Suggested Events for March 25th – March 31st, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families is an amazing resource. It is my go-to for discovering kid-friendly events each week. This website makes it really easy to find out what’s happening in and around the Valley, as well as provides great information about local resources and ideas of things to do with my child. Thank you!” – Jaime C. (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.

Bulletin Board

Apr 1

Pioneer Valley Ballet presents the classic, Cinderella! Join Cinderella as she struggles with her evil family for independence, and travel through the enchanted forest as she is magically changed to appear at the masquerade ball where she meets her prince. Featuring guest artists from The North Atlantic Ballet and Ballet X. Live on stage April 1, 2017 at the Academy of Music in Northampton. Get tickets today at aomtheatre.ticketlfy.com. For more information about the Pioneer Valley Ballet company and school, visit pioneervalleyballet.org.

Apr 1

Connecticut Trolley Museum will hold their Opening Day Celebration on April 1st. The celebration includes beer, wine and cocktail sampling from Broad Brook Brewery, Cold Creek Brewery, Lost Acres Vineyard and Joe’s Fine Wine and Spirits from 11am-3pm. “New Earth” and “Just Jeanie” will be performing throughout the day. NY Life will be facilitating their child identification program. Shaker Pines Fire Department will provide Child Safety Passenger Technicians to properly install car seats. Star Wars characters posing for pictures. Additionally, take as many trolley rides as you would like operated by period dressed motormen. All activities and Fire Truck Museum are included with admission. There will be food on site, have lunch and relax. www.ct-trolley.org.

Spring 2017

Enrolling now! At The Center, an innovative dance studio in Amherst, children spin stories from movement using classical and contemporary dance techniques. Directors Ashley and Caddy Carlisle combine their years of dance training with a special teaching approach that gets kids reading, writing and dancing; connecting, collaborating and creating. It’s a holistic approach to dance. Collaborative dance-making creates community, fosters respectful, constructive communication, builds compassion, effects a recognition of shared humanity and promotes dialogue and connection across difference. For more information visit www.thecenterdance.com or email thecenterdanceschool@gmail.com. 321 Main Street. Amherst, MA. 413-687-7953.

Fall 2017

Whately Elementary preschool program is now accepting applications for the fall of 2017! They are happy to announce the expansion of their existing program to a full-day, full-week experience for children aged 3-5 years old. Whately offers a small integrated preschool experience serving a mixed age population. They believe in the power of learning through play and their caring and skillful staff are experts in guiding children in their development. Preschoolers enjoy gardening, art, music, literacy, engineering, obstacle courses and so much more. The expanded hours are: Monday-Friday 8:30am-3pm with extended care hours until 5:30pm. For more information, please contact Rhonda at 413-665-1155 ext. 700 or emailing Rhonda.lutenegger@frsu38.org.

Mar 24

Open House! The Center Dance Studio in Amherst is excited to introduce its newest program, “Perch & Swoop.” A once-weekly class for toddlers and their caregivers, Perch & Swoop offers the best of The Center’s Pre-K creative movement curriculum, bookended by art activities, a wholesome snack, and play time. Come to a free trial class Friday, March 24th from 9:30am-12pm. Recommended for toddlers 18 months-4 years (siblings under 18 months are welcome to attend). Visit www.centerperch.com for a full description. For more information, email thecenterdanceschool@gmail.com or call 413-230-1944. 321 Main Street. Amherst, MA.

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: 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.

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 Sales & Marketing Manger, Merricka Breuer at mbreuer@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 Program Manager, Courtney Supple at csupple@hilltownfamilies.org.

Summer Camp Directory

Our summer camp guide is up! Check out our featured post, 2017 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a list that will wow and dazzle you! Summer opportunities featured range from music, art, farming, theater, dance, science, nature, sports, speaking, yoga, rock ‘n roll… to traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
March 25-31, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: Women’s History Month

Local Women & Local History:
Understanding New England Women’s Lives from the Past

Western Massachusetts Changemakers

Juanita Nelson (1923-2015) was an American social activist who made her home in Deerfield, MA.

