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

Warm up this Saturday, February 13 from 10am=-12noon at our Saturday Morning Music Party at Flywheel in Easthampton!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for February 13th-19th, 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 47 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Bald Eagles to Bobcats. Makerspace to Meteorology., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our list of  Winter Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA.

February 13-19, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Birds of PreyOrnithologyCitizen ScienceTrackingCynologyAnimal StudiesWinter FestivalsMakerspaceAviationChemistryPhysicsArt StudiesArt HistoryMuseum AdventuresCollaborative ConsumptionSeed SwapFood HistoryIce HarvestingCivil WarSportsDance StudiesService-Based LearningFood SecurityFilm StudiesMusic StudiesCreative-Free Play

Family Volunteer Days

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Music About Love, Kindness & Friendship for Valentine’s Day
  2. Black History Month: Six Featured New Titles Bring History Alive
  3. Valentine’s Day Tips for Dads and Daughters
  4. Kindred Souls: A Story About Love and Leaving
  5. A Love Song To Mothers

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47 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Bald Eagles to Bobcats. Makerspace to Meteorology.

Nordic skiing is a unique was to enjoy your local landscape in the winter months. During school vacation week, Notchview in Windsor offers instruction for children under age 14 Both classical and skating instruction are being offered and ski rentals are available. Call ahead!

Bald Eagles to Bobcats. Makerspace to Meteorology. Seed Swap to Chocolate. 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 weekSaturday Morning Music Party: Sat., Feb 13, 10am-12noon in Easthampton! Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids! During a free breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and fruit, families can craft handmade valentine’s with the Easthampton Family Center while enjoying a new performance with our special guests, Scotty Swan Puppet Co. After the breakfast, kids can join DJ Youthelectronix for the “best ever dance party before noon!” Save on the babysitter and shake off the winter blues with a Morning Music Dance Party! 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA. (FUNDRAISER)


Birds of PreyOrnithologyCitizen ScienceTrackingCynologyAnimal StudiesWinter FestivalsMakerspaceAviationChemistryPhysicsArt StudiesArt HistoryMuseum AdventuresCollaborative ConsumptionSeed SwapFood HistoryIce HarvestingCivil WarSportsDance StudiesService-Based LearningFood SecurityFilm StudiesMusic StudiesCreative-Free Play


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Suggested Events for February 13th-19th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Just wanted to let you know that my two sons have really enjoyed the Valentine Swap! They are delighted each day to run to the mailbox and find a little surprise waiting for them! We made a Valentine tree and put all of the valentines from our new friends on it! They also loved creating their own valentines, so much so that they chose to forgo the usual store bought ones in favor of making their own for their school parties! Thanks so much for including us! This was a wonderful community outreach project!” – The Allen Family

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.

Hilltown Families Event

Feb 13

Saturday Morning Music Party: Sat., Feb 13, 10am-12noon in Easthampton! Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids! During a free breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and fruit, families can craft handmade valentine’s with the Easthampton Family Center while enjoying a new performance with our special guests, Scotty Swan Puppet Co. After the breakfast, kids can join DJ Youthelectronix for the “best ever dance party before noon!” Save on the babysitter and shake off the winter blues with a Morning Music Dance Party! 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA. (FUNDRAISER)

Bulletin Board

Feb 20

Postponed to February 20

[Postponed to Feb 20] WinterFest Amherst 2016 is the best family entertainment value of the winter! Saturday, February 13, from 1-6pm, Cherry Hill Golf Course, North Amherst. If there’s no snow we’ll make snow! Featuring a Chili Cookoff Competition, Best in Snow Dog Show, snow sculpting contest, golf competitions, Mobile Disk Golf Experience, sledding, wine and cheese tasting, Fat Track Bike Rides, horse drawn wagon rides, dancing, live music and more! The Cardboard Classic Sled Race invites everyone to bring a decorated old cardboard box to compete in this crowd-pleaser. Fireworks at 6pm! Families of 3+ just $20. For more information please follow on Facebook or visit www.cherryhillgolf.org. Presenting Sponsor: Integrity Development and Construction.

Feb 13-21

The New England Air Museum will hold family fun school vacation week programs from Feb 13-Feb 21. Explore three giant hangars filled with over 80 aircraft and experience the wonders of flight. A variety of activities will be offered daily including hands-on Build and Fly Challenges, open Cockpit Experiences aboard real aircraft, Aircraft Quests, and more! The Museum’s Flight Sim Spot will also be open daily between 11am-3pm. Additional activities are scheduled for the following days: Feb 13– Open Cockpit; Feb 15– Aeromodeling Workshop; Feb 16– The Great Paper Airplane Contest; Feb 17– Nose Art Design Workshop; Feb 18– Kites in Flight Workshop; Feb 19– LEGO Flying Machine Contest. Visit www.neam.org for more information. Windsor Locks, CT.

Feb Vac Week

Winter school vacation week at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst means live performances, special storytime guests and art projects! Fun learning in a beautiful warm spot, with three galleries of picture book art. See Magic, Color, Flair, the world of Mary Blair before it closes! Go on a museum-wide scavenger hunt. Delight in illustrators and authors reading their books. Enjoy live theatre with the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts High School. Make mosaics in their Art Studio. All this and more during school winter vacation week at The Carle. Visit www.carlemuseum.org for special event times all week long. Open President’s Day! 125 W. Bay Road, Amherst, MA, 413-658-1100.

Feb 15-19

Puppet Festival February 15-19 at the Springfield Museums. This school vacation, join the Springfield Museums for their Puppet Festival, featuring the region’s finest puppet ensembles. Performances include a mashup of Little Red Riding Hood and the Gingerbread Man by Barefoot Puppets, and shows by Wayne Martin’s Puppets and Puppet Showplace Theater, among others. There’s also live animal demonstrations and plenty of hands-on art and science activities, all free with museum admission! And don’t miss Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs, an exhibit that gets to the “furry facts” about man’s best friend. For information, visit springfieldmuseums.org.

Feb 15-19

The Art Garden has invited five regional artists to their studio for a fun and creative February Vacation Program. Visiting artists will do morning workshops in mosaic, fiber arts, paper cutting, printmaking & make-your-own-scratch cards! Afternoons are dedicated to mixed media studio projects. Program runs Monday through Friday from 9am-3pm at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls. Extra hours available. Ages 7-17+ welcome. The Art Garden fosters a culture of inclusion with instruction tailored to meet the needs of all ages. Registration is required. Cost is $325 for the full week. Sibling discounts and financial assistance are available. Individual days possible if space permits. Call 413-625-2782 or email csartgarden@gmail.com to register.

