Suggested Events for February 18th – 24th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families always offers such a complete listing of fun and educational events in the area for all ages… One of the great resources that make living in Western MA so family friendly. Thanks!” – Freja Joslin (Northampton, MA)

“Hilltown Families always offers such a complete listing of fun and educational events in the area for all ages… One of the great resources that make living in Western MA so family friendly. Thanks!” – Freja Joslin (Northampton, 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.

Summer Camp

advertise with Hilltown FamiliesMARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer. On Wednesday, March 8th, 2017, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2017 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE.

Bulletin Board

Feb 25

Meet Curious George and others at the WGBY Love for Learning PBS Kids fan fair Saturday, Feb. 25 from 10am to 3pm at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield. It’s like a comic book convention for PBS Kids (ages 2–8). Children are encouraged to dress up as a favorite character. Enjoy show-themed activity stations, tabletop fun from community partners, and live demos from children’s book authors and illustrators. Plus, meet live characters, including Curious George, Buddy from Dinosaur Train, The Cat in the Hat, and others. The event is free (with suggested donation in support of public television). Event details and registration available at wgby.org/fanfair. Questions? Contact Marie Waechter at mwaechter@wgby.org.

Feb 26

Mister G February Fiesta! Presented by Sunnyside Child Care Center (one of the area’s longest running early childhood centers, offering quality care for children ages 18 months through five years). Come hear Latin Grammy winner Mister G perform songs in English and Spanish for kids from 1-100! Crafts, pizza, popcorn, and fun for all. Sunday, February 26, 10am-noon, at the Florence Civic Center, 140 Pine St., Florence. $8/per person or $25 for the family! www.sunnysidekids.org.

Open House: Mar 4

Sunnyside Child Care Center in Northampton is holding an Open House on Saturday, March 4, 9:30-11am. They are enrolling now for Fall 2017. Sunnyside provides play-based programs with an emergent curriculum for ages 18 months-5 years on 8 wooded acres between Northampton and Easthampton. Sunnyside values and promotes diversity, and offers flexible scheduling and a sliding scale tuition to make their high-quality childcare more accessible. Visit them at the open house, or call to schedule a tour. Sunnyside, 557 Easthampton Rd., Northampton. 413-727-3665. www.sunnysidekids.org.

Mar 4

The Common School: Community, collaboration, social justice, intrinsic motivation, deep understanding, diversity, inclusivity, environmental education- Come learn how these words are put into action at their Nursery Open House, Saturday, March 4, from 10am-12noon. Featuring: Teaching Creatures at 11:30am with their special program: Amazing Mammals. Play in their classrooms, meet their teachers, and chat with current parents. Light refreshments provided. Questions? Contact Director of Admissions, Dana Kadish at outreach@commonschool.org or visit www.commonschool.org.

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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.

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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.

2017 Preschool Directory for Western MA

Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

Featured Winter & Spring Classes in Western MA

What are your child’s interests? What are your interests? This fall there are a number of after-school, homeschool, evening, and weekend classes to choose from to supplement and support the interests of your family! Check out our growing list of classes, programs, open houses and even auditions for this fall in our dedicated post, 2017 Winter & Spring Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA, and find the perfect activity for your child, teen, and even lifelong learners! — Have a class you’d like to add to this list? Click here to find out how to have your class, lessons, program, auditions, and open house included.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
February 25th – March 3rd, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Winter Farmers’ Markets & Seasonal Food: Intersection of Culture, Tradition and Creativity

Cooking Seasonally

The beauty of New England living is that each season offers a new way to learn and engage our communities. Locally grown and produced food is a community-base resource that can help us understand how to connect to local agriculture, even in the winter.

For winter cooking, it’s time to utilize the heat of the oven, something often avoided during the heat of the summer months.  This is the season to bake, roast, and stew.  It’s the time of year when the preserved and canned foods from the summer and fall harvests can be taken out of storage to enjoy.  It’s a different way of eating – one that is intended to be hearty and warming – perfect for greeting the cold weather.

Winter is a time for gathering with friends – and what better way than with a home-cooked meal to be enjoyed together using locally produced ingredients? Preparing a meal together is an opportunity for intergenerational exchange (passing down recipes from older family members or neighbors) as well as for skill-sharing (what cooking technique are you interested in learning from a friend?). Start by visiting the local winter markets for inspiration and then gather friends and family for a warming meal shared together!

Read the rest of this entry »

Explore History & Culture through Food

Explore History & Culture through Food

One way to get some inspiration for your next winter culinary adventure is to visit living history museums such as Historic Deerfield and Old Sturbridge Village.  Both institutions offer hearth cooking classes.  Additionally, a stroll through Old Sturbridge Village during the winter time offers you a peek into New Englanders’ daily living routines and food preparations from the 19th century.  Visitors can see firsthand what types of recipes 19th century Americans were preparing during the cold months of the year.

