Children’s Bike Giveaway each evening. 7 Bell Road, Middlefield, MA 01243. Parking: $2, Admission: Adults $6, Seniors $5, Children under 12 FREE. www.MiddlefieldFair.org

Smith College faculty member Alexandra Burgess, Ph.D., is recruiting families with children ages 8-12 years to participate in a paid psychology study about children’s emotions, thinking styles, and problem solving abilities. Study activities are fun and interactive, including tasks like solving a variety of puzzles, playing memory games, and writing about a favorite game. All caregiver-child pairs are encouraged to participate, and will earn $40 for their time. The study takes place on the Smith campus, with free parking. Participation is a great way to teach kids about the process of science! Please contact Dr. Burgess at childperfectionism@gmail.com or in her office 413-585-3386 to find out more and schedule a time to come to the lab!

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

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.

Join our team…


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
August 6-12, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

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Inspiration for Aspiring Woodworkers & Blacksmiths

Inspiration for Aspiring Woodworkers & Blacksmiths

The annual Woodworking and Age of Iron weekend at Hancock Shaker Village provides opportunities to learn about not only woodworking, blacksmithing and sculpture, but also history and photography, through demonstrations.

Blacksmithing has been around for many centuries, dating back to the Iron Age, and is the practice of forging metal for practical or decorative purposes.

Along side carpentry, both artisan skills not only build furniture, but all sorts of artistic and functional works, including instruments.

Thus, an interest in carpentry can intersect with music studies and art. Building your own furniture can also be part of a wider homesteading lifestyle.

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The Art & Science of Fermentation

Lessons in Local Food Preservation

Western Mass really drops an abundance of local food into our laps every summer! It’s an incredible bounty that brings with it a possibility of some waste, as storage can prove difficult. Enter Fermentation…a healthy and educational technique to repurpose delicious & healthy food into… delicious & healthy food! Did we mention fermentation is also educational? Involve your kids and they’ll get some experience with cellular biology & chemistry. Read on for some excellent insights in our post, Learn About Local Food & Chemistry through Fermentation.

[Photo credit: (cc) feministjulie]

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Summer Opportunities to Connect People to Place through Wild and Cultivated Food

Summer Opportunities to Connect People to Place through Wild and Cultivated Food

Summer offers learning opportunities that integrate culinary arts with botany and agriculture. In addition to many, year-round offerings of culinary workshops and resources in Western Massachusetts, seasonal events such as guided wild plant walks can open up new doorways of interests and add local, fresh ingredients to your cooking practice.

Whether you are interested in wild plant walks, gardening, farming, or cooking, there are ample opportunities for you and your family to connect with your community through food and plants. Here are several community-based educational resources and events to support your interests while engaging in your community this summer: Read the rest of this entry »

History Through the Lens of “What If?”

AlternateHistoryHub Promotes Consideration of Context in Studies of Human History

Every event in our own lives directly influences the next – and similarly, everything that we do as a country, a culture, and as humans influences all that comes after. Every major historical event – from battles and assassinations to natural disasters and deadly diseases – has shaped the events that follow it, making our timeline of human history not just a series of events, but a gradual and (so far) endless chain reaction of events.

So what if some of the major events that are part of our human timeline had never happened, or had happened differently?

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Off the Mat: Meditating and Parenting

Peace, Happiness and Fried Eggs

The object of my meditation.

Fried egg. Toast.

Brown flecks on pure white. Whiter than my t-shirt. I need a new white t-shirt. This one probably isn’t nice enough for work. What’s that stain? Marker? Blueberry? Can I tuck it in or do I need to change before my 1:15? What else is clean? I wonder if the washer is done.

Oh. The egg. The toast. Sunflower yellow yolk. Sunflowers didn’t grow this year. Too dry? Chipmunks eating the sprouts? Chipmunk darting through the garden now. Naturally still one moment and then scurrying someplace new.

Like my mind.

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