100+ Suggested Learning Ideas, Events & Resources for August 8-14, 2020

Awarded the “Essential Agent of Change Award” by the MDPH’s Massachusetts Essentials for Childhood, Hilltown Families is recognized as a leading family strengthening initiative in the region, promoting “positive parenting through bthe social norm of community social connectedness.” Serving Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families continues to support the development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, farms, individuals, schools, and non-profit organizations are invited to collaborate with Hilltown Families in their community outreach. With 10,000 opt-in subscribers and over 2.7 million visits to our web site alone, Hilltown Families can deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA! Find out about our affordable advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by contacting us at info@hilltownfamilies.org… and scroll down to discover learning ideas and community-based educational opportunities to explore at home and outdoors this weekend and next week.

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PreK – 12 Outdoor Class- rooms

Outdoor classrooms for the coming year! Hartsbrook’s 55 acres of woods, farmland, and streams offer students an opportunity to become immersed in hands-on exploration (while staying socially distant). Chemistry, botany, ecology, literature, non-western/indigenous knowledge, history, sustainability, and more, are all subjects supported by an outdoor curriculum. During this unsettled time, give your child the gift of being grounded in nature and supported by a strong community — Pre-K through grade 12. Because of state safety guidelines, spaces are strictly limited. Visit their website for more information, or to submit an inquiry: www.hartsbrook.org. The Hartsbrook School is located at 193 Bay Road in Hadley, MA.

K-4th In-Person

The School at Morse Hill in Shutesbury is an outdoor elementary school on an 85-acre site offering experiential education for students who thrive in hands-on learning experiences. Practices center around social-emotional learning, team building initiatives, collaborative problem solving, and restorative justice. Anti-racist and anti-bias education practices are embedded within their nature-based academic curriculum. Students will participate in Morse Hill adventure experiences, including canoeing, hiking, climbing, and a ropes course. They will remain open for in-person learning following safety protocols unless the Governor closes all schools. Grades: K-4th grade. Contact: admin@schoolatmorsehill.org. Website: www.schoolatmorsehill.org.

Fri & Sat – Aug 29

Family Fun Activities at Storrowton Village Museum. West Springfield, MA. Do some Family Fun Activities at Storrowton Village Museum on Fridays and Saturdays this summer. Each week combines 19th-century history with 21st-century fun! Weekly themes include homesteading, archaeology, nature & art, inventions & machines, toys & games, and clocks. Geared toward ages 7-12, with all ages welcome! Dates: Fri & Sat – Aug 29; Age Range of Participants: 7-12yo. Contact: 413-205-5051. storrow@thebige.com. www.storrowtonvillage.com.

Aug 1-30

Virtual

Kamp for Kids. Virtual/Westfield, MA. Kamp for Kids brings together children with and without disabilities in a unique integrated model that promotes understanding and growth. This summer’s virtual Kamp experience includes art, health, nature, and other inclusive, fun activities. Zoom gatherings and some project supplies available for delivery. As a fully inclusive summer camp, it is Kamp for Kids’ mission to serve a population of both children with disabilities and their typically developing peers. Visit their website to register and for more information. Dates: Aug 1-31; Age Range of Campers: 3-22yo. Contact: 413-562-5678. anne.benoit@bhninc.org. www.bhninc.org

Virtual & Outdoors

Sattva Center Archery Classes & Coaching. Florence, MA. Archery classes for ages 7+. Sattva Center offers outside socially distant target archery classes all week, all summer at Look Memorial Park. Their classes are ideal, whether you’re exploring archery for the first time or want to take your skills to the next level. With their experienced coaches, participants will develop a solid foundation in a welcoming and professional atmosphere. Participant registration includes a one-time annual pass to Look Park per family. All equipment included. All classes are multi-generational and multi-level. Virtual coaching is also available as well as backyard archery range equipment. For more information: hello@sattvaarchery.com; 774-261-3399; www.sattvaarchery.com.

Virtual

Northampton Community Music Center: Online Lessons & Classes. Northampton, MA. The Northampton Community Music Center is a nonprofit organization offering the highest quality music instruction for all ages and abilities to residents of Western Mass and beyond since 1986. Music Together for babies and toddlers provides an excellent musical foundation and family bonding experience. Individual lessons in more than 20 instruments and a variety of musical genres are available for students as young as age 4. A wide choice of group classes is available for children and adults to explore specific styles, tools, and music-making techniques. All skillfully taught online until we can all safely be together again. Registration now open for the fall through their website. Financial aid is available for those who qualify. For more information: registrar@ncmc.net; 413-585-0001; ncmc.net.

