August 29-September 4, 2020: Suggested Learning Ideas, Events & Resources for Western MA

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 the 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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Virtual. Adapted In-Person/Outdoors & Indoors.

Girls Scouts. Western MA. Girl Scouts is a way of life that brings out the best in your girl, and helps her bring out the best in everyone around her. The Girl Scouts have a variety of options your girl can choose from – virtual programs and troop or in-person programs and troops, or hybrid mix of both. Sign your girl up today to start her leadership journey! While your girl is learning about the outdoors, STEM, important life skills, and finances, she’ll also discover new ways to make your family and community stronger, kinder, and better for everyone. For more information: info@gscwm.org; 413-584-2602; gscwm.org.


PreK-8th. In-Person/Indoors & Outdoors.

Kids need space and adventure. Parents need to know they’re safe and learning. At The Center School in Greenfield, you get both–it’s all about balance. With small class sizes, outdoor learning spaces, a focus on their students’ social and emotional needs, and a curriculum rooted in social justice, the Center School plans to provide responsive, in-person school beginning August 24th. While in-person, the focus will be on creating joy and a classroom community that can be pivoted to a rigorous remote learning environment if necessary. Read more about their reopening plans, and see an educational overview, at www.centerschool.net. Due to small class sizes, space is very limited. To apply, email Lauren Obregón at admissions@centerschool.net.


Outdoor Classrooms.

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.


Find what you’re looking for in our 2020/2021 Preschool & Daycare Directory for Western MA!


Virtual

Community Music School of Springfield’s Prelude Preschool of the Arts. Springfield, MA. Prelude Preschool of the Arts’ remote programming features music, visual arts, theater, movement, and academic instruction – presented within engaging themes while nurturing 2-6 year-olds’ social-emotional development. Choose from 1 of 3 programs and a host of enriching add-ons to fit your family’s needs best, whether you’re keeping your little one at home all day, or you’d like to infuse some art into after-school time. Prelude’s remote programs are thoughtfully designed to nurture your child’s creativity and love for learning while fostering social connections. Prelude is also committed to providing caregiver-turned-teacher support, both in the form of easy-to-access materials and optional adult group interactions. Preschool. Early Childhood Education Program. Ages 2-6yrs. For more information: rstorozyk@communitymusicschool.com; 413-750-9560; communitymusicschool.com/prelude.


Discover virtual & adapted programming in our 2020/2021 Class Directory for Western MA!


Wolf Tree Programs in Montague, MA. Wolf Tree’s programs are designed to foster children’s curiosity and connection to nature in a fun, safe, and supportive environment. Experienced and engaging instructors help them learn essential leadership and team-building skills, develop confidence, and become stewards of the land and local communities. Learn to make fire and rope, plant and tree identification, wildlife tracking, outdoor cooking, nature crafts, and more. Wolf Tree Programs fosters healthy relationships to self and community through nature immersion and wilderness living skills. They offer a variety of summer and school year programs for children and adults. Sending kids home happy since 2007! 413-775-3181. info@wolftreema.com. www.wolftreema.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.


Virtual, Private Tutoring & Coaching

Downtown Sounds Music School. Northampton, MA. Downtown Sounds Music School provides music education for a wide variety of instruments. They offer online lessons seven days a week for guitar, piano, voice, bass, drums, percussion, ukulele, brass and woodwind instruments, banjo, mandolin, and more. Whether students are just starting, looking to expand their abilities, or learning to play a favorite song, their teachers are passionate about working with students of all ages to meet their musical goals! For more information: lessons@downtownsounds.com; 413-586-0998; downtownsounds.com.


Virtual, Adapted In-Person/ Indoors, Private Tutoring & Coaching

New England Center for Circus Arts. Brattleboro, VT. Come to the New England Center for Circus Arts to add creative physical activity to your child’s learning experience. Join their classes or bring your own group for private lessons. Online and in-person options provide inspiring and fun movement activities for circus enthusiasts and novice students wanting to add balance and dexterity to their lives in a fun and unique way. Circus is a broad and active art form offering aerials, acrobatics, juggling, clowning, trampoline, and more for developing team-building, diligence, and invention. Classes can be simply circus or connect with NECCA to consider an educational residency model where circus is the medium for framing experiential learning discussions. For more information: info@necenterforcircusarts.org; 802-254-9780; necenterforcircusarts.org.


Enter to win a $100 Gift Certificate!

