Weekdays in Western MA: January 16 – 20, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA:
January 16 – 20, 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.


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HFVS Children’s Songs from Around the World Episode, with Guest DJ Priscilla Ahn (Podcast/Radio Show)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Children’s Songs from Around the World Episode
Guest DJ, Priscilla Ahn

This week, The Hilltown Family Variety Show brings you Children’s Songs from Around the World, with Guest DJ, Priscilla Ahn! Priscilla is a singer-songwriter who recently debuted her first album for children and their parents.  In this episode, she shares some of her favorite songs from places around the world (real and imaginary).  No matter the language or culture, Priscilla believes we can all connect through enjoying good music together.

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
Jan 14th & 15th, 2017
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: Charity Kahn – “The Lovingkindness Song”


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Children’s Songs From Around the World with Guest DJ, Priscilla!

  • Station Id: Steve Weeks [www.steveweeksmusic.com]
  • Priscilla Ahn – “Body Sounds” [LA LA LA]
  • Hikaru Utada – “Boku Wa Kuma” [こころに響く NHK みんなのうた ベスト <KING SUPER TWIN SERIES> ]
  • Caetano Veloso – “O Leaozinho” [Caetano Veloso]
  • African Moonlight Stories Voices – “Babalawo Mo Wa Bebe” [African Moonlight Stories Folksongs – EP]
  • Kishore Kumar – “Ina Mina Dika” [Bollywood Productions Present – The Glory Days, Vol. 32]
  • Neil Young – “Sugar Mountain [Live]” [Sugar Mountain Live At Canterbury House 1968]
  • Grethe Agatz – “Ekkoleg” [Viva La Muerte Soundtrack]
  • Harry Nilsson – “The Town (Narration)” [The Point!]
  • Harry Nilsson – “Me and My Arrow” [The Point!]
  • Mercedes Sosa – “Duerme, Negrito (Album Version)” [30 Años]
  • Deserts Chang – “Bao Bei (in a day)” [My Life Will…]
  • Hui Ohana – “Nanakuli” [Young Hawaii Plays Old Hawaii]
  • Lee Dahyun – “Mother” [Lee Dahyun Piano]
  • Cat Stevens – “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” [Footsteps in the Dark – Greatest Hits, Vol. 2]
  • Priscilla Ahn – “Dream” [A Good Day]

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for January 14-15, 2017

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for January 14th – 20th, 2017 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Ongoing Story Hours & Playgroups and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 22 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Scutes to Scales. Social History to Music Theory., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational, cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our featured post of Winter & Spring Classes in Western MA.

Plus, check out our 9th annual Handmade Valentine Swap for families throughout the four counties of Western MA! And if that weren’t enough, we also have our next Saturday Morning Dance Party coming up on February 4, 2017 at the Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton from 10am-12pm! And finally, check out Hilltown Families’ new Service-Learning Micro-Event Series featuring “Acts of Kindness” volunteer stations for families at multiple locations this winter! The first Service-Learning Micro-Event will take place on Saturday, January 21, 2017 at the Amherst Winter’s Farmers’ Market from 10am-2pm.

January 14th – 20th, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

ZoologyCivic EngagementTeen AdvisoryRevolutionary WarLocal HistoryMusic StudiesAmerican HistoryCivil RightsService-Based LearningMartin Luther King, Jr.HerpetologyCulture StudiesSkillsharingCommunity MealSocial HistoryPhotographyCulinary ArtsSocial Justice

 

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Suggested Events for January 14th – 20th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

Join us for our 9th Annual Handmade Valentine Swap! Here’s what one of our participants had to say last year about the swap: “I participated in this swap last year for the first time. I LOVED making the Valentine’s for my list of folks. I am not usually very excited about the mail but this event made me excited for the mail to come. This is such an uplifting way to celebrate a day that can be lonely sometimes. Thank you for this activity. Count me in again!” – Carla D. (Chicopee)

Join us for our 9th Annual Handmade Valentine Swap! Here’s what one of our participants had to say last year about the swap: “I participated in this swap last year for the first time. I LOVED making the Valentine’s for my list of folks. I am not usually very excited about the mail but this event made me excited for the mail to come. This is such an uplifting way to celebrate a day that can be lonely sometimes. Thank you for this activity. Count me in again!” – Carla D. (Chicopee)

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 9th Annual
Handmade Valentine Swap

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!

