Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for December 16 & 17, 2017

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

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for December 16th – 22nd, 2017 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 out Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts, our bimonthly publication  that sheds light on embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts. And be sure to explore our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational, cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families. Click on the icons below to peruse our featured directories of After-School Classes & Enrichment Programs and Preschools in Western MA.

LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 16 – 22, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

RECAP MAP SPONSOR

See your banner here! Sponsor Recap Map!

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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Suggested Events for December 16th – 22nd, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

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

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

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

Hilltown Families’ Events:

Jan 1

On New Year’s Day (Jan 1), Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids! This year, we are starting off this family series on New Year’s Day, January 1, with a First Day Morning Music Party from 10am-12noon in Easthampton, MA. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! It takes place at Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton’s old Town Hall. This event is a fundraiser for 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!

Bulletin Board

Dec 8-20

The Polar Express Movie at South Hadley’s Tower Theaters. Enjoy a family adventure on The Polar Express this holiday season. Tower Theaters will host a limited run of the classic movie, The Polar Express, from December 8th through 20th. Tom Hanks stars in this inspiring adventure based on the beloved children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg. When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. Tickets for all shows are just $5 and includes a special treat for all young guests. Great for families, school, and youth groups for a low-cost holiday outing. Showtimes can be found at www.towertheaters.com.

Dec 16

It’s A 21st Century Nutcracker! Join The Center Dance in Amherst on Saturday, December 16th for an exciting spin on a wintertime classic! Dance styles from across the globe (and right next door!) set to Tchaikovsky’s timeless score. Curtains will rise in the Amherst Regional High School auditorium at 1pm and 5pm. Tickets are available online or at The Center Dance Studio (321 Main Street, Amherst). A 21st Century Nutcracker. Let’s play with tradition!

Dec 16

Save the Date! This holiday season, experience the beloved story of The Nutcracker told through Celtic Dance. A Celtic Nutcracker will beautifully blend the Tchaikovsky score with live Celtic music and original choreography by the Celtic Heels Dance Company Director, Cara Leach. Bring your family to this one showing event on Saturday, December 16th at 3pm at the Academy of Music, Northampton. Featuring the Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company and live music this is sure to become a family tradition for anyone who loves the Nutcracker or Celtic Dance! Tickets are $12-20. Information can be found at www.ACelticNutcracker.com.

Dec 17

Sunday, December 17th, Congregation B’nai Israel will host a Chanukah celebration alongside local musicians Nerissa and Katryna Nields. Communal candle lighting will begin at 5:15pm – folks are encouraged to bring a menorah if they can! Afterwards, the Nields sisters will lead everyone in some music of peace, justice, and resistance, followed by a catered dinner. Anyone is warmly welcomed to attend, including people of all ages and interfaith individuals and families. CBI is located at 253 Prospect Street, Northampton, MA. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children under 12. For more information, contact Rabbi Jacob Fine at rabbijacob@cbinorthampton.org. RSVP here: cbinorthampton.org

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

Dec 27 & 28

SHOW Circus Studio announces two days of Winter Circus Camp for children ages 7-12 this December in Easthampton: December 27 and 28. These day camps will run from 9am-3pm and will cover all aspects of circus including trapeze, fabric, juggling, tightwire, acrobatics, human pyramids, stretching, strength, & circus games/activities. A great way to spend winter break! Cost: $75/day. For registration & more information please visit www.showcircusstudio.com.

The Common School, serving children ages 3-12, is accepting applications for Fall 2018. The Common School’s mission is to develop strong academic and social skills while nurturing each child’s love of learning, respect and compassion for others, and a deep commitment to the natural world. The Common School provides admissions tours Monday through Friday. To make an appointment, please contact Dana Kadish, Director of Admissions at outreach@commonschool.org or visit their website at www.commonschool.org.

Add your class

Hilltown Families has put together an After-School Classes & Enrichment Programs Directory of classes and programs happening across Western Massachusetts throughout the school year. Our community is rich in learning opportunities to supplement the interests of children, teens, and life-long learners and our directory makes it easier to find these gems while connecting families with resources that support their interests and education. — Have a class or program you’d like to include in our directory? Click here to find out how to have it added. New and updated opportunities are added throughout the year.

Add your school

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

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

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 16 – 22, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Holiday Celebrations: Learning through the Lens of the Season

 

 

 


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 a sense of place.

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Literature in Context: A Community-Based Education Guide to Cynthia Rylant’s Life

Literature in Context: A Community-Based Education Guide to Cynthia Rylant’s Life

Download the Learning Map, which links this book to local opportunities for community-based learning.

