Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for June 25th & 26th, 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 June 25th-July 1st for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements  & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column,  Learn Local. Play Local for 30 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Pollinators to Performance Art. River Studies to Boat Racing and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

June 25-July 1, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

EntomologyHistoryPerformance ArtPlacemakingLabyrinthFitnessQuidditchLiteracyWomen’s StudiesPlant and Soil ScienceCreative Free PlaySTEMAstronomy

Family Volunteer Days

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Fibonacci Sequence & Golden Ratio Drive Nature Based Education
  2. The Garden Plot: Tending Gardens & Family Learning Opportunities
  3. Let Them Grow: Creating Child Friendly Food Experience
  4. HFVS All Kinds of Families Episode with Guest DJ, Alastair Moock (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. Picky Eaters, Part 1: The Root

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30 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Pollinators to Performance Art. River Studies to Boat Racing.

Lavender is a plant which can teach us about local culture, farming, aromatherapy, and culinary arts. The Lavender Festival at Johnson Hill Farm will provide lots of ways for people of all ages to learn about lavender farming and production.

Pollinators to Performance Art. River Studies to Boat Racing. Yoga to Coding. 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: Families are invited to celebrate the Connecticut River and the ways in which it has impacted settlement patterns, economy, culture, and ecology. The Connecticut River Watershed Council’s River Celebration will involve river activities, food, and a presentation from naturalist speaker Laurie Sanders. On Saturday, June 25, from 9am-3pm you will have chances to tour the river, listen to live music, and celebrate nature with friends. Registration is required through the Watershed Council’s website. Brunelle’s Marina. 1 Alvord Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE).

EntomologyHistoryPerformance ArtPlacemakingLabyrinthFitnessQuidditchLiteracyWomen’s StudiesPlant and Soil ScienceCreative Free PlaySTEMAstronomy


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Suggested Events for June 25th- July 1st, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families is THE best resource for activities for children and families in Western Mass, in my opinion! I have found that you have certain happenings on your page that I had not seen advertised anywhere else! That makes you my ‘go to’ resource! And I really like the areas you cover as well…I can find an activity in Greenfield, Deerfield, Westfield or Springfield…or anywhere on between! You also give very complete information on the events you are suggesting to your audience. What’s not to like? Hilltown Families is THE best!” – Christine Bray (Ludlow, 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.

Summer Camps in Western MA

Nearly 70 summer camps & programs, in and around western MA, to choose from with new camps added every week!

Check out our featured post, 2016 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a comprehensive list of summer camps & programs in the region! Summer opportunities featured range from music, arts & crafts, wilderness adventures, dance, performance art, farming, rock climbing, STEM, pre-college, sports, theater… to good old traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

Bulletin Board

Preschool Openings at The Common School in Amherst. What is the best way to insure a quality education for your child? Invest in it early. The Common School provides the foundation for life-long learning by emphasizing how to learn. Experiential activities, a strong social curriculum, environmental awareness and imagination are hallmarks of our pre-school program- paving the way for strong academic success. Openings for 3-5 year olds for Fall 2016. Call for a tour 413-256-8989 and visit their website www.commonschool.org.

Jun 28

Camp Odyssey on Tuesday, June 28th at 3pm: Make Your Own Night Light. For campers young and old. Decorate a jar to make a beautiful night light or candle holder! 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 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!

Smith College faculty member Alexandra Burgess, Ph.D., is recruiting families with children ages 8-12 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 such as 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 College campus, with free parking provided. Participation is also a great way to teach kids about the process of science! Please contact Dr. Burgess at childperfectionism@gmail.com or in her office at 413-585-3386 to find out more and schedule a time to come into the lab!

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, program, after school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our 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
June 25-July 1, 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 »

2016 Fourth of July Celebrations & Fireworks in Western Massachusetts

4th of July Celebrations & Fireworks in Western MA for 2016

From the state where the American Revolution began, families can take part in the multitude of Fourth of July celebrations happening in Western MA! Be sure to check out the Hilltown Families list of Weekly Suggested Events for a comprehensive list of family and community events happening in Western MA.

To follow is a preview of events, parades & fireworks happening to celebrate the 4th of July for 2016. Please take the time to confirm events you wish to attend, including time, place, age appropriateness, location and costs before attending.

