September 5-11, 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.

SUBSCRIBE to our eNewsletter to stay up-to-date!
Sneak peaks of our newest podcast.


Bulletin Board

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.


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.


Virtual

Yoga Sanctuary. Northampton, MA. Join Yoga Sanctuary for yoga for the whole family – online! Prenatal Yoga, Postpartum Yoga with Baby, and Yoga for Teens 6 week series start the week of 9/21/20. The Prenatal Yoga and Postpartum Yoga with Baby series include check-in, breathwork, meditation, and physical (asana) practices for pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. Yoga for Teens provides a welcoming space for all teens to connect deeply to breath and movement, building flexibility and strength, and cultivating inner resilience. All kinds of bodies and experience levels welcome. Their weekly adult classes provide nurturing and expert instruction in alignment-based hatha, flow, yin and restorative yoga. Join their strong, sweet community where their yoga practice nourishes body and soul. For more information: info@yoga-sanctuary.com; 413-585-9642; www.yoga-sanctuary.com.


Discover virtual & adapted programming in our 2020/2021 Class 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.


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


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.


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.


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
September 5-11, 2020

Saturday, Sept 5Sunday, Sept 6
Monday, Sept 7Tuesday, Sept 8Wednesday, Sept 9
Thursday, Sept 10Friday, Sept 11

Subscribe to Our Weekly eNewsletterAdvertising & Partnership Opportunities
Cultural Itinerariesen Español


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, September 5, 2020

Suggested Events

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


SEED SAVING

Once you’ve reaped the delicious benefits of a summer’s harvest, look to your dinner plate to find a purpose for what you’ve grown. Seed saving is a way to practice self-sufficiency and resilience, and also helps to preserve plant varieties for years to come. In addition to the cultural and agricultural value of holding onto these plants (and their seeds), practicing seed saving at home is a great way to engage in hands-on science learning. Read more in our post, Seed Capital Provides Return for Nature-Based Education.

Check out our literary guide for “A Seed is Sleepy,” an incredibly rich textual exploration of the world of seeds. Using our guide, families can learn about the science of seeds by finding hands-on place-based ways to connect with the environment: Literary Guide for Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long’s “A Seed is Sleepy”.

For further seed-related learning, check out these titles:


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

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Suggested Events

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


CATERPILLARS

Tomato hornworm. Tent Caterpillar. Monarch Caterpillar. Yellow Woolly Bears. These are New England caterpillars’ names, many of us know, which is limiting when considering that there are 20,000 different species of known caterpillars around the world! In the late summer, searching for caterpillars in veggie gardens, meadows, and trees’ leaves before turning autumnal colors can be a catalyst for learning about botany, entomology, and ecology. Getting curious and asking “why-what-how-who” questions is an excellent place to start! Why is this caterpillar on this plant? How did it get there? What is it’s defense mechanism? Who is it protecting itself from? How does the caterpillar turn into a butterfly? Is it a butterfly, or is it a moth? When will it metamorphose? Sketch or photograph your discoveries. Search for answers online or ask a local naturalist. Understanding the nature and behavior of native species helps strengthen a sense of place by allowing us to read our landscape through flora and fauna surrounding us and how everything fits into seasonal patterns.

What’s going on inside a caterpillar cocoon/chrysalis:

Caterpillar cameos:

The birth of a caterpillar:

How to draw a caterpillar for kids:

_________


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

Monday, September 7, 2020

Suggested Events:

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


LABOR DAY

Why do we celebrate Labor Day? Get curious! Discover the history of Labor Day, comparing and contrasting labor conditions both near and far, old and new. Learning about Labor Day can support learning about history, world culture, capitalism, and the human condition. And once you’ve sunk your teeth into these critical topics, enjoy a Labor Day BBQ or picnic with your family! Give thanks for the improved working conditions and child safety laws we experience today, thanks to the actions that lead up to this annual celebration every September!

_________


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

Tuesday, September 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.