Feb 15-19 & Mar 7-11

February & March CyclePottery Vacation Camps are open for registration! Campers will learn how to use a potter’s wheel to throw functional stoneware forms and handbuild with graphic artist Amber Bartosz. New to the camps: Students will glaze on the the final day! Sessions are: Feb. 15th-19th & March 7th-11th, 9am-3pm, 6 students max, Ages 9+, New reduced fee of $400 for the February Camp, and 3 Day Camp: Tues/Wed/Fri for $285. $450 for March camp. Get a 10% discount if paid in full by Feb. 22nd. CyclePottery is located at 225 Nonotuck Street in Northampton, MA. For more info visit www.CyclePottery.com and registration forms contact Kathryn @ kathryn@cyclepottery.com 413-219-9594.

Info Session Feb 25

Montessori Middle School Information Session. What’s different about a Montessori middle school? Would it be a good fit for my adolescent? Come learn the answers to these and other questions on Thursday, February 25 at 5pm at the Edwards Public Library, Southampton. Corey Hadden, middle school teacher, will discuss adolescent development and how the Montessori middle school curriculum supports the student at this critical point in their development through challenging academics, a focus on exploring identity and purpose, and opportunities to contribute to the larger community. The Montessori School of Northampton’s middle school program will open in September 2016. For more information: northamptonmontessori.org or 413-586-4538.

Our Place Summercamp gets kids out of the house and into nature. For 5 days campers hike, climb, wade and swim “our place”: the 5 ecoregions of the Nonotuck biome. These activities aren’t just “fun”—they’re designed to increase camper’s perceptual abilities, stimulate their critical thinking skills, inspire their creative imaginations, and counteract “nature deficit disorder.” Through active physical and mental engagement with “our place,” they gain a deep and lasting appreciation of it—and themselves. Campers go from site to site—mountains, forests, brooks, industrial brownfields, you name it—enjoying an adventurous, collaborative, inquiry-based investigation into the mysteries of the bios (life) that is where we live: our place! info@biocitizen.org

FMC Ice Sports offers a fun and unique learning environment for all ages. Participants in their Step 1 Learn to Skate programs are taught the basics of ice skating without relying on skating aids. This method of teaching increases a skater’s independence on the ice and encourages their learning of balance and maneuverability. Students eventually graduate to their Step 2 and Step 3 programs that focus on the more sport specific skills required in hockey and figure skating. FMC Ice Sports programs can be found at the Smead Arena in Springfield and the Collins Moylan Arena in Greenfield. Class information and registration are available online at www.fmcicesports.com or by calling 1-888-74-SKATE.

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 Sunday, March 13th, 2016, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2016 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE. Take advantage of our Early Rate by signing your camp/program today!

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
February 13-19, 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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Warm Up for Easthampton WinterFest! Saturday Morning Music Party with Hilltown Families & Flywheel!

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids! Beginning the series with a New Year’s Day Music Party that was our best party to date, we will be continuing on Saturday, February 13 during Easthampton WinterFest, from 10am-12noon at Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton.

During a free breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and fruit, families can craft handmade valentine’s with the Easthampton Family Center while enjoying a new performance with our special guests, Scotty Swan Puppet Co. After the breakfast, kids can join DJ Youthelectronix for the “best ever dance party before noon.” Save on the babysitter and shake off the winter blues with a Morning Music Dance Party!

These Morning Music Parties are a fundraiser for both Flywheel & Hilltown Families, 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! Read the rest of this entry »

KidsBestFest at the Academy of Music During School Vacation Week

KidsBestFest

All week long, the Academy of Music Theatre  in Northampton is hosting a FREE KidsBestFest-YouthFilm 2016, a film festival of specially-selected children’s films from around the world, and close to home too! Screening Monday, February 15-Friday, February 19 at 1:30pm each day.

The week of movies culminates on Friday, February 19th with YouthFilm. A festival of films made by local youth who are at the beginning of their budding careers, the aspiring filmmakers get together to see their films on the Academy of Music’s large screen.

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Presidents’ Day Invites Studies of Democracy and Freedom

Presidents’ Day Invites Studies of Democracy and Freedom

From the birth of George Washington to the four freedoms outlined by FDR, upcoming opportunities for community-based learning offer Presidents’ Day-inspired ways to explore democracy, freedom, and American history.

Officially known as Washington’s Birthday by the federal government, Presidents’ Day comes every year on the third Monday of February. Once upon a time, Presidents’ Day was celebrated every February 22nd – the true birthday of George Washington. However, thanks to Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1971, Presidents’ Day is celebrated on a Monday (along with a handful of other holidays) so as to allow workers more three-day weekends. In addition to an extra day off, Presidents’ Day offers families opportunities to explore democracy and the freedoms that it allows us to enjoy.

At The Clark Art Institute , families can enjoy five days’ worth of celebration, presidential portraits, and hands-on art-making in honor of Presidents’ Day. From Monday, February 15th through Friday, February 19th, The Clark will have Washington-themed art and activities from 1-4pm. Families can visit to see an iconic portrait of George Washington, and can try their hand at re-designing a dollar bill, taking patriotic photos in a photo booth, and taking the first steps to plan their very own presidential campaign. Through the activities offered, families can explore George Washington as an American icon and can use art-making as a means of reflecting their understanding of his impact and importance within American history.

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In Appreciation: Giving Thanks at the ‘Gratitude Table’

Giving Thanks at the ‘Gratitude Table’

Finding time to reflect and give thanks for our daily joys is no easy task in the midst of the hectic churn of day-to-day reality. But as my family and I discovered, taking a break at the “gratitude table’ is a simple, fun way to slow down and not just smell the flowers, but thank them too.

This fall was grueling for my family. My job suddenly became much more demanding and my hours increased. Both our kids had major transitions, with my 5-year-old starting a new school and my 3-year-old a new classroom. My husband had a significant injury which sidelined him for over a month, and we had just gotten a puppy because sometimes we like to punch ourselves in the face for fun.

None of these events were a tragedy in and of themselves, but I noticed in my own day-to-day talking that I was focusing my thoughts too often on the negatives these changes were bringing. The kids were reflecting that in small ways too. We had so much to be thankful for everyday. I knew that. I was just doing a poor job being mindful of it in between the busyness of daily life.

I am a big fan of giving thanks. In fact, the daily act of reflecting on what we have to be grateful for is a superfood for our emotional and physical well being, with benefits ranging from sleeping better and being less stressed to being more empathetic and less likely to act aggressively (University of Kentucky, 2012). I’d read about gratitude journals as a practice—basically you write down what you are grateful for everyday—and liked the concept. But journals (and every other paper product) in our house often end up covered in stickers and Hello, Kitty! doodles. And while a journal is a great individual practice, I didn’t want to just recalibrate myself. I wanted to do it as a family. However, a group journaling project sounded like a recipe for epic Pinterest-esque failure, and I try to avoid those. So instead, we created our own practice. My 5-year-old later dubbed it “the gratitude table.”