Western Massachusetts is home to so many women changemakers who have dedicated their lives to enacting social change through the arts, critical inquiry, and learning. Still today, there are many women poets, writers, activists, artists, teachers, educators, and scientists that reside in Western Massachusetts and continue to work towards positive social change that fosters female empowerment, diversity and making women’s voices even louder in our globalized society and economy. Here, only a few women from history will be explored, however note the incredible number of talented women today in Western Massachusetts that continue to demonstrate the importance of women’s rights. March is Women’s History Month, a national observation that honors and pays tributes to those women who dedicated their lives to social justice, the environment, education, and  positive change for society. Their fortitude and perseverance as pioneers is honored during the month of March. Read the rest of this entry »

Exploring Women’s History via Higher Education in Western MA

Exploring Women’s History via Higher Education

Did you know that Western Massachusetts is home to the first women’s college in the United States? In 1837 a female seminary was founded by chemist and educator Mary Lyon. This seminary is now Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA. The college was founded at a time when women still did not have the right to vote, yet its founder’s famous words, “Go where no one else will go, do what no one else will do,” certainly inspired young women to think beyond social boundaries in order to achieve, inspire and demonstrate the strength and dynamic voice of women.

Mt. Holyoke is the first of the seven sisters, a group of liberal arts colleges in the Northeast that were started as women’s colleges. Some of these schools are still women’s colleges today and two of them are here in Western Massachusetts: Mount Holyoke College (South Hadley) and Smith College (Northampton).  Read the rest of this entry »

Sense of Place: Women in Art History

Think about this:

  • Throughout history, women have been an integral part of the art world. As patrons, historians, innovators, critics, and creators, their contributions are widespread. Why is it that they are underrepresented in art history?
  • When art history is considered, what media come to mind? How about textile arts? Culinary arts? Decorative arts? Are these considered fine art?
  • How have gender biases influenced our art history narrative?
  • How have women generated social change  throughout history? How do they now use visual art and language art to address contemporary issues?

Khan Academy has a great discussion page that address some of these issues: A Brief History of Women in Art.


Download our March/April 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: March 20th-24th, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA:
March 20th-24th, 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 March 18th – March 24th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“The resources made available (and sent to my inbox!) have been such a treasure chest of information! I’ve followed up on many and learned about so many others… This is like a quilt of the region–all the squares brought together into a wonderful blanket of information and opportunities. Thank you!” Toni H. (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.

Hilltown Families Event

Saturday, March 18, 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! After a free breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and fruit, Scotty Swan will present The Fuzznogginz Puppet Party! This will be a combination of a magic AND puppet show together in one big spectacular extravaganza! There will be lots of comedy, funny puppetry, and amazing magic combined with plenty of audience participation. Audience members are invited to come on stage to become puppeteers and learn how a puppet show works.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!

Summer Camp Directory

Our summer camp guide is up! Check out our featured post, 2017 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a list that will wow and dazzle you! Summer opportunities featured range from music, art, farming, theater, dance, science, nature, sports, speaking, yoga, rock ‘n roll… to traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

Bulletin Board

Mar 19

Celebrate spring with The Very Hungry Caterpillar on Sunday, March 19 from 12noon-4pm at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. Enjoy a Wiggle Jiggle Dance Party down the Great Hall with the beloved Caterpillar, a special studio art project, storytimes and films, and search for the Caterpillar’s favorite foods in a museum-wide scavenger hunt. Plus, see Brown Bear Turns 50 before it closes! For more information and a schedule of activities, please visit www.carlemuseum.org or call 413-559-6300. All activities are free with Museum Admission.

Fall 2017

Whately Elementary preschool program is now accepting applications for the fall of 2017! They are happy to announce the expansion of their existing program to a full-day, full-week experience for children aged 3-5 years old. Whately offers a small integrated preschool experience serving a mixed age population. They believe in the power of learning through play and their caring and skillful staff are experts in guiding children in their development. Preschoolers enjoy gardening, art, music, literacy, engineering, obstacle courses and so much more. The expanded hours are: Monday-Friday 8:30am-3pm with extended care hours until 5:30pm. For more information, please contact Rhonda at 413-665-1155 ext. 700 or emailing Rhonda.lutenegger@frsu38.org.