Beautifully detailed and metaphorical illustrations accompany deeply emotional wisdom in this work from an award-winning author and a talented illustrator. Rather than reading as a true story, Life offers up simple yet universally applicable life advice. Centered around the idea of allowing life to happen and adapting to change to survive (and love life!), the book pairs simple suggestions and thought-provoking questions with relatable experiences had by species from all around the world. Even young readers will see the clear link between the words and the natural images they are paired with – a connection that encourages deep thought and reflection. In addition to serving as a lesson for self-love, the book promotes empathy and understanding, allowing it to serve as a catalyst for community-based learning opportunities existing within the practice of kindness. Read the rest of this entry »

Weekdays in Western MA: December 11 – 15, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA: December 11 – 15, 2017

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

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

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


See your banner here! Sponsor Weekdays in Western MA!

 

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HFVS Holiday Show with Guest DJ, Brady Rymer (Podcast/Radio Show)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Holiday Show with Guest DJ, Brady Rymer

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

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am

December 9th & 10th, 2017

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

Featured Video: Can’t Sit Still


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

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

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Q&A: 18 Recommended Winter Resources & Activities for Families with Special Needs in Western MA

Q&A: 18 Recommended Winter Resources & Activities for Families with Special Needs in Western MA

When our readers ask, Hilltown Families does our best to find the answers. Please feel encouraged to share your favorite places in the comment section!

Jean Engle of North Adams writes, “Once the colder weather sets in, where are the best places to visit and socialize for parents and children with special needs? Are there any specialized activities?”

Holyoke High School’s Adaptive Physical Education Program is an inspiration! Here’s a video of the program they held at Fitzpatrick Ice Arena to inspire other schools and communities to model a similar program in their area:

Lisa Levheim writes, “It’s a little far from North Adams, but Whole Children in Hadley is amazing! They have after school programs and daytime programs for homeschoolers and younger kids.”

Swansea Benham Bleicher writes, “Most family centers will welcome children with special needs. Contact the Coordinators ahead of time if you are concerned: Northampton Parents Center, Easthampton Family Center, Belchertown Family Center, Amherst Family Center, Cummington Family Center, Gateway Family Center, South Hadley Family Center, Ware Family Center

Matt Sawyer writes,Ski Butternut offers skiing and snowboarding adaptive programs for people with special needs.” Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for December 9th & 10th, 2017

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 Weekly Suggested Events for December 9th – 15th, 2017 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, cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our featured DIY Holiday Gifts post, from this season’s Learning Ahead: A Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts.

LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 9 – 15, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

RECAP MAP SPONSOR

See your banner here! Sponsor Recap Map!

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

New Year’s Day Morning Music Party with Hilltown Families & Flywheel Arts Collective

On the first day of 2018, Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Dance Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing, and diversions for kids!  This year we are starting off this family series on New Year’s Day, January 1, with a morning music party on from 10am-12noon in Easthampton, MA.

During a free breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and fruit, families can enjoy a performance with our special guest, Scotty Swan Puppet Co. There will be plenty of food to go around – and you’ll need it to fuel your moves for what some have called the “best ever dance party before noon!” DJ Youthelectronix will be on the ones and twos, spinning your favorite hits! Save on the babysitter and dance away the first morning of the new year!

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 »

Suggested Events for December 9th – 15th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

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

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

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

Bulletin Board

Dec 8-10

Welcome Yule celebrates the return of light with an annual family show of music, dance, song and story to drive the dark away. The show is set on Solstice Eve until the sun returns in the morning. The theme is the mythology and the natural world at this point in the annual round. Songs of animals, trees, and spirits join the wassails, carols, horn dance, mummers play, and the passing of the yule log. Friday & Saturday Dec. 8 and 9, 7:30pm & Sunday Dec. 10, 2pm. Shea Theater, Turners Falls. Tickets $12 adults, $10 seniors and children 5-16 years. Tickets: Amherst Books, in Amherst, Broadside Bookshop in Northampton, World Eye Bookshop in Greenfield, at the door or online. For information and reservations, visit welcomeyule.org.

Dec 8-10

Pioneer Valley Ballet presents the beloved holiday classic, The Nutcracker! Join Clara as she battles the Rat King to save the Nutcracker Prince, and then travel to the enchanted Snow Forest and beautiful Kingdom of Sweets. Featuring guest artists from Carolina Ballet & Festival Ballet. Live on stage December 8-10 at the Academy of Music in Northampton. New this year: Our Sensory and Family Safe Presentation on December 8 has lighting and sound accommodations for reduced sensory experiences, and a narrator will assist the audience at the start of the performance. Get tickets today at aomtheatre.com. For more information about the Pioneer Valley Ballet company and school, visit pioneervalleyballet.org.