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Art, Music, Engineering & Science Through the Lens of Creative Free Play

10 Days of Play Blends Art, Music, Engineering, and Science Through Creative Free Play

Play in any form is good for the human brain, and the Berkshire Museum is offering a week and a half of play-based learning during the 4th annual Ten Days of Play event! Blending hands-on activities and play-based learning with musical performances, gallery shows, zoology, engineering, architecture, and fine art, this exciting event offers a myriad of exciting opportunities to engage in creative free play and the meaningful learning that such activities promote.  Read the rest of this entry »

Nature Table for February

Nature Table for February

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.

We, like the creatures we share our landscape with, spent the better portion of the fall and early winter resigning ourselves to the necessary hunkering down that the coming of cold and snow so requires. Perhaps as the result of being beaten into submission by last year’s constant snowfall (or maybe in anticipation of another year’s worth of excessive drifts and banks), we found snow boots, ski pants, thick coats, and all manner of hats and mittens at the first sign of frost this winter, and as soon as the daylight began to wane, we receded further into our indoor bunkers, hiding out stubbornly until the arrival of springtime. But now – much like creatures whose bodies adapt to the seasons – we’re finding that our stubborn reluctance and our thick layers are simultaneously unnecessary. The unseasonably warm temperatures as of late are inspiring us to end our self-imposed semi-hibernation; bare arms are making a comeback.

Here in western Massachusetts, many of the creatures with whom we share our landscape follow a winter routine quite similar to ours. Coats thicken, food is stockpiled, and the big rest is near. Local woodchucks, bears, bats, chipmunks, and certain mice take wintertime hibernation the most seriously, their bodies stockpiling layers of fat in order to support them through months’ worth of waiting and occasional waking. Other familiar local creatures like raccoon, skunk, and squirrel follow a pattern of hunkering down when winter hits, but they don’t hibernate quite as seriously as some of their other mammalian cousins. These creatures can still be spotted poking around their familiar warm season haunts, but are far less active during the winter. Regardless, the creatures know what’s up: when it’s cold, food becomes scarce, and hiding out (awake or asleep) is the best way to pass the time and ensure survival. Read the rest of this entry »

Silent Film-and-Music Pairings Highlight Art of Filmmaking

Silent Film-and-Music Pairings Highlight Art of Filmmaking

Pairing original music with decades-old films, two upcoming events spotlight the true art of filmmaking. Screenings of two vastly different silent films will be accompanied by original scores created by Alloy Orchestra – offering two unique opportunities for older learners to explore the art of filmmaking.

A winter of community-based opportunities for film studies continues here in western Massachusetts, with opportunities to enjoy and learn about the art of silent film coming to the Pioneer Valley and Berkshires. Adding to an already healthy dose of local opportunities for film studies, two more upcoming events spotlight the true artistry of film and highlight the intersection of music and film, allowing original scores to accompany silent films.

The first of these two such events is a special screening of classic film, The Son of the Sheik. Shown with live accompaniment from the Alloy Orchestra, the screening will feature the recently digitally remastered version of the 1926 original classic. Starring Rudolph Valentino, known as the first great lover of the silver screen, the movie is touted as one of the best love stories in film (and is, appropriately, going to be shown on Valentine’s Day!). Alloy Orchestra’s original score will add to the grandeur of the film, blending the sounds of a collection of surprising instruments to create a score created just for the film. After the screening, audience members can choose to stay for a Five College film and music master class, in which Alloy Orchestra will outline their compositional process. The screening is part of the Northampton Center for the Arts’ Four Sundays in February series, and will take place at 2pm on Sunday, February 14th at the Academy of Music.

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Happy Fat Tuesday: Celebrate & Learn About the Cultural Roots of Mardi Gras

Happy Fat Tuesday!

It may be business as usual here in New England, but way down south in New Orleans they are having a huge party! Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday) has arrived, and the whole city is celebrating! The traditions of Mardi Gras take all forms, and encompass everything from cake to sequins in an all-out celebration of local culture.

Mardi Gras’ roots lie in Catholicism, as the day after Mardi Gras- Ash Wednesday – begins the season of Lent, wherein members of the church give up certain indulgences until Easter Sunday. In order to prepare for Lent, New Orleanians celebrate like mad and spend a day truly enjoying all of the good things in life. Mardi Gras is perhaps best known for its parades filled with outrageous floats, unbelievable costumes, and lavish decorations and embellishments. In addition to these events, Mardi Gras brings together beignets and King Cake, Cajun and Zydeco music, Native American traditions, and thousands of strings of beads to create one of the most fascinating celebrations in America. Click here for online resources…

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Winter Festivals in Western MA

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: February Segment
Winter Festivals in Western Massachusetts

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, February 8th, 2016 with Sienna and Seth talking about explorations of New England culture in February during the season of winter festivals while engaging in community-based learning opportunities:

View the video above to learn about upcoming winter festivals and check out our list in our post Winter Festival Season 2016 in Western MA!

This Saturday, February 13th during the Easthampton WinterFest, join us from 10am-12pm at Flywheel for a Saturday Morning Music Party!


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 Monday, March 14th, 2016!

Learning Landscapes: Use and Value Diversity

Use and Value Diversity in the Learning Landscape

Diversity is at the core of life. Human diversity is also key to creativity, resilience and a vibrant, healthy human society. Each person, each child, is an individual with intrinsic worth and it is essential that we use and value the diversity within and between learners, among other people, and in our environment. However, bringing diversity into children’s learning landscapes and lives is often misunderstood.

In our interconnected global world educators, families, and communities are being pushed to use and value diversity. Interestingly, this is one of the thinking tools of permaculture – “Use and Value Diversity.” In the desire to serve the honorable goals of equity, tolerance and understanding, we (and our children) are often led to believe that diversity in and of itself is a desired outcome or state of being.

Diversity without regard to the natural relationships and connections between elements in our human and natural systems does not itself lead to the positive results that many imagine. When we try to change the “story” without understanding that all is in relation we can inadvertently create confusion or worse chaos.   Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: February 8th-14th, 2016


Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long!

This week we are featuring 25 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

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


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HFVS Mardi Gras Episode with Guest DJs, Johnette Downing & Scott Billington (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show
Listen to Podcast:

Mardi Gras Episode
with Guest DJs, Johnette Downing & Scott Billington

Children’s book author and musician Johnette Downing and Grammy Award winning producer Scott Billington offer a carnival of Louisiana roots music; a showcase of Cajun, New Orleans Rhythm and Blues, Zydeco, Brass Band and Jazz music by Louisiana artists. – www.johnettedowning.com

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

Featured video: Reading Rocks! By Johnette Downing Children’s book author and musician Johnette Downing sings “Reading Rocks!” from her Reading Rocks! CD to get children boppin’ into books and rockin’ into reading!


