Berkshire Family Fun: May 2017

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
May 2017

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of May. 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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for April 29th-May 5th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

To find out about more events, be sure to visit our Suggest an Event Bulletin Board to see what our readers have recently shared! Have an event to share? Feel encouraged to self-post community events here at any time!

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity 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 Directory

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 summer camp or program to our directory HERE.

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!

Health & Wellness Directory

In an effort to connect families with health and wellness resources in the region, weʼre offering service providers, resources, and institutions a chance to partner with Hilltown Families in their marketing with a brand new online resource: Western MA Health & Wellness Directory.

We’ve all been there… deep in discussion about our health and wellness with friends and family, around the dining room table and cocktail parties, at a playgroup and on the playground. How often have you found yourself looking for a recommendation or local service that could support the health and wellness of your family? This spring we are pulling together a comprehensive list of services and practitioners that can support the health and wellness of you and your family. If you would like to be included in this list, find our more info here and reach out to our amazing Sales & Marketing Manager, Merricka Breuer. (Online publish date: Spring 2017)

Bulletin Board

May 7

Peppa Pig’s Big Splash, Peppa’s theatre tour will visit Springfield’s Symphony Hall on Sunday, May 7, at 2pm. In Peppa Pig’s Big Splash, the nursery roof is leaking and Peppa and her friends need to fix it quickly. They set up a fair to raise money so Mr. Bull can do the repairs. There’s plenty of fun to be had as Peppa, George, Mummy and Daddy Pig, Danny Dog, Pedro Pony and Suzy Sheep organize an exciting day out complete with a Champion Puddle Jumping Competition judged by Mr. Potato, where everyone gets wet! An interactive experience full of singing, dancing, games, and muddy puddles, it’s a blast for the whole family. The fun-filled show gives families the opportunity to engage in an unforgettable first live theater experience. $29 and up. http://bit.ly/PeppaPigSpringfield.

May 13

Bring the whole family to Vermont: Brattleboro Memorial Hospital hosts their annual Touch a Truck event on Saturday May 13 from 9am-1pm. Over 50 big rigs will converge on the BMH parking lot. Spend the day in the driver’s seat playing with all the buttons and levers, trying on firefighters’ bunker gear, moving mulch in a mini tractor, and so much more. Want to win free tickets? Download the coloring page and send a masterpiece to be entered into a drawing for free tickets. All entrants’ artwork will be displayed at the event. Contest is open to ages 12 and under. Download it here. Admission: $5 per child (2-12), $15 for families with 3+ children, under 2 and over 13, by donation. All proceeds benefit BMH.

Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

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!

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
APRIL 29th – MAY 5th, 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 »

Local Pottery Resources Provide History Education

Local Pottery Resources Provide History Education

A part of cultures around the world for thousands of years, pottery is fascinating – both as a functional art form and as an entry point for studying history. Utilizing local resources, children’s literature, and online tools, families can explore art, history, culture, and science through pottery-centric studies!

Pottery has been a part of human civilizations around the world ever since the Neolithic era – which was over 10,000 years ago! Much more than just a means of making dishes, pottery serves as a creative outlet for many artists, and the slow development of the art and technology surrounding pottery speaks volumes to the changes that human civilization has undergone, both long ago and more recently. Additionally, while pottery can be found in countless cultures all around the world, techniques, styles, and uses vary between cultures, and close study of various pieces of pottery can speak to the similarities and differences between cultures near and far. Read the rest of this entry…

Learning Ahead: Season of Sheep Shearing

The Fiber Arts & Local Farming:
Sheep Shearing & Knitting

In the 19th century, Western Massachusetts saw a huge merino sheep boom when many farms purchased Australian sheep for their incredibly soft fleece to produce wool for textiles.  The Hilltowns’ landscape provided ideal pasture for livestock grazing.

Although this craze for merino wool did not last long, and some of the farms no longer exist, there is still a rich and long tradition of fiber farms in Western Massachusetts that continue to produce fiber and yarn for hand knitters and textile artists.

The benefit of purchasing local yarn is that you are more involved in and aware of the entire process of producing your wool.  Unlike commercially produced yarn, which is often processed and shipped from overseas, local yarn speaks to the land and farmers that cared for the sheep and cultivated the land.  Often, the wool is processed locally and requires many hands to create it: from the farmer that cares for the animals to the sheep shearer, spinners and hand-dyers, locally grown yarn offer the hand knitter a deeper connection to our community’s agricultural roots.  It also supports the local economy and helps foster collaboration and sustainable consumption. Read the rest of this entry »

Weekdays in Western MA: April 24-28, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA:
April 24-28, 2017

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers, and life-long learners.

Select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

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


See your banner here! Sponsor Weekdays in Western MA!

Save

Save

Suggested Events for April 22nd-28th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

To find out about more events, be sure to visit our Suggest an Event Bulletin Board to see what our readers have recently shared! Have an event to share? Feel encouraged to self-post community events here at any time!

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 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.

