Weekdays in Western MA: November 12th – 16th, 2018

Weekdays in Western MA:
November 12th – 16th, 2018

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.


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10 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Chrysanthemums to Candy Science. Creative-Free Play to Service-Based Learning.

Glassblowing to Mooncakes. Quakers to Ecosystems. Creative-Free Play to Nature-Based Learning. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week. Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured seasonal highlight this week:

Veterans Day, a U.S. national holiday originally known as Armistice Day, provides communities with the opportunity to honor and learn about the service provided by former military members. Chances for community service to support and honor veterans are available right here in our own community, and families can also learn about military history on Veterans Day by engaging in living history demonstrations and activities. Read more in our post, Volunteer & Cultural Opportunities to Honor Veterans on Veterans Day in Western MA.

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Weekdays in Western MA: November 5th – 9th, 2018

Weekdays in Western MA:
November 5th – 9th, 2018

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.


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Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Seeds as a Catalyst for Learning

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal:
Seeds as a Catalyst for Learning

Hilltown Families and Mass Appeal (a weekday, hour-long lifestyle program on NBC) have teamed up to offer a live monthly segment on WWLP 22News!  Each month, community-based education specialist and Hilltown Families’ Founder, Sienna Wildfield, joins Mass Appeal hosts to talk about ways to engage in your community while supporting the interests and education of your children (and yourselves!).

This monthly segment continued on Monday, October 29th with Sienna and Danny talking about how to use seeds and pods as a catalyst for inspiring children to learn about our local ecology.

Sienna has contagious admiration for seeds. She just loves them so much.
And she’s going to help you and your children, therefore, love them too!
– Mass Appeal Host, Danny New

Click on the video below to view.


Mass Appeal is a live weekday program that airs at 11am on 22News (Springfield, MA).

Sienna’s next visit to the Mass Appeal studios will be Monday, November 26th, 2018!

Mindful Engagement through the Seasons: Seeds

Learning through the Lens of Seeds

“Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed… Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.” – Henry David Thoreau

In late October, as the deciduous trees release the last of their leaves, New England farm fields, meadows, and highway median strips appear as lifeless patches of summer gone by. For many, morning routines during the school year are hurried moments, choking down toast, cornflakes, or coffee on the way out the door in heroic attempts to get the kids on the bus or dropped off at school while making it to work on time. Once on the road, maybe stuck behind an old farm truck overloaded with bundles of hay or barreling down I-91 towards the upper or lower Pioneer Valley, shades of toast brown and cornflake yellow from breakfast are mimicked in the landscape as it whizzes by.

But are these sections of our landscape really just lifeless patches of brittle brown and bleached-yellow best served covered with a blanket of white snow? We watch these spaces awaken in the spring with emerging verdant shoots and leaves, become a buzz with pollinators in the summer, and release their final piquancy of color in early autumn with a scheme of foliage in which New England is so famous. This time of the year, the liminal space between foliage and snow, is no different with the amazing gifts nature has to offer. It’s just packaged differently and might require a renewed perspective.

Here is where slowing down and taking the time to observe the late autumn landscape might stir a sense of awe by understanding the staggering potential and rich history held in these liminal spaces in the form of seeds and their remaining pods.

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Weekdays in Western MA: October 29th – November 2nd, 2018

Weekdays in Western MA:
October 29th – November 2nd, 2018

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!

Monday, October 29th, 2018
Tuesday, October 30th, 2018
Wednesday, October 31st, 2018
Thursday, November 1st, 2018
Friday, November 2nd, 2018

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


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Weekdays in Western MA: October 22nd – 26th, 2018

Weekdays in Western MA: October 22nd – 26th, 2018

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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Weekdays in Western MA: October 15th – 19th, 2018

Weekdays in Western MA:
October 15th – 19th, 2018

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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10 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Pumpkins to Sauerkraut. Social Studies to Literature.

Herbariums to Fermentation. Indian Dance to Jane Austen. Immigration to Botany These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured seasonal highlight this week:

There are so many different uses for pumpkins!  One of America’s oldest native crops, modern day uses include carving as ornaments for Halloween, prepared as pies, and highlighted as the main attraction in agricultural fairs (largest pumpkin contests) and fall festivals (pumpkin roll & pumpkin games).  Needless to say, pumpkins are an integrated part of our fall traditions in Western MA. Find out how pumpkin can support an interest in pastry arts and Colonial History through seasonal pies in our post, How Pumpkin Pies Support Interests & Education.

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Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Foliage & Harvest as a Catalyst for Learning

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal:
Fall Foliage & Apple Harvest

Hilltown Families and Mass Appeal (a weekday, hour-long lifestyle program on NBC) have teamed up to offer a live monthly segment on WWLP 22News!  Each month, community-based education specialist and Hilltown Families’ Founder, Sienna Wildfield, joins Mass Appeal hosts to talk about ways to engage in your community while supporting the interests and education of your children (and yourselves!).