Mar 18

Piti Theatre’s 8th annual SYRUP: One Sweet Performing Arts Festival celebrates spring, sap and the arts at Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls on Saturday, 3/18. Two time Grammy winner Bill Harley headlines the Festival at 4 pm, performing his own set and narrating two stories performed by Piti’s Shelburne Falls Youth Troupe. Sammy and the Grand Buffet, a world premiere solo physical comedy performance by Piti Theatre’s Jonathan Mirin taps things off at 2 pm. Plus syrup tasting, complimentary Real Pickles, clowning workshop for children on 3/19 (free), teen/adult clowning workshop and more! Tix: $15/$12 students and seniors, $5 children under 12 at Boswell’s Books, World Eye Bookshop or www.ptco.org/syrup. 1-800-838-3006. info@ptco.org.

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: 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.

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 Sales & Marketing Manger, Merricka Breuer at mbreuer@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 Program Manager, Courtney Supple at csupple@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
March 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

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, March 18, 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, Scotty Swan will present The Fuzznogginz Puppet Party! This will be a combination of a magic AND puppet show together in one big spectacular extravaganza! There will be lots of comedy, funny puppetry, and amazing magic combined with plenty of audience participation. Audience members are invited to come on stage to become puppeteers and learn how a puppet show works.

Then the kids can join DJ Youthelectronix for the “best ever dance party before noon.” Save on the babysitter and celebrate the coming of Spring 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 final in a series of three this winter, so don’t miss out! 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.

Learning Ahead: Spring Landscape & Vernal Pools

Exploring Spring’s Landscape through Vernal Pools & Literature

Similar to fall, the spring season is a time of transition as habitats and animals begin to respond to the change in weather and climate. Phenology-based activities coincide with the natural changing of our seasons (our ultimate accessible community-based educational resource) and are great catalysts for learning through community engagement. Maple syrup season, filled with delicious community activities and opportunities, is our first crop of the year, followed by another  seasonal event as winter transitions into spring…Vernal Pools!
Read the rest of this entry »

Literary Guide for Bernard Waber’s “Courage”

Literary Guide for Bernard Waber’s “Courage”

Download literary guide for Bernard Waber’s Courage.

Raising strong, resilient children is a theme in communities perhaps more than ever right now. There are a great many traits that such children must learn to possess before adulthood, and Bernard Waber’s Courage belongs in the library of anyone striving to cultivate strength and resilience in children.

Waber’s sweet, simple story – created late in his career – is a study of courageous acts both great and small. Rather than preaching the importance of courage or spotlighting the immense acts of courage shown by others, the story focuses on everyday courage – the kind that young readers can easily understand, connect to, and replicate in their own lives. Written in the wake of the September 11th attacks, the book serves both as a tool for supporting readers in recognizing their own everyday courage and as a catalyst for future courageous acts.

Read the rest of this entry »

Weekdays in Western MA: March 13th – March 17th

Weekdays in Western MA:
March 13th –  March 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.

Save

Save

Save

Suggested Events for March 11th – March 17th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families has given me numerous ideas, destinations, and events to participate in with my infant twins. It has been an invaluable resource that motivates us to get out and explore together!” – Stephanie Allen (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.

Summer Camp

FIND YOUR SUMMER CAMPSo many Summer Camps to choose from! Now is the time to start signing up for summer camp! Check out our featured post, 2017 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a comprehensive list of summer camps & programs in the region. More are added each day! Summer opportunities featured range from music, art, farming, theater, dance, science, nature, sports, speaking, yoga, rock ‘n roll… to traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens!

Hilltown Families Events

Saturday, March 18, 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! After a free breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and fruit, Scotty Swan will present The Fuzznogginz Puppet Party! This will be a combination of a magic AND puppet show together in one big spectacular extravaganza! There will be lots of comedy, funny puppetry, and amazing magic combined with plenty of audience participation. Audience members are invited to come on stage to become puppeteers and learn how a puppet show works.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

Mar 10

Montessori Comes to Forbes Library: On Friday, March 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.

Mar 11

Join Nonotuck Community School’s Annual Family Dance Party! The morning will be filled with fun activities for all ages including live music by DandyLion’s Garden, games, dancing with special guest DJ, food, crafts, and more! The event will take place on Saturday, March 11th from 10am-12pm at Jackson Street Elementary School in Northampton (120 Jackson St). Tickets are $5 per person/$12 per family, www.nonotuck.org.