Bulletin Board

Jan 13

Montessori Comes to Forbes Library: On Friday, January 13, 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.

Jan & Feb

Start the weekend off right with Amherst Cinema’s $5 Family Films Series on Saturday mornings in January and February! The diverse lineup—including animated, live action, documentary, musical, and foreign films—is sure to delight kids big and small. Travel to Neverland with Hook, visit an enchanted forest in The Secret of Kells, escape vicious farmers with Fantastic Mr. Fox, and make new friends with My Neighbor Totoro. Go on an adventure with Buttercup and Westly in The Princess Bride, laugh along with Buster Keaton in The General, and meet classic cartoon characters in The Looney Tunes Revue. Take flight with Winged Migration and sing from the mountaintops with The Sound of Music. For more information, visit www.amherstcinema.org.

Open House: Jan 21

Open House! Nonotuck Community School. Jan. 21, Sat. 10am-12:30pm. Come learn about Nonotuck’s early childhood program for children 15 months-5 years. Tours for grown-ups and activities for children. Applications are being accepted for summer/September. Nonotuck has well-appointed classrooms, daily access to indoor and outdoor play spaces, an art studio, yoga instruction, gardening & more. Curriculum is play-based and inspired by progressive early childhood education theory. Open 7:30am–5:30pm. Find out why Nonotuck has been serving the Northampton community for 40 years! Conveniently located at 221 Riverside Dr., Florence in Northampton. For more information visit www.nonotuck.org or contact them at 413-586-5996 or info@nonotuck.org.

Jan 21

Makerspace at The Hartsbrook School − Learn a new skill or craft! Make a design in 3D software (TinkerCAD) and print your creations, or experiment with Ozobots, Little Bits electronics and Sphero. Create a chain mail craft, learn to knit or take a fine arts class. Children and adults are welcome. This event is also an open house where interested families can learn more about the school, the academics, the practical arts and the land stewardship program. Experience Hartsbrook’s rich, hands-on teaching firsthand and imagine the possibilities for your child. Saturday, January 21st, 10am to 12noon. 193 Bay Road, Hadley, 413-586-1908, www.hartsbrook.org

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.

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.

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 14th – 20th, 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 »

Saturday Morning Music Party with Hilltown Families & Flywheel Arts Collective

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!

Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Families’ Service-Learning Micro-Event Series for Families

Hilltown Families will be hosting a new Service-Learning Micro-Event Series featuring “Acts of Kindness” volunteer stations for families at multiple locations this winter! This series is modeled after our larger community-service events, with a shift towards smaller micro-volunteer opportunities through the spring at community events, including winter farmers’ markets, in the hopes that these smaller volunteer opportunities will allow us to engage new audiences with service-learning opportunities!

The first Service-Learning Micro-Event will take place on Saturday, January 21, 2017 at the Amherst Winter’s Farmers’ Market from 10am-2pm. Families will have an opportunity to stop by our pop-up volunteer station anytime between 10am-2pm to create handmade valentines to be distributed to seniors in the community.  If interested in volunteering to run the station for a 60-minute block, please sign up here (sign-up is first come, first served)!

  • Date: Saturday, January 21st
  • Time: 10am-2pm
  • Event: Amherst Winter’s Farmers’ Market
  • Location: Amherst Regional Middle School (170 Chestnut Street)
  • How to Volunteer:
    • Option 1) Stop by between 10am-2pm with your families for a kid-friendly activity;
    • Option 2) Sign up to help run the table (60-minute slots available). To sign up, just follow the instructions on the page. It only takes a few seconds to do.

To learn more about the Amherst Winter’s Farmers’ Market, visit them online, or better yet, come on by to support local farming and healthy living!

Learn more about the vision and mission of Hilltown Families here:

TEDx Talk: Supporting Education Through Community Engagement

https://hilltownfamilies.wordpress.com/tedxtalk

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Martin Luther King Jr. & The Power of Voice

Inspiration through Voice:
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” Speech

During the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called for an end to racism and the enacting of civil rights legislation (see the short documentary, The March). From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., King’s speech was delivered to an audience of over 250,000 people. The speech, now known as “I Have a Dream,” is considered one of the most important moments in the American Civil Rights Movement.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day (3rd Monday in January), take a moment to read (or listen to!) Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream.” This speech is a defining example of the power of voice. It is a reminder of how words, voice, stories, ideas have the ability to inspire and enact positive social change to better our communities and make them more resilient and compassionate.