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

  • Professor Longhair – “Go to the Mardi Gras” (The Complete Ric & Ron Recordings,
  • Vol. 6: Classic New Orleans R&B and More, 1958-1965)
  • The Hawkettes – “Mardi Gras Mambo” (The History of Rhythm & Blues, Volume 3 –
  • The Rock’n’roll Years)
  • Zachary Richard – “File’ Gumbo” (Zack’s Bon Ton)
  • Johnette Downing – “Bon Jour Mes Amis,” (From the Gumbo Pot)
  • Papillion – “Cocodrie” (Cajun for Kids)
  • Johnette Downing – “Why the Possum Has a Large Grin,” (Reading Rocks!)
  • Huey Smith and the Clowns – “Don’t You Just Know It” (Having a Good Time With
  • Huey ‘Piano’ Smith & His Clowns – The Very Best of, Vol. 1)
  • Robert Parker – “Barefootin’” (Introduction to Robert Parker)
  • Fats Domino – “Walkin’ to New Orleans” (The Fats Domino Jukebox: 20 Greatest
  • Hits)
  • Nathan the the Zydeco Cha Chas – “Festival Zydeco” (Creole Crossroads)
  • Dirty Dozen Brass Band – “Little Liza Jane” (My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now)
  • Johnette Downing and Jimmy LaRocca’s Original Dixieland Jazz Band – “Dixieland
  • Jazz” (Dixieland Jazz for Children)
  • Louie Prima – “Banana Split for My Baby,” (Louis Prima Collectors Series)
  • Louis Armstrong – “What a Wonderful World,” (What a Wonderful World)
  • Johnette Downing and Jimmy LaRocca’s Original Dixieland Jazz Band – “It’s Time for
  • Mardi Gras,” (Dixieland Jazz for Children)

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

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Mark your calendars and join us next Saturday, February 13, for another Saturday Morning Music Party at Flywheel in Easthampton!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for February 6th-12th, 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 40 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Caramelization to Lunar New Year. Mardi Gras to Hip Hop., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our list of  Winter Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA.

February 6th-12th, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Mardi GrasWinter CarnivalIce ArtComputer ScienceHackathonFilmFood ScienceTrackingLocal FoodFood SwapChinese New YearLocal HistoryScience HistoryIce HarvestingSTEMTheaterAnimal StudiesOrnithologyMuseum AdventuresBlack History MonthArt StudiesMusic StudiesParenting WorkshopsParents’ Night Out

Family Volunteer Days

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

 

  1. HFVS African Music Episode with Guest DJ, Jay Sand (Podcast/Radio Show)
  2. Open Sesame: Celebrating Black History with Children’s Picture Books
  3. HFVS Love Episode with Guest DJ, Alex Mitnick (Radio Show/Podcast)
  4. Q&A: Intergenerational Opportunities in Western MA
  5. DIY: How to Make Swedish Paper Hearts 

 

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40 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Caramelization to Lunar New Year. Mardi Gras to Hip Hop.

Have you ever wondered what makes  caramel chewy? Chemistry! This chewy consistency is due to a chemical reaction that occurs when milk is added to hot sugar syrup. Now, can you identify which molecules of milk (protein? fat?) or why sugar and not salt contribute to this chemical reaction? Support an interest in chemistry, pastry arts and food science by learning the basics of caramelization from chef and author Bill Collins in the Learner’s Lab at the Berkshire Museum this weekend. Go curious and ask questions! And then make plans to cook up some chewy caramel covered pastries when you get home… making your kitchen your very own chemistry lab!

Caramelization to Food Swap. Lunar New Year to Theater Shorts. Cougars to Crows. Mardi Gras to Black History Month. Acapella to Hip Hop. .. 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: The town of Greenfield‘s 94th Annual Winter Carnival brings indoor and outdoor fun to locations across town, Friday, February 5 – Sunday, February 7! A tradition for nearly a century, Winter Carnival includes everything from traditional winter activities like the Cardboard Classic sled race and ice carving to a chili cook-off and a road race for the hardiest of runners. The event begins on Friday, February 5th with ice carving downtown, the annual Parade of Lights, and a fireworks display! Ongoing weekend events at Beacon Field include skating, sledding, the creation of a snowman village, a snow sculpture contest, a winter-themed story walk, and marshmallow roasting by the warming fire. 413-772-1553. 20 Sanderson Street, Greenfield, MA. (<$ SUGGESTED DONATION)


Mardi GrasWinter CarnivalIce ArtComputer ScienceHackathonFilmFood ScienceTrackingLocal FoodFood SwapChinese New YearLocal HistoryScience HistoryIce HarvestingSTEMTheaterAnimal StudiesOrnithologyMuseum AdventuresBlack History MonthArt StudiesMusic StudiesParenting WorkshopsParents’ Night Out


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Suggested Events for February 6th-12th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

Winter birdwatching provides a way to participate in important citizen science projects! Through Mass Audubon, families can learn about and report data on numerous bird species found in New England. While some of the species included in Mass Audubon’s resources for reporting bird sightings focus on summertime species, there are a great many birds found in wintertime who can be included as well – meaning that families have access to lots of wildlife-related citizen science opportunities during the colder months!

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.

Hilltown Families Event

Feb 13

Saturday Morning Music Party: Sat., Feb 13, 10am-12noon in Easthampton! Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids! During a free breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and fruit, families can craft handmade valentine’s with the Easthampton Family Center while enjoying a new performance with our special guests, Scotty Swan Puppet Co. After the breakfast, kids can join DJ Youthelectronix for the “best ever dance party before noon!” Save on the babysitter and shake off the winter blues with a Morning Music Dance Party! 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA. (FUNDRAISER)

Bulletin Board

Home School Sale

Happy Valentine’s Day from Oak Meadow! From Feb. 1 to 14 enjoy 15% off their flexible, progressive homeschooling curriculum for kindergarten to grade 12. Use independently or enroll in their teacher-supported distance learning school. The student-centered, nature-based curriculum fosters creativity and intellectual development through hands-on activities and interdisciplinary projects. High school students can take charge of their own learning thanks to options such as life experience credit, independent study, and dual enrollment. Visit their Bookstore to save 15% on all items, including the new digital curriculum option. It’s not too early to plan for the next school year. Ready for a change now? You can start any time.

Feb 4

To Catch a…Slice? A Pizza Party with Varian Johnson at the Odyssey Bookshop, Thursday, February 4th at 6pm. Come nosh on free pizza with Varian Johnson, awesome author of the wonderfully diverse and action-packed To Catch a Cheat, the sequel to the popular Great Greene Heist. Johnson will give you the scoop on all the scheming in his new novel starring middle school mastermind and con-man Jackson Greene and his gang of talented friends while you munch on the best school lunch there is: PIZZA! There will be giveaways and a raffle to win copies of The Great Greene Heist! This event is appropriate for ages 8 and up! Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St., South Hadley, MA. Email RSVP to kids@odysseybks.com.