Dec 8-20

The Polar Express Movie at South Hadley’s Tower Theaters. Enjoy a family adventure on The Polar Express this holiday season. Tower Theaters will host a limited run of the classic movie, The Polar Express, from December 8th through 20th. Tom Hanks stars in this inspiring adventure based on the beloved children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg. When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. Tickets for all shows are just $5 and includes a special treat for all young guests. Great for families, school, and youth groups for a low-cost holiday outing. Showtimes can be found at www.towertheaters.com.

Dec 10

The Academy at Charlemont (1359 Route 2 in Charlemont, MA) will host an Admissions Open House for interested families on Sunday, December 10, with presentations beginning at 1pm. Meet students, teachers, and current parents, and get a feel for their creative and rigorous academic program and warm community. The Academy offers vibrant arts, athletics, and an emphasis on critical thinking and ethical leadership. Academy students love school. Shouldn’t everyone? Details at www.charlemont.org.

Dec 10

Grab your holiday shopping list and join OnTrend on Sunday, December 10, for their fun and festive Holiday Market! They will be returning to the beautiful Hadley Farms Meeting House in Hadley, MA between 10am and 4pm. They’ll have 55 of the region’s top crafters and makers selling their high-quality handmade goods. You’ll find jewelry, paper goods, wood crafts, house wares, ceramics, apparel, and much more. Be sure to stop by their activity booth and take home a free gift! Free admission. For more information, visit ontrendcrafts.com or email Jennifer at jennifer@ontrendcrafts.com.

Dec 16

Save the Date! This holiday season, experience the beloved story of The Nutcracker told through Celtic Dance. A Celtic Nutcracker will beautifully blend the Tchaikovsky score with live Celtic music and original choreography by the Celtic Heels Dance Company Director, Cara Leach. Bring your family to this one showing event on Saturday, December 16th at 3pm at the Academy of Music, Northampton. Featuring the Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company and live music this is sure to become a family tradition for anyone who loves the Nutcracker or Celtic Dance! Tickets are $12-20. Information can be found at www.ACelticNutcracker.com.

Dec 16

It’s A 21st Century Nutcracker! Join The Center Dance in Amherst on Saturday, December 16th for an exciting spin on a wintertime classic! Dance styles from across the globe (and right next door!) set to Tchaikovsky’s timeless score. Curtains will rise in the Amherst Regional High School auditorium at 1pm and 5pm. Tickets are available online or at The Center Dance Studio (321 Main Street, Amherst). A 21st Century Nutcracker. Let’s play with tradition!

Perform in a musical, delve into a marine biology intensive, write and deliver a Lyceum Lecture, participate in the Harvard Model UN, create a unique stone carving, travel on a foreign exchange, explore environmental sustainability. The Hartsbrook High School offers a well-rounded curriculum including Literature, Math, History, Science, the Arts, Land Stewardship, Service Learning, and Athletics. In all areas, teachers incorporate academic, practical, and artistic components, immersing students deeply into their subjects. Come and see for yourself. Schedule a private tour at 413-586-1908. 193 Bay Road, Hadley. Now accepting applications for the 2018-19 school year. For more information visit www.hartsbrook.org.

The Common School, serving children ages 3-12, is accepting applications for Fall 2018. The Common School’s mission is to develop strong academic and social skills while nurturing each child’s love of learning, respect and compassion for others, and a deep commitment to the natural world. The Common School provides admissions tours Monday through Friday. To make an appointment, please contact Dana Kadish, Director of Admissions at outreach@commonschool.org or visit their website at www.commonschool.org.

Local Organic Christmas Trees! Justamere Tree Farm in Worthington, MA, has cut your own and pre-cut Christmas trees available Friday, Saturday, & Sunday after Thanksgiving, and weekends in December. Come by the farm between the hours of 9am-4pm to select your very own locally grown Christmas Tree. Their gift shop, in the post and beam barn, will feature their very own artisanal maple products for sale. Also, handcrafted wreaths and swags made on the farm are available. Experience a wonderful destination and a beautiful drive into the Hilltowns, creating a new tradition with your family. Visit them at www.justameretreefarm.com/trees for more information & directions or email them at welch@justameretreefarm.com.

Add your class

Hilltown Families has put together an After-School Classes & Enrichment Programs Directory of classes and programs happening across Western Massachusetts throughout the school year. Our community is rich in learning opportunities to supplement the interests of children, teens, and life-long learners and our directory makes it easier to find these gems while connecting families with resources that support their interests and education. — Have a class or program you’d like to include in our directory? Click here to find out how to have it added. New and updated opportunities are added throughout the year.

Add your school

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

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

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 9 – 15, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

10 Hilltown Family Variety Show Holiday Podcasts

Originally broadcasted out of Northampton, MA on WXOJ-LP 103.3FM (Valley Free Radio) for the holidays, we’ve gathered nine holiday episodes of the Hilltown Family Variety Show from over the years to share with your family as we celebrate the season. Enjoy these hour long, commercial-free podcasts that celebrate Chanukah, Christmas, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, the New Year and the spirit of peace and giving. Choose a podcast here…

Holiday Traditions: Learning through the Lens of the Season


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 a sense of place.