Hybrid/Virtual

Community Music School of Springfield: Hybrid Music Lessons and Classes. Virtual/Springfield, MA. Fill your fall with music! CMSS is now enrolling for hybrid private and semi-private music lessons for children, teens, and adults across a wide range of instruments and genres. Students are carefully matched with a teacher who will best meet their needs, and CMSS registration team will gladly assist you in deciding whether to rent or purchase your instrument. This year, ensembles are completely FREE! CMSS invite musicians of all ages to meet and mingle with like-minded music-loving peers and create memorable music experiences in a group that matches your interests and musicianship level. 2020-21 programming will start remotely, and students will have the choice to ease into a mix of remote and in-person experiences as possible/appropriate. For more information: info@communitymusicschool.com; 413-732-8428; communitymusicschool.com.


RESERVE YOUR SPOT IN OUR CLASS DIRECTORY!
Deadline to register: August 7th
Add virtual or in-person classes, private lessons, tutoring services, and online educational opportunities to Hilltown Families’ annual Class Directory! The deadline to register for our Class Directory debut is August 7th. Reserve your spot now and benefit from free updates to your listing throughout the year. Advertise in the region’s go-to, online resource for community-based educational opportunities in Western Massachusetts, reaching thousands of students throughout the region.
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RESERVE YOUR SPOT IN OUR PRESCHOOL & DAYCARE DIRECTORY!
Deadline to register: August 7th
Hilltown Families’ Preschool & Daycare Directory welcomes yearlong listings for preschools, daycares, and early childhood programs across Western MA, including indoor/outdoor and virtual/in-person programs. The deadline to register for our Preschool & Daycare Directory debut is August 7th. Reserve your spot now and benefit from free updates to your listing throughout the year. Advertise in the region’s go-to, online resource for community-based educational opportunities in Western Massachusetts, reaching thousands of students throughout the region.
Sign up by August 7th and take advantage of our advertising package!
More Information. | Reserve a spot. | Submit your listing.

ADVERTISE HERE: Partner with Hilltown Families in your online advertising! Delivering your message each week to over 25,000 subscribers, web visitors, and social media followers, Hilltown Families can deliver your message to thousands of readers in Western MA who are committed to their community and willing to support one another in times of need. In-person and virtual event organizers, local and online businesses, virtual and local service providers, non-profit organizations, and individuals are encouraged to reach out to find out about our affordable advertising options and marketing packages. To find out how we can partner together in your online marketing and outreach, contact Sienna at swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org.


SUGGESTED LEARNING IDEAS,
RESOURCES, & EVENTS
August 8-14, 2020

Saturday, Aug 8Sunday, Aug 9
Monday, Aug 10Tuesday, Aug 11Wednesday, Aug 12
Thursday, Aug 13Friday, Aug 14

Sense Of PlaceFamily DinnerFractalsFermentationRiver Walks & TrailsRainbowsCanoes

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Online and in-person events and resources shared below are done so as a courtesy and not as an endorsement. While we do our best to share accurate and up-to-date information, please take the time to confirm information, age appropriateness, registration requirements, safety protocols, and associated costs.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Suggested Events

Want to have your online or in person event, class, or workshop featured with Hilltown Families? Inquire at info@hilltownfamilies.org.


SENSE OF PLACE: AUGUST

Once we round the corner of August into the final weeks of summer, our senses connect us to the season through sounds, textures, and smells unique to this time of year. An orchestra of insects begins to escalate during these weeks, with the call of heat-loving cicadas up high in the trees in the afternoons, the trill of ground crickets from fields and meadows in the early evenings, topped off with a serenade of katy-did, katy-didn’t of katydids in the evenings. During these days, when the sun is high, humidity rests on our checks and shoulders and the colors and textures of chicory, Queen Anne’s lace, and goldenrod wave us by as we travel towards community-based summer destinations. The green leaf volatiles of freshly mowed grass, paired with the smell of ozone, petrichor, and geosmim of summer rain, trigger memories of childhood for adults while strengthening a sense of place in our children. August contains a catalog of sounds, textures, and smells that are unique to this time of year and specific to the region. By being mindful of how we connect to place through our senses, getting curious, and letting interests lead our learning, our sensory perceptions of our summer landscape can easily support education in subjects like chemistry, biology, entomology, meteorology, and botany. Today’s self-directed learning module integrates mindfulness with phenology to support studies that can connect us to place.