Health & Wellness Directory

We’ve all been there… deep in discussion about our health and wellness with friends and family, around the dining room table and cocktail parties, at a playgroup and on the playground. How often have you found yourself looking for a recommendation or local service that could support the health and wellness of your family? This spring we are pulling together a comprehensive list of services and practitioners that can support the health and wellness of you and your family. If you would like to nominate a local Health & Wellness business or service provider, or would like to be included in this list yourself, reach out to our amazing Sales & Marketing Manager, Merricka Breuer. (Online publish date: Spring 2017)

Bulletin Board

Apr 8-30

Bring the whole family to downtown Amherst and celebrate Daffodil Days! Town bursts with daffodils and fun. Sunday, April 23, come to The Games on the Common where community joins college athletes to play bocce, badminton, and croquet. A festival honors international students on April 8 on the common. On April 22, The Dessert Crawl benefit for non-profit Reader to Reader offers a chance to try 10 desserts for $10. The Sustainability Festival on the Common has music, demonstrations, and presentations on sustainable strategies. Amherst ChalkWalk on April 29 offers the chance to decorate the sidewalks to win special gift prizes. The annual Daffodil Run on April 30 has special awards for silly costumes and a cookout follows at Kendrick Park.

Apr 24

Monday, April 24, 2017, 10am-3pm: Soar into spring with Homeschool Day at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT. Open exclusively for homeschoolers and their families, and featured activities include: hands-on build & fly challenge activities, interactive flight science demonstrations, open cockpit experiences in historic aircraft, aircraft quests, fight simulators, and more! Virtual Flight Center access available for additional $5 per person. Tickets available for purchase on the day of your visit on a first come, first served basis. Preregistration required. Children ages 3 and under admitted free. www.neam.org for an online registration form. Please contact us at 860-623-3305 x313 for questions.

May 7

Peppa Pig’s Big Splash, Peppa’s theatre tour will visit Springfield’s Symphony Hall on Sunday, May 7, at 2pm. In Peppa Pig’s Big Splash, the nursery roof is leaking and Peppa and her friends need to fix it quickly. They set up a fair to raise money so Mr. Bull can do the repairs. There’s plenty of fun to be had as Peppa, George, Mummy and Daddy Pig, Danny Dog, Pedro Pony and Suzy Sheep organize an exciting day out complete with a Champion Puddle Jumping Competition judged by Mr. Potato, where everyone gets wet! An interactive experience full of singing, dancing, games, and muddy puddles, it’s a blast for the whole family. The fun-filled show gives families the opportunity to engage in an unforgettable first live theater experience. $29 and up. http://bit.ly/PeppaPigSpringfield.

Thurs & Fri

Wheel throwing classes at CyclePottery in Florence start next week for Kids, Teens & Adults. Teens & Adults, Join master potter Andrew Quient on Thursdays 6-8:30pm or Kathryn on Fridays 11am-1:30pm. Beginners welcome! Spots left in all three kids classes too! Also, check out openings in the summer camps! See www.cyclepottery.net/classes for more information or contact Kathryn: 413-219-9594, kathryn@cyclepottery.com.

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.

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
April 22nd-28th, 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 »

Learning Ahead: Earth Day

Earth Day & Ecopoetry

Each year, Earth Day takes place on April 22nd. Known as the birth of the modern environmental movement, Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 and continues as a way to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Western Massachusetts is host to many secular celebrations and festivals that honor the commitment to sustainable and resilient living, giving the community many ways to come together to engage on Earth Day through service-based learning opportunities, eco-workshops, and local gatherings. Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for upcoming events that support sustainable living and connection to place.

Ecopoetry

Since National Poetry Month and Earth Day share the same season and month, it seems appropriate to feature Ecopoetry, a movement of poetry with a strong environmental ethic that acknowledges the relationship between humans and nature.  Poetry has the power to reveal insight and to spark curiosity and inquiry.  Ecopoetry is a way to reflect on our relationship with the Earth during Earth Day and develop a heightened awareness of how we directly interact with nature in our local Western Massachusetts communities.   Read the rest of this entry »

6 Community Resources & Annual Events for Sustainable Living

Community Resources and Annual Events for Sustainable Living

Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA)
CISA is a  Western Massachusetts organization that “strengthens farms and engages the community in building the local food economy.”  CISA connects community members with the farms and farmers that produce food in our region to help ensure food security and fortify the relationship between the land and our dinner tables. CISA offers many workshops and community events to provide folks with the opportunity to learn more about sustainable agriculture such as winter vegetable cultivation, homestead woodlot management, farm financing, making the most out of pasture and hayfields, maple sugaring at home and many other subjects throughout the year!  CISA’s website also connects you to nearby farms where you can source your food as well as find resources and recipes.  Consider volunteering with CISA in celebration of Earth Day and sustainable agriculture!

Local Ecological Art
Local Williamsburg artist Todd Lynch creates ecological art installations throughout Western Massachusetts communities at different natural sites to help foster a dialogue between people and the landscape.  One of his installations, the Flotsam Weirs Installation, utilized woven fences made of material found on-site to create an environmental sculpture that helped people learn about hydrology and ecology as well as how structures in the natural world decay throughout time.  The piece is a way to witness the process of nature and to understand the beauty of its ecology through an artistic lens.It is located in Williamsburg, MA.  Pictures are found at www.ecotropy.net.