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Off the Mat: The Gratitude Muscle

The Gratitude Muscle

Gratitude is one of the decade’s buzzwords, printed in cheerful fonts on memes and magazine covers. And for a good reason: research shows that gratitude positively impacts cardiovascular health, immunity, and even our neurological wiring. Dr. Robert Emmons at UC Davis studies how gratitude changes the social-emotional area of our brains. He says that practicing gratitude is essential for our mental health.

Read the rest of this entry »

Weekdays in Western MA: December 4 – 8, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA:
December 4 – 8, 2017

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

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

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


See your banner here! Sponsor Weekdays in Western MA!

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HFVS One Little Song Can Change the World Episode with Guest DJ, Kid Pan Alley (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

One Little Song Can Change the World Episode
with Guest DJ, Kid Pan Alley

At Kid Pan Alley, they’ve written over 2,700 songs with 50,000 kids! Throughout this experience, there is one subject that keeps popping up time and time again—treating each other and the Earth with respect. On this week’s Hilltown Family Variety Show, Kid Pan Alley is featuring not only songs from their album One Little Song Can Change The World, but also songs from some of their favorite artists about that very important subject. We’ve all felt transformed by a great song at some time in our lives. The hope is that this week’s show will leave our listeners inspired and rejuvenated with a collection of great songs to add to your family’s music library. — www.kidpanalley.org

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
December 2nd & 3rd, 2017
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video:


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

  • Kid Pan Alley – “We Need No Excuse For Dreaming” feat. Jevon McGlory [One Little Song Can Change The World]
  • Lisa Loeb – “Best Friend” [Camp Lisa]
  • Fred Penner – “Humility” w/ Terra Lightfoot &The Good Lovelies [Hear The Music]
  • Secret Agent 23 Skidoo – “Speak The Truth” w/ Gift Of Gab [Underground Playground]
  • Rabbit! – “Unlimited Love” [The Golden Carrot]
  • Kid Pan Alley – “I Don’t Think So, You’re A Bully” feat. Heath Francis [One Little Song Can Change The World]
  • John McCutcheon – “Play Fair” [Bigger Than Yourself]
  • Kid Pan Alley – “Skin” (feat. Lea Morris) [One Little Song Can Change The World]
  • Andrew & Polly – “Little Bitta You” [Odds & Ends]
  • The Okee Dokee Brothers – “The Great Divide” [Can You Canoe? And Other Adventure Songs]
  • Randy Kaplan – “Charlie Brown” [Loquat Rooftop]
  • Kid Pan Alley – “Best Friends” feat. Vance Gilbert [One Little Song Can Change The World]
  • Billy Jonas – “Who’s Gonna Make Our Music” [Happy Accidents]
  • The Laurie Berkner Band – “Superhero” [Superhero]
  • The Lonely Tomato – “The Board of Education” [Kids Music For Parents Who Hate Kids Music]
  • Kid Pan Alley – “True To Me”(feat. Jevon McGlory) [One Little Song Can Change The World]
  • MÖMANDPÖP – “Take Care” [MÖMANDPÖP]
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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for December 2nd & 3rd, 2017

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

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for December 2 – 8, 2017 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, cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our featured Learning Ahead post about the history and folklore of the Christmas Tree.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 2 – 8, 2017

Saturday • Sunday
Monday • Tuesday • Wednesday • Thursday • Friday

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

RECAP MAP SPONSOR

See your banner here! Sponsor Recap Map!

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: December 2017

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
December 2017

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of November. 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!


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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for December 2nd – 8th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

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

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

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

Bulletin Board

Dec 2

Saturday, December 2nd: The Downtown Northampton Holiday Stroll! 5-8pm, Main Street, Downtown Northampton. Bring your friends and families and join our downtown community in celebrating the holiday season. You’ll find Main Street closed to vehicular traffic, and filled with free family-friendly entertainment: Face painting, s’mores, hot chocolate, holiday balloon animals, martial arts demonstrations and more! Live music performances– on sidewalks, in front of City Hall, in stores and at the Unitarian Universalist Society. Performances are FREE; voluntary contributions will go to the Hampshire County Friends of the Homeless. Look for specials, giveaways and more at your favorite stores and restaurants as well. info@northamptondna.com

Dec 1-2, 16-17

Downtown Amherst fills with light and song during the holidays. Friday, Dec 1 is the traditional Merry Maple tree lighting celebration with horse-drawn carriage rides, chorus, and marching band parade. The fun starts at 3pm. Saturday, Dec 2 is the Pack the Sack special sales event. Stop by the Visitors Center to pick up a sack and see Santa and his Elf at the Visitors Info Center, at 12noon—enjoy treats and holiday tunes provided by a dixieland jazz band. Stroll through town and see the holiday windows. Remember to vote for your favorite online! Saturday, Dec 16Flash Mob Caroling under the Merry Maple at 12noon—all welcome to sing seasonal songs. Sunday, Dec 17Free holiday concert with Amherst Community Band at the Pacific Lodge at 4pm.