EN PLEIN AIR PAINTING

En plein air is a French expression meaning “in the open air.” It’s used in English to describe a painting style that occurs outdoors. Made possible historically by the manufacturing of paint into tubes, artists no longer had to mix their paints in the studio from chemical compounds, freeing them to travel outdoors for inspiration. When participating in plein air painting, artists become fully engaged with the fall landscape through perspective, composition and, most importantly, color! Watercolors are the most portable and easiest to clean up, but plein air painting can be done in any medium – oil paint, acrylic, pastels, etc. – and by any age. Read more in our Sept/Oct Season edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western MA.

__________


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

Wednesday, September 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.


MONARCH BUTTERFLIES

Birds aren’t the only fauna who migrate. Monarch butterflies make perhaps the most epic of all migratory journeys. Though their long trek can sometimes take up to four generations to complete, it spans an almost unbelievably large portion of North America. The butterflies begin high in the mountains of southwestern Mexico, and, come springtime, gradually work their way as far north as Saskatchewan, Canada and as far east as Maine and the southernmost parts of New Brunswick. The distinctive black-and-orange butterflies lay their eggs along the way, and depend on the availability of milkweed-filled habitat throughout their journey. While no one butterfly makes the round trip from Mexico to Maine and back again, the pattern of monarch movement across the continent is incredibly sophisticated and, at times, beautiful.

Much like bees, butterflies play an essential role in our local (and global!) ecosystems. As pollinators, butterflies help to ensure that plants exchange genetic material, something we depend on to enjoy many of our favorite foods! However, changes in the way that humans live and how we interact with our surroundings have caused butterfly populations to decline (especially the iconic monarch). Learning about butterflies and their role in our ecosystem is essential to understanding and appreciating our surroundings; luckily, opportunities for learning about this beautiful Lepidoptera abound!

“Habitat loss and the destruction of native plants have been responsible for the rapid decline of the monarch butterfly, the most recognized butterfly in North America. To help protect these majestic insects as they migrate, citizens in the U.S. are resorting to a simple yet powerful tool: gardening. Gardens full of milkweed and nectar plants can serve both as rest stops for adult monarchs and as nurseries for their eggs.” – National Geographic. Learn more about their plight and the value of planting milkweed and nectar plants in this National Geographic video:

The classic orange of a Monarch Butterfly can be found in many different types of animals. But why is the color blue so rare in nature? “Among living things, the color blue is oddly rare. Blue rocks, blue sky, blue water, sure. But blue animals? They are few and far between. And the ones that do make blue? They make it in some very strange and special ways compared to other colors. In this video, we’ll look at some very cool butterflies to help us learn how living things make blue, and why this beautiful hue is so rare in nature.” – It’s Okay To Be Smart

_________


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

Thursday, September 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.


SELF-GUIDED WALKING TOURS

We’re rich in walking tours here in western Massachusetts; an excellent community-based educational learning activity families can do together. Unlike scheduled tours guided by interpreters, self-guided walking tours offer lots of flexibility and opportunities to social distancing. Find out more about these local resources in our post, Over 25 Walking Tours Support Community-Based Education in Western MA.

We are also fortunate to have easy access to nature in our communities through local trails, nature preserves, and forests. This diversity of options inspires naturalists and conservation-minded enthusiasts to lead guided walks, hikes, and river paddling trips, teaching our local landscapes and biodiversity. Find our about guided & self-guided hikes and Vistas in our Sept/Oct Season edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western MA.

Thanks to the internet, we can take a virtual walking tour of places worldwide, learning about natural history and cultural heritage through their landscape and cityscapes. Here are a few walking tours you take from the comfort of your couch. Destinations include: Kuromon Ichiba Market in Osaka, Japan; Nami Island in Chuncheon, South Korea; Back streets and shopping streets of Le Marais, France; and Beverly Hills.

__________


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

Friday, September 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.


ROCKETS

Whether it’s 4th of July fireworks or the May 2020 launch of a Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station, rockets are inspiring to watch and are history in the making. Let’s ride this momentum of interest and curiosity with a self-directed learning module on rockets! Featured here are five videos explore physics, engineering, technology, women’s studies, and of course, play! These videos plus a Rockets: Educator Guide produced by NASA, which includes STEM activities, are sure to propel self-directed learning!

__________


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.

%d bloggers like this: