The Science of Snow and Frost

Snow Studies: Crystals & Frost

With chilly temperatures and icicles, we have the perfect winter for some great snow studies this year! The white coating that covers our landscape here in New England not only offers opportunities for winter sports, but it is also a great creative medium that can support science studies too! The chemistry behind snowflakes and frost are just waiting to be discovered!

CRYSTALS

Kids can use snow, ice, and frost to learn about crystals – a concept that they’ll eventually encounter when they study chemistry, but will understand much better if they have some firsthand experience with them. Snowflakes are a beautiful form of crystals, each one showing off a microscopic symmetrical design of spears, points, indents, and cutouts. Be sure to read the book Snowflake Bentley (by the talented Mary Azarian), a true story about the Vermont man whose curiosity about snowflakes lead him to be the first to photograph them! It would be pretty tricky to make snowflakes at home, but with a magnifying glass and a small square of black fabric, you can take a semi-close look at them when you venture outside. See if you can identify a difference between the shape and size of snowflakes and the snowy clumps that fall during each snowstorm we get… Read the rest of this entry »

Board Games Have Much to Offer When Days are Dark & Cold

Board Games Spark Play-Based Learning and Inspire Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

From classics to original creations, board games have much to offer regarding learning. Almost any game will encourage the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and specific games help players to hone in on particular skills or topics. By exploring local resources for playing games, creating new games, and digging into the history of games, families can maximize the educational potential of a great family pastime!

Dating back to the Victorian era, board games as we know them have been a popular form of entertainment for close to two centuries (though their roots stretch even further back in time). Sometimes seen these days as a low-tech version of computer-based games, board games have lots to offer within the realms of both entertainment and education. In addition to providing an exciting and engaging screen-free gaming experience, board games can encourage the development of essential thinking skills, as well as important content-area knowledge. From basic math skills to world geography, board games have much to offer – especially when daylight hours are short! Read the rest of this entry »

Literature in Context: A Community-Based Education Guide for Service-Learning & Civic Engagement

Literature in Context: A Community-Based Education Guide For Service-Learning & Civic Engagement

Download the full PDF literary guide to this month’s book list to learn more about the titles included.

Driven by Martin Luther King Day, this month’s book list celebrates value-based learning in the form of civic engagement and service-based learning. Spotlighting diverse stories of civic engagement, this collection of literature offers resources for learners of all ages. Download the full PDF literary guide to this month’s book list to learn more about the titles included.

Picture Books

Graphic Novel

Chapter Books

Nonfiction

Read the rest of this entry »

Conversation Highlights: The Sunday Edition, Jan 20, 2019

Recent highlights from Hilltown Families Facebook Page:

Children and teenagers need wilderness and adventure in their lives and who better to model it to them than us, their parents and caregivers! Where’s your favorite local spot for outdoor adventures in the colder months? Give the post, “Why Kids Need Wilderness And Adventure More Than Ever,” a read and share what you might add to their list.

Are you a parent of a teenager? What are your experiences/challenges with helping them boost their self-esteem? Check out this post, “Five Ways to Help Teens Build a Sense of Self-Worth” and share your thoughts!

“School-based yoga can help children better manage stress and anxiety: Researchers worked with a public school to add yoga and mindfulness activities to help third-graders screened for anxiety at the beginning of the school year.” We share the an article, “School-based yoga can help children better manage stress and anxiety” and asked reader to share if their child’s school offer mindfulness activities.

How do you help your kids understand and deal with their inner critic? Check out the article, “How to Teach Your Kids about Their Inner Critic,” and share your thoughts & ideas!

ICYMI, here are a few popular The New York Times articles from the past year packed with advice that may help parents in the year ahead.

Other popular posts to our Facebook page:

Do you have a favorite article, video, image, or podcast you’d like to see shared with our Facebook followers to inspire healthy conversations and community connection? DM us via Facebook!


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HFVS Love Activist Episode with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn (Podcast/Radio Show)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

HFVS Love Activist Episode
with Guest DJ, 
Charity Kahn

Listen to Podcast:

What does it mean to be a Love Activist? Charity Kahn from Charity and the JAMband takes listeners on a musical and philosophical journey examining how we all, whether young or old, can use our love, kindness, time, resources and gifts to bring positive change to the world.

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
January 19th & 20th, 2019
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: “Valentine” by Charity and the JAMband.


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

  • Stevie Wonder – “Love’s In Need of Love” [Songs in the Key of Life]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “Share Your Love” [EARTH]
  • Alphabet Rockers – “Stand Up for You” [Rise Shine #Woke]
  • Heart – “Love Alive” [Little Queen]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “Lemonade” [Family Values]
  • Cat Stevens – “Don’t Be Shy” [The Very Best of Cat Stevens]
  • Earth, Wind & Fire – “Love Is Law” [Now, Then & Forever]
  • Joni Mitchel – “Big Yellow Taxi” [Ladies of the Canyon]
  • The Invisible Bee – “O People” [Brokedown Palace]
  • Mavis Staples – “For What It’s Worth” [Mavis Staples Live: Hope At the Hideout]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “Peace Breath” [Sit Breathe Love: Guided Meditations for Children and their Grown-Ups]
  • The Invisible Bee – We Are Love” [Brokedown Palace]

Save

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11th Annual Community Handmade Valentine Swap

58 Suggested Events in Western MA: January 19-25, 2019

Are you subscribed to our weekly eNewsletter? Sign up here, so you never miss out!

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity 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 the development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools, and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through advertising and sponsorship. 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!

Bulletin Board

Auditions Jan 20

Hatchery, the School for Contemporary Dance & Thought’s amazing teen dance company for ages 13-18 now in its 3rd year, will host auditions on Sunday, Jan 20 from 1-3pm. Hatchery is a dance company for exceptional teens from diverse backgrounds who love move and create, offers dance training in contemporary techniques with an emphasis on developing the choreographic voice. Auditions will be held at STUDIO4, 25 Main Street (4th floor) in Northampton. Register for a one minute solo to share at www.scdtnoho.com. In addition to studying with internationally acclaimed artists, members will choreograph their own work, receive mentorship from experts in the field, and create a dynamic, inspiring performance for the Pioneer Valley.

Enroll Now

The Hartsbrook School provides a preschool experience that savors childhood and prepares for the future. Through imaginative play and practical work, children develop deep foundational skills, and the curiosity to seek answers and engage with the world. Uninterrupted time outdoors, music and song, visits to the farm animals, nourishing shared meals: these are a young child’s daily rhythm. Serving students from infancy through high school, The Hartsbrook School’s curriculum progressively meets each developmental stage with great care. Give your child the foundation for their future and enjoy a vibrant parent community. Accepting applications for children 2.9 to 6 years. Come take a tour! 193 Bay Road, Hadley, 413-586-1908, www.hartsbrook.org

Truth School Spring 2019 Trainings begin Jan 26 and run through May 26. Throughout the Pioneer Valley, there are free series classes and one-time sessions. There are free classes geared to elders, people of color, white people, transgender individuals, people of faith, seasoned activists and newly activated activists. There are free trainings on circle practice, sanctuary, planning meetings that get things done, reparations, abolition, workers’ rights, nonviolent direct action and so much more. Each free training connects to some dimension of building social justice movements – the gathering of people and resources together to create a more just society. Free to participate. Registration is required. truthschool.org

MARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer. On Wednesday, March 6th, 2019, Hilltown Families will be featuring summer camps and programs in the region on Hilltown Families with a special directory: 2019 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE.