Dec 2

Saturday, Dec. 2nd: The Center School Open House: Rumpus & Yggdrasil, 9am-2:30pm. Center School, serving children 18 months – 14 years of age in Hampshire & Franklin counties will open its doors for their annual Rumpus & semi-annual Yggdrasil event. Classrooms will be open & teachers are all offering nature-based activities for all ages. Make a fairy house, print a t-shirt, create a power staff, & more. Meet teachers, parents, & students & learn about the Center School community, approach & philosophy. Visit their indoor, enchanted forest, Yggdrasil, complete with 9 magical realms including the Dragon Academy, Transfiguration, Archery, Sensorium, & more. Activities are free. All families are welcome. Rumpus Cafe offers snacks for purchase.

Dec 2

Winter Fair at the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School. As an alternative to traditional holiday shopping, visit the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School’s Winter Fair on Saturday, December 2 from 10am-3pm at 1 Industrial Parkway in Easthampton. Visitors will have the opportunity to make a variety of crafts including wreaths, pendant necklaces, sun catchers, gingerbread people and more. Concurrently with craft-making will be the annual Scholastic Book Fair, special performances by the Student Chorus, a bake sale and a raffle. All proceeds from the event support the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School library and educational programs. For more information, contact Deirdre Arthen at 413-529–7178 or visit www.hilltowncharter.org.

Dec 8-10

Pioneer Valley Ballet presents the beloved holiday classic, The Nutcracker! Join Clara as she battles the Rat King to save the Nutcracker Prince, and then travel to the enchanted Snow Forest and beautiful Kingdom of Sweets. Featuring guest artists from Carolina Ballet & Festival Ballet. Live on stage December 8-10 at the Academy of Music in Northampton. New this year: Our Sensory and Family Safe Presentation on December 8 has lighting and sound accommodations for reduced sensory experiences, and a narrator will assist the audience at the start of the performance. Get tickets today at aomtheatre.com. For more information about the Pioneer Valley Ballet company and school, visit pioneervalleyballet.org.

Dec 8-10

Welcome Yule celebrates the return of light with an annual family show of music, dance, song and story to drive the dark away. The show is set on Solstice Eve until the sun returns in the morning. The theme is the mythology and the natural world at this point in the annual round. Songs of animals, trees, and spirits join the wassails, carols, horn dance, mummers play, and the passing of the yule log. Friday & Saturday Dec. 8 and 9, 7:30pm & Sunday Dec. 10, 2pm. Shea Theater, Turners Falls. Tickets $12 adults, $10 seniors and children 5-16 years. Tickets: Amherst Books, in Amherst, Broadside Bookshop in Northampton, World Eye Bookshop in Greenfield, at the door or online. For information and reservations, visit welcomeyule.org.

Dec 10

Grab your holiday shopping list and join OnTrend on Sunday, December 10, for their fun and festive Holiday Market! They will be returning to the beautiful Hadley Farms Meeting House in Hadley, MA between 10am and 4pm. They’ll have 55 of the region’s top crafters and makers selling their high-quality handmade goods. You’ll find jewelry, paper goods, wood crafts, house wares, ceramics, apparel, and much more. Be sure to stop by their activity booth and take home a free gift! Free admission. For more information, visit ontrendcrafts.com or email Jennifer at jennifer@ontrendcrafts.com.

The Common School, serving children ages 3-12, is accepting applications for Fall 2018. The Common School’s mission is to develop strong academic and social skills while nurturing each child’s love of learning, respect and compassion for others, and a deep commitment to the natural world. The Common School provides admissions tours Monday through Friday. To make an appointment, please contact Dana Kadish, Director of Admissions at outreach@commonschool.org or visit their website at www.commonschool.org.

Dec 10

The Academy at Charlemont (1359 Route 2 in Charlemont, MA) will host an Admissions Open House for interested families on Sunday, December 10, with presentations beginning at 1pm. Meet students, teachers, and current parents, and get a feel for their creative and rigorous academic program and warm community. The Academy offers vibrant arts, athletics, and an emphasis on critical thinking and ethical leadership. Academy students love school. Shouldn’t everyone? Details at www.charlemont.org.