Be sure to check out the Hilltown Families list of Weekly Suggested Events every Thursday for a comprehensive list of family and community events happening in Western MA.  Subscribe to our free eNewsletter and have weekly update sent to your inbox every Thursday! Read the rest of this entry »

Let Them Grow: Garden Herbs

Let Them Grow by Candice Chouinard

Garden Growth and Gifts

Our garden herbs are growing and it’s time to start reaping the rewards! Young children love to harvest, allowing them to connect to the land and have a sense satisfaction from the work they have put into growing their garden. This early summer we are using garden herbs as gifts for Father’s Day, teacher appreciation and birthdays. Here are a few recipes of the garden-based gifts we’ve made so far…  Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: River Walks & Nature Centers

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: June Segment
Nature-Based Learning through River Walks & Nature Centers

Hilltown Families and Mass Appeal (a weekday, hour-long lifestyle program on NBC) have teamed up to offer a live monthly segment on WWLP 22News!  Each month, Hilltown Families’ Founder & Executive Director, Sienna Wildfield,  joins Mass Appeal hosts to talk about ways to engage in your community while supporting the interests and education of your children (and yourselves!).

This monthly segment continued on Monday, June 20, 2016. This month Sienna and Lauren talked about intergenerational ways to engage in natural resources to support interests and education, including River Walks and Nature Centers:

Click here to view video.

Learn more about River Walks and Nature Centers in Western MA:


Mass Appeal is a live weekday program that airs at 11am on 22News (Springfield, MA).  Our next visit to the Mass Appeal studios will be July 18th, 2016!

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Explore the Local Landscape and Local History with Hike 125

Explore the Local Landscape and Local History with Hike 125

Alongside camping, hiking stands as one of summer’s most classic family activities. The leafy canopy afforded to hikers on forest trails makes the woods a cool and inviting space to explore, and the potential for exploring nature at its greenest and liveliest is enticing for adventurers of any age. From short afternoon hikes to serious treks, the trails of western Massachusetts have much to offer adventurous families.

On top of the many benefits of hiking is an added bonus this summer, related specifically to local trails that are part of properties maintained by the Trustees of Reservations. To celebrate the organization’s 125th anniversary, the Trustees are holding the Hike 125 challenge, a celebratory event that challenges locals to hike 125 (or more) miles of the Trustees’ trails before December 31, 2016. In addition to a strong sense of accomplishment, heightened awareness of natural phenomena, stronger muscles, and a deepened sense of place, all participants attempting to rise to the challenge will be entered to win special prizes – with those who manage to hike at least 125 miles entered to win the best prizes of all.  Read the rest of this entry »

Local Nature Centers Connect Families to Nature Through Interpretive Programs

Local Nature Centers Connect Families to Nature Through Interpretive Programs

Photo credit: (c) Jessica Schultz; Hitchcock Center

Supporting families in learning about the local landscape, western Massachusetts nature centers serve as community resources for interpreting the educational value of the natural world. As local hubs for nature-based learning, nature centers add depth and breadth to visitors’ understanding of the natural world. Different from nature preserves and other public natural spaces, nature centers combine access to nature with interpretive programs and/or museum-like educational exhibits and displays so as to offer both experiential and structured learning experiences for visitors.  Read the rest of this entry »

Nature Table for June

Nature Table for June

Every month, Hilltown Families features a new nature table whose contents inspire learning along a common theme easily spotted in our surroundings that month. A tradition carried out by teachers, environmental educators, and nature-curious families, nature tables bring a little bit of the outdoors inside for inspection, dissection, identification, creative play, art projects, and lots of other educational activities. The idea behind a nature table is to help open up children’s eyes to the unique attributes of each season, and to help them learn how to see these things in nature for themselves. A nature table can include a variety of items, and is often accompanied by a set of books and/or field guides so that children can take part in further learning at their own will.

I like to intend my nature tables to echo the out-of-doors, their contents shifting and changing as the local landscape changes outside. My classroom nature table is no exception to this description: our collection ebbs and flows constantly, evolving alongside both the seasons and our interests. This month’s nature table, however, defies the season-specific nature of such tools. Our collection of lichen samples certainly speaks to our current curiosities, but its contents could have been collected in essentially the same condition during any time of year – which is just one of the many fascinating qualities of this amazing living thing.