Feb 6

Sunnyside Presents: “February Fiesta!” Spend the morning singing and dancing with the Valley’s own Latin Grammy-Winner Mister G! “Kid-friendly, bilingual rockstar…Mister G and his guitar will surely make you feel like bailando!” – The Washington Post. Come dance, decorate a maraca, and eat pizza with your friends! Join Sunnyside on Saturday February 6th from 10:00am-12noon at the Florence Community Center (140 Pine Street, Florence, MA). Tickets $8 per person ($25 maximum per family). All proceeds fund the Sunnyside Scholarship Fund. www.sunnysidekids.org

Info Session Feb 6

Montessori Middle School Information Session. What’s different about a Montessori middle school? Would it be a good fit for my adolescent? Come learn the answers to these and other questions on Saturday, February 6 at 10:30am in the Community Room at Lilly Library in Florence. Corey Hadden, middle school teacher, will discuss adolescent development and how the Montessori middle school curriculum supports the student at this critical point in their development through challenging academics, a focus on exploring identity and purpose, and opportunities to contribute to the larger community. The Montessori School of Northampton’s middle school program will open in September 2016. For more information: northamptonmontessori.org or 413-586-4538.

Feb 6

This Saturday, February 6, from 10am-4pm join The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art and First Book for Friendiversay, a celebration of friendship and reading! Free Admission! Meet and have your photo taken with costume characters Elephant and Piggie. Enjoy art making, films, storytimes and three galleries of inspiring picture book art. Pack a picnic lunch or enjoy food from Foley’s Franks. Every child will receive a free Elephant and Piggie book while supplies last. For more information or to view the day’s schedule visit www.carlemuseum.org or call 413-658-1126. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is located at 125 West Bay Road in Amherst, MA.

Open House: Feb 7

Birds of Prey! — Sunday, February 7th, 1-4pm: The Center School’s Admissions Open House featuring a live birds of prey presentation. All are welcome to join the Center School for the annual Birds of Prey Open House. From 1pm-2pm Tom Ricardi, internationally renowned raptor rehabilitator will give a presentation with live birds of prey. See eagles, hawks, owls, falcons and more. Then, from 2pm-4pm all classrooms will be open and teachers will be leading bird-related activities: build nests, paint eggs, make bird masks, dissect owl pellets and more. Meet teachers, parents and students and learn about what makes the Center School special. Light refreshments served. This event is free and open to the public. For more info visit centerschool.net

Full Moon Girls: Enlivening and deepening girls’ connection to themselves, community and the natural world. At Full Moon Girls, girls gather together with strong women mentors to play, explore, challenge their edges, and learn new skills. This program nourishes the individual and cultivates an environment for growth, leadership, and resilience. Girls play games, build friction fires, learn wild edibles, engage in storytelling, gain wilderness skills, make trusting friendships, learn songs, and more! Fridays weekly in Conway, Feb 5-May 27,9:30-3:30. Girls 9-15. $55-75/day. Saturdays monthly in Montague, Jan 30-Jun 4, 9:30-2:30. Girls 7-15. $45-75/day. Scholarships available! Contact us at FullMoonGirlsInfo@gmail.com or 413-367-6191.

Feb 13

WinterFest Amherst 2016 is the best family entertainment value of the winter! Saturday, February 13, from 1-6pm, Cherry Hill Golf Course, North Amherst. If there’s no snow we’ll make snow! Featuring a Chili Cookoff Competition, Best in Snow Dog Show, snow sculpting contest, golf competitions, Mobile Disk Golf Experience, sledding, wine and cheese tasting, Fat Track Bike Rides, horse drawn wagon rides, dancing, live music and more! The Cardboard Classic Sled Race invites everyone to bring a decorated old cardboard box to compete in this crowd-pleaser. Fireworks at 6pm! Families of 3+ just $20. For more information please follow on Facebook or visit www.cherryhillgolf.org. Presenting Sponsor: Integrity Development and Construction.

Feb 13-21

The New England Air Museum will hold family fun school vacation week programs from Feb 13-Feb 21. Explore three giant hangars filled with over 80 aircraft and experience the wonders of flight. A variety of activities will be offered daily including hands-on Build and Fly Challenges, open Cockpit Experiences aboard real aircraft, Aircraft Quests, and more! The Museum’s Flight Sim Spot will also be open daily between 11am-3pm. Additional activities are scheduled for the following days: Feb 13– Open Cockpit; Feb 15– Aeromodeling Workshop; Feb 16– The Great Paper Airplane Contest; Feb 17– Nose Art Design Workshop; Feb 18– Kites in Flight Workshop; Feb 19– LEGO Flying Machine Contest. Visit www.neam.org for more information. Windsor Locks, CT.

Feb 15-19

Puppet Festival February 15-19 at the Springfield Museums. This school vacation, join the Springfield Museums for their Puppet Festival, featuring the region’s finest puppet ensembles. Performances include a mashup of Little Red Riding Hood and the Gingerbread Man by Barefoot Puppets, and shows by Wayne Martin’s Puppets and Puppet Showplace Theater, among others. There’s also live animal demonstrations and plenty of hands-on art and science activities, all free with museum admission! And don’t miss Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs, an exhibit that gets to the “furry facts” about man’s best friend. For information, visit springfieldmuseums.org.

Feb 15-19

The Art Garden has invited five regional artists to their studio for a fun and creative February Vacation Program. Visiting artists will do morning workshops in mosaic, fiber arts, paper cutting, printmaking & make-your-own-scratch cards! Afternoons are dedicated to mixed media studio projects. Program runs Monday through Friday from 9am-3pm at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls. Extra hours available. Ages 7-17+ welcome. The Art Garden fosters a culture of inclusion with instruction tailored to meet the needs of all ages. Registration is required. Cost is $325 for the full week. Sibling discounts and financial assistance are available. Individual days possible if space permits. Call 413-625-2782 or email csartgarden@gmail.com to register.

Feb 15-19 & Mar 7-11

February & March CyclePottery Vacation Camps are open for registration! Campers will learn how to use a potter’s wheel to throw functional stoneware forms and handbuild with graphic artist Amber Bartosz. New to the camps: Students will glaze on the the final day! Sessions are: Feb. 15th-19th & March 7th-11th, 9am-3pm, 6 students max, Ages 9+, Fee $450. 10% discount if paid in full by Feb. 8th or Feb. 22nd. CyclePottery is located at 225 Nonotuck Street in Northampton, MA. For more info visit www.CyclePottery.com and registration forms contact Kathryn @ kathryn@cyclepottery.com 413-219-9594.