Sample dishes that were prepared during the winter season include chicken pie, broiled sweet potatoes, stewed beets, soup, hot cakes, Indian Pudding, and breads.  Be sure to remember hot chocolate and coffee too! 19th century New Englanders roasted and brewed coffee at home. It was a season for lots of baking, hearty soups/stews and meats.

Don’t forget to revisit Lydia Maria Child’s The American Frugal Housewife. Her section on vegetables explains how vegetables should be stored during different seasons.  To read an excerpt, download our Jan/Feb edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts.

In addition to learning about history through the lens of food, food can also be a great catalyst for learning about other cultures. Read the rest of this entry »

Sense of Place: Winter Farmers’ Markets & Seasonal Food

Think about this:

Vicki Robin, author of Blessing the Hands that Feed Us, spent one month on a diet that consisted of foods that originated no further than 10 miles from her home. It radically changed her perception of eating local and cooking. How do you think your food consumption would change if you were to eat only foods from within 10 miles of your home? What foods would you not have access to and how would it impact your diet seasonally?

What similar recipes did 19th century New Englanders prepare that are still made in our kitchens? Are there recipes you prepare today contemporary versions of a traditional diet?

How does mass production and transportation impact our consumption of food and our sense of place? Are there foods you consume about which you do not know how they grow or how they are produced?

How could a farmers’ market support your interest in local food, sustainability and the culinary arts? Are there skills you could learn? Questions that could be answered? Recipes that could be shared?


Download our Jan/Feb edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.

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Weekdays in Western MA: February 20 – 24, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA:
February 20 – 24, 2017

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 Learning Ahead!

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HFVS Classic Children’s Books Episode with Guest DJ, Jason Didner (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Classic Children’s Books Episode
with Guest DJ, Jason Didner

Listen to Podcast:

Spend an hour with this episode of Hilltown Family Variety Show and you’ll grow your family’s love of reading, books and stories. “Jersey Jason” Didner, from the Jungle Gym Jam, is the guest DJ ahead of his Massachusetts debut at the Eric Carle Museum, which inspired his featuring of songs that set storybooks to music, like “The Brown Bear Rap,” “Chicken Soup with Rice” and “The Dot Song.” Jason also reads a book titled “The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade,” written by none other than children’s singer/songwriter Justin Roberts.  − junglegymjam.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
February 18th & 19th, 2017
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Two of a Kind – “I Like a Good Story” – So Many Ways to Be Smart
  • Secret Agent 23 Skidoo – “Magic Beans” – Make Believers
  • They Might Be Giants – “Fake Believe” – Here Come the ABC’s
  • Elvis Costello & The Attractions – “Every Day I Write the Book” – Punch the Clock
  • Emily Arrow – “The Dot Song” – Storytime Singalong, Vol. 1
  • Baze and His Silly Friends – “Poor Mother Goose” – Best Day Ever
  • Carole King – “Chicken Soup with Rice” – Really Rosie
  • Book: Justin Roberts – “The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade”
  • Miss Nina – “The Brown Bear Rap” – Sha Doo Be Doop
  • The Original Broadway Cast of Seussical the Musical – “Green Eggs and Ham” – Seussical
  • Monty Harper – “Hangin’ Out with Heroes at the Library” – The Great Green Squishy Mean Concert CD
  • Mister Billy – “A Guy Named Stan” – Super Superhero Songs
  • Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam – “My Superpower” – Lollipop Motel
  • Lunch Money – “I Love My Library” – Dizzy
  • Justin Roberts – “A Wild One” – Lullaby

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Suggested Events for February 18th – 24th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families is THE place to find out what to do with your kids in the valley. All year long I turn to Hilltown Families to find something fun to do, especially on weekends and school vacations. Thank you!” – Niki Lankowski (Whately, MA)

“Hilltown Families is THE place to find out what to do with your kids in the valley. All year long I turn to Hilltown Families to find something fun to do, especially on weekends and school vacations. Thank you!” – Niki Lankowski (Whately, 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.

Summer Camp

advertise with Hilltown FamiliesMARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer. On Wednesday, March 8th, 2017, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2017 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE.

Bulletin Board

Feb 19-26

As part of its Four Sundays in February Series, the Northampton Arts Council presents Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child (2/19 @2pm), the nationally syndicated radio show for kids and their adults, live on stage featuring Grammy Award Winner Dan Zanes plus other special guests; KidsBestFest & YouthFilm (2/20-24 @1:30pm), a weeklong FREE kids film festival; and The Really Big Show (2/26 @2pm), the Pioneer Valley’s own variety show showcasing local talent. All events take place at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, Mass. More info and tickets at hamparts.org.

