Suggested Events for January 28 – February 3, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“[Last year] was the first year my three year old participated in the Valentine’s Day swap & we had a blast making and receiving our cards in the mail. This site truly enhances what western Massachusetts is all about community and our great state!” – Summer Mikaitis (Pittsfield, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our Suggest An Event bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness, and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after-school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Click HERE to find out more.

Hilltown Families Events

It’s that time of the year again for the Hilltown Families Annual Handmade Valentine Swap! For the past nine years Hilltown Families has coordinated a community Handmade Valentine Swap — and we’re doing it again! Making handmade valentines is a great way to push against the commercialization of yet another holiday, while being creative with your family and friends. JOIN US! It’s free to sign up and open to all families in western Massachusetts! Last year our community generated over 1,550 handmade valentines! Let’s do it again! Deadline to sign-up is Wed. Feb 1st!

Saturday, February 4, from 10am-12noon at Flywheel Arts Collective, Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the Saturday Morning Music Party series with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing, and diversions for kids! During a free breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and fruit, you can craft handmade Valentines with the Easthampton Parents Center. Then we’ll enjoy special guests, DandyLions Garden, a musical act for kids and inner children alike. We’ll round out the morning with DJ Youthelectronix for the “best ever dance party before noon!” This is a fundraiser for both Flywheel & Hilltown Families, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend with your family. For more information, email

Bulletin Board

Open House:Jan 28

The Common School: Community, collaboration, creativity, social justice, inclusivity, environmental education – Come learn how these words are put into action at their winter Open House on Saturday, January 28, from 10am-12noon in Amherst. Play in their classrooms, meet their teachers, chat with current parents, and tour their beautiful campus situated amongst 140 acres of conservation land on Larch Hill in Amherst. Light refreshments provided. Questions? Contact Director of Admissions, Dana Kadish at or visit

Open House: Jan 29

Cloverdale Cooperative Preschool invites new parents to an Open House on Sunday, January 29th, from 2:30-4pm. Cloverdale is located in back of the First Congregational Church on 130 Pine Street in Florence and is a half-day preschool with the option of STEAM focused extended day hours. Come find out about their new expanded hours starting next fall while spending time playing with your children in their engaging learning environment. Meet the teachers and some parents who will answer your questions about their program. For more information, visit or call 413-586-1106 after 12:30pm.

Open House: Jan 29

Sunday, January 29th: Open House from 2-3:30pm at Smith College Center for Early Childhood Education (Fort Hill). Visit welcoming classroom environments, chat with teachers, and find out more about the Reggio Emilia-inspired curriculum. Providing engaging, intentional early experiences that support children in becoming lifelong learners, joyful investigators, and thoughtful citizens of the world. Fort Hill has dedicated visual arts and music teachers and studios, an emphasis on natural materials, and classroom experiences that nurture joy, curiosity, deep thinking, and imagination. Consider joining the Fort Hill family! Actively accepting applications for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers for 2017-2018. Contact for information.

Open House: Feb 4

The Campus School at Smith College. Prospective kindergarten through grade 6 students and their parents are invited to an open house on Saturday, February 4, from 9:30am-11:30 am at the school on Prospect Street. Tour the school. Meet teachers, staff, and parents. For more information, contact the admission office at 413-585-3270 or visit their website,

Open House: Feb 5

Sunday, Feb. 5th: The Center School Admissions Open House, 2pm-4pm. The Center School is a preschool through 8th grade progressive school, serving Hampshire and Franklin counties. Prospective families are invited to explore the school on Sunday, Feb. 5th for a Birds-of-Prey themed Admissions Open House. Come early to enjoy a live Birds of Prey presentation with raptor rehabilitator Tom Ricardi from 1pm-2pm. Then, classrooms will be open and teachers will be offer bird-related activities for kids of all ages. Light refreshments will be available. The Center School has been offering rigorous education for deep thinkers and creative spirits for 35 years and is currently accepting applications for all ages, for fall of 2017.

Feb 20-24

Looking for something fun and creative for your kids during the February break? Check out Valley Performance Playground’s February Vacation Camp with Sarah Marcus and Felicia Sloin! This 1-week camp runs Monday, February 20 – Friday, February 24 from 9am-3pm and will feature theater games, singing, drumming, movement, and fun times with creative friends for students ages 7-11. Valley Performance Playground’s February Vacation Camp takes place at the Northampton Karate Studio, 320 Riverside Drive, in Florence. Cost: $250. Registration Deadline Feb 1. For more information, email or visit online at

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, after-school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community-building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish, and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to

January 28 – February 3, 2017


Suggest an EventCultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

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Celebrate the New Home of the Easthampton Family Center on April 17th!