Our Place Summercamp gets kids out of the house and into nature. For 5 days campers hike, climb, wade and swim “our place”: the 5 ecoregions of the Nonotuck biome. These activities aren’t just “fun”—they’re designed to increase camper’s perceptual abilities, stimulate their critical thinking skills, inspire their creative imaginations, and counteract “nature deficit disorder.” Through active physical and mental engagement with “our place,” they gain a deep and lasting appreciation of it—and themselves. Campers go from site to site—mountains, forests, brooks, industrial brownfields, you name it—enjoying an adventurous, collaborative, inquiry-based investigation into the mysteries of the bios (life) that is where we live: our place! info@biocitizen.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 Sunday, March 13th, 2016, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2016 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE. Take advantage of our Early Rate by signing your camp/program today!

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
February 6th-12th, 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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Word Up Family Day Explores Intersection of Visual Art and Storytelling

Word Up Family Day Explores Intersection of Visual Art and Storytelling

All art tells a story, and families are invited to explore the intersection of art and storytelling at The Clark Art Institute’s Word Up Family Day. Held on Sunday, February 7th from 1-4pm in Williamstown, MA, this free event spotlights artists’ books, artistic pieces that challenge the traditional notion of a book by telling stories through nontraditional structures and symbols (both linguistic and visual). Including a variety of storytelling and story-making activities, the event can add a community-based element to studies of the art of sharing stories.

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Our Growing Roots: Slow Cooker Warms the Tummy

Cooking Up Some Winter Warmth

In this installment of “Our Growing Roots: Real Food, Real Connection,” Cheryl explores how to create simple, food-based connections during the cold winter months as she shares some of her favorite family-friendly slow cooker recipes.

I lose a lot of people when I talk about how much I love winter. I honestly do. The chilly weather, endless mugs of hot chocolate, and lazy weekend afternoons curled up on the couch…isn’t this what being a New Englander is all about? Regardless of your stance, I think we can all agree that the declining temperatures offer a perfect opportunity to connect indoors through cooking and togetherness. Plus, warming up beside a toasty oven is a definite bonus! It’s also the time of year when kids get increasingly antsy with cabin fever and, this year, a lack of snow to keep them occupied. Children are constantly searching for things to do, so gather them up and allow them to get their hands dirty!

Some of our favorite family meals during the winter happen through the magic of a slow cooker. It’s a winter staple in our home now, however, my love of the cherished Crockpot hasn’t always run deep.

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Chinese New Year Brings Opportunities for Cultural Studies

Chinese New Year Brings Opportunities for Cultural Studies

Ringing in the year of the fire monkey, Chinese New Year takes place this year on February 8, 2016. By exploring Chinese art, food, music, and traditions, families can gain background knowledge to support participation in regional celebrations of the lunar holiday.

If New Year’s Eve was actually a full two weeks worth of celebrating, what elements would you add to the event? Besides ringing in a new calendar year, we often spend a little bit of time reflecting on the past year and making plans for bettering ourselves during the coming one when New Year’s Eve rolls around. But what if the celebration lasted for fifteen days instead of just a single one!? With more time dedicated to beginning a new year, what parts of local culture would you like to have as a part of the celebration?

After a family brainstorm of your ideal two-week New Year’s celebration, explore the traditions of the Chinese New Year and compare. Celebrations of the Chinese New Year do, in fact, cover a full fifteen days. And it’s second name – the Lunar New Year – explains why it takes place after our own calendars have already rolled over to the next year.

The Chinese calendar is lunisolar, meaning that the date indicates both the current moonphase and the time of the solar year. Because of this, the Chinese New Year takes place on a different date on our own calendars each year, and is always held between a month and a month and a half after our own January 1st New Year’s celebration. In 2016, the Chinese New Year will be celebrated beginning on February 8th, and will honor the year of the fire monkey.

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Museum Adventures: Beneski Museum

Discovery and “Wow” Moments at the Beneski Museum

From February 16-19, 2016, families can enjoy student docent–guided tours at 11am and 1pm daily. Scavenger hunts for the whole family will be available throughout the entire month. Admission is always free.

The Beneski Museum of Natural History in Amherst is one of New England’s largest natural history museums, boasting three floors of exhibits with more than 1,700 specimens on display, and tens of thousands of specimens available for use by scholars and researchers from across campus and around the world!

At the Beneski, visitors can step inside the museum and see:

  • Dramatic displays of fossil skeletons, from fish to dinosaurs to Ice Age megafauna
  • An extraordinary collection of dinosaur footprints
  • Geological specimens and immersive exhibits that tell the history of the local landscape through geologic time, including when dinosaurs inhabited the area
  • Dazzling mineral specimens from around the world and meteorites from beyond Earth

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Off the Mat: When My 1st Grader Asks About Sex

Consenting to Questions

It starts simply enough. These conversations do. We pull onto I-91, skirt Northampton afternoon traffic to the edge of town to get my allergy shots.

Mama, why do they throw away the needles? Why don’t they use them again?

My practice is to answer my child’s questions when he asks. The trick is answering only the question he has asked. Questions beget questions.

I explain about contamination, how my blood is on the needle and could share germs with somebody else if the allergy nurse used it again. I can’t recall now whether he asked what germs or whether I volunteered information, but within a quarter mile I was explaining HIV.  How scientists haven’t figured out how to fix the disease from those germs so the best thing is to not get it.

How do you get it? Of course he asks.

Not through sneezes or spit like colds, but from blood and …. take a deep breath as silently as possible so he doesn’t notice the pause before I answer honestly… from the liquids from your penis or vagina. (Yes, I know, not from pee. But I was improvising at 65 mph!)

Which of course begs the question how those liquids get shared. And suddenly I‘m talking about sex with my first grader. Again. Read the rest of this entry »

Birds! Community-Based Education Right in Your Backyard

Backyard Birding in the Winter Months

The American tree sparrow can be spotted more easily in the winter due to its markings popping against the neutral tones of the season. Also with the curtains of leaves not offering any cover, it’s a great time of year to study birds and how they hop and fly.

During the winter, young wildlife enthusiasts can focus their attention on feathered friends, one of the few creatures who are still very visible throughout the coldest months of the year. Whether your family are avid birders or simply enjoy watching feeder visitors, there are lots of ways to learn about the local environment and to participate in citizen science by watching birds this winter! From owls to chickadees, there are many ways to engage with the local landscape and to help contribute information to important studies.

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Learning Ahead: February 1st-7th, 2016


Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long!

This week we are featuring 17 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

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!