Feb 20-24

February school vacation week activities at New England Air Museum! Monday, February 20th through Friday February 24th, in Windsor Locks, CT . Explore three giant exhibit hangars filled with over sixty historic aircraft, and experience the wonders of flight through hands-on activities including hands-on Build & Fly Challenges, interactive Flight Science Demonstrations, computerized Flight Simulators, and Open Cockpit Experiences in historic aircraft. Visitors can also take to the skies at the museum’s Virtual Flight Center using advanced, three screen yoke and pedal flight simulators. The Virtual Flight Center is open to visitors ages 10 and older. For updated information and more special events, visit: www.neam.org.

Feb 21-24

Tuesday, February 21, to Friday, February 24, 8:45am-3:30pm: Kids ski and chill out during school vacation week at Notchview! In the morning, kids learn to ski or fine tune their skiing skills with knowledgeable ski instructors. After a full morning of cross-country skiing on the trails, everyone heads back to the lodge for lunch followed by an afternoon of choice activities including more outdoor exploration of the woods or indoor arts and crafts. Lunch included! Ages 7-12. There are still spots available! Members: $288; Nonmembers: $360. To register email acaluori@thetrustees.org or call 413-628-4485 x3.

Feb 25

Meet Curious George and others at the WGBY Love for Learning PBS Kids fan fair Saturday, Feb. 25 from 10am to 3pm at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield. It’s like a comic book convention for PBS Kids (ages 2–8). Children are encouraged to dress up as a favorite character. Enjoy show-themed activity stations, tabletop fun from community partners, and live demos from children’s book authors and illustrators. Plus, meet live characters, including Curious George, Buddy from Dinosaur Train, The Cat in the Hat, and others. The event is free (with suggested donation in support of public television). Event details and registration available at wgby.org/fanfair. Questions? Contact Marie Waechter at mwaechter@wgby.org.

Feb 26

Mister G February Fiesta! Presented by Sunnyside Child Care Center (one of the area’s longest running early childhood centers, offering quality care for children ages 18 months through five years). Come hear Latin Grammy winner Mister G perform songs in English and Spanish for kids from 1-100! Crafts, pizza, popcorn, and fun for all. Sunday, February 26, 10am-noon, at the Florence Civic Center, 140 Pine St., Florence. $8/per person or $25 for the family! www.sunnysidekids.org.

Open House: Mar 4

Sunnyside Child Care Center in Northampton is holding an Open House on Saturday, March 4, 9:30-11am. They are enrolling now for Fall 2017. Sunnyside provides play-based programs with an emergent curriculum for ages 18 months-5 years on 8 wooded acres between Northampton and Easthampton. Sunnyside values and promotes diversity, and offers flexible scheduling and a sliding scale tuition to make their high-quality childcare more accessible. Visit them at the open house, or call to schedule a tour. Sunnyside, 557 Easthampton Rd., Northampton. 413-727-3665. www.sunnysidekids.org.

Feb 20-24

February vacation at Amherst Archery! Picture spending all day at the archery range immersed in a wide variety of kid and teen-accessible archery activities! Besides Olympic-style target archery and plenty of archery games, kids will also engage in archery art projects, make their own arm guards from recycled materials, explore archery history, anatomy of archery, and even learn some fun physics through hands-on archery experiences. Each day will provide different surprises. All archery and art supplies provided. Families provide lunch and snacks. The now famous “ARTchery” project will be included! Programs taught by certified USA Archery coaches at the range in Florence. Enroll for the entire week or by the day. Ages 7 and up. www.amherstarchery.com.

Accepting applications for fall 2017. The Bement School founded in 1925 and located in Deerfield is a co-educational junior boarding and day school serving 210 students in kindergarten through grade 9. Bement’s rich, traditional curriculum motivates and challenges students with strong academics, a renowned fine arts program, and a diverse athletic program. Students participate in athletics and fine arts every day. The pervasive atmosphere at Bement is that of a family, learning and living together. Bement actively seeks an academically diverse, international, and multi-cultural student body. For information on how to apply, financial aid, or to arrange a visit to campus, call 413-774-4209 www.bement.org

FMC Ice Sports offers a fun and unique learning environment for all ages. Participants in their Step 1 Learn to Skate programs are taught the basics of ice skating. Students graduate to their Step 2 and Step 3 programs that focus on the more sport specific skills required in hockey and figure skating. FMC Ice Sports programs can be found at the Smead Arena in Springfield and the Collins Moylan Arena in Greenfield. Class information and registration are available online at www.fmcicesports.com or by calling 1-888-74-SKATE. Use promo code HTF201617 and receive $10 OFF your entire purchase of any instructional program!