Mar 11

The New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT will re-launch its annual Women Take Flight Day on Saturday, March 11 from 10:00am-4:00pm in commemoration of Women’s History Month. Visitors of all ages are invited to celebrate women’s contributions to aerospace history through special events, and three special guest speakers. Visitors will have the opportunity to meet other women pilots, engineers, and aerospace industry specialists, and featuring the same model aircraft that Amelia Earhart flew. Real life “Rosie the Riveters,” women WASP pilots from World War II, and more. A series of activity stations will also be available for younger visitors, and a variety of flight simulators allow visitors to become virtual pilots. For more information: www.neam.org.

Mar 13 – 19

Downtown Amherst Restaurant Week, March 13-19. Take a bite out of the last week of winter! A wonderful array of restaurants offer special dishes, multi course meals and traditional St. Patrick’s Day dishes. You can span the globe from our beautiful downtown by sampling diverse cuisine, including Himalayan/Nepalese, Persian, Northern Italian, Mediterranean and New American. Bread made from scratch daily, treasured family recipes, local and organic ingredients and exceptional pairings are on the menu. Book a cozy booth or a long center table for a feast with friends and family. More information and menus: www.amherstdowntown.com/events/restaurant-week. Questions? Contact ann@amherstdowntown.com.

PreK – 6th

Whately Elementary School has school choice openings! Whately Elementary is a small, rural public school, Pre-K through 6th Grade with an average class size of 18 students, talented educators and a very supportive parent community. Offering Spanish, Art, Music, PE and Gardening. Band & Strings instruction for upper grades. Student-centered academics with a school-wide emphasis on social-emotional learning and community service locally & globally. Currently developing a new 4-H club. They are currently accepting school choice applications for openings in kindergarten through 5th Grade. Accepting registrations for full-day preschool. For more information, please call Mary at 413-665-7826. An Eco-friendly, composting school. www.frsu38.org/wes.

Open House: Mar 11

Open House at the Hartsbrook School: Experience the warmth and imagination in a Waldorf early childhood classroom. Teachers will be offering activities for children ages 2-6 in the classroom and on the play yard. Crafts, puppet show and snack will nourish your child’s senses while allowing a glimpse into how the teachers prepare children to meet the future with a strong foundation and joyful aliveness. Families with children in grades 1-12 are also welcome for a tour and discussion with the enrollment director. Imagine the possibilities for your child! Saturday, March 11, 10am to 12noon at 193 Bay Road in Hadley, MA. 413-586-1908. www.hartsbrook.org.

Mar 12

“Love Always Wins,” A Community Purim Celebration in Northampton. On Sunday, March 12 from 10:30am-1pm, Congregation B’nai Israel, in collaboration with PJ Library Western Massachusetts. Beit Ahavah ~ The Reform Synagogue of Greater Northampton and Lander-Grinspoon Academy, welcomes the public to a joyous Purim celebration including music, mask making, preparing food for the Cot Shelter, a fantastic puppet show featuring Felicia Sloin and Tom Knight and an original Purim play put on by LGA 6th graders. The program will conclude with a delicious, vegetarian meal. $5 kids under 10 and $10 adults. To RSVP and for more details click here or contact rabbijacob@cbinorthampton.org, 413-584-3593 x203.

Mar 17

The Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company takes an innovative twist on traditional Irish Dance with a toe tapping, hand clapping vibrant modern flair. This family friendly celebration of Celtic dance, music and culture is a wonderful way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day for all ages. Friday, March 17 at 6pm at the Academy of Music in Northampton. $14/adult, $12/child and senior, $5 for children under 5. Ticket information can be found at CelticHeelsDance.com. The Celtic Heels School of Dance offers lessons and summer workshops in Greenfield and Florence for ages 4-adult. Join in the fun of the jigs and reels with Celtic Heels! For show or class information please contact Celtic Heels at celticheels@gmail.com. 413-475-3353.

Mar 18

Piti Theatre’s 8th annual SYRUP: One Sweet Performing Arts Festival celebrates spring, sap and the arts at Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls on Saturday, 3/18. Two time Grammy winner Bill Harley headlines the Festival at 4 pm, performing his own set and narrating two stories performed by Piti’s Shelburne Falls Youth Troupe. Sammy and the Grand Buffet, a world premiere solo physical comedy performance by Piti Theatre’s Jonathan Mirin taps things off at 2 pm. Plus syrup tasting, complimentary Real Pickles, clowning workshop for children on 3/19 (free), teen/adult clowning workshop and more! Tix: $15/$12 students and seniors, $5 children under 12 at Boswell’s Books, World Eye Bookshop or www.ptco.org/syrup. 1-800-838-3006. info@ptco.org.