Lichen can be found almost anywhere within our local landscape. Here in our small river valley, it’s plentiful in the woods and on the rocks by the river. Searches in similar places throughout western Massachusetts will reveal a wealth of lichen in similar locations. It’s incredibly resilient, fairly plentiful, and comes in far more varieties than most folks would imagine. Though its crispy (and sometimes green) lobes and layers seem plant-like, lichen is actually both a fungus and an algae at the same time, and exists thanks to a symbiotic relationship between the two.  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: June 20-24, 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!


See your banner here! Sponsor Learning Ahead!

HFVS with Guest DJ, Kb Whirly (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Guest DJ, Kb Whirly

This week on the HFVS, Kb Whirly takes us on a funky musical journey. From dancing like a rooster in the kitchen with Pete Seeger, to celebrating all the critters with Andrew and Polly, KbWhirly will take us on a cruise through folk, blues, funk, pop and hip hop tunes that are sure to get your toes tappin’! – www.kbwhirly.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
June 18th & 19th, 2016
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured video: Big Bang Boom – “Hippie Mom” [Because I said So!]


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

  • 1. Pete Seeger – “All Around the kitchen” [American Folk Games and Activities Songs]
  • 2. Kb Whirly – “Camp Song” [Camp Songs Vol.1]
  • 3. Randy Kaplan – “In a timeout Now” [Mr. Diddie Wah Diddie]
  • 4. Mills Trills – “Brooklyn” [Everyone Together now]
  • 5. Big Bang Boom – “Hippie Mom” [Because I said So!]
  • 6. Vered – “Peekaboo” Vered [Hello My Baby]
  • 7. Frances England – “City of Hills” [Explorer of the World]
  • 8. KB Whirly – “Peter Piper’s Pickled Palace” [Camp Songs vol.1]
  • 9. Sugar Free Allstars – “Grumpopotamus” [Sugar Free Allstars]
  • 10. Kb Whirly – “Scary Gary” [Camp Songs Vol.1]
  • 11. Shel Silverstein – “Peanut Butter Sandwhich” [Where the Sidewalk Ends]
  • 12. Shel Silverstein – “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout…” [Where the Sidewalk Ends]
  • 13. Jazzy Ash featuring Mister Cookie Jar – “Throw me Sumthin’ Mister” [Home]
  • 14. Kb Whirly featuring Jazzy Ash – “Hole in my Bucket [Camp Songs Vol.1]
  • 15. Josh and the Jamtones featuring Secret Agent 23 Skidoo – “I >3 Ur Face” [Rocksteady]
  • 16. Secret Agent 23 Skidoo – “Three Pointed Back” [The Perfect Quirk]
  • 17. Andrew and Polly – “Critters” [Odds and Ends]
  • 18. Kb Whirly – “Say Say My Playmate” [Camp Songs Vol.1]

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for June 18th & 19th, 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 nearly 70 summer programs in and around western MA from which to choose! New camps added every week!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for June 18th-24th for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements  & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 38 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Physics to Folk Music. Agriculture to Road Races, and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

June 18-24, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Art Studies ♦ Picture Books ♦ Literacy Biology Entomology ♦ STEM ♦ Physics ♦ Music Studies ♦ History ♦ Placemaking ♦ Sports & Recreation ♦ Skateboarding ♦ Bubble Soccer ♦ Food Culture ♦ Strawberry Fest ♦ Museum Adventures ♦ Agricultural History  ♦ Dance Studies Father’s Day

Family Volunteer Days

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Empowering Our Girls: Being a Role Model
  2. 4 Community Organizations that Support Learning on the River
  3. What to Play? Summer is Time to Absorb the World
  4. Hindsight Parenting: Nothing Beats Planning for the Summer
  5. Strawberries Take Center Stage in Western MA Moonlight

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38 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Physics to Folk Music. Agriculture to Road Races.

Physics to folk music. Agriculture to road races. Sculpture to strawberry festivals. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

In addition to being great exercise and a fun, social activity, skateboarding can inspire kids to become interested in science! Skateboarders performing tricks are actively engaging with scientific principles such as momentum, gravity, friction, and centripetal force.