Flywheel Arts and the Easthampton Family Center (EFC) present a FREE show for kids to celebrate the grand re opening of Flywheel Arts and the new home of the Easthampton Family Center!  On Saturday, April 17th R.O.C.K. (Royal Order of Chords and Keys) will perform at 11am at Easthampton’s old Town Hall.  Fun starts at 10 a.m., and best of all – it’s free!  Donations to help support Flywheel are welcomed.

The EFC will hold a bake sale during the celebration to raise money for the center.  EFC Coordinator Mindy Ramos writes, “We are looking for people who will bake up some yummy goodness to help raise funds for Family Center programming. In order for us to offer more programs like this we rely on the support of our community and our family center members. Please email me and let me know that you or a friend or family member will be able to contribute to an item to our bake sale. If your baked good contains nuts, we ask that you label it. Vegan, dairy-free, and totally sugar loaded items welcomed!”  For more information about the EFC, visit them on-line at

Where Do the Children Play: Video & Discussion

Where Do the Children Play: Video & Discussion

click to see larger image

click to see larger image

Mindy Ramos, EFC Coordinator writes:

[Here is] a flier for the Discussion and Video presentation of “Where Do the Children Play” a PBS documentary (that was not broadcasted locally!) about the vital importance of open – ended creative play for healthy development in children. It also takes about how restrictive patterns of sprawl, congestion and endless suburban development across America are impacting children’s mental and physical health and development.

There is sure to be a lively discussion following this intriguing documentary [Oct. 1st, 2008 @ 6:30pm].

This is event is sponsored by the Easthampton Community Partnership for Children, the Easthampton Family Center and the Emily Williston Library.

Open House: Area Family Centers

Open House at 8 Area Family Centers
Bring your children, birth to age 5!

Click to discover more!

Corky Klimczak, HCFN Coordinator writes:

Please help the Hampshire County Family Network [HFCN] publicize our Fall Open House. Each of the 8 family centers – Amherst, Belchertown, Cummington, Easthampton, Gateway, Northampton, South Hadley, and Ware – will host its own open house celebration sometime between October 3rd and October 10th. The dates and listing of special events at each Open House is on [this] flyer. Please print, post, and circulate this flyer … so that we can get the word out to as many people as possible.

Discover more about our area Family Centers.

Week of the Young Child 2008

By Mindy Brown, Easthampton Family Center

As part of the National Week of the Young Child, the Easthampton Family Center and the Easthampton Community Partnership for Children is honoring young children and all those who make a difference the lives of children.

The Week of the Young Child will be celebrated April 13 – 19, 2008. Throughout the week, there will be events and activities in the community that highlight the importance of quality, affordable, and accessible early learning experiences for all children, including events in Northampton and Monson, MA.

Join the Easthampton Family Center and the Easthampton Community Partnership for Children on Sunday, April 13th, to kick off the week of festivities at the Week of the Young Child Parade and Fun & Information Extravaganza.

The parade will start promptly at 12:30 from the Public Safety Complex (50 Payson Ave). The Easthampton Police and Fire Department along with the EHS Cheerleaders and WBMS Band will lead the parade to the Easthampton High School where the Week of the Young Child Fun and Information Extravaganza will be held. Decorate your wagons and strollers, bring your musical instruments, wear a silly hat, or your favorite costume. Bring out your inner child with your child!

Click on the flyer to see we have a lot of wonderful activities planned this year and best of all the entire event is FREE.

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Greater Easthampton Early Education and Care Directory

By Mindy Brown, Easthampton Family Center

The Easthampton Family Center is proud to present our first edition of the Greater Easthampton Early Education and Care Directory.

In this directory you will find licensed child care and preschool/nursery centers as well as numerous community resources that are available for families with young children in the Easthampton, Southampton,and Westhampton area.

Click here for the electronic version of the directory. Paper copies of the directory can be found at the Easthampton Family Center, the Easthampton, Southampton, and Westhampton Libraries and at the Easthampton Chamber of Commerce.

If your organization would like copies of the directory to distribute to families, please call 563-7672 or email  This directory is FREE to families.  Read the rest of this entry »

Family Centers Offer More Than Drop-In Playgroups

Area Family Centers Offer Refuge for Parents with Babies & Toddlers

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

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

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

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