King’s speech speaks to the value and importance of kindness through civic engagement and community service. Finding ways to serve your local community also reveals opportunities to learn something new, meet neighbors and engage in intergenerational dialogue with others. Community service is an empowering action. Not only does it enrich our local communities, but it also enriches our own experience through the learning of new skills and activities.


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.

Annual MLK Jr. Community Celebrations in Western MA

Annual MLK Jr. Celebrations in Western MA

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out against civil injustice and fought for the civil rights of black Americans. His work to create a just and peaceful society is a reminder of how important civic engagement and service is in sparking positive social change and the formation of ethical communities that champion diversity, openness, compassion, and solidarity. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s work, many organizations and volunteers dedicate themselves to a day of community service in honor of his commitment to social justice.

On the 3rd Monday in January, the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day offers families a three-day weekend – a treasure that can be used to engage in meaningful community-based learning opportunities. Families can take advantage of this special day honoring Dr. King’s work and lasting impact on our country by taking part in community celebrations, giving their time to be part of a day of service, or attending educational screenings and performances.  Read the rest of this entry »

Sense of Place: The Power of Voice

Weekdays in Western MA: January 7 – 13, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA:
January 7 – 13, 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.

Save

Save

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for January 7-8, 2017

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for January 7th-13th, 2017 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Ongoing Story Hours & Playgroups and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 25 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Meteorology to Mixed Media. Basketball to Tea., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational, cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our featured post of 2017 Winter/Spring Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA.

January 7 – January 13, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Winter SportsNordic SkiingMindfulnessJapanese CultureLEGOSSTEMArt StudiesBasketballAnimal StudiesCivic EngagementGamesJewish CultureSleep ScienceParent SupportSkillsharingAromatherapyTheater HistoryLearning DifferencesWomen’s History

    

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Suggested Events for January 7th-13th, 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 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)

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

Jan 7

Amherst Montessori School invites parents to an Open House on Saturday, January 7th at 10am. Meet teachers and administrators, tour AMS’ beautiful new school in South Amherst, and learn about the Montessori curriculum for infants through sixth grade. Amherst Montessori is a warm, safe, and supportive community that nurtures a lifelong love of learning. Learn more and register online at amherstmontessori.org.

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.

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.

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 7 – January 13, 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 »

Winter Explorations of Local Places: Winter Sports

Winter Sports in the Snow & on the Ice

https://c4.staticflickr.com/5/4049/4387341963_4c6626725e_o.jpgFor some, winter is greeted with a sense of reluctance – gone are the bright sunny days of summer filled with lush deciduous trees, rushing streams, colorful wildflowers, and easy temperatures. Instead, the natural landscape changes completely as do our routines and recreational activities. Whereas summer is boisterous and full, winter is quiet and still – similar to how snow quietly builds on the ground during a storm – it’s a part of what makes wintertime feel so magical.

How do we experience the outdoors during a time of year when we are often so inclined to stay indoors, looking at the outside world from the window?

https://c2.staticflickr.com/9/8357/8325168305_7e98014694_o.jpgThere are many ways to remain active and engaged with the outdoors during the winter season. Nordic skiing, alpine skiing, ice skating, and snowshoeing are a few examples of different activities that encourage New Englanders to get outside, stay fit, and maintain a healthy lifestyle while connecting them to local places during the cold winter months. Although the equipment for these winter sports has changed since their original inception due to advanced technology and contemporary materials, the basic principle has stayed the same Additionally, many of these winter activities have a history deeply rooted in New England’s past thereby connecting them to our local traditions and culture!


Download our Jan/Feb edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for places to ski, skate and snowshoe in Western MA.

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Nordic Skiing in Western MA

Nordic Skiing in Western MA

Accessible to skiers of all ages and abilities, nordic skiing is a favorite winter activity locally. Skiers young, old, inexperienced, and expert can take advantage of local trail systems, equipment rentals, classes, and special community events in order to experience the magic that nordic skiing adds to a Western Massachusetts winter.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5257/5414246392_90480d98f1_o.jpg

Originating in snowy Scandinavia, nordic skiing has been a competitive sport since the 18th century. It provides access to nature during the winter as well as the chance to explore local outdoor places and trail systems in Western Massachusetts. Many of the nordic ski centers in our region offer lessons to beginners to help inexperienced skiers learn the basic techniques of cross-country skiing. In addition to being a fun winter sport that maintains physical fitness, it is also a way to connect with friends, neighbors and the local community whether out on the trails or warming up in the ski lodge! Read the rest of this entry »

Alpine Skiing in Western MA

Alpine Skiing in Western MA

Different from nordic skiing in equipment and technique, alpine skiing is about speed. In alpine skiing the entire boot is attached to your ski whereas in nordic skiing only the toe of the boot is attached. Nordic skiers slowly traverse a variety of terrain via trail system or off trail whereas alpine skiers go down a mountain at a higher rate of speed.