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values for next year? Check out our  Preschool Directory, which features preschools and programs across Western MA., Find the perfect place for your young one! ♦  If you have a school or program you would like to add to our directory, contact us at info@hilltownfamilies.org for more information on how you can be added at any time.

ADVERTISE HERE: Want to reach thousands of families living across Western MA? See your community event, after-school program, summer camp, class, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, fundraiser, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter! Find out about our affordable advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by contacting us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
January 19-25, 2019

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Cultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Children’s Songs from Around the World Episode, with Guest DJ Priscilla Ahn (Podcast/Radio Show)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Children’s Songs from Around the World Episode
Guest DJ, Priscilla Ahn

Listen to Podcast:

This week, The Hilltown Family Variety Show brings you Children’s Songs from Around the World, with Guest DJ, Priscilla Ahn! Priscilla is a singer-songwriter who recently debuted her first album for children and their parents.  In this episode, she shares some of her favorite songs from places around the world (real and imaginary).  No matter the language or culture, Priscilla believes we can all connect through enjoying good music together. – www.priscillaahn.net

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
January 12 & 13, 2019
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

 


New Podcasts ♦ Archived Podcasts Subscribe to Podcast
Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

Playlist:

  • Station Id: Steve Weeks [www.steveweeksmusic.com]
  • Priscilla Ahn – “Body Sounds” [LA LA LA]
  • Hikaru Utada – “Boku Wa Kuma” [こころに響く NHK みんなのうた ベスト ]
  • Caetano Veloso – “O Leaozinho” [Caetano Veloso]
  • African Moonlight Stories Voices – “Babalawo Mo Wa Bebe” [African Moonlight Stories Folksongs – EP]
  • Kishore Kumar – “Ina Mina Dika” [Bollywood Productions Present – The Glory Days, Vol. 32]
  • Neil Young – “Sugar Mountain [Live]” [Sugar Mountain Live At Canterbury House 1968]
  • Grethe Agatz – “Ekkoleg” [Viva La Muerte Soundtrack]
  • Harry Nilsson – “The Town (Narration)” [The Point!]
  • Harry Nilsson – “Me and My Arrow” [The Point!]
  • Mercedes Sosa – “Duerme, Negrito (Album Version)” [30 Años]
  • Deserts Chang – “Bao Bei (in a day)” [My Life Will…]
  • Hui Ohana – “Nanakuli” [Young Hawaii Plays Old Hawaii]
  • Lee Dahyun – “Mother” [Lee Dahyun Piano]
  • Cat Stevens – “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” [Footsteps in the Dark – Greatest Hits, Vol. 2]
  • Priscilla Ahn – “Dream” [A Good Day]

Save

51 Suggested Events in Western MA: January 12-18, 2019

Are you subscribed to our weekly eNewsletter? Sign up here so you never miss out!

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity 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 the development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools, and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through advertising and sponsorship. 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!

Bulletin Board

Jan 12

The Common School: Community, collaboration, creativity, social justice, inclusivity, environmental stewardship- Come learn how these words are put into action at their Open House, Saturday, January 12, from 10am-12noon. Featuring: Their own Nursery Teacher, Jean Meister, teaching a movement class from 11:40- 12:00 (all visiting children are invited to participate). Play in their classrooms, meet their teachers, and chat with current parents. Light refreshments provided. Questions? Contact Director of Admissions, Dana Kadish at outreach@commonschool.org or visit www.commonschool.org.

Auditions Jan 20

Hatchery, the School for Contemporary Dance & Thought’s amazing teen dance company for ages 13-18 now in its 3rd year, will host auditions on Sunday, Jan 20 from 1-3pm. Hatchery is a dance company for exceptional teens from diverse backgrounds who love move and create, offers dance training in contemporary techniques with an emphasis on developing the choreographic voice. Auditions will be held at STUDIO4, 25 Main Street (4th floor) in Northampton. Register for a one minute solo to share at www.scdtnoho.com. In addition to studying with internationally acclaimed artists, members will choreograph their own work, receive mentorship from experts in the field, and create a dynamic, inspiring performance for the Pioneer Valley.

Enroll Now

Winter Homeschool Programs start Friday, 1/4 (9:30 am-2:00 pm), in Amherst, MA. Heron -ages 8+; Swift Eagle -preteens/teens. Since 1999, hundreds of children have developed their nature awareness, wilderness survival skills & mentoring with Earthwork Programs. Curriculum covered is seasonal according to the cycles of nature & is designed to allow students to explore what interests them but still revolve around group studies. Ice safety, hypothermia prevention, shelter building, tracking, more! $440-$560, sliding scale, for 8-week Winter sessions. Register online ASAP: earthworkprograms.com or call 413-340-1161.

Truth School Spring 2019 Trainings begin Jan 26 and run through May 26. Throughout the Pioneer Valley, there are free series classes and one-time sessions. There are free classes geared to elders, people of color, white people, transgender individuals, people of faith, seasoned activists and newly activated activists. There are free trainings on circle practice, sanctuary, planning meetings that get things done, reparations, abolition, workers’ rights, nonviolent direct action and so much more. Each free training connects to some dimension of building social justice movements – the gathering of people and resources together to create a more just society. Free to participate. Registration is required. truthschool.org

Looking for after-school classes and enrichment programs in the region? Check out our Online Directory! Western MA is rich in after-school learning opportunities that supplement the interests of our children, teens, and lifelong learners, our online directory allows us to partner with organizations and teachers to offer families a go-to resource for finding an activity that fits their families interests. ♦ If you have a class or program you would like to add to our directory, contact us at info@hilltownfamilies.org for more information on how you can be added at any time.

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values for next year? Check out our  Preschool Directory, which features preschools and programs across Western MA., Find the perfect place for your young one! ♦  If you have a school or program you would like to add to our directory, contact us at info@hilltownfamilies.org for more information on how you can be added at any time.

ADVERTISE HERE: Want to reach thousands of families living across Western MA? See your community event, after-school program, summer camp, class, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, fundraiser, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter! Find out about our affordable advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by contacting us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
January 12-18, 2019

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Cultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español Read the rest of this entry »

Off the Mat: The Rainbow Within

The Rainbow Within

When I was growing up, church was the center of my family’s social network. Sundays were music, crafts, and familiar stories, potlucks, and community. We sang Morning Has Broken alongside How Great Thou Art – it was the 70s, after all.

Beyond church, my parents helped host Christian encounter retreats a few times each year. These weekends were adults only, but the closing worship services were open to everyone, including kids. For my single-digit self, these services were late and long and often hot, but I enjoyed them. Even now, I can close my eyes and be resting my head in my mom’s lap in the pew of some church for some closing celebration, sensing the warm glow of the light and the love and the music. Lots of music. Lots of rainbows.

