Family Centers Offer More Than Drop-In Playgroups

Area Family Centers Offer Refuge for Parents with Babies & Toddlers

CCL (c)When my daughter was a baby I found sanctuary in our area family center. I was able to meet other sleep deprived mothers in a safe environment where we could breastfeed freely and compare notes while our children took their first steps. I formed everlasting bonds with these mothers as we discussed teething and potty training, while reassuring one another that we weren’t alone in our sleepless world of spit-up and dirty diapers.

According to Hampshire County Family Network, “Family Centers are places where parents meet other parents, children socialize, and parents and children play together. A family center is a drop-in place for parents to spend time with their young children. Children can play, learn, explore, and make new friends. Parents can meet local families and talk about their children. Family centers have toys, books, and activities that young children enjoy.”

To follow is a list of Family Centers in Hampshire County. All centers receive funding from the Hampshire Educational Collaborative and support families with children up through the age of four:

Amherst Family Center
Directions: 121 N. Pleasant Street. Located downtown at the Unitarian Meeting House between the Post Office and Bart’s in Amherst. Please use rear entrance. 413.256.1145 or 413.545.4466

Belchertown Family Center
Directions: 720 Franklin Street. Located on Rte. 181 five miles south of Belchertown Center. 413.283.7594

Cummington Family Center
Directions: 33 Main Street. Enter in back of the Community House on Main St. in Cummington. 413.634.5362

Easthampton Family Center
Directions: Playgroups meet at Christ United Methodist Church, 271 Rocky Hill Road (Rte. 66) in Northampton. 413.563.7672

Gateway Family Center
Directions: Located across from the Fire Station at 9 Russell Rd. (Rte. 20) in Huntington. 413.667.2203 (formally known as the Hilltown Family Center).

Northampton Parents Center
Directions: Located at the Edwards Church, corner of State and Main Streets in Northampton. Please use rear entrance. 413.582.2636

South Hadley Family Center
Directions: Located at All Saints Episcopal Church on Rte. 116, across from the post office in South Hadley Center. 7 Woodbridge Street, South Hadley. 413.533.7096

Ware Family Center
Directions: Located in the United Church of Ware, uphill from Rte. 9 in Ware Center. 413.205.8714

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1 Comment

  1. September 17, 2007 at 11:07 am

    What a wonderful first week the family center had. Thank you to those of you who helped me get the center spiffied up for our opening, it is still a work in progress but the center is really coming along.

    Below is the family center’s playgroup schedule and hours of operation, I hope that you find a convenient time to visit. If the family center hours do not fit into your family’s schedule due to work, school, or a little bit of both, please keep in mind that the we offer activities and events that often are scheduled in the evenings as well.

    If you would like to plan an activity or program outside of the family center hours, please let me know, I can help with the planning and promoting.
    I would love to reconnect with those of you who have aged out of the family center playgroup. Although the family center primarily offers programing geared towards families with children aged 0-4, we would like to be a presences in the lives of the families in our community, regardless of age.
    I hope that this email finds you all well and I look forward to seeing you all soon, at the family center and BEYOND!

    Easthampton Family Center Hours

    Drop – in Playgroup Hours:
    Wed and Fri 10:00 – 12:00

    Parents with Infants Playgroup:
    Wed 9:00 – 9:45

    Park Playgroup:
    Mondays 9:30 -11:30 (Sept – Oct & May – June)

    * EFC follows the Easthampton Public School Calendar and observes holiday, professional dev, and inclement weather closings.

    Playgroup Schedule
    10:00 Welcome/Free Play
    10:30 Art Activity/Story Time (often offered)
    10:45 Snack
    11:30 Clean Up
    11:45 Circle Time
    12:00 Good-Bye Song

    CONTACT: 563-7672,,


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