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlight this week: Do you and your children enjoy learning about history through demonstrations and artwork? August 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. The Springfield Armory National Historic Site is currently exhibiting an art installation in honor of the National Park Service. You can come see this exhibition and learn about American war history on Armory Day, Saturday, June 18, 10am-5pm. A full day of events will include military drills with living history reenactors, primary source documents such as WWI videos and letters, and much more. Visit the Springfield Armory National Historic Site website for a full schedule of events.413-734-8551. One Armory Square. Springfield, MA. (FREE)


Art Studies ♦ Picture Books ♦ Literacy Biology Entomology ♦ STEM ♦ Physics ♦ Music Studies ♦ History ♦ Placemaking ♦ Sports & Recreation ♦ Skateboarding ♦ Bubble Soccer ♦ Food Culture ♦ Strawberry Fest ♦ Museum Adventures ♦ Agricultural History  ♦Dance Studies


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Become a sponsor of Learn Local. Play Local. and see your banner here:


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Suggested Events for June 18th-24th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families is my link to all events in Western MA, and I am unsure what I would do without all of the eNewsletter and updates. I also found skating, sledding festivals, and swimming locations from Hilltown Families. It is a very valuable resource for my family.” – Susan Wessels (Chester, 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.

Summer Camps in Western MA

Nearly 70 summer camps & programs, in and around western MA, to choose from with new camps added every week!

Check out our featured post, 2016 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a comprehensive list of summer camps & programs in the region! Summer opportunities featured range from music, arts & crafts, wilderness adventures, dance, performance art, farming, rock climbing, STEM, pre-college, sports, theater… to good old traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

Bulletin Board

Flexible Toddler Schedules at the Montessori School of Northampton: For summer and the school year, the Montessori School of Northampton provides flexible toddler programs for children ages 2 to 2 years 11 months. Small class size, a Montessori-trained toddler teacher and a beautifully prepared child-centered environment make MSN the perfect setting for a toddler to experience independence while engaging in enriching activities including self-care, singing, creative movement, cooking, and outdoor play. Flexible full and half day school year schedules are available, as well as four two-week summer sessions running from June 27-August 19. For more information, call 413-586-4538 or visit northamptonmontessori.org.

Jun 16, Jul 15 & Aug 19

The Amherst Business District is happy to announce the Amherst Community Band, led by Timothy Anderson (Director of the UMass Minuteman Marching Band) will be performing in its Downtown Beats Summer Concert series. The Free Concerts will be held in Sweetser Park (with the historic fountain) on June 16, July 15, and August 19 from 6:30-8pm. Rain location is the First Congregational Church. Enjoy the stirring sounds of a mini orchestra, complete with brass and string playing popular and classic tunes. Picnic in Sweetser with some famous downtown take out. Simple. Easy. Enjoy!

A pre-school experience that savors childhood. Nature walks by woods and stream, days of music and song, toys made of natural materials, nourishing, shared meals: these are parts of the young child’s daily rhythm at The Hartsbrook School. Led by experienced, nurturing teachers, the early childhood program supports imagination and joyful play. Give your child the foundation for future learning and enjoy a vibrant parent community. The Hartsbrook School has limited openings for children 2.9 to 5 years old. Applications accepted through the end of June. Please call for more information and a tour of the school. 413-586-1908 x115, 193 Bay Road, Hadley.

Smith College faculty member Alexandra Burgess, Ph.D., is recruiting families with children ages 8-12 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 such as 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 College campus, with free parking provided. Participation is also a great way to teach kids about the process of science! Please contact Dr. Burgess at childperfectionism@gmail.com or in her office at 413-585-3386 to find out more and schedule a time to come into the lab!

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, program, after school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our 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
June 18-24, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Urban And Rural River Walks and Trails Highlight Natural and Human History

Urban And Rural River Walks & Trails Highlight Natural and Human History

Housatonic River in Great Barrington, MA.

Western Massachusetts’ landscape is filled with rivers. They run like veins between our ancient hills, and give life to human and non-human communities alike as they flow constantly onward. The warm months of the year are the best time to engage in experiential learning about local rivers, a task made more inviting through a handful of riverwalks and river-following paths found locally. Through explorations of a variety of local rivers, families can explore local ecology, connect with local history, and deepen their sense of place. In particular, comparisons of urban rivers and rural rivers can illuminate the ways in which humans past and present have depended upon our rivers.  Read the rest of this entry »

Literary Guide for David Wiesner’s June 29, 1999

Literary Guide for David Wiesner’s June 29, 1999

Literary Guide for David Wiesner’s June 29, 1999

Though set in the now somewhat distant past, David Weisner’s cleverly written June 29, 1999 is part fantasy, part scientific study – pulling readers into a world where science and the (nearly) impossible intersect.

The date is May 11th, 1999, and young scientist Holly Evans has just begun her first major experiment. Holly has released vegetable seedlings into the earth’s atmosphere in hopes of studying the effects that outer space will have on the growth of her tiny plants. She shares her work with her classmates who are, understandably, quite speechless. Weeks go by without much excitement; Holly tracks the days and, we can assume, waits patiently for her seedlings to return. Finally, on June 29th, something exciting happens – the event lending itself as the story’s namesake. Read the rest of this entry »

Great Big Story Shares Highlights of Human Experience

Great Big Story Shares Highlights of Human Experience

Created specifically to share human interest stories separate from daily current events news, CNN’s Great Big Story (or GBS, for short) is aptly named. The web-based project publishes videos at a rate of 3-5 per day, spotlighting cultures, communities, creatures, and other curiosities from all around the world. In doing so, GBS allows viewers to educate themselves about everything from emergencies in outer space to doctors making home visits to the homeless. While the project’s target audience is young adults, the information presented in GBS’s videos is accessible to teens and tweens, and perhaps even to older children.

While the project’s videos are numerous and their topics varied, each mini-documentary links viewers back to the same big idea: the untold stories of the world. A great many web-based projects aim to do essentially the same thing, but many emphasize the “wow” factor of such stories, and miss the true meaning behind the people, places, and ideas they spotlight. GBS, however, does both: each video features something or someone that is truly amazing, and does justice to the person or place’s story – allowing truth to be shared, and allowing viewers to utilize GBS videos as a resource for learning about the human experience and life on earth.  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Landscapes: How Adventures Connect Us to Place & Stewardship

Adventurous, Fantastical Possibilities

Welcoming adventure into the learning landscape means we need to be willing to say, “I don’t know what is going to happen” when we first begin. This is a significant change of consciousness from one in which educators take the lead, identify the objectives and craft lessons to get children to the desired end goal. Sometimes it is useful to step off the beaten path and even the road less followed in order to get lost in the forest for a while. As Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

Learning and life is enriched when we periodically go on an adventure. Real adventure ignites a thirst for exploration and stimulates curiosity that can drive learning much deeper because the direction and the end goal is co-created in conjunction with the learner and the emerging elements in the environment. Questions provoke real communication and a deepening of relations. Adventure, one of the seven childhood and nature design principles for educators created by David Sobel, can help us take steps to leading a more ethically-aligned life.  Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrate Freedom on Juneteenth

Community-Based Events & Resources Invite Families to Learn, Celebrate & Reflect on Freedom

These days, when a monumental government decision is made, technology allows the news to travel quickly and we are able to find out almost immediately. However, before the internet and telephones and even motorized vehicles were invented, information took a lot longer to travel. News could take days, weeks, even months to spread, and the further information had to travel, the longer it took for it to get there. In the case of the Emancipation Proclamation, for example, word of Lincoln’s granting of freedom to slaves in Confederate states took nearly six months to reach some parts of the country! While the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1st, 1863, word of emancipation took until June 19th to travel from Washington, DC to Galveston, Texas!

The day upon which Texas slaves learned of the Emancipation Proclamation is celebrated today as Juneteenth. Originally celebrated only in Texas, the day has served as a commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States since 1865. Across the country – and even around the world – Juneteenth is celebrated in order to honor the struggles of those who endured slavery, and to remind us of the ways in which our country’s history has affected (and continues to affect) our current society. Find out about celebrations in Western MA!