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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.

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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Featured Winter & Spring Classes in Western MA

Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

Featured Winter & Spring Classes in Western MA

What are your child’s interests? What are your interests? This fall there are a number of after-school, homeschool, evening, and weekend classes to choose from to supplement and support the interests of your family! Check out our growing list of classes, programs, open houses and even auditions for this fall in our dedicated post, 2017 Winter & Spring Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA, and find the perfect activity for your child, teen, and even lifelong learners! — Have a class you’d like to add to this list? Click here to find out how to have your class, lessons, program, auditions, and open house included.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
February 18th-24th, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Poetry Contest Encourages Local Poets of All Ages

Did you know that poetry may actually predate the written word? Today, in a world full of written prose, this can be hard to imagine. In a time of strictly oral communication, however, poetic forms had not only aesthetic but highly practical purposes. Due to the often rhythmic and rhyming nature of poems, poetry can be easier to remember than prose, and poetry can be used as a mnemonic device. Metered (rhythmic) and rhyming phrases were once recited, or sung, in order to remember and convey oral history, genealogy, and even law! (History of Poetry)

Poems don’t have to include rhyme or meter, though! This open-ended art includes highly specific and regimented forms such as sonnets, as well as free verse poems which do not have a set meter or rhyme scheme. Poetry has evolved over the centuries to include relatively new forms such as prose poetry. Prose poems are short poems, utilizing paragraphs and full sentences just like prose does, while also including poetic techniques such as imagery or repetition of phrases.  Read the rest of this entry »

Presidents’ Day as a Reflection on the Four Freedoms and Democracy

The Four Freedoms

Presidents’ Day celebrates the life and work of George Washington. It comes every year on the third Monday of February. Although Washington’s birthday is on February 22nd, the holiday is celebrated on the third Monday to allow us to enjoy a three day weekend.

Presidents’ Day is also a chance to explore the tenets of democracy and civil freedoms. As mentioned in the November/December Seasons edition of Learning Ahead, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms, as outlined in his 1941 State of the Union address, emphasize the importance of the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom to worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Remember that you can visit the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge to see Rockwell’s four paintings based on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech from 1941.

Throughout the January/February Seasons edition of Learning Ahead, the power of voice has been a strong and present theme. Democracy, as FDR emphasizes in his four freedoms speech, rests on the freedom of speech, the ability to voice your thoughts and speak your mind. At the heart of the freedom of speech and expression is the freedom to use words, story, narrative and voice to share ideas. Some of the greatest literature has been used as a vehicle to voice an ethical philosophy or to act on behalf of social justice. The shared dialogue between author and reader through the written word also depends on the freedom to read. Literature and the power of voice is a shared exchange in which ideas are spoken or written to be heard and read.

[Image credit: Gilbert Stuart (American, 1755–1828), George Washington, 1796–1803. Oil on canvas. The Clark, 1955.16]


Download our Jan/Feb edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.

Exercise the Freedom to Read

The Right to Read

Interestingly, the freedom to read has not always been seen as a freedom. Citing the freedom to read as a part of our Constitution’s First Amendment, the American Library Association hosts a Banned Books Week every year to celebrate the freedom to read. As they write on their website, “Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community – librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers and readers of all types – in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.”

Here is a list from The American Library Association of the top 20 American novels that have been challenged. Have you read any of them?  Read the rest of this entry »

Local Presidential History: Calvin Coolidge

Local Presidential History

“The Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library & Museum collects, preserves and makes available for research materials documenting the public and private life of Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933). Manuscripts, artifacts and exhibits cover his political career from Northampton to Boston to the White House and his post-presidential years as a Northampton resident.”

Ever cross the bridge over the Connecticut River that connects Hadley to Northampton? That’s the Calvin Coolidge Bridge named after President Calvin Coolidge who attended Amherst College and later moved to Northampton.  The Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum at the Forbes Library is also named for the U.S.’s 30th President.   This museum houses a collection of materials related to Calvin Coolidge’s life and are available to historians and researchers interested in the public and private life of Calvin Coolidge.

The Coolidge Collection was established in 1920 when Calvin Coolidge was Governor of Massachusetts. Coolidge began giving documents and memorabilia to the Forbes Library. This collection also includes two portraits, one of Coolidge and one of his wife Grace created by painter Howard Chandler Christy. The museum is available during the library’s open hours and by appointment.  Read the rest of this entry »

Artist Trading Cards Promote the Spirit of Community

Building A Sharing Creative Community through Artist Trading Cards

Does your family love to make and share art? Join ATCs for All in order to be part of an online community of artists, the purpose of which is to inspire creativity, and to collect and share artwork! Families can learn about the many different forms that art can take, while experimenting with new materials and connecting with other creative folks!