The Old Creamery Co-op in Cummington wants to meet the needs of the Hilltown community during this Covid-19 pandemic and beyond! All are encouraged to complete their online survey by SEPT 1. Survey takers will be entered into a raffle to win a $100 gift certificate to the Creamery and other prizes. The Old Creamery Co-op is a community hub, a gathering place, and a values-driven community enterprise, nestled in the heart of the Hilltowns. They promote local and regional production, practice environmental sustainability, and welcome and reflect diversity. They prepare wholesome foods and sell everyday goods and products to the community. Located on Route 9 in Cummington, the Old Creamery Co-op is open to all.


Month of September!

The 10th Annual Will Bike 4 Food is taking place with a virtual twist! Join The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts for a month-long version of their WB4F cycling event to provide emergency meals to local families & individuals during Hunger Action Month in September. Riders of all ages & abilities are welcome to participate, cycling at any time, anyplace, and any distance to raise funds to support neighbors facing hunger. To encourage WB4F participants to stay active while safely engaging with fellow cyclists, The Food Bank is partnering with local fitness establishments, offering virtual fitness classes & online workshops. Individuals/teams register at WillBike4Food.org. Registration is $35 to benefit The Food Bank. Inquiries: jennifert@foodbankwma.org


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 29-September 4, 2020

Saturday, Aug 29Sunday, Aug 30
Monday, Aug 31Tuesday, Sept 1Wednesday, Sept 2
Thursday, Sept 3Friday, Sept 4

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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.

Discover virtual & adapted programming in our 2020/2021 Class Directory for Western MA!

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Suggested Events

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


NATURE-BASED MATH

NATURE-BASED LEARNING/MATHEMATICAL REASONING: As you gaze at the base of a pinecone, did you know that you’re regarding an incredible example of mathematical reasoning? Nature’s patterns, as it happens, are deeply rooted in the Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Ratio. It’s the ultimate in a marriage between the aesthetic beauty of nature, and its mathematical base that makes it make sense. To discover what a learning opportunity this is for the family to share, read our post, Nature’s Patterns Reveals Mathematical Reasoning.

NATURE-BASED LEARNING/GEOMETRY: “From spirals to spots to fractals, nature is full of interesting patterns. Many of these patterns even resemble geometric shapes. One of the most common? Hexagons. Why do we see this six-sided shape occur so many times in nature? Why do we see this six-sided shape occur so many times in nature?” In this episode of It’s Okay To Be Smart, “Why Nature Loves Hexagons,” learn the answers to these questions. Through bubbles, basalt columns, and honeycombs, discover the integration of math, physics, and biology in the exploration of hexagons in nature.

GEOMETRY/CRYSTALS: Have you ever wondered why some crystals are specific shapes. In this TED-Ed video, “How do crystals work?,” discover the hidden mathematics inside the atomic repeating patterns that contribute to the crystalline structures of not only minerals, but also sand, DNA, ice, and metals. Learn what causes them to grow into these shapes and the geometric properties of crystals that contribute to this process.

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Find what you’re looking for in our 2020/2021 Preschool & Daycare Directory for Western MA!

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Suggested Events

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


Dragonflies

ENTOMOLOGY/DRAGONFLY: The Secrets of Nature has a 50min film on the dragonfly. In “Sky Hunters, The World of the Dragonfly,” get an overview of this amazing flying insect, which begins it’s life underwater and is one of the most skilled predators on earth. “This film presents dragonflies as they have never been seen before. Fascinating close up shots take us into the world of these insects, which have lived on earth since the age of the dinosaurs’. Spectacular super slow motion shots and elaborate computer animation uncover, for the first time, how dragonflies capture their prey at lightning speed while flying and how they mate in the air. Underwater photography reveals the development of the predatory dragonfly larvae, while time-lapse sequences show the emergence of the fully grown insect.”

ENTOMOLOGY/BENTHIC MACROINVERTEBRATES: Benthic freshwater macroinvertebrates are animals without backbones visible with the naked eye, which living on the bottoms of waterways. These animals include beetles, crayfish, snails, and dragonflies! In this Deep Look video, “A Baby Dragonfly’s Mouth Will Give You Nightmares,” discover dragonflies in the aquatic states and learn about their adaptations in their underwater form.

NEUROSCIENCE/DRAGONFLY: “Dragonflies can catch prey with near-perfect accuracy, the best among all predators. But how does something with so few neurons achieve such prowess?” In this episode of TED, “How a dragonfly’s brain is designed to kill,” neuroscientist Greg Gage and his colleagues conduct neuroscience experiments on a “shoestring budget” to “explore how a dragonfly unerringly locks onto its prey and captures it within milliseconds.”