Jun 26 – Aug 11

Join Journey Camp at Woolman Hill, Deerfield and at Open View Farm, Conway this summer! The supportive staff makes it easy to find new friends while exploring nature, theater, games, music, and crafts. Inclusiveness and peace building are hallmarks of Journey Camp. Founder and Director, Sarah Pirtle, has numerous awards for her books and music for children. Farm Week Session for All ages 7-12, June 26-30,8:45-4pm, Conway; Session One for All ages 7-12, July 3-7, 8:45-4, Deerfield; Moonseed Teen Leadership Camp for ages 12-18, July 17-20, two overnights & campfires, Deerfield; Girls Weeks, ages 7-12, July 31-Aug 4 & Aug 7-11, 8:45-4, Deerfield. www.sarahpirtle.com. Contact: 413-588-6399; marsha.journey@gmail.com.

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
March 11th – March 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 »

2017 Summer Camps & Programs in Western MA

Learning Ahead: Early Spring is Sugar Season

March is Sugar Season

It’s March. The light is changing, the days are getting longer, and the ground slowly begins to thaw. As spring rounds the corner, March becomes the month of gathering and beginning, of re-emergence and sharing. Early in the month it might feel like winter outside, but rest assured that spring is stirring underneath blankets of snow. March is sugaring season.

While April and May showcase new life in full force, March is a transitional time of year when we are reminded strongly of New England’s cycles. As the temperatures rise during the day and cool down to freezing at night, sap begins to flow through the sapwood of the sugar maples. These native trees are tapped during this time of temperature fluctuation to capture their sap that will eventually be boiled down into delicious sweet maple syrup – ah yes, liquid gold!
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Maple Syrup: Native American Traditions & New England History

New England Traditions: Maple Sugaring & Local History

Before the arrival of European settlers, Native Americans were already tapping sugar maples and processing maple sugar in the early 1600’s. Early Native Americans would move their whole families to a location in the woods where there were plenty of sugar maples to tap. They would set up a sugar camp and create V-shaped slashes in the tree as a method to collect the sap. Since they did not yet have metal pots for boiling, the collected sap was placed in a wooden vessel and hot rocks were added to help boil away the water to create a syrupy consistency.

The Native Americans in New England used maple syrup to make grain sugar, cake sugar, and wax sugar. Grain sugar is similar to what we now refer to as brown sugar. Cake sugar was in block form, shaped by pouring the syrup into molds and allowing it to harden. This made it easier to store. Finally, wax sugar is what we know as sugar on snow. It’s the pouring of maple syrup heated to high temperatures on the snow to create a taffy-like consistency to enjoy.  Read the rest of this entry »

Living History Museums During Sugar Season

Living History Museums During Sugar Season

In Western Massachusetts, living history museums celebrate local history and early American living through maple sugaring demonstrations that recall the techniques, foods, and traditions connected to the sugaring season. Families can experience what maple sugaring was like in the days of old New England at living history events where museum interpreters dressed in period clothing demonstrate life and skills from Colonial New England, including: tree tapping, sumac spile making, sap boiling over a fire, open hearth cooking, and other early American skills.  Read the rest of this entry »

Sugar Shacks & Shared Meals Support Connections & Culture

Sharing Food & Culture: Community Meals & Celebrations

Sugar Shacks

Sugar shacks are small cabins where maple sap is gathered and boiled down to syrup. Tours of sugar shacks are primary-source opportunities to learn about local history, New England culture, local economy and technology. These community resources are not only producers of maple syrup but also turn into bustling kitchens and community eating spaces for neighbors, families and friends to gather and share a pancake breakfast together in honor of the sugaring season! Eating a pancake breakfast at a local sugar shack is a true community experience! Since most sugar shacks are not year-round eating establishments, they convert their existing spaces into eateries with large communal tables. Even though you may have to wait a little bit to be seated, it’s such a fun way to meet new neighbors and learn about the sugaring process!  Read the rest of this entry »

Art & Literature of Seasonal Living: The Maple Tree

The Inspiring Maple Tree:
The Art & Literature of Seasonal Living

Robert Strong Woodward

Western Massachusetts landscape painter, Robert Strong Woodward (1885-1957) was born in Northampton, MA and settled in Buckland where he painted along with a studio in Heath where he produced many works. Woodward was a landscape painter mostly depicting the rural countryside and living that surrounded him. One of the themes he explored is the sugaring season.