Following in the wake of Hilltown Families’ Annual Handmade Valentine Swap, the creative, collaborative, and community-building possibilities offered by ATCs for All share a common thread with Hilltown Families’ annual swap – the purpose of the organization is to make and share art with willing, eager, and inspired participants everywhere! ATCs for All (the ATCs being short for Artist Trading Cards) is a community-run group that utilizes a website in order to facilitate art sharing of all kinds!

Originally started in order to give creative folks a venue through which to share hand-crafted trading cards and mail art, ATCs for All now encompasses a wide variety of art forms, including (but not limited to!) stamping, painting, collage, fabric art, book-art, and altered art. While making and trading artist trading cards is still an important part of what ATCs for All offers, it’s not the only way to participate in art sharing!  Read the rest of this entry »

Weekdays in Western MA: February 13th – 17th

Weekdays in Western MA:
February 13th – 17th

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 Learning Ahead!

Save

Save

Suggested Events for February 11th – 17th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Just wanted to let you know that my two sons have really enjoyed the Valentine Swap! They are delighted each day to run to the mailbox and find a little surprise waiting for them! We made a Valentine tree and put all of the valentines from our new friends on it! They also loved creating their own valentines, so much so that they chose to forgo the usual store bought ones in favor of making their own for their school parties! Thanks so much for including us! This was a wonderful community outreach project!” – The Allen Family

“Just wanted to let you know that my two sons have really enjoyed the Valentine Swap! They are delighted each day to run to the mailbox and find a little surprise waiting for them! We made a Valentine tree and put all of the valentines from our new friends on it! They also loved creating their own valentines, so much so that they chose to forgo the usual store bought ones in favor of making their own for their school parties! Thanks so much for including us! This was a wonderful community outreach project!” – The Allen Family

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.

Bulletin Board

Feb 19-26

As part of its Four Sundays in February Series, the Northampton Arts Council presents Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child (2/19 @ 2pm), the nationally syndicated radio show for kids and their adults, live on stage featuring Grammy Award Winner Dan Zanes plus other special guests; KidsBestFest & YouthFilm (2/20-24 @1:30pm), a weeklong FREE kids film festival; and The Really Big Show (2/26, 2pm), the Pioneer Valley’s own variety show showcasing local talent. All events take place at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, Mass. More info and tickets at hamparts.org.

Feb 20-24th

February school vacation week activities at New England Air Museum! Monday, February 20th through Friday February 24th, in Windsor Locks, CT . Explore three giant exhibit hangars filled with over sixty historic aircraft, and experience the wonders of flight through hands-on activities including hands-on Build & Fly Challenges, interactive Flight Science Demonstrations, computerized Flight Simulators, and Open Cockpit Experiences in historic aircraft. Visitors can also take to the skies at the museum’s Virtual Flight Center using advanced, three screen yoke and pedal flight simulators. The Virtual Flight Center is open to visitors ages 10 and older. For updated information and more special events, visit: www.neam.org.

Feb 10

Montessori Comes to Forbes Library: On Friday, February 10, at 11am, bring your child to a visit with Montessori School of Northampton educator Laura Frogameni. The hour will include time to explore Montessori materials, circle time and a story. The Forbes Library is located at 20 West Street in Northampton. Free; all families of children 0-6 are invited to attend. For more information, call Laura at 413-586-4538 x103 or visit www.northamptonmontessori.org.

Feb 20-24

February vacation at Amherst Archery! Picture spending all day at the archery range immersed in a wide variety of kid and teen-accessible archery activities! Besides Olympic-style target archery and plenty of archery games, kids will also engage in archery art projects, make their own arm guards from recycled materials, explore archery history, anatomy of archery, and even learn some fun physics through hands-on archery experiences. Each day will provide different surprises. All archery and art supplies provided. Families provide lunch and snacks. The now famous “ARTchery” project will be included! Programs taught by certified USA Archery coaches at the range in Florence. Enroll for the entire week or by the day. Ages 7 and up. www.amherstarchery.com.

Accepting applications for fall 2017. The Bement School founded in 1925 and located in Deerfield is a co-educational junior boarding and day school serving 210 students in kindergarten through grade 9. Bement’s rich, traditional curriculum motivates and challenges students with strong academics, a renowned fine arts program, and a diverse athletic program. Students participate in athletics and fine arts every day. The pervasive atmosphere at Bement is that of a family, learning and living together. Bement actively seeks an academically diverse, international, and multi-cultural student body. For information on how to apply, financial aid, or to arrange a visit to campus, call 413-774-4209 www.bement.org.