This monthly segment continued on Tuesday, October 9, 2018, Sienna and Lauren talking about different ways to engage in learning and placemaking this Fall season.

Click to view video. “Hilltown Families should be called ‘the circle of life.'” – Lauren Zenzie, Mass Appeal


Mass Appeal is a live weekday program that airs at 11am on 22News (Springfield, MA).

Our next visit to the Mass Appeal studios will be Monday, October 29th, 2018!

Weekdays in Western MA: October 8th – 12th, 2018

Weekdays in Western MA:
October 8 – 12, 2018

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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Weekdays in Western MA: October 1 – 5, 2018

Weekdays in Western MA:
October 1 – 5, 2018

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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11 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Fall Festivals to Community Meals. Textile Arts to Classical Music.

Inspired by the town’s 1915 celebration, “Pageant of Patriotism in honor of Independence Day,” Conway Festival of the Hills took form in 1967 as an annual event, celebrating local talent and culture. Every year, families come to witness a Conway tradition: the skillet toss! Along with the skillet toss there are many activities to behold: a log splitting contest, live music, handmade crafts, parade, pancake breakfast, community dinner, and their most popular event, a book signing with local authors. This year the festival happens on Saturday, Sept 29 & Sunday, Sept 30.

Locavore Dinner to Vegan Picnic. Textile Arts to Classical Music. Garlic to Tofu. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured seasonal highlight this week:

FALL FESTIVALS
During the autumnal months, communities celebrate the change of season with festivals that bridge agricultural and cultural traditions. These festivities celebrate not only the harvest season but also the cultural traditions that define Western Massachusetts’ unique identity. Fall festivals are a community space that acts as an intergenerational gathering place for folks to come together in the spirit of the season and share in the harvest and local traditions. Engage your community and attend a fall festival this season!  It’s a great way to meet your neighbors, new friends and contribute to the preservation of this region’s unique character, culture, and history. Check out these featured annual fall festivals that happen in Western MA.

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Weekdays in Western MA: September 24th – 28th, 2018

Weekdays in Western MA:
September 24th – 28th, 2018

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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Weekdays in Western MA: September 17th – 21st, 2018

Weekdays in Western MA:
September 17th – 21st, 2018

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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11 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Apples to Woolley Bears. Agriculture to Folklore.

Can Woolley Bears (Pyrrharctia isabella) offer us an indication as to the severity of the coming winter? Common North American folklore says that a wide brown band calls for a mild winter and a narrow one calls for a severe winter. While there is no scientific evidence for this prediction, looking for these little guys and examining them closely with your kids opens up channels for learning while connecting to the seasons.

Honey to Botany. Thin Places to Developmental Psychology. Interpretive Dance to Bioblitz. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured seasonal highlight this week:

APPLES
Apples, one of the earliest (and most delicious) signs of fall, have been an essential part of New England agriculture for centuries. McIntosh apples are undeniably the most iconic of New England’s apples, and make up over two thirds of the regions apple crop! Macs and countless other delicious and fascinating varieties of apples are grown at orchards across western Massachusetts, and families can enjoy this year’s fantastic apple crop by visiting an orchard to pick or purchase a bushel. Participate in the tradition of apple-picking and support local agriculture! Check out local orchards and farms in Western MA for Pick Your Own Apples, including Park Hill Orchard (Easthampton), Outlook Farm (Westhampton), Bear Swamp Orchard & Cidery (Ashfield), Quonquont Farm (Whately), Clarkdale Fruit Farms (Deerfield), and Bashista Orchards (Southampton).

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Weekdays in Western MA: September 10th – 14th, 2018

Weekdays in Western MA:
September 10th – 14th, 2018

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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Weekdays in Western MA: September 3rd – 7th, 2018

Weekdays in Western MA:
September 3rd – 7th, 2018

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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10 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Peach Tea to Chicken BBQ. Zen Buddhism to Hindu Traditions.

A few annual community harvest meals to check out this weekend include the Plainfield Volunteer Fire Department and Shelburne Falls Eagles annual chicken BBQ’s this Sunday.

Fireside Poets to Local Peaches. Zen kōans to Holy Tulsi. Monarch Butterflies to Beavers. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured learning highlight this week:

COMMUNITY MEALS
Intergenerational opportunities to gather around the table for a community meal with friends and neighbors are available at nearly every agricultural fair. From blueberry pancake breakfast to BBQ chicken dinner, there’s something for everyone! Visit fair websites to see what’s being served this year and make plans to sit with your neighbors and start up conversations. Let your children learn about local history through stories your elderly neighbors might share, make new friends, and walk away with new community connections. Read more about community harvest meals and festivals in our Late Summer/Early Autumn Season issue of Learning Ahead.

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Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Community-Based Learning for Late Summer

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal:
Community-Based Learning in Late Summer

Hilltown Families and Mass Appeal (a weekday, hour-long lifestyle program on NBC) have teamed up to offer a live monthly segment on WWLP 22News!  Each month, community-based education specialist and Hilltown Families’ Founder, Sienna Wildfield, joins Mass Appeal hosts to talk about ways to engage in your community while supporting the interests and education of your children (and yourselves!).