Learning Ahead: June 13-17, 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 You Are What You Eat Episode with Guest DJ, Eric Herman (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

You Are What You Eat Episode with Guest DJ, Eric Herman

Family music artist Eric Herman serves up a smorgasbord of fun food songs. From chocolate-covered brussels sprouts to a thousand tiny doughnuts, Eric will musically explore the idea that you are what you eat. – www.erichermanmusic.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
June 11th & 12th, 2016
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured video: “Crazy Over Vegetables”


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Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

  • Alphabet Rockers – “Food Songs” [Go!]
  • Oliver! – “Food Glorious Food” [Oliver! – Original Cast Recording]
  • Eric Herman and the Thunder Puppies – “You Are What You Eat” [Bubble Wrap]
  • The Imagination Movers – “What’s in the Fridge?” [Juice Box Heroes[
  • Brady Rymer and the Little Band that Could – “Pie” [Here Comes Brady Rymer and the Little Band that Could]
  • David Tobocman – “Ice Cream on a Hot Dog” [Lemonade School]
  • Chuck Cheeseman – “Chocolate-Covered Brussels Sprouts” [Dancing With No Shoes On]
  • Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang – “Sweet Marmalade” [Get Up & Dance]
  • Frances England – “Blueberry Pancakes” [Fascinating Creatures]
  • Kelli Welli – “Cookin’ Up Some Happiness” [single]
  • Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights – “Food Fight” [Good Egg]
  • Recess Monkey – “Sack Lunch” [Field Trip]
  • Eric Herman and the Invisible Band – “Crazy Over Vegatables” [Monkey Business]
  • Barenaked Ladies – “Popcorn” [Snacktime]
  • Ginger Hendrix – “Macaroni Boy Eats at Chez Shooby Doo” [Macaroni Boy Eats at Chez Shooby Doo”]
  • Steve Cooper – “Ketchup and French Fries” [single]
  • Weird Al – “Eat It” [“Weird Al” Yankovic in 3-D]
  • Mister G – “Chocolalala” [Chocolalala]
  • Caspar Babypants – “A Thousand Tiny Doughnuts” [Hot Dog!]
  • Eric Herman and the Thunder Puppies – “Take a Bath” [Bubble Wrap]

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for June 11th & 12th, 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 nearly 70 summer programs in and around western MA from which to choose! New camps added every week!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for June 11th-17th, 2016 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 44 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Stamps to Hip Hop. Jam to Bike Safety., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

June 11-17, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Architecture ♦ Ancient History ♦ Numismatics ♦ Civil Rights ♦ Sustainability ♦ Makerspace ♦ Agriculture ♦ Father’s DayHorticulture ♦ Music Studies ♦ Dance Studies ♦ Cultural Studies ♦ Placemaking ♦ Artisan Skills ♦ Sports ♦ Strategy ♦ Art Studies ♦ Reading ♦ Parenting

Family Volunteer Days

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. 14 Playgrounds Recommendations in Western MA!
  2. Learning Landscapes: Catch and Store Energy
  3. 12 Baseball Books for Kids
  4. Expressing Appreciation to Teachers & Administrators as the School Year Draws to an End
  5. 12 Tips for Live-Away Dads

RECAP MAP SPONSOR


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44 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Stamps to Hip Hop. Jam to Bike Safety.

Bicycling is a great sport and hobby, and a wonderful way to explore your neighborhood or other local areas on a bike trail adventure! Make sure the bike riders in your family know how to be safe riders. Participating in a bike rodeo is one great way to gain confidence and important skills.

Stamps to hip hop. Jam to bike safety. Tinkering to fencing. 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: Do you love to express yourself through motion, or to watch others tell a story without saying a word? Perhaps there is a dance style you’ve always wanted to try but have never had the chance? Dance is a physical and mental workout involving spatial relationship skills, coordination, and memory. Plus, it is an interesting way to communicate and a fun way to exercise! At Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, which begins on Saturday, June 11, at noon, you can try modern dance, Zumba, and hip hop. You can also watch performances by EarthDance, Berkshire Pulse, Olga Dunn Dance Company and Albany Berkshire Ballet. This all-ages community festival will also involve historic tours, storytimes, scavenger hunts and more. Visit the Jacob’s Pillow website for more information and a schedule of events. 413-243-9919. 358 George Carter Road. Becket, MA. (FREE)


Architecture ♦ Ancient History ♦ Numismatics ♦ Civil Rights ♦ Sustainability ♦ Makerspace ♦ Agriculture ♦ Father’s Day ♦ Horticulture ♦ Music Studies ♦ Dance Studies ♦ Cultural Studies ♦ Placemaking ♦ Artisan Skills ♦ Sports ♦ Strategy ♦ Art Studies ♦ Reading ♦ Parenting


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Suggested Events for June 11th-17th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

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.