FMC Ice Sports offers a fun and unique learning environment for all ages. Participants in their Step 1 Learn to Skate programs are taught the basics of ice skating. Students graduate to their Step 2 and Step 3 programs that focus on the more sport specific skills required in hockey and figure skating. FMC Ice Sports programs can be found at the Smead Arena in Springfield and the Collins Moylan Arena in Greenfield. Class information and registration are available online at www.fmcicesports.com or by calling 1-888-74-SKATE. Use promo code HTF201617 and receive $10 OFF your entire purchase of any instructional program!

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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.

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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Featured Winter & Spring Classes in Western MA

Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

Featured Winter & Spring Classes in Western MA

What are your child’s interests? What are your interests? This fall there are a number of after-school, homeschool, evening, and weekend classes to choose from to supplement and support the interests of your family! Check out our growing list of classes, programs, open houses and even auditions for this fall in our dedicated post, 2017 Winter & Spring Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA, and find the perfect activity for your child, teen, and even lifelong learners! — Have a class you’d like to add to this list? Click here to find out how to have your class, lessons, program, auditions, and open house included.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
February 11th-17th, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Western MA Preschool Directory

Valentine’s Day Through the Lens of Art & History

The Art, History & Paper of Valentines

The American valentine industry was started during the mid-19th century by Esther Howland, a Mt. Holyoke graduate and Worcester native. Often called “The Mother of the Valentine,” Howland was inspired by the beautiful, ornate valentines imported from England and suspected that there might be a market for them in the United States, as well. Through her father’s paper company, she sold her first valentines in 1848 and within a few years was able to begin her own business, the New England Valentine Company.

Mt. Holyoke College graduate, Esther Howland, started the American valentine industry with her beautiful paper valentines sourced through her father’s paper company in the mid-19th century.  Howland, also a Worcester native, began her own business 5 years later in 1848: The New England Valentine Company.

Howland’s valentines featured lacy, cut paper with ornate and decorative images. At Mt. Holyoke College’s Archives and Special Collections there are many examples of Howland’s valentines with designs heavily influenced by Victorian style. By the 1860’s, Esther was selling $100,000 worth of valentines a year.  (That’s over 2 million dollars today!)

In honor of this Mt. Holyoke alumna’s success and contribution to the history of paper goods and Valentine’s Day, the college’s Archives and Special Collections displays a student-curated exhibit case of valentines in the Library’s courtyard. Curious to see some of the collection’s valentines?  Take a look online at the Pinterest board, From MHC With Love.

Esther relied on her father’s local paper company to start the business.  In the mid-19th century these types of mills were more common. Which paper mill is the oldest?  That would be Crane & Co. in Dalton, MA!  Read the rest of this entry »

Weekdays in Western MA: February 6-10, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA:
February 6-10, 2017

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.

HFVS The Art of Storytelling Episode with Guest DJ, Flor Bromley (Podcast/Radio Show)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

The Art of Storytelling Episode
Guest DJ, Flor Bromley

Join us this week at the Hilltown Family Variety Show where guest DJ Flor Bromley, a children’s singer-songwriter, storyteller and puppeteer, will take you on an adventure through the art of storytelling. We will be listening to songs with stories, stories with a song and a live storytelling of “The Lion and the Mouse” by Flor herself. From Laurie Berkner to Pink Martini, Dragons to Bears, and a special appearance by Archie the puppet, you will enjoy all the characters we have compiled for you in this hour of fun and storytelling! – www.florbromley.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
Feb 4th & 5th, 2017
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: Flor Bromley sings “Kitty” at her album release concert for “Chiqui Music Boom” at the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling in Harlem, NYC on October 1st, 2016 with band members Sinuhe Padilla, Erik Barragan, Hector Iván Ortiz and Vanessa Caycho.