METAMORPHOSIS/DRAGONFLIES: “The colorful, acrobatic dragonfly may seem familiar, but this stunning macro film reveals the mysteries behind its metamorphic life cycle—and some surprising adaptations.” Check it out in this National Geographic video, “The Secret World of Dragonflies.

ART STUDIES/DRAGONFLIES: Dragonflies can inspire learning about natural history, ecology, entomology, mythology, and art! Here are a few tutorial videos to learn about origami, watercolor painting, and sketching through the lens of the dragonfly! Take these new skills, learn about dragonflies at home, and then step outside this summer to study them in their natural habitat.

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Discover virtual & adapted programming in our 2020/2021 Class Directory for Western MA!

Monday, August 31, 2020

Suggested Events:

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


ANIMATION

Animated short films can spark the imagination and open up channels of learning. In today’s self-directed learning module, we’re featuring three short animated films to support learning and curiosity about the relationship between flowers and humans, the resiliency of nature and an optimistic outlook on mortality, and an animated representation of a well-known piece of classical music.


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Find what you’re looking for in our 2020/2021 Preschool & Daycare Directory for Western MA!

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Suggested Events:


FARMERS’ MARKETS

COMMUNITY-BASED EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE/SKILL-SHARING: Farmers’ markets are community builders, the American version of the European plaza, and are intrinsically a part of our New England culture and traditions. They are places that bring a community together in support of local agriculture, healthy food choices, share stories, and connect with neighbors and farmers. They are also great places to learn through the collaborative consumption of knowledge freely shared between farmers and customers. The opportunity to learn at farmers’ markets through intergenerational skill-sharing makes them a highly valued community-based educational resource that brings people together via shared interests. If that’s not enough to convince you about the value of your local farmers’ market, check out this actionable talk by social entrepreneur Mohammad Modarres who shows how to put your purchasing power into action via local farmers’ markets and CSAs.

FAMILY DINNER/STORYTELLING: Create a meal with your family from start to finish! Together with your children, visit a local farmers’ market to learn where your food comes from, meet local farmers, and prepare a seasonal meal together. Based on the seasonal produce you find at the market, be inspired to create a meal together. Cooking seasonally with ingredients found at a farmers’ market help to connect to the seasons and the history of New England by understanding when and how local produce impact our meals and food traditions. Stopping by the different booths (at a safe distance, of course!) let your kids meet the farmers who grow the food. Introduce yourself! Perhaps mention what you plan to make that evening. Ask them for tips on how to prepare their seasonal produce and swap recipes with others. Purchasing food directly from a local farm is part of a storytelling experience. From their farm and hands to your hands and kitchen, it’s all woven together into a tale of sustainability and local community. The learning continues later at the dining table as studies have shown that young children benefit from experiential learning during the family meal as highlighted in this video:

FOOD TRADITIONS/FAMILY RECIPES: Food is an integral part of our human story. The act of cooking calls upon centuries of cooking methods, ingredients, spices, and flavors that have shaped our distinct cultures and traditions. Within our families, recipes are passed down, and special dishes are often considered an important part of our unique family gatherings and holiday celebrations. For example, when someone says, “My aunt always made the best strawberry cake on the 4th of July,” that reflects how food shapes our memories and connects us to those we have spent time with and who are an important part of our personal history. The art of recipe collecting and writing is something that allows the generations to share their family’s culture through the legacy of food.

PERSONAL STORIES/FAMILY RECIPES: What stories do your recipes tell? Instead of looking up recipes quickly on the internet and then closing the browser once you’re finished, perhaps use this summer to create a recipe collection by making a recipe book to pass down to your children and grandchildren. This type of storytelling and collecting has transformed into a new art, as this video below illustrates. When making your recipe book, ask yourself: “Who will inherit the recipes we discover and invent this summer?” “What stories will they tell of the food that grows near me in Western Massachusetts?” “How will future generations 100-200 years from now understand the cultural and food traditions practiced during this time?” There are many creative ways to compile your collection of family recipes; here is one:

CULINARY ARTS: Seasonal produce picked out at your local farmer’s market for ingredients of a favorite recipe to be made for your family dinner can be strengthened with lessons in the culinary art. Knowing the base flavors of different styles of cooking is a great place to start a lesson! In this video, learn how to make and use all the culinary bases from around the world, including French mirepoix, Italian sofrito, Spanish sofrito, the Cajun holy trinity, and Chinese GGS. This base knowledge will help you create new family favorites to pass down in your family recipe book!