Summer Camps in Western MA

Nearly 70 summer camps & programs, in and around western MA, to choose from with new camps added every week!

Check out our featured post, 2016 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a comprehensive list of summer camps & programs in the region! Summer opportunities featured range from music, arts & crafts, wilderness adventures, dance, performance art, farming, rock climbing, STEM, pre-college, sports, theater… to good old traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

Bulletin Board

Jun 16, Jul 15 & Aug 19

The Amherst Business District is happy to announce the Amherst Community Band, led by Timothy Anderson (Director of the UMass Minuteman Marching Band) will be performing in its Downtown Beats Summer Concert series. The Free Concerts will be held in Sweetser Park (with the historic fountain) on June 16, July 15, and August 19 from 6:30-8pm. Rain location is the First Congregational Church. Enjoy the stirring sounds of a mini orchestra, complete with brass and string playing popular and classic tunes. Picnic in Sweetser with some famous downtown take out. Simple. Easy. Enjoy!

Flexible Toddler Schedules at the Montessori School of Northampton: For summer and the school year, the Montessori School of Northampton provides flexible toddler programs for children ages 2 to 2 years 11 months. Small class size, a Montessori-trained toddler teacher and a beautifully prepared child-centered environment make MSN the perfect setting for a toddler to experience independence while engaging in enriching activities including self-care, singing, creative movement, cooking, and outdoor play. Flexible full and half day school year schedules are available, as well as four two-week summer sessions running from June 27-August 19. For more information, call 413-586-4538 or visit northamptonmontessori.org.

The Bement School’s summer programs offer the fun of traditional day camp with the flexibility of a range of unique activities. The Adventure Day Camp offers engaging games, crafts, & swimming with activity choices that include cooking, rocketry, sports, nature, art, & swimming. Outdoor Challenge Weeks are an exciting collaboration between Bement & Adventure In Adventure Out. The CIT program gives teens experience working with children & developing valuable job skills while still enjoying camp. The Junior Camp provides a safe, nurturing camp experience for our youngest campers, who enjoy thematic activities, including games, arts & crafts, & outdoor play, as well as field trips & daily swim lessons. Contact summer@bement.org with questions!

A pre-school experience that savors childhood. Nature walks by woods and stream, days of music and song, toys made of natural materials, nourishing, shared meals: these are parts of the young child’s daily rhythm at The Hartsbrook School. Led by experienced, nurturing teachers, the early childhood program supports imagination and joyful play. Give your child the foundation for future learning and enjoy a vibrant parent community. The Hartsbrook School has limited openings for children 2.9 to 5 years old. Applications accepted through the end of June. Please call for more information and a tour of the school. 413-586-1908 x115, 193 Bay Road, Hadley.

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, program, after school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our 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
June 11-17, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

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Resources for Mindfulness in Western Massachusetts

Resources for Mindfulness in Western Massachusetts

What is meditation?  Carrying different meanings in different contexts, Wikipedia defines meditation as, “a practice where an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content, or as an end in itself.”  In other words, when people meditate, they are focusing their awareness on the present moment, often times to their breath, allowing thoughts to enter and pass through their awareness without attachment, constantly balancing their attention back to the present moment.

According to health psychologist, Kelly McGonigal, because the brain is like a muscle which strengthens with practice, meditating can also help to exert willpower in other areas of your life. The prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain associated with reasoning, problem solving, impulse-control, and perseverance. Being mindful of the present moment through meditation, as well as some other activities like physical movement, sends blood to the prefrontal cortex. McGongial suggests that a regular practice of meditation could help you accomplish many other goals which require the same kind of perseverance and attention.