New Podcasts ♦ Archived Podcasts Subscribe to Podcast
Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

  • Station Id: Steve Weeks [www.steveweeksmusic.com]
  • Flor Bromley – “Hola/Hello” [Chiqui Music Boom]
  • Caspar Babypants – “Annabelle Pancake” [Away We Go!]
  • Dan Crow – “Jack the Giant” [SoundSongs Revisited]
  • Flor Bromley – “Kitty” [Chiqui Music Boom]
  • Pink Martini – “Lilly”  [Hang On Little Tomato]
  • Asheba -“No More Monkeys” [No More Monkeys]
  • Miss Nina –“The Brown Bear Rap” [Sha Doo Be Doop]
  • Flor Bromley –“I am Crazy for Books” [Chiqui Music Boom]
  • Keith Munslow – “Dragon Breath” [Can’t Sit Still]
  • Laurie Berkner – “Do the Dragon” [Under a Shady Tree]
  • Live story by Flor Bromley – “The Lion and the Mouse”
  • The Tokens -“The Lion Sleeps Tonight” [The Lion Sleeps Tonight]
  • Sir Crazy Pants – “Susy” [Caddywhompus]
  • Two of a Kind  – “Tell Me You Story” [Sing Me Your Story]
  • The Okee Dokee Brothers – “Mr and Mrs Sippy” [Can You Canoe?]

Save

Save

Suggested Events for February 4th-10th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families keeps us busy doing all sorts of fun and amazing things every weekend… and there’s no time left for winter blues!” – Erin Klett (Greenfield, MA)

“(Hilltown Families) provides countless ideas for family friendly activities and has helped me to show my 4 children what a rich, culturally diverse and supportive community we live in.” – Kimberly P. (Westhampton, 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 EVENT

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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Bulletin Board

Open House: Feb 8

Oasis Camp offers specialty programs for children from 3 years old to 6th grade! With amazing facilities at Smith College, Oasis features mature staff with low camper/staff ratio and a warm environment where kids can participate in activities tailored to their interests! The Early Start camp for kids 3 years to Kindergarten offers sports, daily Red Cross swim, arts, dance, theater and a Ready for September enrichment program. The Traditional Camp (1st- 6th graders) is designed to provide campers with sports crafts, theater, dance and Red Cross Instructional and Recreational Swim to further develop skills and confidence. Contact: 800-317-1392, www.oasischildren.com.

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, www.smith.edu/sccs.

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. centerschool.net

Love is in the air! But what does that mean? Valentine’s Day is a special opportunity for parents to support local culture and express kindness to each other by shopping at a local business, buying flowers from an artisan florist, take museum trips, volunteer your time for others, or relax amongst fellow adults while the sitter takes over for the evening. But it isn’t just about hearts and chocolates! Featured here are three evening community events parents can engage in for a special Parents’ Night Out in celebration of Valentine’s Day, including a ticket giveaway for two pair of tickets to see a show at the Calvin Theater!

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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.

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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Featured Winter & Spring Classes in Western MA

What are your child’s interests? What are your interests? This fall there are a number of after-school, homeschool, evening, and weekend classes to choose from to supplement and support the interests of your family! Check out our growing list of classes, programs, open houses and even auditions for this fall in our dedicated post, 2017 Winter & Spring Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA, and find the perfect activity for your child, teen, and even lifelong learners! — Have a class you’d like to add to this list? Click here to find out how to have your class, lessons, program, auditions, and open house included.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
February 4th-10th, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Saturday Morning Music Party: Saturday, February 4th from 10am-12noon!

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing, and diversions for kids! Beginning the series with a New Year’s Day Music Party that was our best party to date, we will be continuing on Saturday, February 4, from 10am-12noon at Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton’s old Town Hall!

As always, we’ll have a free breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and fruit. After the breakfast, we’ll be joined by special guests, DandyLions Garden, a musical act for kids and inner children alike. They’ll get you moving, smiling, laughing and singing. Get ready for tempo changes! Then the kids can join DJ Youthelectronix for the “best ever dance party before noon.” Save on the babysitter and shake off the winter blues with a Morning Music Dance Party!

These Morning Music Parties are a fundraiser for both Flywheel & Hilltown Families, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend with your family. So much cheaper than a night out on the town and just as much fun!

This event is the second in a series of three this winter, with our next event scheduled for Saturday, March 18th, 2017. Mark your calendars and subscribe to Hilltown Families weekly eNewsletter to stay up-to-date on new and exciting events!

Flywheel Arts Collective is located in the old town hall (43 Main Street) in Easthampton, MA. For more information, email info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Berkshire Family Fun: February 2017

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
February 2017

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of February. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday!

There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.


Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:

Berkshire Family Fun is also supported in part by a grant from the Pittsfield, Sandisfield, Windsor, and Mt. Washington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

Winter Festivals: Living Seasonally through History, Culture & Art

Winter Festivals: Living Seasonally through History, Culture & Art

In 19th century New England, the winter season was a time for gathering and socializing with family, friends, and neighbors. As the fields lay dormant in anticipation off the agricultural season, rural New Englanders used the cold season as a time for meeting friends, having conversations, and visiting with one another. Before the telephone or telegraph, visiting a friend’s home was a way to share news, gossip, and stories.

Besides visiting a friend’s home, other common gathering places were the general store, taverns, and town meetings. Home visits, encounters with neighbors and local businesses allowed New Englanders to strengthen their community ties and reconnect during a time of year that was generally quiet.

Read the rest of this entry »

6 Winter Festivals in Western MA

Northampton Ice Arts Festival

This annual festival has brought temporary ice sculptures to the streets of  Northampton since 2010. Offered as a part of the Northampton Center for the Arts’  February installment of Arts Night Out, the Ice Arts Festival offers the chance to  explore the art of ice carving. Artists work away while passersby can check out the different techniques and tools of the trade. Spectators can watch the participants throughout the day and then enjoy the glistening sculptures at night Visit nohoarts.org to find out this year’s date, time and  sculpture locations.

Easthampton WinterFest

Since 2013, Easthampton has been bringing together wintry celebrations that explore local history and the local landscape such as ice harvesting on Nashawannuck Pond, nature walks with community partners, wildlife talks and demonstrations, and other festivities such as dance parties, horse-drawn wagon rides and more!  To learn about the latest program information for this year, check out:  www.nashawannuckpond.org/winterfest.

Holyoke Canal District Winter Festival

Holyoke’s Canal District Winter Festival offers a weekend of activities to bring to life the city’s historic Canal District neighborhood.  Visitors can explore this interesting part of the city where the canals are evidence of Holyoke’s once thriving industry. Usually in collaboration with Gateway City Arts, past activities have included a Luminaria Parade, dog show, artisan market, musical performances and the annual firefighters vs. police officers rivalry hockey game! www.gatewaycityarts.com.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sense of Place: Winter Social Calls

Think about this:

What are the tools used in sculpting ice? What are the challenges ice sculptors face that other sculptors of different media don’t?

How would families and neighbors gather in the winter before the invention of automobiles and highways? How did the inability to travel far distances impact communities and relationships?

How do winter festivals gather communities together? What types of activities do they host in order to foster connection and togetherness during the colder months?


Download our Jan/Feb edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.

9th Annual Handmade Valentine Swap for Western MA Families

It’s that time of the year again! 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. Click here to sign up! It’s FREE to sign up and open to all families in western Massachusetts! Deadline to sign up is Wednesday, February 1st.

Weekdays in Western MA: January 30 – February 2, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA:
January 30 – February 2, 2017

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.

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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.

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 outreach@commonschool.org or visit www.commonschool.org.

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 www.cloverdalepreschool.com 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 forthill@smith.edu 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, www.smith.edu/sccs.

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. centerschool.net

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 sarahlaurenmarcus@gmail.com or visit online at www.facebook.com/valleyperformanceplayground.

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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.

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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
January 28 – February 3, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Parents’ Night Out: Valentine’s Day Promotion

Love is in the air! But what does that mean? Valentine’s Day is a special opportunity for parents to support local culture and express kindness to each other by shopping at a local business, buying flowers from an artisan florist, take museum trips, volunteer your time for others, or relax amongst fellow adults while the sitter takes over for the evening. But it isn’t just about hearts and chocolates!

Featured here are three evening community events parents can engage in for a special Parents’ Night Out in celebration of Valentine’s Day, including a ticket giveaway for two pair of tickets to see a show at the Calvin Theater!  Read the rest of this entry »

Using Valentine’s Day to Promote Social and Emotional Growth

Exploring Empathy at Valentine’s Day

Nobody is entirely sure who the real St. Valentine was – we can say with certainty that he lived in Rome at a time that’s a few centuries shy of being two millennia ago. With an existence that’s now so long ago and far away, it’s no wonder that the true story of St. Valentine has gotten lost in the shuffle somewhere. Whatever the origins of our modern love-centric Valentine’s Day are, the holiday brings about the opportunity for a mid-winter outpouring of love, friendship and appreciation toward those around us. While the early winter holiday season is a time for sharing and caring, Valentine’s Day allows us to emerge from the doldrums of winter ready to consider others in a new light: looking upon those around us with empathy and offering them support – or at the very least, learning to do so.  Read the rest of this entry »

The Power of Voice: Celebrating African American History

Celebrating African American History through Poetry

“Your silence will not protect you.” – Audre Lorde

February is National African American History Month in the United States. It is a time to honor the work, achievements and contributions of African Americans. It is also a time to remember the struggle for civil rights and the importance of equality, civic action, social justice and solidarity.

In our Jan/Feb edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts we discussed the power of voice and words as illustrated by Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Continuing this exploration of the inspirational power of words, let’s take a closer look at two poems by African Americans that illustrate the power of voice and words: Langston Hughes and Audre Lorde.  Read the rest of this entry »

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