Rainbows became my thing. I decorated my new room in a new town with a rainbow bedspread and sheets and the two pillowcases that, if propped just right, made the full arch of the rainbow. (Want a visual for this trip down memory lane? Google “tomorrow’s rainbow pillowcases.”) Rainbows symbolized hope and spiritual connection that carried me through the storm clouds of adolescence. Read the rest of this entry »

Toytopia: History through the Lens of Toys

Springfield Museums Hosts Interactive Exhibit
Toytopia: January 12-April 28, 2019

Too cold to play outside? Check out a free museum pass from your local library and stop into the Springfield Museums for their new interactive exhibition, Toytopia. Opening on Saturday, January 12, 2019 and running through April 28, 2019 in the Wood Museum of Springfield History. Toytopia features larger than life toys, hands-on play, and immersive learning. Learn about the origins of toys, discover who made them, why some toys succeeded and some failed, and which toys have become collector’s items (and why!).

Filling the entire great hall of the Wood Museum of Springfield History, Toytopia showcases specialty exhibits from many well known toymakers. Toytopia is particularly well-suited to the Wood Museum of Springfield History because of its connections with Hasbro with the Museum’s Hasbro Gameland, a popular family destination for hands-on, larger than life game fun. Read the rest of this entry »

Community Spotlight: Hilltown Food Pantry

I have worked as the Director of the Hilltown Food Pantry in Goshen for 25 years. When asked why I do this work, one thing that comes to mind is the good, old bumper sticker that reads, “think globally, act locally.” We all hear of the horrible hunger, even starvation for some, all over the world. But we also know that food insecurity and hunger exist right here in Hampshire County. In fact, today, Hampshire County is home to over 30,000 food insecure individuals.

Three decades ago the term “food insecurity” was not familiar to most of us. But some folks in the hilltowns were becoming aware of its reality. They thought that there needed to be a community response, a concerted effort to help our fellow neighbors who were facing a serious need. Hampshire Community Action Corporation (HCAC) responded to help the towns set up two pantries; one to serve the southern hilltowns and one to be located in the northern hilltowns. In 2005 when HCAC was in its final days, David Keilson of Chesterfield stepped forward to find a new parent agency for the Hilltown Pantry. His advocacy worked and the pantry was adopted by Northampton Survival Center.

The Hilltown Pantry had several different locations over the years before moving into the Goshen Town Office Building in the early 2000’s. The Town of Goshen has been a very welcoming and supportive host ever since. This is a regional program serving about 280 individuals from ten communities in Western Hampshire County: Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Haydenville, Huntington, Middlefield, Plainfield, Westhampton, Williamsburg, and Worthington. Clients drive sometimes thirty minutes or more to access the pantry at its Rte. 9 location.

The clientele we serve is diverse, including the homeless; folks who are unemployed and waiting for food stamp assistance, or whose benefits have run out; families in crisis after the death or disability of a primary wage-earner; those struggling to reintegrate after serving in the military; and others for whom unexpected life events left them hungry and without a safety net. The children we help feed are growing up not just hungry, but in families that may be isolated, maybe with a parent fleeing abuse, or new to this country. 27% of clients are children under the age of 18, and 18% are seniors. We see about 30 new clients each year. Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS New Year Dance Party with Guest DJ, Twinkle (Podcast/Radio Show)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

New Year Dance Party with Guest DJ, Twinkle

“New Year Dance Party” with Award-winning Peruvian-American bilingual kindie music phenomenon Twinkle. Twinkle brings all genres of dance music  -pop, electronic dance, rock, and hip-hop as she spins the hottest dance tracks for the kindie generation. – www.twinkleandfriends.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
January 5th & 6th, 2019
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: Twinkle “Just Dance”


Podcasts Radio

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

  • Twinkle -“Just Dance” [Just Dance]
  • Andrew and Polly ft. Mista Cookie Jar- “Dancing Pants”  [Ear Snacks]
  • Genevieve Goings – “If Your Happy and You Know It”  [Disney Junior Music Nursery Rhymes]
  • Laurie Berkner Band -“I Really Love To  Dance – Dance Remix ” [Laurie Berkner The Dance Remixes]
  • Lucky Diaz and The Family Jam Band -“A Bailar ” [Fantastico!]
  • Tim Kubart -“Dancing in the Kitchen” [Home]
  • Twinkle -“Twinklematics” [Just Dance]
  • Alphabet Rockers -“The Nitro” [Rise Shine #Woke]
  • Rhymezwell -“Robots on the Dance Floor” [Robots on the Dance Floor]
  • Twinkle -“Music” [Just Dance]
  • Lisa Loeb -“Monster Stomp” [Songs for Movin’ and Shakin’]
  • Rhythm Child-“Everybody is the One” [Eat a Bowl of Cherries]
  • The Pop Ups -“Costume Party” [Appetite for Construction]
  • Laurie Berkner Band- “Drive My Car” [Laurie Berkner The Dance Remixes]
  • The Not- Its! – “Dance with Me” [Are You Listening ]
  • Secret Agent 23 Skidoo -“Mozartistic -feat. Orion Weiss and Marley Carroll” [Mozartistic]
  • Rhymezwell -“Hip Hop” [Nursery Rhymez]
  • Twinkle -“Kidz Rock(Remix){Feat.Mista Cookie Jar}” [Just Dance]

Save

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Save

41 Suggested Events in Western MA: January 5-11, 2019

“As a partial stay-at-home-mom for almost four years, Hilltown Families has helped me find things to do with my daughter on weekdays and on weekends. Thanks and keep up the good work!” – Sandra D. (Holyoke, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity 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 the development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools, and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through advertising and sponsorship. 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! For more information, contact us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Bulletin Board

Accepting applications for fall 2019. The Bement School founded in 1925 and located in Deerfield is a co-educational junior boarding and day school serving 225 students in kindergarten through grade 9. At Bement, the innovative educational approach and rigorous curriculum prepare students well for competitive secondary schools and to tackle the challenges of life. Students work hard, learn to overcome obstacles, persevere with joy and optimism, develop a strong sense of self, and find ways to help others. Children and adults at Bement work together to create a community where all members cultivate mutual respect and understanding within the school and the world. For info on how to arrange a campus visit, call 413-774-4209 or visit www.bement.org.

Jan 12

The Common School: Community, collaboration, creativity, social justice, inclusivity, environmental stewardship- Come learn how these words are put into action at their Open House, Saturday, January 12, from 10am-12noon. Featuring: Their own Nursery Teacher, Jean Meister, teaching a movement class from 11:40- 12:00 (all visiting children are invited to participate). Play in their classrooms, meet their teachers, and chat with current parents. Light refreshments provided. Questions? Contact Director of Admissions, Dana Kadish at outreach@commonschool.org or visit www.commonschool.org.

Enroll Now

Winter Homeschool Programs start Friday, 1/4 (9:30 am-2:00 pm), in Amherst, MA. Heron -ages 8+; Swift Eagle -preteens/teens. Since 1999, hundreds of children have developed their nature awareness, wilderness survival skills & mentoring with Earthwork Programs. Curriculum covered is seasonal according to the cycles of nature & is designed to allow students to explore what interests them but still revolve around group studies. Ice safety, hypothermia prevention, shelter building, tracking, more! $440-$560, sliding scale, for 8-week Winter sessions. Register online ASAP: earthworkprograms.com or call 413-340-1161.