Interestingly, skiing has origins in ancient history. Wooden planks of various shapes and sizes preserved in bogs in Russia, Finland, Sweden and Norway point to a certain form of skiing used to traverse snowy terrain in colder countries. In fact, some fragments of these earlier skis have been carbon dated to around 8,000-7,000 BCE! However, what we now refer to as downhill skiing began with Norwegian Sondre Norheim (1825-1897), considered a pioneer in modern skiing. His contribution included a design of different bindings and skis with curved sides to facilitate turns; as well as the Telemark ski technique (named after the Telemark region of Norway) which combines elements of Alpine and Nordic skiing. Read the rest of this entry »

Ice Skating in Western MA

Ice Skating in Western MA

https://c4.staticflickr.com/8/7024/6720457523_7b45c310f5_o.jpgIce skating is an activity that takes practice, but even for beginner skaters it’s still a fun activity to try with a group of friends! Rinks offer neighbors and friends a chance to come together and engage in a new or beloved activity. There are many rinks, outdoor and indoor, for ice skating in Western Massachusetts. Note that the conditions of outdoor rinks can vary daily based on the weather.

The earliest form of ice skating is thought to date back to about 3,000 years ago in Finland. The original skates used were constructed with lengths of animal bone strapped to the bottom of boots.

Skating as we understand it today originated when steel blades were added to the skates by the Dutch in the 13th and 14th centuries. The Dutch sharpened the edges of the blades to aid movement. In fact, the word “Skate” derives from the Dutch word “schaats” which means leg bone – referring to the original skate material that steel replaced.

https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3405/3270998017_8123c7e0b3_o.jpg

Our local skating culture traces its roots to Scottish immigrants who brought skates with them when they resettled in the U.S. Whether you like to skate slow or fast, practice turns or hold onto the wall as you go, there’s fun for all to be had on an ice skating rink.  Read the rest of this entry »

History of Snowshoeing

History of Snowshoeing

https://c6.staticflickr.com/5/4051/4312064157_815c3a8582_o.jpgDid you know that snowshoeing was practiced 6,000 years ago? The world’s oldest known snowshoe was discovered in September 2016 at an altitude of 10,280 ft on the Gurgler Eisjoch glacier close to the Italian-Austrian border.

While snowshoes are used recreationally in modern day New England, the original  intended use of snowshoes was survival-based, allowing people to travel and hunt in  the winter on foot, across snowy terrain. The Native Americans developed the traditional webbed design with some of the earliest snowshoe designs measuring over 7 feet long! Their design was modeled on the observation of particular animals who were able to swiftly move through deep powdery snow.

European settlers, hunters, and trappers observed the Native American snowshoes and began to use and produce them as well.  Often these were made with white ash frames and untanned animal hide.

As industry continued to flourish in the 1900’s and cities began manufacturing more goods, the need to hunt and trap food in the winter became less of a necessity.  As a result, the snowshoe’s role in human history shifted from being functional to recreational.  Snowshoes became a way for winter hikers and walkers to experience the outdoors. The materials have also changed from wooded frames to aluminum, which allow the snowshoes to be lighter and more comfortable to wear.


Download our Jan/Feb edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts to learn more about the history of winter sports, including ice skating, nordic and alpine skiing.

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Winter Trail Days: Snowshoeing & Nordic Skiing

Winter Trail Days: Snowshoeing & Nordic Skiing

https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5296/5393819402_e7f3884000_o.jpg

Winter Trails is a national annual event that offers children and adults new to snowshoeing and nordic skiing the chance to try out snowshoes and cross-country skis on local trails while showcasing the health benefits of these two outdoor winter activities. These low-impact aerobic sports incorporate strength and endurance training, and can help people stay active and healthy throughout the winter months when other sports are more difficult to pursue. In Western Massachusetts, Northfield Mountain in Northfield, Notchview in Windsor, and Hilltop Orchards in Richmond often participate. Find out more at www.wintertrails.org.