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HFVS Insect Episode with Jeff & Paige (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety ShowListen to Podcast:

Hilltown Family Variety Show
Insect Episode with Jeff & Paige

Go on a musical hike with guest DJs Jeff and Paige to explore insects. Through music and story you’ll learn: how to identify an insect, how insects connect with animals, how insects help humans, and how humans can help insects! Jeff and Paige will play some of their favorite songs as well as fun tunes from other children’s musicians and from a few adult acts. Make sure you have room to dance as you explore nature and science with Jeff and Paige. – www.jeffandpaige.org

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
January 30th & 31st, 2016

WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: “A Conversation Between an Entomologist and an Insect”


 

 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Jeff and Paige – “A Conversation Between an Entomologist and an Insect” [Get Outdoors]
  • Ayla Nereo – “Eastern Sun” [Hollow Bone]
  • They Might Be Giants – “Why Does the Sun Shine?” [Here Comes Science]
  • The Smurfs – “Poor Little Silly Shy Smurf” [The Smurfs All Star Show]
  • Banana Slug String Band -“Decomposition” [Singing in our Garden]
  • Jeff and Paige – “New Tree Grows” [21st Century Energy Superheroes]
  • Justin Roberts – “Pop Fly” [Pop Fly]
  • The Bell Hours – “Farther Apart [The Bell Hours]
  • Sarah Jarosz – “Little Song” [Song Up In Her Head]
  • Jeff and Paige – “Bats” [Get Outdoors]
  • Mikey Mike -“Likin’ the Lichen” [Mikey Mike the Rad Scientist]
  • Jeff and Paige – “Thank You Honeybee” [Songs from the Trail]
  • Blitzen Trapper – “Fur” [Fur] 4:08
  • Jeff and Paige “The Great Monarch Migration” [Mighty Wolf]

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for January 30th & 31st, 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

Cast your vote by 12noon, Feb 3!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for January 30th-February 5th, 2016 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Deadline to sign up: Jan 30 by 12midnight.

Also check our weekly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 42 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Canines to Insects. Trains to Timber. Russian Folktales to Winter Camping., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our list of  Winter Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA.

January 30th-February 5th, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Museums AdventuresCynologyEntomologyTrainsSocial Emotional LearningCreative-Free PlayColonial HistoryHistorical TradesIce HarvestingStorytellingOutdoor AdventuresIce FishingSports HistoryWorld StudiesDance StudiesWinter CelebrationsMusic StudiesCulture StudiesParenting SkillsWomen’s StudiesTextile ArtsRefugee StudiesPaleontologyInclusion

Family Volunteer Days

 RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Birding in Winter Offers Great Reward
  2. Words of Winter Wisdom for Life in Western MA
  3. 20 Recommendations for Staying Entertained Inside on a Snow Day!
  4. Keeping Warm & Safe When It’s Extremely Cold!
  5. Science & Fun of Chain Reactions

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42 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Canines to Insects. Trains to Timber. Russian Folktales to Winter Camping.

Model railroad fans from throughout New England and beyond come together this weekend to share their passion for trains of all sizes at the Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show at the Eastern States Exposition. A great intergenerational hobby, model trains can support a variety of interests, from history to carpentry to economics to set design. Come curious and ask questions! West Springfield, MA. ($-$$)

Canines to Insects. Trains to Timber. Russian Folktales to Winter Camping… 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 highlights this week:  Kicking off winter festival season is The Art Garden’s outdoor Winter Celebration on Saturday, January 30, 4pm-8pm. A celebration of local art and the collective experiences of winter (both literally and metaphorically), this special event includes both indoor and outdoor elements. In the rail yard just outside The Art Garden, families will find creative winter-inspired installations and participatory art pieces, as well as (weather permitting) a fire around which to gather and bask in the contrast between the light of fire and the chill of winter. Indoors, the Winter Celebration brings an opening reception for Winter, a community exhibit centered around its namesake and offering families the opportunity to explore the many different creative representations and interpretations of winter. 413-625-2782. 14 Depot Street, Suite 2, Shelburne Falls, MA.


Museums AdventuresCynologyEntomologyTrainsSocial Emotional LearningCreative-Free PlayColonial HistoryHistorical TradesIce HarvestingStorytellingOutdoor AdventuresIce FishingSports HistoryWorld StudiesDance StudiesWinter CelebrationsMusic StudiesCulture StudiesParenting SkillsWomen’s StudiesTextile ArtsRefugee StudiesPaleontologyInclusion


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Suggested Events for January 30th-February 5th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“[Last year] was the first year my three year old participated in the Valentine’s Day swap & we had a blast making and receiving our cards in the mail. This site truly enhances what western Massachusetts is all about community and our great state!” – Summer Mikaitis (Pittsfield, 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.

Hilltown Families 8th Annual
Handmade Valentine Swap

Deadline to sign up: Jan 30.

It’s that time of the year again for the Hilltown Families Annual Handmade Valentine Swap! For the past eight years Hilltown Families has coordinated a community Handmade Valentine Swap — and we’re doing it again! Making handmade valentines is a great way to push against the commercialization of yet another holiday, while being creative with your family and friends. JOIN US! It’s free to sign up and open to all families in western Massachusetts! Last year our community generated over 1,550 handmade valentines! Let’s do it again!

Support Hilltown Families with Your Vote!

Deadline to cast your votes is Wednesday, Feb 3rd by 12noon!

Hilltown Families is celebrating 10 years! — TEN YEARS!!! Celebrate with us by casting your vote for Hilltown Families as BEST BLOG in the Valley Advocate’s Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2016! BEST BLOG is listed under the “Information Age” category. Deadline to cast your votes is Wednesday, Feb 3rd by 12noon. Participants must vote for a total of 10 local favorites… how about some of our sponsors! Click here to cast your votes: www.valleyadvocate.com/best-of

Bulletin Board

Accepting applications for fall 2016. The Bement School founded in 1925 and located in Deerfield is a co-educational junior boarding and day school serving 220 students in kindergarten through grade 9. Bement’s rich, traditional curriculum motivates and challenges students with strong academics, a renowned fine arts program, and a diverse athletic program. Students participate in athletics and fine arts every day. The pervasive atmosphere at Bement is that of a family, learning and living together. Bement actively seeks an academically diverse, international, and multi-cultural student body. For information on how to apply, financial aid, or to arrange a visit to campus, call 413-774-4209 www.bement.org.

Jan 30

Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs Exhibit Opening Celebration Saturday, January 30 10am-5pm at Springfield Museums. Ever wonder how wolves transformed into our favorite furry companions? Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs is a fascinating look at the history, biology and evolution of man’s best friend. The exhibit opens Saturday January 30 at the Springfield Museums with full day of family fun, including a magic show by Greg McAdams and his furry sidekick Axel, plus animal demonstrations by Rae Griffiths of Teaching Creatures, and themed art and science activities. For more information, visit springfieldmuseums.org

Open House: Jan 30

The Common School: Community, collaboration, social justice, intrinsic motivation, deep understanding, diversity, inclusivity, environmental education- Come learn how these words are put into action at their winter Open House on Saturday, January 30, from 10am-12noon. Play in their classrooms, meet their teachers, chat with current parents, and tour their beautiful campus situated amongst 120 acres of conservation land on Larch Hill in Amherst. Light refreshments provided. Questions? Contact Director of Admissions, Dana Kadish at outreach@commonschool.org or visit www.commonschool.org.