Truth School Spring 2019 Trainings begin Jan 26 and run through May 26. Throughout the Pioneer Valley, there are free series classes and one-time sessions. There are free classes geared to elders, people of color, white people, transgender individuals, people of faith, seasoned activists and newly activated activists. There are free trainings on circle practice, sanctuary, planning meetings that get things done, reparations, abolition, workers’ rights, nonviolent direct action and so much more. Each free training connects to some dimension of building social justice movements – the gathering of people and resources together to create a more just society. Free to participate. Registration is required. truthschool.org

Looking for after-school classes and enrichment programs in the region? Check out our Online Directory! Western MA is rich in after-school learning opportunities that supplement the interests of our children, teens, and lifelong learners, our online directory allows us to partner with organizations and teachers to offer families a go-to resource for finding an activity that fits their families interests. ♦ If you have a class or program you would like to add to our directory, contact us at info@hilltownfamilies.org for more information on how you can be added at any time.

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values for next year? Check out our Preschool Directory, which features preschools and programs across Western MA. Find the perfect place for your young one! ♦ If you have a school or program you would like to add to our directory, contact us at info@hilltownfamilies.org for more information on how you can be added at any time.

ADVERTISE HERE: Want to reach thousands of families living across Western MA? See your community event, after-school program, summer camp, class, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, fundraiser, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and our weekly eNewsletter! Find out about our affordable advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by contacting us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
January 5-11, 2019

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Cultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español Read the rest of this entry »

Three Ideas for Cultivating and Sharing Gratitude

Memory Banks, Gratitude Journals, & Accountability Partners

Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat. – Laura Ingalls Wilder

This New Year, rather than making a resolution to change something, why not make a commitment to find a deeper appreciation for small moments and shared time with friends and family? Create a memory bank and throughout the year, write little notes of appreciation and deposit them for opening up next year on New Year’s Day! Notes could include three things you’re grateful for from the day, a joy-filled event, a small moment of appreciation, a thank you note to someone … the ideas are endless! Next year when you open up your memory bank and read what you deposited throughout the year, you’ll be hooked on a new tradition!

Another option for those less crafty folks or wanting more guidance is a gratitude journal like Good Days Start With Gratitude: A 52 Week Guide To Cultivate An Attitude Of Gratitude. With daily quotes and prompts, journals like this one can help facilitate a practice for finding appreciation for the big and little things your experience every day!

Accountability partners are good too. Gather a few friends and commit to sharing with one another three things you’re grateful for every day (or week if you want to begin with a less ambitious plan). Email your list to one another, post it to a private online group, write it down and tack it to a bulletin board in a shared space… whatever works for your group of friends (or even coworkers!) for sharing and checking in with one another on a regular basis.

First Day Hike in Nature: A Time for Family Reflection

Set The Tone for the Year: Connect with Nature!

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For many, New Year’s Day is a time for peace, quiet, and calmness. Though it’s the beginning of something new, it’s also a time to reflect on all that life brought during the past year in preparation for what’s soon to come. Luckily, New Year’s Day in western Massachusetts offers us a beautiful landscape within which to reflect. As 2019 begins, families can connect to the world around them by participating in facilitated First Day hikes or by exploring on their own through the chilly landscape.

Five Featured First Day Hikes

Make sure you dress accordingly and arrive early.

  1. Tuesday, January 1 at 10am-4pm in Lanesborough at Mount Greylock State Reservation. Self-guided hike and open house.
  2. Tuesday, January 1 at 10:30am in Granville at the Granville State Forest. Meet at the Park Headquarters. Warm up afterward with a fire and warm beverage.
  3. Tuesday, January 1 at 12noon-1pm in Windsor at Notchview. Guided snowshoe hike.
  4. Tuesday, January 1 at 1pm in Turners Falls at Great Falls Discovery Center. Meet in the Great Hall. Hot chocolate will be served following the hike.
  5. Tuesday, January 1 at 1-4pm in Amherst at Holyoke Range State Park. Meet at the Notch Visitor Center. Warm beverages follow.

Families who prefer a more personalized beginning to the new year can create their own adventure, using some of our winter tracking resources as a catalyst for nature-based discoveries. Additionally, families can make a game of learning to look closely at their surroundings using Mass Audubon’s winter installment of nature bingo, a 5″x5″ bingo-style card that requires players to find an assortment of interesting nature treasures to win. The winter bingo card includes things like feathers and acorns, as well as more difficult to spot things like animal burrows, birds’ nests, and evidence of woodpeckers. Unstructured family outdoor time can help to set the tone for the year – if your family intends to make 2019 a nature-filled year, then local exploration is undoubtedly where the year should begin. Read the rest of this entry »

New Year’s Eve Community Celebrations Support a Sense of Place Through Social Connections

Community Celebrations of the New Year Offer Embedded Learning Opportunities


As 2018 comes to a close, opportunities arise for families to engage with their communities in meaningful ways. Communities across western Massachusetts hold special celebratory events of many kinds, offering families opportunities to share in the joy of celebrating all that has happened in the past year and to learn about and reflect on how we celebrate. Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Starting Anew Episode with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn (Podcast/Radio Show)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Starting Anew Episode with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn

This week, The Hilltown Family Variety Show brings you a Peace, Love, and Intention Episode with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn!

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
December 29 & 30, 2018
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: Charity Kahn – “The Lovingkindness Song”


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

  • Charity and the JAMband – “We Love Everyone” [EARTH]
  • The New Seekers – “Free to Be…You and Me” [Free to Be…You and Me (Marlo Thomas and Friends)]
  • Melita – “Animals” [Melita, for Kids]
  • Joe Reilly – “My Community” [Let’s Go Outside]
  • Earth, Wind & Fire – “Got to Get You Into My Life” [The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “Shine” [EARTH]
  • Peter, Paul and Mary – “If I Had a Hammer” [Peter, Paul and Mary]
  • Mavis Staples – “Down By the Riverside” [Spirituals & Gospel: Dedicated to Mahalia Jackson]
  • Kermit the Frog – “Rainbow Connection” [The Muppet Movie (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)]
  • Pete Seeger – “Well May the World Go” [If I Had a Hammer: Songs of Hope & Struggle]
  • Charity and the JAMBAND – “Ball of Light Meditation” [Sit Breathe Love: Guided Meditation for Children and their Grown-ups]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “Share Your Love” [EARTH]
  • Captain & Tennille – “Love Will Keep Us Together” [Love Will Keep Us Together]
  • Grateful Dead – “Not Fade Away” [Grateful Dead (Skull and Roses)]

Save

Save

Save

New Year’s Day Morning Music Party with Hilltown Families, Flywheel Arts Collective, & Easthampton Family Center

Suggested Events for December 29th, 2018 – January 4th, 2019

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

To find out about more event, be sure to visit our Suggest an Event Bulletin Board to see what our readers have recently shared! Have an event to share? Feel encouraged to self-post community events here at any time!

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity 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! Click HERE to find out more.

Each week, Hilltown Families taps into your interests and values and gives you the chance to connect with others who want to explore them. By highlighting the learning opportunities that are embedded in the everyday events, activities, and spaces that make up our communities, sharing this information with families via our extensive online network, and supporting your participation in engaging and meaningful ways, together, we are building connections that shape and change lives and communities.