Local Organic Christmas Trees! Justamere Tree Farm in Worthington, MA, has cut your own and pre-cut Christmas trees available Friday, Saturday, & Sunday after Thanksgiving, and weekends in December. Come by the farm between the hours of 9am-4pm to select your very own locally grown Christmas Tree. Their gift shop, in the post and beam barn, will feature their very own artisanal maple products for sale. Also, handcrafted wreaths and swags made on the farm are available. Experience a wonderful destination and a beautiful drive into the Hilltowns, creating a new tradition with your family. Visit them at www.justameretreefarm.com/trees for more information & directions or email them at welch@justameretreefarm.com.

Perform in a musical, delve into a marine biology intensive, write and deliver a Lyceum Lecture, participate in the Harvard Model UN, create a unique stone carving, travel on a foreign exchange, explore environmental sustainability. The Hartsbrook High School offers a well-rounded curriculum including Literature, Math, History, Science, the Arts, Land Stewardship, Service Learning, and Athletics. In all areas, teachers incorporate academic, practical, and artistic components, immersing students deeply into their subjects. Come and see for yourself. Schedule a private tour at 413-586-1908. 193 Bay Road, Hadley. Now accepting applications for the 2018-19 school year. For more information visit www.hartsbrook.org.

Add your class

Hilltown Families has put together an After-School Classes & Enrichment Programs Directory of classes and programs happening across Western Massachusetts throughout the school year. Our community is rich in learning opportunities to supplement the interests of children, teens, and life-long learners and our directory makes it easier to find these gems while connecting families with resources that support their interests and education. — Have a class or program you’d like to include in our directory? Click here to find out how to have it added. New and updated opportunities are added throughout the year.

Add your school

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

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

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

 


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 2 – 8, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Christmas Trees: Learning through the Lens of the Season

 


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 a sense of place.

Save

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Book Review: Celebrate National Novel Writing Month with Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Published by Doubleday, 2011.

Happy National Novel Writing Month! Even though writing can be a fun form of self-expression for kids, teens, and adults, motivating yourself to write can often be challenging. Novels in particular require a great deal of self-motivation over a long period of time. Since 1999, the organization and movement known as “National Novel Writing Month” has encouraged amateur and professional writers to push themselves. Anyone can participate in NaNoWriMo, which asks participants to write a 50,000 word manuscript in a single month, between November 1 and November 30. That means an average of 1,667 words per day! NaNoWriMo helps writers across the country and beyond by providing “pep talks” from professional authors, and meet ups in real life so that writers can take a break from this solitary pursuit. Read the rest of this entry »

Weekdays in Western MA: November 27 – December 1, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA:
November 27 – December 1, 2017

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

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

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


See your banner here! Sponsor Weekdays in Western MA!

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HFVS Over Our Heads Episode with Guest DJ, Jess Penner (Podcast/Radio Show)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

“Over Our Heads” with Guest DJ, Jess Penner

This week, our podcast features songs about the sky and everything in it. From shooting stars to big jet planes, rainbows, birds, and hurricanes… and everything in between!

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
November 25 & 26, 2017
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon!


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

  • Stevie Wonder – “a place in the sun” [Greatest Hits]
  • Poolside – “Harvest Moon” [Pacific Standard Time]
  • Lee Dorsey – “Rain Rain Go Away” [The New Lee Dorsey]
  • Caspar Babypants – “Mister Cloud” [Away We Go]
  • Jess Penner – “Mister Sun” – [Imagination]
  • Gary Miles – “Look For A Star” [Look For A Star]
  • Roy Redmond – “Good Day Sunshine” [Best of Loma Records]
  • Earth, Wind, and Fire – “Shining Star” [Greatest Hits]
  • Havalina Rail Co. – “Moon River” [Havalina Rail Co.]
  • Jess Penner – “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” [Imagination]
  • Hank Williams Jr. – “All For The Love Of Sunshine” [20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection]
  • Tom Glazer – “The Hurricane Song” [Weather songs (From Ballads For The Age Of Science)]
  • Angus & Julia Stone – “Big Jet Plane” [Down The Way]
  • Lucky Diaz and The Family Jam Band – “When it Rained” [Made In LA]
  • Jess Penner – “Blue Bird” [Growing In The Cold]
  • The Police – “Walking On The Moon” [Best Of Sting And The Police]
  • Bob Marley – “Three Little Birds” [Legend]
  • Casper Babypants – “The Softest Guitar On The Moon” [Jump For Joy]
  • Jess Penner – “I Don’t Want To Live On The Moon” [Imagination]

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for November 25 & 26, 2017

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 November 25 – December 1, 2017 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, cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our featured post about Non-Commercial Gift Giving in this season’s Learning Ahead: Cultural Itineraries for Western Massachusetts.

 

November 25th – December 1st, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

RECAP MAP SPONSOR

See your banner here! Sponsor Recap Map!