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Sunday, August 9, 2020

Suggested Events

Want to have your online or in person event, class, or workshop featured with Hilltown Families? Inquire at info@hilltownfamilies.org.


FAMILY DINNER

Family dinner. It’s been proven that having meals together with your children benefits their social and emotional development and linguistic skills. Family dinner is a time for adults to model good manners, gratitude, and generosity. A time to connect through storytelling, conversations, and holding space for one another. But family dinner doesn’t have to be solely dinner. It can be breakfast. Snacks. Even picnics in the summer. Aim for the “Good Enough” dinner, with goals to connect rather than holding expectations that your time together should be anything other than what transpires. In today’s self-directed learning modules, adults can learn about the value of sharing meals with the family, and kids can discover a history of family dinners through one cultural perspective.

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COMING SOON!

Monday, August 10, 2020

Suggested Events:

Want to have your online or in person event, class, or workshop featured with Hilltown Families? Inquire at info@hilltownfamilies.org.


FRACTALS

This month, whether you’re admiring summer cloud formations, taking in the horizon of our local mountain ranges, or just admiring the ferns and wildflowers during an afternoon hike, a silent changing pattern may be present, which you might not be aware. Change is a constant, and as each month fades into the next, previous patterns blend into newer ones. We’re familiar with a variety of designs found in our backyards, such as the heart-shaped leaves of clover and the spiral of a snail’s shell. Still, other patterns involving multidimensional interconnectedness are more challenging to recognize. These patterns, known as fractals, are described as expanding or evolving symmetry. They repeat themselves in a specific way, which can be noticed on a macro and a micro-level. For today’s self-directed learning module, let’s learn about the discovery and geometry of fractals, where they appear in nature and contemplate how we may be a smaller and larger piece of this universal pattern.

Books to support the study of repeating patterns in nature include:

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COMING SOON!

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Suggested Events:

Want to have your online or in person event, class, or workshop featured with Hilltown Families? Inquire at info@hilltownfamilies.org.


FERMENTATION

Turn your kitchen into a fermentation station! Kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, and sourdough can be made at any time of year, but the best time is when your garden, CSA, and farmers’ markets are bountiful in fresh ingredients. Plus, fermentation is a great way to support experiential learning about chemistry and cellular biology through the lens of food! Zymology (the science of fermentation) supports these learning concepts. Still, fermenting foods is a rewarding way to spend time in the kitchen as a family, and later serving up fermented concoctions during family dinner night! Today’s self-directed learning module explores the science, culture, history, and methods of making fermented foods!

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COMING SOON!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Suggested Events:

Want to have your online or in person event, class, or workshop featured with Hilltown Families? Inquire at info@hilltownfamilies.org.


RIVER WALKS & TRAILS

Western Massachusetts’ landscape is filled with rivers. They run like veins between our ancient hills and give life to humans and non-human communities alike as they continuously flow onward. The warm months of the year are the best time to engage in experiential learning about local rivers, a task made more inviting through a handful of riverwalks, and river-following paths found locally. Through explorations of a variety of Western MA rivers, families can explore local ecology, connect with local history, and deepen their sense of place. In particular, comparisons of urban rivers and rural rivers can illuminate how humans’ past and present have depended upon our rivers. In today’s self-directed learning module, lets take a look at natural history and cultural heritage via four rivers in Western MA.

HOUSATONIC RIVER

In Great Barrington, families can explore the Housatonic River Walk, which highlights both the river’s natural flora and fauna, as well as the human history that has unfolded on its banks. The path’s upstream portion showcases efforts to reclaim land and replace invasive species with essential native plants, as well as human-made systems that help control erosion and clean stormwater runoff before it enters the river. Downstream, human-made elements highlight the region’s natural history, while natural wetlands and floodplains help to keep the river healthy. Along both sections of trail is evidence of significant human history, including a marker commemorating an event from King Philip’s War and a park dedicated to W.E.B. DuBois.

