Visual Art in Western MA: September Openings, Closings & Calls for Art

Visual Art in Western MA:
September Openings, Closings & Calls for Art

Explore Western MA through the lens of visual art! Featured here are September art openings, closings & call for art at galleries, museums and public meeting places across the region, including:  D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts in Springfield;  Memorial Hall Museum in Deerfield;  Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke;  and Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge. Read the rest of this entry »

Handbill & Callboard: Theater Studies Through Engagement in Western MA for September

Handbill & Callboard:
September Theater Productions and Call for Auditions in Western MA

Support a love for theater with these featured September theater productions in Western MA! A great way to engage in your community while supporting an interest in theater studies.

Comic Drama and Contemporary Musical at the Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield; Children’s Musical at Ruth B. Smith Auditorium in Orange; Play Festival at A.P.E. Gallery in Northampton; Outdoor Traveling Spectacle with Double Edge Theatre in Springfield.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Good Life: It’s Not About the Shopping

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Debut of Seasonal Cultural Itinerary

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: August Segment
Debut of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western MA

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, August 29, 2016. This month Sienna and Lauren talked about agricultural fairs, fall festivals, one room schoolhouses and apples featured in the debut of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western MA:

Download a copy of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western MA. (38 page PDF) for the fall season.


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 September 26th, 2016!

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Learning Ahead: Sept & Oct Cultural Itinerary for Western MA

Learning Ahead:
Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts
Seasons: Sept & Oct

Who am I? Where am I? These are the fundamental questions proposed by the humanities. Inquiries related to local history, literature, and education, inspire us to think deeply about the places where we live and how our identity fits into the context of our community and the seasons.

Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts is a new bimonthly publication produced by Hilltown Families that sheds light on embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.

With these downloadable seasonal itineraries, self-directed teens, lifelong learners, and families are encouraged to engage together in cultural opportunities that support similar interests, resulting in a shared history, strengthening sense of place.

Looking through a seasonal lens, our debut Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts is for the months of September and October and includes:

  • Participation in local CULTURE: Agricultural Fairs and Fall Festivals
  • PLACEMAKING through annual events: Guided Tours and Plein Air Paint Outs
  • Gathering and preparing seasonal FOOD: Apples and Pumpkins
  • VALUE based engagement: Intergenerational, Skillsharing, and Community Meals
  • Marking the SEASON with annual events: Back-to-School and Halloween
  • Engage in local HABITAT: Nature Trails and Fall Foliage
  • INTEREST based learning: Domestic Arts, Pastry Arts, and Paranormal

Click here to download PDF (38 pages).


Mass Humanities This program is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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2016 Fall Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA

Weekdays in Western MA: August 29-September 2, 2016

Weekdays in Western MA:
August 29-September 2, 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.

Select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

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


See your banner here! Sponsor Learning Ahead!

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 27th & 28th, 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

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for August 27th-September 2nd, 2016 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Ongoing Story Hours & Playgroups and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 39 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Circle Dance to Witchcraft. Watercolor Painting to Astronomy., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

August 27 – September 2, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Sports ♦ Art Studies ♦ Watercolor Painting ♦ History ♦ Historic Schoolhouse ♦ Witchcraft ♦ Local Food Culture ♦ Literacy ♦ Astronomy ♦ STEM ♦ Circuitry ♦ Zoology ♦ Entomology ♦ Dance Studies ♦ Circle Dance ♦ Music Studies ♦ Agriculture

Family Volunteer Days

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. People-Watching! Supporting Language Arts, Theater & Community Awareness
  2. Sewing Skills Connect Local Culture, Local History, and Self-Sufficiency
  3. Community-Based Education Makes Every Day Back-To-School Day
  4. Open Sesame: 4 Summer Bedtime Stories
  5. Magic Shows: The Psychology Behind Magic Tricks & Illusions

RECAP MAP SPONSOR

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Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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39 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Circle Dance to Witchcraft. Watercolor Painting to Astronomy.

Nighthawks are impressive creatures which engage in aerial acrobatics, catching insects on their wings! On Tuesday, August 30, 5pm-7:30pm, you can search the sky for migrating nighthawks at Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary. Bring binoculars. Registration is not required. 413-637-0320. Holmes Road. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Circle Dance to Witchcraft. Watercolor Painting to Astronomy. STEM to Literacy.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 highlightthis week: On Saturday, August 27, 12:30pm-11pm and Sunday, August 28, 12:30pm-7:30pm you can be a part of Celebrate Holyoke. Enjoy live music, food from local restaurants, and goods from local artists and makers. On the 27th you can hear live music from the following bands: From the Woods, Skarroñeros, Paper City Exiles. Franny O Show, Trailer Park, Pabon Salsa, Eleven, and Brass Attack. Check the Celebrate Holyoke website for a full schedule of events. Holyoke Heritage State Park. 221 Appleton Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)