Open House: Jan 30

Amherst Montessori School will host an Open House for parents on Saturday, January 30 from 10am-12noon. Meet teachers and administrators, tour their beautiful new school in South Amherst, and learn about the Montessori curriculum for infants through sixth grade. AMS programs feature thoughtfully-prepared classrooms to support the child’s development, and a curriculum that integrates music, art, practical life, outdoor time, PE, Spanish, and more. January’s Open House will also offer an elementary level parent panel for interested families. Register online at amherstmontessori.org.

Begins Feb 1

Meadowedge Art for Children in Bernardston begin their next session of classes and events on Feb 1-May 23, with an additional Tuesday class for 8-11 years old, and a new Preschool Program for 3-5 year olds on Saturday mornings! For homeschoolers, there are private and small group lessons. Along with lots of drawing, there are many media to explore: clay hand building, stone carving, felting, tie dyeing, batik, doll making, fairy and creature houses, wood projects, game design, carving and printing, glass and ceramic mosaics, mandala drawing, book making, & collage. Summer Arts/Swim workshops start in June with information and signups available February 13. For more info: www.meadowedgeart.org; cfulton@meadowedgeart.com; 413-219-7807.

Home School Sale

Happy Valentine’s Day from Oak Meadow! From Feb. 1 to 14 enjoy 15% off their flexible, progressive homeschooling curriculum for kindergarten to grade 12. Use independently or enroll in their teacher-supported distance learning school. The student-centered, nature-based curriculum fosters creativity and intellectual development through hands-on activities and interdisciplinary projects. High school students can take charge of their own learning thanks to options such as life experience credit, independent study, and dual enrollment. Visit their Bookstore to save 15% on all items, including the new digital curriculum option. It’s not too early to plan for the next school year. Ready for a change now? You can start any time.

Expanded caregiver-and-me schedule beginning soon at The Center Dance Studio in Amherst! Now offered three times weekly, Garden of Verses provides a gentle, joyful introduction to creative movement to babies/toddlers (ages 0-5) & their caregivers. Using imagery, rhyme & song, children are guided through foundational movement patterns that promote kinesthetic awareness, coordination & focus. Storybook pages spring to life as children reimagine timeless classics & embody beloved characters; props, instruments & costumes enhance the magic. How hungry is your little caterpillar? Join Garden of Verses to find out. For more info visit visit www.thecenterdance.com or email thecenterdanceschool@gmail.com. 321 Main Street. Amherst, MA. 413-687-7953.

Feb 6

Sunnyside Presents: “February Fiesta!” Spend the morning singing and dancing with the Valley’s own Latin Grammy-Winner Mister G! “Kid-friendly, bilingual rockstar…Mister G and his guitar will surely make you feel like bailando!” – The Washington Post. Come dance, decorate a maraca, and eat pizza with your friends! Join Sunnyside on Saturday February 6th from 10:00am-12noon at the Florence Community Center (140 Pine Street, Florence, MA). Tickets $8 per person ($25 maximum per family). All proceeds fund the Sunnyside Scholarship Fund. www.sunnysidekids.org

Feb 4

To Catch a…Slice? A Pizza Party with Varian Johnson at the Odyssey Bookshop, Thursday, February 4th at 6pm. Come nosh on free pizza with Varian Johnson, awesome author of the wonderfully diverse and action-packed To Catch a Cheat, the sequel to the popular Great Greene Heist. Johnson will give you the scoop on all the scheming in his new novel starring middle school mastermind and con-man Jackson Greene and his gang of talented friends while you munch on the best school lunch there is: PIZZA! There will be giveaways and a raffle to win copies of The Great Greene Heist! This event is appropriate for ages 8 and up! Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St., South Hadley, MA. Email RSVP to kids@odysseybks.com.

Info Session Feb 6

Montessori Middle School Information Session. What’s different about a Montessori middle school? Would it be a good fit for my adolescent? Come learn the answers to these and other questions on Saturday, February 6 at 10:30am in the Community Room at Lilly Library in Florence. Corey Hadden, middle school teacher, will discuss adolescent development and how the Montessori middle school curriculum supports the student at this critical point in their development through challenging academics, a focus on exploring identity and purpose, and opportunities to contribute to the larger community. The Montessori School of Northampton’s middle school program will open in September 2016. For more information: northamptonmontessori.org or 413-586-4538.

Open House: Feb 7

Birds of Prey! — Sunday, February 7th, 1-4pm: The Center School’s Admissions Open House featuring a live birds of prey presentation. All are welcome to join the Center School for the annual Birds of Prey Open House. From 1pm-2pm Tom Ricardi, internationally renowned raptor rehabilitator will give a presentation with live birds of prey. See eagles, hawks, owls, falcons and more. Then, from 2pm-4pm all classrooms will be open and teachers will be leading bird-related activities: build nests, paint eggs, make bird masks, dissect owl pellets and more. Meet teachers, parents and students and learn about what makes the Center School special. Light refreshments served. This event is free and open to the public. For more info visit centerschool.net

Full Moon Girls: Enlivening and deepening girls’ connection to themselves, community and the natural world. At Full Moon Girls, girls gather together with strong women mentors to play, explore, challenge our edges, and learn new skills. This program nourishes the individual and cultivates an environment for growth, leadership, and resilience. Girls play games, build friction fires, learn wild edibles, engage in storytelling, gain wilderness skills, make trusting friendships, learn songs, and more! Fridays weekly in Conway, Feb 5-May 27,9:30-3:30. Girls 9-15. $55-75/day. Saturdays monthly in Montague, Jan 30-Jun 4, 9:30-2:30. Girls 7-15. $45-75/day. Scholarships available! Contact us at FullMoonGirlsInfo@gmail.com or 413-367-6191.

Feb 13

Saturday Morning Music Party: Sat., Feb 13, 10am-12noon in Easthampton! Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids! During a free breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and fruit, families can craft handmade valentine’s with the Easthampton Family Center while enjoying a new performance with our special guests, Scotty Swan Puppet Co. After the breakfast, kids can join DJ Youthelectronix for the “best ever dance party before noon!” Save on the babysitter and shake off the winter blues with a Morning Music Dance Party! 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA. (FUNDRAISER)

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 Sunday, March 13th, 2016, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2016 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE. Take advantage of our Early Rate by signing your camp/program today!

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
January 30th-February 5th, 2016

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

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Berkshire Family Fun: February 2016

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
February 2016

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of February. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday!

There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.


Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:

Berkshire Family Fun is also supported in part by a grant from the Hinsdale/Peru, Mount Washington, Monterey, North Berkshire, Pittsfield, Washington, and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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