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for November 25 – December 1, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

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

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

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

Bulletin Board

Nov 24-26

The Carle Museum Bookshop Holiday Sale! Shop local and save 15-50% off Friday, November 24 through Sunday, November 26 on unique toys, art supplies, and books signed by your favorite authors and artists. The museum has items for the whole family—picture book art t-shirts, tote bags, even Very Hungry Caterpillar socks and The Pigeon socks! They make it easy. Enjoy free parking. There is no admission price to shop in what Parents’ Choice calls “the very best bookstore for picture books in the entire world.” Become a member and save an additional 15% off. Save this weekend at The Carle – and give books – the gift that keeps on giving. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 W. Bay Road, Amherst, MA. www.carlemuseum.org

Local Organic Christmas Trees! Justamere Tree Farm in Worthington, MA, has cut your own and pre-cut Christmas trees available Friday, Saturday, & Sunday after Thanksgiving, and weekends in December. Come by the farm between the hours of 9am-4pm to select your very own locally grown Christmas Tree. Their gift shop, in the post and beam barn, will feature their very own artisanal maple products for sale. Also, handcrafted wreaths and swags made on the farm are available. Experience a wonderful destination and a beautiful drive into the Hilltowns, creating a new tradition with your family. Visit them at www.justameretreefarm.com/trees for more information & directions or email them at welch@justameretreefarm.com.

Dec 2

Saturday, Dec. 2nd: The Center School Open House: Rumpus & Yggdrasil, 9am-2:30pm. Center School, serving children 18 months – 14 years of age in Hampshire & Franklin counties will open its doors for their annual Rumpus & semi-annual Yggdrasil event. Classrooms will be open & teachers are all offering nature-based activities for all ages. Make a fairy house, print a t-shirt, create a power staff, & more. Meet teachers, parents, & students & learn about the Center School community, approach & philosophy. Visit their indoor, enchanted forest, Yggdrasil, complete with 9 magical realms including the Dragon Academy, Transfiguration, Archery, Sensorium, & more. Activities are free. All families are welcome. Rumpus Cafe offers snacks for purchase.

Dec 2

Winter Fair at the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School. As an alternative to traditional holiday shopping, visit the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School’s Winter Fair on Saturday, December 2 from 10am-3pm at 1 Industrial Parkway in Easthampton. Visitors will have the opportunity to make a variety of crafts including wreaths, pendant necklaces, sun catchers, gingerbread people and more. Concurrently with craft-making will be the annual Scholastic Book Fair, special performances by the Student Chorus, a bake sale and a raffle. All proceeds from the event support the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School library and educational programs. For more information, contact Deirdre Arthen at 413-529–7178 or visit www.hilltowncharter.org.

The Common School, serving children ages 3-12, is accepting applications for Fall 2018. The Common School’s mission is to develop strong academic and social skills while nurturing each child’s love of learning, respect and compassion for others, and a deep commitment to the natural world. The Common School provides admissions tours Monday through Friday. To make an appointment, please contact Dana Kadish, Director of Admissions at outreach@commonschool.org or visit their website at www.commonschool.org.

Add your class

Hilltown Families has put together an After-School Classes & Enrichment Programs Directory of classes and programs happening across Western Massachusetts throughout the school year. Our community is rich in learning opportunities to supplement the interests of children, teens, and life-long learners and our directory makes it easier to find these gems while connecting families with resources that support their interests and education. — Have a class or program you’d like to include in our directory? Click here to find out how to have it added. New and updated opportunities are added throughout the year.

Add your school

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

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

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
November 25th – December 1st, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Black Friday Alternatives to the Mall in Western MA, 2017

Smart Black Friday Alternatives to the Mall

See our Black Friday special segment on Mass Appeal: Click Here. Also, download a copy of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western MA for Nov/Dec. (38 page PDF) for the holiday season.

SHOP AT A MUSEUM
The Carle Museum Bookshop Holiday Sale! Shop local and save 15-50% off Friday, November 24 through Sunday, November 26 on unique toys, art supplies, and books signed by your favorite authors and artists. The museum has items for the whole family—picture book art t-shirts, tote bags, even Very Hungry Caterpillar socks and The Pigeon socks! They make it easy. Enjoy free parking. There is no admission price to shop in what Parents’ Choice calls “the very best bookstore for picture books in the entire world.” Become a member and save an additional 15% off. Save this weekend at The Carle – and give books – the gift that keeps on giving. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 W. Bay Road, Amherst, MA. www.carlemuseum.org

SELECT YOUR OWN TREE
Local Organic Christmas Trees! Justamere Tree Farm in Worthington, MA, has cut your own and pre-cut Christmas trees available Friday, Saturday, & Sunday after Thanksgiving, and weekends in December. Come by the farm between the hours of 9am-4pm to select your very own locally grown Christmas Tree. Their gift shop, in the post and beam barn, will feature their very own artisanal maple products for sale. Also, handcrafted wreaths and swags made on the farm are available. Experience a wonderful destination and a beautiful drive into the Hilltowns, creating a new tradition with your family. Visit them at www.justameretreefarm.com/trees for more information & directions or email them at welch@justameretreefarm.com.