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Discover virtual & adapted programming in our 2020/2021 Class Directory for Western MA!

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Suggested Events:

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


THEATER STUDIES

Learn about the theater through a “behind the scenes” look at technology, choreography, costume design, rehearsal, stories, and the impact a teacher can have “behind the scenes” of a young child’s life. In this series of videos: examine the history and techniques of an 18th-century mechanical theater; review 50 years of costume at the National Theatre; become intimate with a costume from the Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway; take a tour of The Metropolitan Opera’s home at Lincoln Center; listen to stories from a winner of a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best Play; watch rehearsals with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.


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Find what you’re looking for in our 2020/2021 Preschool & Daycare Directory for Western MA!

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Suggested Events

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


Picnic Season

CULTURAL STUDIES/PICNICS: Al fresco dining during the summer months unites our sense of taste and smell with the sights and sounds of nature under the warmth of the sun. Picnics are a traditional way for families to enjoy a meal together outdoors while allowing children to “get up from the table” and play. While kids run around chasing butterflies and skipping stones, adults can relax on picnic blankets with wicker baskets filled with sandwiches, chips, salads, and lemonade. But these aren’t the only ingredients you might find in a picnic basket. In this video, “Picnics Around the World,” get inspired by picnic foods from the Middle East, France, Japan, and England for your next family picnic.

FOOD HISTORY/SANDWICH: In your picnic basket, the chances are pretty high that sandwiches have been packed. “Today, it is estimated that 50% of Americans eat at least one sandwich every day. And while it’s all but impossible to imagine a world without them, sandwiches have only been around since 1762.” Learn more about “How the sandwich was invented,” in this TED-Ed video with Jessica Oreck

CULTURAL STUDIES/SANDWICH: Different sandwiches have been popular during different eras of time. In this video, “Kids Try 100 Years of Sandwiches from 1900 to 2000,” discover a few different types and see what kids had to say. This video is a fun way to learn about culinary arts, history, and cultural heritage via food!

FOOD HISTORY/POTATO CHIPS: What better to pair your picnic sandwiches with than potato chips! An American classic snack food, they are even delicious tucked inside of some sandwiches. But where did they come from? Saratoga Springs, NY, to be exact. Great Big Story features the history in this video, “The Accidental Invention of the Best Snack Food Ever.

ENTOMOLOGY/ANTS: It just wouldn’t be a picnic without the ants! Before heading out for your family picnic, learn “What’s Inside An Anthill?” and get curious with your kids!

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Discover virtual & adapted programming in our 2020/2021 Class Directory for Western MA!

Friday, September 4, 2020

Suggested Events:

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


ART & WOMEN’S STUDIES

ART STUDIES/SOCIAL ISSUES: Have you heard of the campaign, #5WomenArtists? “At the start of the decade—and now in its fifth year—#5WomenArtists recognizes how women are using art to make social change and drive awareness about globally relevant issues and topics.” Learn about this campaign from the National Museum of Women in the Arts who is asking museums, galleries, and other cultural institutions to “share art and information about artists who explore key social issues, including gender equity, immigration, LGBTQ rights, racial justice, climate change, and more.”

ART STUDIES/WOMEN’S STUDIES: Tate Kids produced this video, “5 Women Artists’ Stories,” to help children discover five amazing women artists that changed the art world, including Yayoi Kusama, Barbara Hepworth, Sonia Boyce, and Dayanita Singh.

ART HISTORY/WOMEN’S RIGHTS: Learn about the history of women in the arts by examining Emily Mary Osborn’s 1857 painting, ‘Nameless and Friendless.” In TateShots video, “How This Painting Campaigned for Women’s Rights,” They study this painting, discussing how “it captures a single woman trying, and failing, to earn a living as an artist in Victorian England. In a trade traditionally occupied by men, she becomes nameless and friendless. Osborn was actively involved in the campaign for women’s rights during the mid-19th century. Wealthy patrons, including Queen Victoria, supported her. But she used her position of power to help improve the lives of women like those depicted in her paintings.”

ART STUDIES/WOMEN’S STUDIES: “In honor of Women’s History Month 2019, Tate selected five women artists to feature in the #5WomenArtists campaign: Alexis Hunter, Louise Bourgeois, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, the Guerrilla Girls, and Lubaina Himid. They also assembled one giant playlist of all the women artists featured in the TateShots video series.” Check it out here to support learning in art and women’s studies.

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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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