You can view Woodward’s works at the website run by the nonprofit Friends of Woodward.

One painting in particular, Late Sugaring, shows maple trees with red tapping buckets along Route 112 in Buckland. Painted in 1934, this image is a typical New England scene that one can still witness driving along the same road in the Hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. This beautiful region, largely unchanged throughout the decades, still offers that majestic New England experience that Woodward captures in this painting. An online gallery of Woodward’s sugaring paintings is also found at Friends of Woodward’s web site. Peruse the gallery before heading over to a local sugar shack this season for breakfast and arrive curious. What has changed over the years? What is the same?  Read the rest of this entry »

Early Spring Food Tradition: Pancakes & Maple Syrup

Living Seasonally & Cooking Seasonally:
Pancakes & Maple Syrup

Did you know that pancakes are over 6,000 years old? Although not in the present form we know today, the predecessors to the modern pancake consisted of ground wheat cooked in a form of a pancake. Even the ancient Greeks and Romans ate a form of pancake sweetened with honey! Later in history, American colonists ate pancakes also known as Johnny Cakes.

Modern day technology and contemporary recipes have added to our cultural repertoire of recipes. Take for instance this demonstration on how to make maple cream:

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Weekdays in Western MA: March 6th – March 10th

Weekdays in Western MA:
March 6th –  March 10th

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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Suggested Events for March 4th – March 10th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

What we enjoy most about Hilltown Families is… “the incredible number of events that are included in the weekly suggestions – most importantly free or low cost events! With the weekly suggestions in my inbox, there is never an excuse to stay home on a weekend day – except, of course, for the sheer exhaustion of parenting!” – Mairin Brady (Whately, MA)

What we enjoy most about Hilltown Families is… “the incredible number of events that are included in the weekly suggestions – most importantly free or low cost events! With the weekly suggestions in my inbox, there is never an excuse to stay home on a weekend day – except, of course, for the sheer exhaustion of parenting!” – Mairin Brady (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.

Hilltown Families Events

Saturday, March 18, 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! After a free breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and fruit, Scotty Swan will present The Fuzznogginz Puppet Party! This will be a combination of a magic AND puppet show together in one big spectacular extravaganza! There will be lots of comedy, funny puppetry, and amazing magic combined with plenty of audience participation. Audience members are invited to come on stage to become puppeteers and learn how a puppet show works.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

PreK – 6th

Whately Elementary School has school choice openings! Whately Elementary is a small, rural public school, Pre-K through 6th Grade with an average class size of 18 students, talented educators and a very supportive parent community. Offering Spanish, Art, Music, PE and Gardening. Band & Strings instruction for upper grades. Student-centered academics with a school-wide emphasis on social-emotional learning and community service locally & globally. Currently developing a new 4-H club. They are currently accepting school choice applications for openings in kindergarten through 5th Grade. Accepting registrations for full-day preschool. For more information, please call Mary at 413-665-7826. An Eco-friendly, composting school. www.frsu38.org/wes.

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.

Open House: Mar 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-March 8 at 5:30pm, at Smith College Seeley Hall Rm. 101.

Mar 11

The New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT will re-launch its annual Women Take Flight Day on Saturday, March 11 from 10:00am-4:00pm in commemoration of Women’s History Month. Visitors of all ages are invited to celebrate women’s contributions to aerospace history through special events, and three special guest speakers. Visitors will have the opportunity to meet other women pilots, engineers, and aerospace industry specialists, and featuring the same model aircraft that Amelia Earhart flew. Real life “Rosie the Riveters,” women WASP pilots from World War II, and more. A series of activity stations will also be available for younger visitors, and a variety of flight simulators allow visitors to become virtual pilots. For more information: www.neam.org.

Mar 11

Join Nonotuck Community School’s Annual Family Dance Party! The morning will be filled with fun activities for all ages including live music by DandyLion’s Garden, games, dancing with special guest DJ, food, crafts, and more! The event will take place on Saturday, March 11th from 10am-12pm at Jackson Street Elementary School in Northampton (120 Jackson St). Tickets are $5 per person/$12 per family, www.nonotuck.org.