The beautiful fact is, we can’t do any of this without you. It all comes back to you and your engagement. During this season of gratitude and giving, we are inviting you not only to get out and have some fun while you learn, we’re inviting you to invest in the organization that helps make that possible. Hilltown Families is in the process of redesigning our website and planning new in-person programming for the Spring. We will bring you seasonally-based mindfulness events and workshops for learners of all ages and backgrounds at our founder, Sienna Wildfield’s, new space, Curly Willow on the Westfield River. But we need your help. Please support what you love by donating what you can to Hilltown Families. Consider making it a monthly contribution. For less than what you spend on a cup of coffee, you can make a big difference in the lives of families – just like yours – throughout Western MA! We thank you!

Our Saturday Morning Music Party Series is BACK!

On New Year’s Day (Jan 1st), Hilltown Families, the Flywheel Arts Collective, and the Easthampton Family Center are continuing the beloved ‘Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing, and diversions for kids! This year, we are starting off this family series on New Year’s Day, January 1, with a First Day Morning Music Party from 10am-12noon in Easthampton, MA. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and fruit, along with an awesome dance party for all ages! It takes place at Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton’s old Town Hall. This event is a fundraiser for the organizers, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend with your family. So much cheaper than a night out on the town and just as much fun!

Plus, this year, we’ll be collecting donations of new toys and toiletries to donate to the YWCA of Western MA. This activity came out of one Hilltown Families grandma who wants to get her grandson into the habit of joyful giving at a young age. We think that more really is merrier and decided to open it up to the whole Hilltown Families community! Please join our family in expressing the value of generosity by developing a practice of giving as individuals, with our neighbors, to our communities. You bring the toys and toiletries and we’ll sort, package, and deliver them to the YWCA of Western MA, which, for over 150 years, has provided shelter, support services, and tools for self-sufficiency for women and girls in our community.

Bulletin Board

Accepting applications for fall 2019. The Bement School founded in 1925 and located in Deerfield is a co-educational junior boarding and day school serving 225 students in kindergarten through grade 9. At Bement, the innovative educational approach and rigorous curriculum prepare students well for competitive secondary schools and to tackle the challenges of life. Students work hard, learn to overcome obstacles, persevere with joy and optimism, develop a strong sense of self, and find ways to help others. Children and adults at Bement work together to create a community where all members cultivate mutual respect and understanding within the school and the world. For info on how to arrange a campus visit, call 413-774-4209 or visit www.bement.org.

Add Your Venue!

Hilltown Families is now partnering with local businesses and organizations throughout Western MA to help parents connect with the right venue for their kid’s birthday party. The Best Birthday Party Venue Directory will debut on January 1st, 2019. We would like to invite your venue to join our stellar team of spaces that are partnering with us to reach new customers and make birthdays throughout Western MA more fun for everyone! A 1-Year membership in the Best Birthday Party Venue Directory is $150. We have a special discount advertising package for folks who would like to take the promotion of their space to the next level, too! To add your venue, email Hilltown Families’ Director, Courtney Supple-Benoit, at csupple@hilltownfamilies.org to get set up quickly and easily!

Add your class

Reach thousands of families in the region with our 2018-2019 directory! Reserve your space. Our community is rich in after-school learning opportunities to supplement the interests of our children, teens, and life-long learners. We are putting together a directory of after-school & weekend classes and enrichment programs happening across Western Massachusetts to be published on our web site later this month and featured throughout the school year. If you have a class or program you would like to have included in our directory, contact us at sales@hilltownfamilies.org to learn about our advertising options and sponsorship packages.

Add your school

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

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 at sales@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
December 29th, 2018 – January 4th, 2019

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Holiday Show with Guest DJ, Brady Rymer

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Holiday Show with Guest DJ, Brady Rymer

Get into the holiday spirit with three-time Grammy nominee, Brady Rymer as he spins some of his seasonal favorites! It’s the perfect soundtrack for baking cookies, trimming the tree or an ugly sweater party! – www.bradyrymer.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
December 22 & December 23, 2018
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: “Hanukkah Rocks” by Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could – “Revvin’ Up the Reindeer” [Revvin’ Up the Reindeer]
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings – “White Christmas” [It’s A Holiday Soul Party]
Caspar Babypants – “Winter Party” [Winter Party!]
The Laurie Berkner Band – “Children Go Where I Send Thee” [A Laurie Berkner Christmas]
Raffi – “Christmas Time’s A-Coming” [Raffi’s Christmas Album]
Brenda Lee – “Marshmallow World” [Jingle Bell Rock]
Lisa Loeb – “Light” [Light-Single]
The Ronettes – “Frosty the Snowman” [A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector]
Justin Roberts – “From Scratch” [Pop Fly]
Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could – “Holiday Jam” [Revvin’ Up the Reindeer]
Dan Zanes – “Deck the Halls” [
Emily Arrow – “Little Red Sled” [Wintertime Singalong]
Otis Redding – “Merry Christmas, Baby” [Christmas in Soulsville]
Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer – “I’m My Own Grandpa” [Dancing in the Kitchen]
Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could – “Hanukkah Rocks” [Revvin’ Up the Reindeer]
Elizabeth Mitchell and Friends – “Silent Night” [The Sounding Joy]
Burl Ives – “Silver Bells” [The Very Best of Burl Ives Christmas]
Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could – “Can’t Sit Still” [Revvin’ Up the Reindeer]
Stevie Wonder – “Someday at Christmas” [Someday At Christmas]

Save

Save

Save

Suggested Events for December 22nd – 28th, 2018

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

To find out about more event, be sure to visit our Suggest an Event Bulletin Board to see what our readers have recently shared! Have an event to share? Feel encouraged to self-post community events here at any time!

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity 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! Click HERE to find out more.

Each week, Hilltown Families taps into your interests and values and gives you the chance to connect with others who want to explore them. By highlighting the learning opportunities that are embedded in the everyday events, activities, and spaces that make up our communities, sharing this information with families via our extensive online network, and supporting your participation in engaging and meaningful ways, together, we are building connections that shape and change lives and communities.

The beautiful fact is, we can’t do any of this without you. It all comes back to you and your engagement. During this season of gratitude and giving, we are inviting you not only to get out and have some fun while you learn, we’re inviting you to invest in the organization that helps make that possible. Hilltown Families is in the process of redesigning our website and planning new in-person programming for the Spring. We will bring you seasonally-based mindfulness events and workshops for learners of all ages and backgrounds at our founder, Sienna Wildfield’s, new space, Curly Willow on the Westfield River. But we need your help. Please support what you love by donating what you can to Hilltown Families. Consider making it a monthly contribution. For less than what you spend on a cup of coffee, you can make a big difference in the lives of families – just like yours – throughout Western MA! We thank you!

Our Saturday Morning Music Party Series is BACK!

On New Year’s Day (Jan 1st), Hilltown Families, the Flywheel Arts Collective, and the Easthampton Family Center are continuing the beloved ‘Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing, and diversions for kids! This year, we are starting off this family series on New Year’s Day, January 1, with a First Day Morning Music Party from 10am-12noon in Easthampton, MA. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and fruit, along with an awesome dance party for all ages! It takes place at Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton’s old Town Hall. This event is a fundraiser for the organizers, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend with your family. So much cheaper than a night out on the town and just as much fun!