Download our Jan/Feb edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for places to ski, skate and snowshoe in Western MA.

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Art and the Winter Landscape

Art and the Winter Landscape

Winter sports are ways to experience nature during the cold months.  The winter landscape and its natural beauty have inspired many artists to capture the enchantment of the winter season.

Willard Leroy Metcalf, one of the American Impressionists and a Massachusetts native, painted many natural landscapes, including The First Snow (1906), currently held at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. How does Metcalf capture the quiet stillness of winter in his painting? How does it compare with your experience outdoors in the winter?

Take your camera with you as you explore the winter landscape, and let the images you capture inspire you to paint, draw or write about the beauty waiting to be discovered this time of year. In doing so you will discover the quiet nature Metcalf captured in his painting.


Download our Jan/Feb edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for places to take your camera while exploring the winter landscape by ski, skate and snowshoe in Western MA.

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Winter Landscape: History, Art, Place & Sports

Weekdays in Western MA: December 31, 2016 – January 6, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA:
December 31, 2016 – January 6, 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.

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HFVS Peace, Love, and Intention Episode with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn (Podcast/Radio Show)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Peace, Love and Intention Episode
Guest DJ, Charity Kahn

This week, The Hilltown Family Variety Show brings you a Peace, Love, and Intention Episode with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn!

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
Dec 31st & Jan 1st, 2016
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: Charity Kahn – “The Lovingkindness Song”


New Podcasts ♦ Archived Podcasts Subscribe to Podcast
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Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

  • Station Id: Steve Weeks [www.steveweeksmusic.com]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “We Love Everyone” [EARTH]
  • The New Seekers – “Free to Be…You and Me” [Free to Be…You and Me (Marlo Thomas and Friends)]
  • Melita – “Animals” [Melita, for Kids]
  • Joe Reilly – “My Community” [Let’s Go Outside]
  • Earth, Wind & Fire – “Got to Get You Into My Life” [The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “Shine” [EARTH]
  • Peter, Paul and Mary – “If I Had a Hammer” [Peter, Paul and Mary]
  • Mavis Staples – “Down By the Riverside” [Spirituals & Gospel: Dedicated to Mahalia Jackson]
  • Kermit the Frog – “Rainbow Connection” [The Muppet Movie (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)]
  • Pete Seeger – “Well May the World Go” [If I Had a Hammer: Songs of Hope & Struggle]
  • Charity and the JAMBAND – “Ball of Light Meditation” [Sit Breathe Love: Guided Meditation for Children and their Grown-ups]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “Share Your Love” [EARTH]
  • Captain & Tennille – “Love Will Keep Us Together” [Love Will Keep Us Together]
  • Grateful Dead – “Not Fade Away” [Grateful Dead (Skull and Roses)]

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First Day Morning Music Party Rings in the New Year!

On the first day of 2017, Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids!  This year we are starting off this family series on New Year’s Day with a morning music party on Sunday, January 1 from 10am-12noon in Easthampton, MA.  Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for December 31st, 2016 – January 6th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families keeps us connected with all the amazing educational and cultural activities and resources that abound here in W. Mass and curates them in a way to let us know just what’s out there for the many varied interests of our young families and communities,while creating networks of support and growth.” – Kara Kitchen (Plainfield, MA)

“Hilltown Families keeps us connected with all the amazing educational and cultural activities and resources that abound here in W. Mass and curates them in a way to let us know just what’s out there for the many varied interests of our young families and communities,while creating networks of support and growth.” – Kara Kitchen (Plainfield, 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:

Jan 1

Join us on New Year’s Day at Flywheel in Easthampton from 10am-12noon

Join us on New Year’s Day at Flywheel in Easthampton from 10am-12noon

On New Year’s Day (Jan 1), Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids! This year, we are starting off this family series on New Year’s Day, Sunday, January 1, with a First Day Morning Music Party from 10am-12noon in Easthampton, MA. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! It takes place at Flywheel in Easthampton’s old Town Hall. This event is 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!

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.