Read the rest of this entry »

Support Seniors with a Sock Hop!

Community Service Learning: Socks for Seniors

Of all the possible ways to give back to your community during the holiday season (and the entire year, too), collecting socks might seem like the smallest of ways to make a difference. In reality, it’s not such a small gesture! The socks that you collect or donate don’t have to be boring six-packs of plain white gym socks…. they can be whimsical or even hand knitted!

Spread the spirit of giving and build community this holiday season by organizing a collection drive to support Socks for Seniors!

The organization has been collecting socks all over the country for more than ten years, thanks largely to the support that they have received from families, businesses, schools, and other community groups. The socks collected in each drive are then given to elderly community members in order to keep their toes nice and warm throughout the winter and share some of the holiday spirit that inspired the project in the first place… Read the rest of this entry »

Gift Giving: Learning through the Lens of the Season

 

 


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 a sense of place.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Dear Parents, Teachers, and Mentors of High School Students who might be interested in STEM…

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst Department of Polymer Science and Engineering would like to announce an exciting opportunity for high school students interested in hands-on experience in STEM. The ASPIRE program, led by graduate students in the department of Polymer Science and Engineering at Umass Amherst, is a FREE outreach event that invites high school students to participate in a series of experiments in polymer chemistry, physics, and engineering for 5 Saturdays in January and early February 2018. Their goal is to create a platform for potential young scientists to experience the excitement of lab work, wrestle with scientific concepts, and have an opportunity to talk with graduate student mentors about our experience with science in college and beyond. Here are some of things participants can expect:

  • Get hands-on experience in a science and engineering lab
  • Do experiments in polymer chemistry, physics, and engineering
  • Learn about electron microscopes, 3D printers, chemical synthesis, and more
  • Plan and run your own one-day independent project

If you know a student (or multiple students!) who might be interested, please spread the word!

For more information, please contact the PSE ASPIRE 2018 Organizing Committee by email at aspire@mail.pse.umass.edu or visit their web page at https://www.pse.umass.edu/students/pse-student-activities

The ASPIRE 2018 application form (DEADLINE December 1st) can be found at https://goo.gl/forms/HgZpCIUhfJGaVPsw1

And finally, here is the link to the ASPIRE Facebook pagewww.facebook.com/UMassMrsecAspireProgram

Happy sciencing!

Let Them Grow: Learning To Be Thankful

Let Them Grow by Candice Chouinard

Learning To Be Thankful

Being thankful is hard for any child, especially a toddler. Reminding them to say “thank you” is often my least favorite part of any interaction. “What do you say?” I ask, “It’s good,” my daughter says. “What else do you say?” I remind her using the sign for thank you “Use a napkin.”  She giggles and devours the apple the kind man at the orchard gave her. “Thank you. We appreciate it,” I say as we walk out.

Though it’s frustrating that my daughter may come across as rude and inconsiderate, I have to remind myself that she’s three. A three year old is thankful; they just don’t realize how wonderful it is to show it. This month we have been working on giving and sharing, and mostly learning about being thankful. We’re focusing on what it is to feel good when others do nice things for you. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we came up with a few fall themed art projects that can be used as a “thank you” for all the wonderful things the people in our lives do for us! Read the rest of this entry »

Nature Table for November: Dead and Brown

Nature Table for November is Dead and Brown

Every month, Hilltown Families features a new nature table whose contents inspire learning along with 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.

Slowly but surely, summer’s lush green has turned into the distinct brown that both late fall and early spring wear so well. Our eyes, currently calibrated to notice bugs more than anything else, have helped us to recognize that as the season has changed, so have the habits of the creatures we’ve been watching. What we missed out on, however, was the slow change that the vegetation around us was experiencing – and now there’s nothing much left save for a few patches of hardy lawn grass.

“Wait – what happened?” tiny naturalists want to know. They’re not mystified that the change took place – being old enough to take the seasonal change for granted, they’re more in tune with nature’s details at this stage of life. So it’s not the passing of summer and the coming of winter that has us hooked, it’s the actual science behind the change.

How did the plants die?

Is plant death the same as creature death?  Or human death?

And what happens next?

Theorizing together, our young naturalists were able to come up with some good guesses themselves. Almost-daily expeditions into our small patch of woods have alerted us to the fact that not all of the plants around us died at the same time. We’ve also noticed that while the early fall weather made us take off layers, we now wish we had more layers to add on. The agrarian background that some of us bring to our naturalist work told us that to keep garden plants alive; we can cover them to protect them from frost.

Do you see a pattern here? We did. Read the rest of this entry »

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