Plus, this year, we’ll be collecting donations of new toys and toiletries to donate to the YWCA of Western MA. This activity came out of one Hilltown Families grandma who wants to get her grandson into the habit of joyful giving at a young age. We think that more really is merrier and decided to open it up to the whole Hilltown Families community! Please join our family in expressing the value of generosity by developing a practice of giving as individuals, with our neighbors, to our communities. You bring the toys and toiletries and we’ll sort, package, and deliver them to the YWCA of Western MA, which, for over 150 years, has provided shelter, support services, and tools for self-sufficiency for women and girls in our community.

Bulletin Board

Sign Up Now!

Hilltown Sleddogs is a touring & racing outdoor adventure business right here in Western Massachusetts. Winter Vacation day sled dog camps, rides & lessons on dryland & snow are offered Fall, Winter & Spring! Summer Sled Dog Camps Overnight & Day, Dog Yard tours & hikes with a Husky are highlights of Summer. Private instruction is also offered with clients dogs to learn how to mush, skijor, bikejor, scooter &/or cani-cross. Hilltown Sleddogs is available for birthday parties with or without snow, school demonstrations & festivals. Contact 413-296-0187 or HilltownSleddogs@gmail.comSaturday, December 29, 2018, 10am-3pm, Ages 8-16, 1 Day Sled Dog Camp, $90. Register online, www.HilltownSleddogs.com. Holiday Gift Certificates available too!

Sign Up Now!

Central Rock Gym in Hadley is offering Climbing Vacation Programs during school breaks! Great for ages 7-13, our program focuses on climbing for all skill levels, and includes an emphasis on problem solving and team building initiatives. Throughout their week, children will have the opportunity to experiment with different types of climbing, and engage in exciting games and group activities. Email youth.crghadley@gmail.com for info or visit www.centralrockgym.com.

Add Your Venue!

Hilltown Families is now partnering with local businesses and organizations throughout Western MA to help parents connect with the right venue for their kid’s birthday party. The Best Birthday Party Venue Directory will debut on January 1st, 2019. We would like to invite your venue to join our stellar team of spaces that are partnering with us to reach new customers and make birthdays throughout Western MA more fun for everyone! A 1-Year membership in the Best Birthday Party Venue Directory is $150. We have a special discount advertising package for folks who would like to take the promotion of their space to the next level, too! To add your venue, email Hilltown Families’ Director, Courtney Supple-Benoit, at csupple@hilltownfamilies.org to get set up quickly and easily!

Add your class

Reach thousands of families in the region with our 2018-2019 directory! Reserve your space. Our community is rich in after-school learning opportunities to supplement the interests of our children, teens, and life-long learners. We are putting together a directory of after-school & weekend classes and enrichment programs happening across Western Massachusetts to be published on our web site later this month and featured throughout the school year. If you have a class or program you would like to have included in our directory, contact us at sales@hilltownfamilies.org to learn about our advertising options and sponsorship packages.

Add your school

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

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 at sales@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
December 22nd – 28th, 2018

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Dear Sarah: Cell Phone Contract with My Teenager

Dear Readers,

I get so many questions and concerns from parents about their teenagers’ use of cellphones that I decided, for my column this month, to share the contract that my co-parent and I use for our 15 year old daughter.  We still have our challenges, and it is a work in progress, but it helps to avoid many of the problems that I hear about in my practice. Feel free to use, change or ignore any parts of it.

Warmly,

Sarah

Contract for Use of a Cellphone

We agree to:

  • Allow you to have a cellphone, and contribute to its cost and monthly plan, so long as you use it in accordance with this contract.
  • Offer support and education about how to be a good online citizen.
  • Listen without judgment or punishment when you need help, make mistakes, or have concerns.
  • Respect your privacy except when we feel we need to protect or educate you.

You agree to take responsibility for following our rules:

  • Contribute $100 toward the cost of the phone and $5/month to the cost of your plan, assuming more of the cost of it over the next few years.
  • Use your phone only during screen time and follow screen time rules.
  • Understand that if you are using anything that has a screen, it is screen time. This includes handheld devices, desktops, laptops, tvs and anything else that has a screen.
  • Respect our rule about no social media and use your devices only for texting, face timing, calling, and approved games (games that don’t include sharing photos, videos or any personal information with people that you don’t know in person or inviting people to rate/judge you or your work).  
  • Understand that the phone does not go to school except on transition days or by special arrangement with a parent.  
  • Put your phone in the agreed upon, public location at both houses, as soon as you get home, in between use, and at bedtime.

You agree to take responsibility for your health/safety:

  • Never use your phone to communicate with people who are unknown to you in person and never agree to meet someone that you have met online.
  • Share the password with us and not change it until you have given us the new one.
  • Keep it on airplane mode, in an agreed upon location, when not in use.  
  • When you are carrying your phone with you, have it on airplane mode, except when you are using it or waiting for a call.
  • Have the phone as far away from your head as possible when using it.
  • Do not provide your personal information – address, real name, birthdate, SS number, names of family members to sites or to even anyone known to you since these routes are not secure and that info can be hacked and used to steal your identity. You can create a fake birthday, etc if you wish.
  • To turn off the device and tell a trusted adult (preferably us!) immediately if you come across porn, bullying, someone using a damaging picture of you online, or anything else that is concerning/confusing/not age-appropriate.

You agree to take responsibility for your words and actions:

  • Not say anything to someone, or about someone, that you would not say to their face.
  • Not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others.  Be a leader and a positive influence, or stay out of the conversation.
  • Never send pictures of yourself that you would not want the entire world to see.
  • Send only pictures of others that you have their permission to send.

You agree to take responsibility for protecting your future:

  • Tell friends not to post, share or forward photos of you or your messages without your knowledge and consent.
  • To always remember that once you send a picture or message, you have lost control over it. It can be forwarded to people that you never intended it for. Assume this is always a possibility before you hit the send button. In other words, if you wouldn’t say/wear/do it in front of your entire class, don’t say/wear/do it online.
  • To remember that once you put something online, it creates a “digital footprint” that never completely goes away. It can be found in the future by college admissions officers, prospective employers, and law enforcement. In other words, if you aren’t totally proud of it, don’t document it online.
  • Understand that college admissions officers and potential employers are now checking who potential candidates follow on twitter and other social media aps. They will use this information to judge whether you are a “good fit” for their organization.

You agree to :

  • Be honest with us if/when you mess up and break any of the above agreements. We expect you to make mistakes. That’s ok. Mistakes are how you learn. Above all, be honest about your mistakes so we can help you learn. We are on your team. We are all in this together.
  • Understand that we may, at times, take breaks from these technologies in order to give us all a chance to “reset”. This will happen if you are not respecting the terms of this contract or if the use of the phone is creating undue conflict or stress in our homes/relationships with you.

We believe that these are not just online skills, but life skills. We know that technology is a fun and novel way to connect with others. We also know that the best way to connect with others is to be with them, real and in person, giving each other your loving and undivided attention.

We love you more than anything in the whole world!

Signature __________________________________ Date ________________

Signature __________________________________ Date ________________

Signature __________________________________ Date ________________


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Getoff has over 20 years of experience as a parenting consultant/psychotherapist and has a private practice in Northampton, MA.  She offers parenting consultations, couples counseling and individual therapy. Sarah also offers a Parenting Support Group and a Get Unstuck with EFT Tapping Group.

Ask questions for the column or sample parenting workshops at sarahgetoff.com

HFVS Holiday Show with Guest DJ, Mister G

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Holiday Episode with Guest DJ, Mister G

Kick off the holidays with Mister G on this week’s HFVS. Broadcasting from his recording studio deep in the woods of Western MA, the Latin GRAMMY Award winner and previous contributing writer for Hilltown Families serves up a multicultural musical feast featuring holiday classics by Ray Charles, B.B. King, Johnny Cash along with tracks by fellow children’s musicians. It’s a fiesta for the ears! – www.mistergsongs.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
December 15 & December 16
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: Christmas Truce of 1914, World War I


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

Lucy Kalantari “It’s Snowing” (It’s the Holidays)
José Gonzalez y Banda Criolla “La Llamada a Santa Clós” (¡Feliz Navidad Boricua!)
Mister G “Latkes for Breakfast” (The Mitzvah Bus)
Aaron Nigel Smith “Happy Holidays”
Recess Monkey “Snowball” (Novelties)
Dave Kinnoin “Children of the World” (Dunce Cap Kelly)
Mister G El Coquí” (Mundo Verde/Green World)
Alison Levy “All I Want for Chanukah is a Ukulele”
Brady Rymer “Revvin’ Up The Reindeer” (Revvin’ Up The Reindeer)
Culture Queen “Kemet” (I Like The Me I See)
Andy Z “Frosty the Snowman”
Ray Charles “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (Ray Charles Celebrates a Gospel Christmas with the Voices of Jubilation!)
The Sweetback Sisters “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” (The Sweetback Sisters’ Country Christmas Spectacular)
Mister G “Hannukah” (The Mitzvah Bus)
Johnny Cash “There’s A Bear In The Woods” (The Johnny Cash Christmas Album)
B.B.King “Christmas Celebration” (The Christmas Collection: The Best of B.B. King)
Charles Brown “Santa’s Blues” (Cool Christmas Blues)
Mister G “Sí Se Puede/Yes We Can” (Mundo Verde/Green World)

Save

Save

Save

Suggested Events for December 15th – 21st, 2018

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

To find out about more event, be sure to visit our Suggest an Event Bulletin Board to see what our readers have recently shared! Have an event to share? Feel encouraged to self-post community events here at any time!

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity 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! Click HERE to find out more.

Each week, Hilltown Families taps into your interests and values and gives you the chance to connect with others who want to explore them. By highlighting the learning opportunities that are embedded in the everyday events, activities, and spaces that make up our communities, sharing this information with families via our extensive online network, and supporting your participation in engaging and meaningful ways – together – we are building connections that shape and change lives and communities. Hilltown Families is where families come to connect to the place where they live and the people who call it home.

The beautiful fact is, we can’t do any of this without you. It all comes back to you and your engagement. During this season of gratitude and giving, we are inviting you not only to get out and have some fun while you learn, we’re inviting you to invest in the organization that helps make that possible. Hilltown Families is in the process of redesigning our website and planning new in-person programming for the Spring. We will bring you seasonally-based mindfulness events and workshops for learners of all ages and backgrounds at our founder, Sienna Wildfield’s, new space, Curly Willow on the Westfield River. But we need your help. Please support what you love by donating what you can to Hilltown Families. Consider becoming a Hilltown Families Sustainer and make yours a monthly contribution. For less than what you spend on a cup of coffee, you can make a big difference in the lives of families – just like yours – throughout Western MA! We thank you!

Special Event: We Are Human: Family Storytime & Read-In with Megan Dowd Lambert

Join us for a Family Storytime and Read-In with Megan Dowd Lambert, Sunday, December 16, 11am – 12pm. Especially for families with kids 0-8, and all ages welcome! The first 25 attendees receive free entry to the Eric Carle Museum. All families will receive a FREE copy of “I Am Human” by Susan Verde, illustrations by Peter Reynolds.

This FREE family program is part of the month-long We Stand Together Hanukkah Ally Action (www.we-stand-together.org/ally-action-against-anti-semitism) aimed at creating solidarity through pride and compassion,through story-time and a FAMILY READ-IN featuring a curated selection of picture books to spark conversations about empathy, solidarity, and learning about Jewish identity and who we all are. All are welcome!

In light of the anti-Semitic and racist violence we are witnessing in our world, please join us for a reading of the newly released book, “I AM HUMAN: A BOOK OF EMPATHY” by Susan Verde and illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds, read by Megan Dowd Lambert. This is an opportunity for families to come together and remember that we are all deeply connected. This beautifully illustrated book “lifts up the flawed fullness of humanity and encourages children to see themselves as part of one big imperfect family—millions strong.”

Through this delightful reading and age-appropriate activities, families will have an opportunity to show how much we care about all people and have an action to do with our children to bring the message right into our homes. Children want to make the world right. Each child will receive a coloring sheet of a Hanukkah Menorah (Jewish holiday candelabra). Families are invited to hang the menorah in their home to show support and compassion to all people who are targeted by hate and as a stand for empathy.

We Stand Together helps people of all ages learn how to be brave and is happy to provide this family event that helps us all remember the power of standing together and being our truly compassionate selves through age-appropriate Ally Actions. Join us!

Our Saturday Morning Music Party Series is BACK!

On New Year’s Day (Jan 1st), Hilltown Families, the Flywheel Arts Collective, and the Easthampton Family Center are continuing the beloved ‘Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing, and diversions for kids! This year, we are starting off this family series on New Year’s Day, January 1, with a First Day Morning Music Party from 10am-12noon in Easthampton, MA. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and fruit, along with The Mr. Fuzznogginz Show – the hippest, coolest, funniest magic show in New England. As always, we close out the morning with an awesome dance party for all ages! It takes place at Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton’s old Town Hall. This event is a fundraiser for the organizers, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend with your family. So much cheaper than a night out on the town and just as much fun!

Plus, this year, we’ll be collecting donations of new toys and toiletries to donate to the YWCA of Western MA. This activity came out of one Hilltown Families grandma who wants to get her grandson into the habit of joyful giving at a young age. We think that more really is merrier and decided to open it up to the whole Hilltown Families community! Please join our family in expressing the value of generosity by developing a practice of giving as individuals, with our neighbors, to our communities. You bring the toys and toiletries and we’ll sort, package, and deliver them to the YWCA of Western MA, which, for over 150 years, has provided shelter, support services, and tools for self-sufficiency for women and girls in our community.

Bulletin Board

Sign Up Now!

Central Rock Gym in Hadley is offering Climbing Vacation Programs during school breaks! Great for ages 7-13, our program focuses on climbing for all skill levels, and includes an emphasis on problem solving and team building initiatives. Throughout their week, children will have the opportunity to experiment with different types of climbing, and engage in exciting games and group activities. Email youth.crghadley@gmail.com for info or visit www.centralrockgym.com.

Add Your Venue!

Hilltown Families is now partnering with local businesses and organizations throughout Western MA to help parents connect with the right venue for their kid’s birthday party. The Best Birthday Party Venue Directory will debut on January 1st, 2019. We would like to invite your venue to join our stellar team of spaces that are partnering with us to reach new customers and make birthdays throughout Western MA more fun for everyone! A 1-Year membership in the Best Birthday Party Venue Directory is $150. We have a special discount advertising package for folks who would like to take the promotion of their space to the next level, too! To add your venue, email Hilltown Families’ Director, Courtney Supple-Benoit, at csupple@hilltownfamilies.org to get set up quickly and easily!

Add your class

Reach thousands of families in the region with our 2018-2019 directory! Reserve your space. Our community is rich in after-school learning opportunities to supplement the interests of our children, teens, and life-long learners. We are putting together a directory of after-school & weekend classes and enrichment programs happening across Western Massachusetts to be published on our web site later this month and featured throughout the school year. If you have a class or program you would like to have included in our directory, contact us at sales@hilltownfamilies.org to learn about our advertising options and sponsorship packages.

Add your school

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

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 at sales@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
December 15th – 21st, 2018

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

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Reiki Positive: Gently Taking Care of Your Anger

Energy is constantly changing. I honor the energy. It’s all around us. There are three types of invisible forces dancing inside us….emotions, thoughts, and life force energy. When we stuff down our emotions, we are creating blocks in our physical bodies, which make us more susceptible to illness. Life experiences trigger our emotions. All of us, kids and parents, need to express those emotions as they rise and fall away. But what do we do with all the people who quickly and shockingly aim their anger at us when we least expect it? How do we stop the “Grinches,” the “crazy makers,” the antagonists from knocking us over with their anger, hate, resentment, negativity? We don’t is the short answer.

We can’t control what other people do and say. And we can’t keep people away. Our daily lives are filled with interactions with other people. We can’t live on an island alone, although some people try it. Isolation is not the answer. Relationships are the connections and meanings on which we create our experiences. But how do we deal with friends, family, caretakers, employers, strangers who are mean to us, who hurt us, who keep bumping into our ethics and triggering our fear or anger?

You imagine yourself completely safe and strong and then genuinely ask if you can help them. Then you simply listen, without defensive responses. You can hear angry people, without allowing them to affect your own emotions. You can also ask them not to yell. And ask them to talk about their anger or pain. Anger is an emotion that is best dealt with intimately, not thrown at one another like daggers, not used as an outward, emotional hot-potato.

When I lose my temper, my friend used to say, “She’s pushing your buttons again. Get rid of your buttons, so she can’t push them.” Thich Nhat Hanh agrees. He says in his book called Anger – to eliminate your buttons, you must take very gentle and deliberate care of your emotions. Hold your anger close and give it love and attention. “Anger is your baby,” he writes. We often push our emotions aside, but that just makes them grow and feel worse, like a crying baby. Cradle and love your baby. So now, I sit quietly, visualize myself younger and I tenderly ask her questions like…

  • Why are you so angry?
  • Were you hurt in the past by something or someone?
  • Can I do something to douse the flames or tame the fire of anger inside you?
  • Tell me how to help, because your anger needs my attention and most of all my love and understanding.

When someone else is making you crazy, then look inside yourself. When someone else is taking up too
many of your thoughts, then look inside yourself. Your anger is crying for you to listen. Self-compassion
is the key.

If you’re looking for guidance and support in raising your little ones, Alison would like to help! Send your questions to: a.vale5000@gmail.com


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alison Vale

Alison was born and raised deep in the woods of Pennsylvania, where her childhood imagination ran wild and free. As a scabby-kneed tomboy she seemed fearless, yet as she grew older, her fears and anxieties clearly got worse. She attained her Master’s Degree in Sport Psychology. As a clinical researcher and biostatistician at a university medical center for 18 years, Alison co-authored many medical articles and observed first-hand the short-comings of conventional medicine. She left clinical academia to become a Reiki Master Teacher and author. Her goal is to forge energy medicine into conventional medicine and share more intriguing stories and workshops. She has an 8-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter, and is still learning every hour of every day how to parent.

Weekdays in Western MA: December 10th – 14th, 2018

Weekdays in Western MA: December 10th – 14th, 2018

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.

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 Weekdays in Western MA!

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HFVS Songs That Evoke Special Memories Episode with Guest DJs, Evan and Vanessa

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Songs That Evoke Special Memories Episode with Guest DJs, Evan and Vanessa

Music and memories often go hand in hand, and this is a theme that bilingual children’s/family musicians “Evan and Vanessa” love to explore!  In this program they will take listeners through an array of beautiful music from many decades, sharing special memories they associate with each song, as well as discussing how music can develop a memory that sparks a child’s and enthusiasm for language and culture!  – www.evanandvanessa.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
December 1st & 2nd, 2018
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: “Sun Sun Sun” by Evan and Vanessa


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

1. Cliff Edwards and Disney Studio Chorus – “When You Wish Upon A Star” [NOW That’s What I Call Disney”
2.  Evan and Vanessa – “Sun Sun Sun” [In Our World There Are No Strangers]
3.  Peter, Paul and Mary – “Puff The Magic Dragon” [The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary]
4.  Shel Silverstein – “Rings Of Grass” [Drain My Brain]
5.  The Beach Boys – “Don’t Worry Baby” [All Summer Long]
6.  Elvis Presley – “Can’t Help Falling In Love” [The Essential Elvis Presley]
7.  Evan and Vanessa – “Los Pollitos” [In Our World There Are No Strangers]
8.  The Sandpipers – “Guantanamera” [Guantanamera]
9.  Juan Wauters – “Así no más” [Who Me?]
10.  Evan and Vanessa – “Somewhere Out There” [In Our World There Are No Strangers]
11.  The Modern Lovers – “Ancient Long Ago” [It’s Time For]
12.  Fred Rogers – “It’s You I Like” [Beyond The Neighborhood: The Music Of Fred Rogers
13.  Molly Drake – “I Remember” [The Tide’s Magnificence: Songs and Poems of Molly Drake]
14.  Connie Converse – “There Is a Vine” [How Sad, How Lovely]
15.  Evan and Vanessa – “In Our World There Are No Strangers” [In Our World There Are No Strangers]

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for December 8th & 9th, 2018

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 December 8th – 14th, 2018 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 bi-weekly post, Learn Local. Play Local. for 12 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Counting Birds to Caroling. Birthdays to Holidays. monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational, cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

Check out the New Members of our After-School Classes & Enrichment Programs Directory!

Our community is rich in learning opportunities to supplement the interests of children, teens, and life-long learners. We have put together a directory of after-school & weekend classes and enrichment programs happening across Western Massachusetts throughout the school year. Many of these programs aren’t just for kids, so to all the adults out there – feel encouraged to pursue your interests and honor your callings through these enrichment classes, too!

If you have a class or program you would like to have included in our directory, contact us at sales@hilltownfamilies.org to learn about our advertising options and sponsorship packages.

 

LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 8th – 14th, 2018

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

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FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Sewing Skills Connect Local Culture, Local History, and Self-Sufficiency
  2. 11 Ideas for Creative Free Play
  3. Oak & Acorn: White Pine Tea for Winter Days
  4. Western MA Folk Remedies for Wellness
  5. Let Them Grow: The Gift of Warm-Heartedness

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12 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Counting Birds to Caroling. Birthdays to Holidays.

Ornithology to Language Arts. Citizen Science to Placemaking. Dickinson to Dickens. 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 seasonal highlight this week:

A fun holiday tradition, caroling events are wonderful intergenerational events that explore choral music with your family and friends. With many songs sung during the holiday seasons rich in history, there is much to learn, plus it’s good for your health and wellness! Download our Nov/Dec issue of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts to discover more about these annual events listed below. Read the rest of this entry »

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