Bulletin Board

Dec 26-30

Let your imagination soar at the New England Air Museum this holiday season! The museum is offering an exciting array of family fun activities during December School Vacation Week, Monday, December 26 through Friday, December 30. Explore 3 giant exhibit hangars filled with over 60 historic aircraft, and experience the wonders of flight through hands-on activities including: Daily 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 (ages 10+). Visit their website www.neam.org for day to day activities.

Dec 26-30 & Feb 20-24

Central Rock Gym in Hadley is offering Climbing Vacation Programs during school breaks, December 26-30 & February 20-24! Great for ages 7-13, their program focuses on climbing for all skill levels, and includes an emphasis on problem solving and team building initiatives. Throughout their week, children will have the opportunity to experiment with different types of climbing, engage in exciting games and group activities, and concludes with a pizza party on the final day. Email youth.crghadley@gmail.com for information. To register, or www.centralrockgym.com.

Jan 7

Amherst Montessori School invites parents to an Open House on Saturday, January 7th at 10am. Meet teachers and administrators, tour AMS’ beautiful new school in South Amherst, and learn about the Montessori curriculum for infants through sixth grade. Amherst Montessori is a warm, safe, and supportive community that nurtures a lifelong love of learning. Learn more and register online at amherstmontessori.org.

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.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 31st, 2016 – January 6th, 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 »

Learning Ahead: Jan & Feb Cultural Itinerary for Western MA

Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for
Western Massachusetts
Seasons: January & February

Who am I? Where am I? These are the fundamental questions proposed by the humanities. Inquiries related to local history, literature, and education, inspire us to think deeply about the places where we live and how our identity fits into the context of our community and the seasons.

Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts is a bimonthly publication produced by Hilltown Families that sheds light on embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.

With these downloadable seasonal itineraries, self-directed teens, lifelong learners, and families are encouraged to engage together in cultural opportunities that support similar interests, resulting in a shared history, strengthening sense of place.

Looking through a seasonal lens, a January and February cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts includes:

  • NATURE-BASED activities connect us to the land: Nordic skiing, alpine skiing, ice skating, & snowshoeing
  • VALUE based engagement on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Service-Based Learning Events & Civic Engagement
  • Learn about New England TRADITIONS: Ice Harvesting
  • African American History Month as a CATALYST for learning: Poetry, History & Art
  • Mark the SEASON by sharing & connecting: Winter Festivals & Placemaking
  • INTERGENERATIONAL engagement for Valentine’s Day: Handmade, Non-Commercial & Creative-Free Play
  • Looking through the LENS of Presidents’ Day: Freedom & Literacy
  • Discover seasonal FOOD: Winter Farmers’ Markets
  • Local HABITAT connects us to ourselves: Writing & Mindfulness

Click here to download PDF (44 pages).


Mass Humanities This program is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Special thank you to sponsors of this issue, including: The Trustees of ReservationsSpringfield Museums.

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First Day Morning Music Party Rings in the New Year!

On the first day of 2017, Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids!  This year we are starting off this family series on New Year’s Day with a morning music party on Sunday, January 1 from 10am-12noon in Easthampton, MA.  Read the rest of this entry »

New England New Year Traditions: First Night & First Hikes

New England New Year Traditions: First Night & First Hikes

Many family-friendly New Year’s celebrations offer a range of opportunities to not only celebrate, but also to explore by inviting families to visit many locations or landmarks in their local communities.  These celebrations includes performances, art shows, hands-on activities, ceremonies and sometimes food!  Such events encourage Western Massachusetts residents to engage their local community and experience it from new perspectives.  The exploratory aspect of such events provides a place-based element to the cultural learning that New Year’s celebrations foster.  Participants can solidify their sense of place as they learn about and become a part of a local culture, tradition and heritage.  Moving through the local landscape offers insight and understanding of home, place and the meaning of local identity and culture.

Read the rest of this entry »

5 First Day Hikes for the New Year

Setting Intentions on the First Day of the Year with a First Day Hike

The New Year is often seen as a moment of reflection and intention-setting.  While on your first hike, consider taking your journal with you.  Nature can be inspiring and provides a place for contemplation and meditation.  A few writing prompts to help you get started:

  • What is a new skill you would like to learn this year?
  • Describe one of your favorite memories from last year.
  • Make a list of the favorite places you visited in your community last year.
  • Make a list of places you would like to explore further this year.
  • What is a new skill that you learned last year?

Here are 5 guided first day hikes to select for the first day of 2017:  Read the rest of this entry »

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