This monthly segment continued on Monday, August 27, 2018 with Sienna and Danny talking about late summer resources and opportunities that support learning through community-based education.

Click on video to view.

For more information and links to resources mentioned in this segment, check out our recent post, Supporting Seasonal Learning in the Late Summer with Community-Based Educational Resources & Opportunities.


Mass Appeal is a live weekday program that airs at 11am on 22News (Springfield, MA).

Our next visit to the Mass Appeal studios will be Tuesday, October 9th, 2018!

Supporting Seasonal Learning in the Late Summer with Community-Based Educational Resources & Opportunities

Late Summer Resources & Opportunities that Support Seasonal Learning Through Community-Based Education

Photo credit: (c) Sienna Wildfield

For many, Labor Day marks the end of the summer, but warm days extend well beyond the first Monday in September. Take advantage of the full summer season by engaging in community-based resources that support your interests, education, and community values before the cold weather sets in.

Resources like conservation organizations, local waterways, harvest meals, and even cornfields are just a few resources that can support both self-directed and facilitated learning during these last few weeks of summer.

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Weekdays in Western MA: August 27th – 31st, 2018

Weekdays in Western MA:
August 27th – 31st, 2018

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.


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Weekdays in Western MA: August 20th – 24th, 2018

Weekdays in Western MA:
August 20th – 24th, 2018

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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11 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Service Dogs to Community Meals. Art Studies to Food History.

Summer is camping season! Campgrounds are open, tents are aired out, and the makings for s’mores are ready for starry nights surrounding the campfire telling stories and enjoying each other’s company. The smell of the campfire defines the spirit of summer outdoors in New England. Read more about the season of summer camping and discover local resource in our Summer Season issue of Learning Ahead.

Impressionist Art to Irish Dance. Johnnycakes to Scones. Shelter Animals to Service Dogs. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured learning highlight this week:

CUMMINGTON FAIR
Agricultural fair season is starting next week, beginning on Thursday, August 23 with the Cummington Fair, a local tradition since 1883 when it began as the Hillside Agricultural Society. At the time, the stated goal of the society was “the attainment and diffusion of scientific and practical knowledge in the cultivation of the soil and the raising of it’s various and useful production as comprehended in The Department Of Agriculture, Horticulture, and Pomology.” Over the last 150 years, the Fair has stayed true to its roots, while adding a wide variety of vendors, music acts, and fun activities for children! The horse and ox pull is a real favorite, and don’t forget to check out the prize-winning livestock. Learn more about how agricultural fairs can support an interest in the humanities by downloading our Seasons issue of Learning Ahead for Sept/Oct for our late summer/early fall learning itinerary. Then head to the Cummington Fair starting on Thursday, August 23 and running through Sunday, August 26.Cummington Fair. 97 Fairgrounds Road, Cummington, MA ($)

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Weekdays in Western MA: August 13th – 17th, 2018

Weekdays in Western MA:
August 13th – 17th, 2018

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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Weekdays in Western MA: August 6th – 10th, 2018

Weekdays in Western MA:
August 6th – 10th, 2018

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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10 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Endangered Species to Physics. Traditional Crafts to Technology.

Summer is the season for fishing! With all of its many rivers and lakes, Western MA has an abundance of fishing spots that help people connect to the landscape and the rhythms of the season. Support and integrate your interests by downloading our Seasons issue of Learning Ahead for July/August for our summer learning itinerary, take a look at our Literature Guide for Dr. Seuss’ “McElligot’s Pool,” and learn about the history of Gyotaku, the ancient Japanese art of printing fish.

Basket Making to Catapults. Alchemy to Sports. Nature Hikes to Observation Days. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured learning highlight this week:

SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING: MUSIC STUDIES
Playing music has immense benefits for your brain, in addition to being a calming and enjoyable activity. You can find out about the benefits of playing music and ways to build a practice habit in our post, How Playing an Instrument Benefits Your Brain!

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The 2018 – 2019 Western MA Enrichment Programs & After-School Classes Directory is Here!

Our community is rich in learning opportunities to supplement the interests of children, teens, and life-long learners. To connect you with these resources, Hilltown Families has put together a directory of after-school & weekend classes and enrichment programs happening across Western Massachusetts, throughout the school year.

Debuting in our directory are the following classes and programs. Check back frequently to see who else has been added!


Add your program or class! Reach thousands of families in the region with our 2018-2019 directory. If you have a class or program you would like to have included in our directory, contact us at sales@hilltownfamilies.org to learn about our advertising options and sponsorship packages. Classes and programs can be added and updated at any time.

Weekdays in Western MA: July 30th – August 3rd, 2018

Weekdays in Western MA:
July 30th – August 3rd, 2018

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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Weekdays in Western MA: July 23rd – 27th, 2018

Weekdays in Western MA:
July 23rd – 27th, 2018

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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