Mar 13-19

Downtown Amherst Restaurant Week, March 13-19. Take a bite out of the last week of winter! A wonderful array of restaurants offer special dishes, multi course meals and traditional St. Patrick’s Day dishes. You can span the globe from our beautiful downtown by sampling diverse cuisine, including Himalayan/Nepalese, Persian, Northern Italian, Mediterranean and New American. Bread made from scratch daily, treasured family recipes, local and organic ingredients and exceptional pairings are on the menu. Book a cozy booth or a long center table for a feast with friends and family. More information and menus: www.amherstdowntown.com/events/restaurant-week. Questions? Contact ann@amherstdowntown.com.

Open House: 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.

Open House: Mar 11

Open House at the Hartsbrook School: Experience the warmth and imagination in a Waldorf early childhood classroom. Teachers will be offering activities for children ages 2-6 in the classroom and on the play yard. Crafts, puppet show and snack will nourish your child’s senses while allowing a glimpse into how the teachers prepare children to meet the future with a strong foundation and joyful aliveness. Families with children in grades 1-12 are also welcome for a tour and discussion with the enrollment director. Imagine the possibilities for your child! Saturday, March 11, 10am to 12noon at 193 Bay Road in Hadley, MA. 413-586-1908. www.hartsbrook.org.

Jun 26 – Aug 11

Join Journey Camp at Woolman Hill, Deerfield and at Open View Farm, Conway this summer! The supportive staff makes it easy to find new friends while exploring nature, theater, games, music, and crafts. Inclusiveness and peace building are hallmarks of Journey Camp. Founder and Director, Sarah Pirtle, has numerous awards for her books and music for children. Farm Week Session for All ages 7-12, June 26-30,8:45-4pm, Conway; Session One for All ages 7-12, July 3-7, 8:45-4, Deerfield; Moonseed Teen Leadership Camp for ages 12-18, July 17-20, two overnights & campfires, Deerfield; Girls Weeks, ages 7-12, July 31-Aug 4 & Aug 7-11, 8:45-4, Deerfield. www.sarahpirtle.com. Contact: 413-588-6399; marsha.journey@gmail.com.

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
March 4th – March 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

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Learning Ahead: March & April Cultural Itinerary for Western MA

Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for
Western Massachusetts
Seasons: March & April

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 March and April cultural itinerary for Western Massachusetts includes:

  • First harvest of the year reunites us to seasonal FOOD TRADITIONS: Maple Syrup
  • Local HABITAT awakens us to the changing seasons: Vernal Pools
  • Local Changemakers as a CATALYST for learning: Women’s History Month
  • INTERGENERATIONAL sharing of the joys of native species: Spring Birds
  • NATURE-BASED activities connect us to local poets: National Poetry Month
  • Learning through the LENS of spring holidays: Easter & Passover
  • VALUE-BASED engagement connects interests: Earth Day
  • Discover seasonal CULTURE: Sheep Shearing

Click here to download free pdf (40 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 ReservationsNew England Air Museum.

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The Art of Letter Writing

The Art of Letter Writing

While in the summertime it seems easy to explore a multitude of activities, the wintertime provides the space for quieter activities, new hobbies, or creative outlets that encourage reflection. The intense winter storms and their impact on travel keep us inside to discover new activities or pastimes. Winter days feel quiet and reflective as our time indoors beckons us to think more about how to spend our time intentionally.

When was the last time you wrote a handwritten letter to someone? In the age of quick text messaging, instant emails and continuous communication, letter writing is beginning to feel like a lost art.  Take paper (maybe made locally by Crane & Co.) and pen, and set time aside to write a letter to a friend, family member, or neighbor.  Particularly when the weather is ferocious outside and a Nor’easter is upon us, seize the opportunity to sit down with pen, paper, and the backdrop of falling snow to compose a multi-page letter.  Unlike computer keyboards, there is no backspace key or delete function.  It’s the chance to move slowly, choosing words carefully and with care; to meditate on what you want to want to communicate.  Letter writing connects people and lets the recipient hold onto the letter as a keepsake. The art of letter writing can preserve a fond memory or anecdote. It can be  a record of friendship.  Read the rest of this entry »

The Silence of Snow: Meditation & Mindfulness

Silence of Snow: Peaceful Places

Snow can make you feel as though the world has stopped around you.  During snowstorms, travel is suspended, and, for a day or two, the quiet of the outdoors reminds us to simply enjoy the moment and to be mindful.