Sports ♦ Art Studies ♦ Watercolor Painting ♦ History ♦ Historic Schoolhouse ♦ Witchcraft ♦ Local Food Culture ♦ Literacy ♦ Astronomy ♦ STEM ♦ Circuitry ♦ Zoology ♦ Entomology ♦ Dance Studies ♦ Circle Dance ♦ Music Studies ♦ Agriculture


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


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Suggested Events for August 27th-September 2nd, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“It’s a rainy summer day and the kids are bored of the usual routine… HILLTOWN FAMILIES always saves the day! Family life in the hill towns is brighter, bolder, and culturally enriched by the support of Hilltown Families. It has been the number one constant resource for events, concerts, and community education for our family in our parenting journey. Hilltown Families has widely become essential support for family life in Western Massachusetts, a network that grows happier healthier families through community, connection, and education. Thank you Hilltown Families for all you do!” – Zoe (Ashfield, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after-school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Bulletin Board

Open House: Aug 27

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

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

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. Students 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. Use promo code HTF201617 and receive $10 OFF your entire purchase of any instructional program!

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

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community-building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish, and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
August 27 – September 2, 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 »

Let Them Grow: How Bugs Can Teach Toddlers Kindness & Tolerance

Let Them Grow by Candice Chouinard

Bugs of Summer

Toddlers love bugs and insects or they are terrified of them! Either way the curiosity that bugs and insects evoke in young children is endless. I am a true believer that a child that is exposed to the natural world around will have a heightened respect and a deep regard for that world. Insect’s can be scary, they are foreign, and they don’t speak, ride bikes, or eat crackers. They come in thousands of shapes and sizes. Some are safe to touch and some are not. Some are a nuisance and some are allies. How can we teach our toddlers to be kind and safe around bugs and set aside our own deep-seated opinions on bugs? How can we show them the world wouldn’t be the same without bugs? A great book for this is the 1967 classic  Be Nice to Spiders by Margret Bloy Graham. This books looks at a zoo over run with flies without the help of spiders. It is a fun read and a great topic of discussion.  Read the rest of this entry »

Bird Language Connects Citizens to Their Habitat

Bird Language Connects Citizens to Their Habitat

Why do birds vocalize simple chirps sometimes while at other times they emit elaborate, melodious songs? “Bird language” is a term referring to the combined chirps, songs, and behaviors which allow birds to communicate with each other. Humans can study the sounds and behaviors of birds in order to gain an understanding of what they are communicating.

The following video gives examples of bird sounds and their meanings:

Why study bird sounds? The study of bird language intersects with the broader topics of animal studies and biology, and can connect people to their local habitat through a greater level of awareness of animal interaction. Learning about bird language, and identifying birds by sound, requires concentration and careful listening skills. An interest in ornithology can thus improve our listening skills in general. Quieting the mind and tuning in to particular sounds and sensations is a skill which can be applied to mindfulness, and even music studies. Bird songs have in fact had a great impact on human music, and as a result, culture. Read the rest of this entry »

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

Guided Tours for Learning about Architecture and Local History

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

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

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

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

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

Lifelong Learning Resources in Western MA

Adult Education and Lifelong Learning Resources in Western MA

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

The Ripple: A Vision of Our Future

River People: A Vision of Our Future

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

Learning Ahead: August 22-26, 2016


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

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

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


See your banner here! Sponsor Learning Ahead!

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

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

MAP

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

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

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

August 20-26, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Family Volunteer Days

 

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

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

RECAP MAP SPONSOR

Recap Map is sponsored in part by Hampshire Shakespeare Company.

See your banner here! Sponsor Learning Ahead!

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

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

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

Local History to Car Shows. Agriculture to Woodworking. Writing to Foraging. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

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


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


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


Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for August 20th-26th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

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

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after-school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Join our team…

Bulletin Board

Open House: Aug 27

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

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

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

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

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community-building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish, and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
August 20-26, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Kitchen Scrap Gardening Offers Hands-On Learning

How Compost Can Support Experiential Learning

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

[Photo credit: (cc) mannewaar]

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Reuse Centers & Businesses Support Sustainable Living & Learning

Community Resources Support Creative and Practical Reuse

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

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

Accessible Outdoor Trails in Western MA

Accessible Outdoor Trails in Western MA

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learning Ahead: August 15-19, 2016


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

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

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


See your banner here! Sponsor Learning Ahead!

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

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

MAP

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

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

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

August 13-19, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Family Volunteer Days

 

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

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

RECAP MAP SPONSOR

Recap Map is sponsored in part by Hampshire Shakespeare Company.

See your banner here! Sponsor Learning Ahead!

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for August 13th-19th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

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

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Bulletin Board

Sep 25

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

Aug 12-14

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

Aug 16

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

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

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

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

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Join our team…


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
August 13-19, 2016

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Language Learning Resources in Western MA

Language Learning Resources in Western MA

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

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

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

In Appreciation: In Praise of Imperfection

In Praise of Imperfection

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

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

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

SciShow: Teaching the World of Science Through Video

SciShow: Teaching the World of Science Through Video

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

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

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