Mindfulness is something you can practice at any time, in any place. Still, if you don’t know anything about how to meditate or practice mindfulness, you may want to find guidance and support in the form of community-based classes or groups. Luckily, western Massachusetts is home to many organizations, courses, and sanctuaries for people to learn about and practice mindfulness. Read the rest of this entry »

In Appreciation: An Exercise in Perspective Taking

An Exercise in Perspective Taking

I remember a few years ago, seeing a dad at the library whose two kids were pretty out of control. Within minutes of entering the kid’s section, they had their shoes and socks kicked off even though he repeatedly told them not to. As he collected their discarded items off the carpet, he looked beaten down in that way that only an overwhelmed parent can.

I hate to admit this now, but I totally had a moment of righteous judgement about his parenting. I’ve thought of this moment many times since, not because it still makes me feel smug, but because experience has taught me, often and in public, how any parent can get overwhelmed by even the usually best-behaved children.

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Explore the Art of Dance Through Community-Based Resources

Explore the Art of Dance Through Community-Based Resources

Jacob's Pillow

Every year, Jacob’s Pillow in Becket hosts a free community day for families to enjoy dance-themed activities family-friendly dance classes and dance performances. This year their annual event happens on Saturday, June 11, 2016, beginning at noon.

Combining artistry, physical fitness and lessons in culture and traditions, dance combines the creativity of the human mind with the capabilities of the human body. From traditional ballet to contact improvisation, western Massachusetts is home to a wide variety of dance-based community resources. Families can find a wealth of classes year-round catering to all ages, interests, and abilities, and can attend dance performances of all kinds offered through community groups, dance studios, and educational institutions.

Dance-based community events pass on age-old traditions and build community through creative movement, and the practice of dance in any form supports dancers in finding themselves within their bodies, supporting the development of self-awareness and gross motor skills. Read the rest of this entry »

Summer Camping Adventures Promote Nature-Based Play and Learning

Summer Camping Adventures Promote Nature-Based Play and Learning

Camping is one of the most classic outdoor adventures of childhood, and thanks to the wealth of state parks and forests found locally, there are endless camping adventures to be had in western Massachusetts! From exposing young campers to sleeping outside to allowing children to experience all aspects of the local landscape, camping trips are full of meaningful experiences.

The long days and warm nights of summer provide the perfect conditions for family camping, a tradition that serves as one of childhood’s most classic summer adventures. Camping trips not only allow children to learn how to live outside of their homes, but provide them with the opportunity to engage in experiential learning about their surroundings during all hours of the day (and perhaps the night, too). From afternoon playtime in the woods to an evening of fireflies and campfires to the misty early morning hours that bring endless bird songs, camping trips offer ceaseless exposure to the sights, sounds, and smells of the world. As an added bonus, children who connect with their surroundings are many times more likely to practice environmentally friendly and conservation-minded behaviors as adults. Read the rest of this entry »

Lawn Concerts Strengthen the Social Fabric of a Community via Live Music in Green Spaces

Western MA Summer Lawn Concert Series Begin for 2016

Greenfield Energy ParkPlacemaking is a practice and a philosophy. It is an approach to both the creation and use of public spaces, aiming to promote the health and well-being of individuals and communities. Events which support placemaking, such as parades, festivals, outdoor film screenings, and lawn concerts, draw people together and strengthen a connection to neighbors via community spaces.

Some outdoor music series are already underway in parts of western Massachusetts, while others are just around the corner. Concerts on town commons and other outdoor, public areas encourage people to share the space, enjoy family dinner alfresco, and take in live music. These are family-friendly, intergenerational events as well as opportunities to meet and support local musicians. Find one near you, BYO family dinner & blanket, and get ready to take in the sweetness of a summer evening as live music lofts through the air. Read the rest of this entry »

Off the Mat: Honest Questions About Honesty

Honest Questions

A missed call from school. Voicemail reveals the principal’s words: playground altercation.

I reach her 10 minutes before dismissal, so time is limited. The swing-set scuffle was typical and the other child thankfully is fine. “I’m less concerned about the shoving,” she shares in a carefully modulated voice, “than his insisting on a false story.”

When I concur, yes, we’re seeing this at home lately, we’re working on it, her voice relaxes. This was not news to a parent she barely knows. We talk strategy and messaging, educator to parent and mom to mom.

Honesty. Why is it so hard?! Read the rest of this entry »

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