Meditation is a practice in which awareness is focused on the present moment.  There are many different ways to meditate and be mindful of the present moment.   It’s something you can practice in any space and at any time.  The rhythm of snow falling and the slower pace of winter provide a contemplative setting for the practice of slowing down in order to focus on the moment.

Additionally, as the season of giving thanks has ended, wintertime is now an occasion to set the year’s intentions and reflect.  Traditionally, intentions are set on New Year’s Eve; however, the pensive nature and silent voice of winter provide the atmosphere to connect with your inner self and meditate on personal intentions.

Curious to explore mindfulness and meditation? In Western Massachusetts there are many community-based resources and spaces for people to learn about and practice mindfulness: Read the rest of this entry »

Local Literary Musings: A Winter Piece

Local Literary Musings:
William Cullen Bryant’s A Winter Piece

Remember Cummington native William Cullen Bryant, who was featured in the Sept/Oct 2016 edition of Learning Ahead? After a career in New York, Bryant returned to his childhood home in Cummington when he was 71. Bryant’s early poetry is very much influenced by the landscape of the Western Massachusetts Hilltowns of his youth. In fact, Bryant’s A Winter Piece is a reflection on this time of year.  Even though the summer is gone, Bryant notes in his poem how winter has an unexpected beauty that is still marvelous to behold.  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, March 18, 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, Scotty Swan will present The Fuzznogginz Puppet Party! This will be a combination of a magic AND puppet show together in one big spectacular extravaganza! There will be lots of comedy, funny puppetry, and amazing magic combined with plenty of audience participation. Audience members are invited to come on stage to become puppeteers and learn how a puppet show works.

Then the kids can join DJ Youthelectronix for the “best ever dance party before noon.” Save on the babysitter and celebrate the coming of Spring 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!

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Berkshire Family Fun: March 2017

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
March 2017

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of March. 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, story hours 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 Hinsdale-Peru, Pittsfield, Sandisfield, Windsor, Washington, and Mt. Washington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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Weekdays in Western MA: February 27th – March 3rd

Weekdays in Western MA:
February 27th –  March 3rd

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 Animals & Adventures Episode with Guest DJ, Stephen Michael Schwartz (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Animals & Adventures Episode
with Guest DJ, Stephen Michael Schwartz

Listen to Podcast:

Stephen Michael Schwartz, a children’s singer/songwriter for over thirty years, is best known as a member of the popular trio, Parachute Express. Here he shares with us some of his favorite traveling songs and tunes about animals, both real and make believe.  His talent for songwriting gives him a unique perspective on what makes a classic song and his love of performing qualifies him to handpick this special selection of our very best singer/songwriters. – www.stephenmichaelschwartz.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
February 25th & 26th, 2017
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Stephen Michael Schwartz – “Take A Hike” – Bucket of Wow!
  • Okee Dokee Brothers – “Through The Woods” – Through The Woods
  • Parachute Express – “What Will I Take To The Moon?” – Happy To Be Here
  • The Beatles – “Drive My Car” – Rubber Soul
  • Johnny Mercer/Peggy Lee “The Freedom Train” – Lost Capital Masters
  • John Denver – “Leaving On A Jet Plane” – The Essential John Denver
  • Harry Nilsson – “Nobody Cares About The Railroad Anymore” – Harry
  • Trace Adkins – “The Owney Song” – Tales From The Rails (Smithsonian Institute Mobile App)
  • Stephen Michael Schwartz – “Kitty Walks A Tightrope” – Songs From The Sandbox
  • The Irish Rovers – “The Unicorn Song” – The Best of the Irish Rovers
  • Stephen Michael Schwartz – “Toby The Worst Dog In The Whole Wide World” – Songs From The Sandbox
  • Dave Kinnoin – “My Dog Brings Out the Best of Me” – The Best In Me
  • Sarah McLachlan – “Blackbird” – Rareities, B-sides and other stuff/ Vol.2
  • Jimmie Dodd – “The Pencil Song” – Rare Mickey Mouse Recordings
  • Stephen Michael Schwartz – “Losing a Tooth” – Bucket of Wow!
  • Burl Ives – “Little White Duck” – Burl Ives Sings Children’s Favorites
  • Parachute Express – “See You Later Song” – Who’s Got A Hug

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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

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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!

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