WESTFIELD RIVER

While the Housatonic River Walk is the most interpretive of western Massachusetts’ river walks and riverside trails, a handful of other local trails offer opportunities to get up close and personal with rivers while exploring human and/or natural history. Families can engage in rural river exploration at its best in the Westfield River watershed. Two major trails spotlight the beauty that has led to the river’s national designation as a Wild and Scenic River. Running along the northern portion of the East Branch of the river is the Keystone Arch Bridges Trail, which follows a former railroad bed through a series of historic arch bridges. The bridges, once a marvel of modern engineering and the tallest in the country, stand as a testament to human capabilities. At the same time, the river’s natural beauty shines, illuminating the watershed’s health.

DEERFIELD RIVER

For a smaller expedition along a rural section of a local river, families can explore a small section of the Mahican Mohawk Trail. This 1.5-mile trek runs along the Deerfield River in Shelburne. The trail is a small remnant of a Native American trail system that once stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Hudson River, and, much like other local trails, spotlights both the river’s natural beauty and the human impact that it has experienced. From the trail, explorers can see hydropower infrastructure alongside healthy forests and waters.

CONNECTICUT RIVER

Urban river exploration, while less scenic, is equally as important as rural river visits. Comparing an urban river visit to a rural trek can illuminate how humans change rivers and present valuable opportunities to learn experientially about the human impact that our rivers endure. In South Hadley, families can explore Lower Riverside and Beachgrounds Parks via Walking the Falls, an extensive walking tour of South Hadley’s riverfront and history. From the parks, the Holyoke Gas and Electric dam is visible, and the river’s banks reveal the effects of dam-controlled flow on the riverbed.

Similar urban infrastructure is visible from the Canalside Rail Trail in Turners Falls, which runs between the human-made canal and the vast Connecticut River. Once used to power manufacturing, the canal’s modern purpose is power generation, and many of the former mill buildings stand unused.

The southern portion of the Connecticut River is visible, though not accessible, from the Connecticut River Walk in Springfield, where a 3.7-mile path weaves its way along the river’s edge while skirting the edges of the city. While the Connecticut River Walk doesn’t highlight urban river-driven infrastructure, it offers a look at urban river access: which is minimal compared to the amount of access afforded by rural river trails.

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COMING SOON!

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Suggested Events

Want to have your online or in person event, class, or workshop featured with Hilltown Families? Inquire at info@hilltownfamilies.org.


RAINBOWS

Rainbows have been capturing human imagination FOR-EVAH! With summer rainstorms come the opportunity to spy a rainbow in the late afternoons when conditions are just right, sparking imagination and priming curiosity about rainbows. If you’re a fan of rainbows, you already know the sense of awe that arises from within when one graces the summer sky. But what if you understood the science behind rainbows, knew various stories and myths behind rainbows, and how they have inspired art and imagination in the humanities? Today’s self-directed learning module takes these points of entry and leads us “somewhere over the rainbow” into a better understanding behind the magic of rainbows while supporting studies in meteorology, physics, science, and history.

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COMING SOON!

Friday, August 14, 2020

Suggested Events:

Want to have your online or in person event, class, or workshop featured with Hilltown Families? Inquire at info@hilltownfamilies.org.


CANOES

Rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds offer pathways for exploring the change of season via canoes, affording opportunities to experience our local landscape from a vantage point often not accessible on foot. Whether it’s in a canoe or kayak, paddling on the open water offers a unique perspective on witnessing wildlife and the change of seasons. If you don’t have a boat for paddling, check with your local outdoor outfitter or campgrounds for boat rentals, including Tully Lake Campground in Royalston and Zoar Outdoor Adventure in Charlemont. Discover the traditional art of crafting a canoe and their history today’s self-directed learning module. With a historical and cultural appreciation of canoes and kayaks, there are many unique waterways in Western Massachusetts to take these crafts out to explore and connect with our local landscape.

Learn more about waterway resources in Western MA in our related posts, Urban And Rural River Walks and Trails Highlight Natural and Human History.

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Hilltown Families’ list of Suggested Events is supported in part by grants from the Amherst, Bernardston, Buckland, Chester, Gill, Goshen, Hadley, Heath, Hinsdale-Peru, Holyoke, Montgomery, Mt. Washington, New Salem, Northern Berkshire, Pelham, Plainfield, Rowe, Shelburne, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Springfield, Washington, Westhampton, and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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