Pedal People
Local business Pedal People practice sustainability every day when it comes to trash and compost pickup!  Serving the Northampton area, this group of cyclists utilize bikes to tote away trash and compost from Northampton homes instead of driving fuel-reliant cars and trucks! http://www.pedalpeople.coop

Seed Swaps
Seed swaps are a chance for community members to meet one another, gather together and share gardening tips, ideas, and, more importantly, seeds!  Many local libraries in the Hilltowns and Pioneer Valley host seed swaps in early spring to encourage togetherness, sharing and collaborative consumption by providing the space for people to get together and share the food and plants they grow.  Check out these local libraries for nearby seed swamps. Read more about the embedded learning found in seed saving in our post, Seed Capital Provides Return for Nature-Based Education.

Amherst Sustainability Festival
Every year, the town of Amherst celebrates Earth Day with an annual Sustainability Festival. Usually, during the week of Earth Day, this festival includes performances on the town common, workshops to learn more about how to live more sustainably at home, family entertainment, and local farm animals from the 4-H club!

Earth Day at UMass
The University of Massachusetts celebrates with an Earth Day Festival every year with student groups that host booths, a farmers’ market featuring student grown produce, live music, and art activities.  Each year is different, so best to check the UMass website to see what is on the schedule for this year’s Earth Day Festival at UMass.

Weekdays in Western MA: April 17-21, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA:
April 17-21, 2017

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

Select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

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


See your banner here! Sponsor Weekdays in Western MA!

Save

Save

Save

HFVS Earth Day Episode with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Hilltown Family Variety Show
Earth Day Episode
with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn

This special Earth Day Episode by Charity Kahn from Charity and the JAMband highlights songs and concepts that explore compassion, kindness, and our interconnectedness with Earth and all beings. The episode underscores the reminder that our love and intention are powerful forces that can inspire all of us to act in ways that protect and take care of the Earth. In addition to music along these lines, the show also includes a story (theme: interbeing) and a guided meditation (theme: non-harming). Because every day should be Earth Day! — www.jamjamjam.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
April 15th & 16th, 2017
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured video:  EARTH DAY by Charity and the JAMband


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

  • The Beatles – “Mother Nature’s Son” [The White Album]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “Earth Day” [EARTH]
  • Joe Reilly – “I Love Nature” [Children of the Earth]
  • The Banana Slug String Band – “Sun, Soil, Water and Air” [Singing in Our Garden]
  • Melita – “Turn the World Around” [Light Within]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “I Am the Earth and the Earth Is Me” [EARTH]
  • STORY: “The Sun in My Belly” by Sister Susan, illustrated by Sister Rain, inspired by the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Charity and the JAMband – “We Speak for the Earth” [EARTH]
  • The Alphabet Rockers – “Change the World” [Playground Zone]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “Meditation for Non-Harming” [Sit Breathe Love: Guided Meditations for Children and the Grown-Ups Who Love Them
  • Neil Young – “A New Day for Love” [The Monsanto Years]

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Suggested Events for April 15th-21st, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families helps us to cast a wider net when we are looking for activities during school vacation or on the weekends. Often we find sweet little buried gems that would otherwise have escaped our notice… Thanks for being here.” – Sarah R. (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 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

Apr 8-30

Bring the whole family to downtown Amherst and celebrate Daffodil Days! Town bursts with daffodils and fun. Sunday April 9 & 23 come to The Games on the Common where community joins college athletes to play bocce, badminton and croquet. A festival honors international students on April 8 on the common. On April 22, The Dessert Crawl benefit for non-profit Reader to Reader offers a chance to try 10 desserts for $10. The Sustainability Festival on the Common has music, demonstrations, and presentations on sustainable strategies. Amherst ChalkWalk on April 29 offers the chance to decorate the sidewalks to win special gift prizes. The annual Daffodil Run on April 30 has special awards for silly costumes and a cookout follows at Kendrick Park.

Apr 14

Montessori Comes to Forbes Library: On Friday, April 14, 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.

Apr 14-15

Huge used music, DVD and children’s book sale at Roundabout Books in Greenfield, April 14 & 15. $1 sale: Saturday 10am-5pm. $2 pre-sale day: Friday, April 14, 12-7pm. Roundabout Books, member ABA and SNEAB, presents our huge Spring CD, DVD, and book sale. Of special interest to Hilltown Families will be Roundabout’s large collection of children’s picture and chapter books. All inventory is used, in excellent condition, with a focus on classic children’s books and series books. Roundabout is a large, open, child-friendly space. Delight in shopping for all ages, as well. $1 DVDs and DVD sets; $1 CDs and CD sets; $1 All children’s books (over 1000 to choose from); $1 All Sci-Fi and Fantasy; $1 audiobooks; 20% off all other books. www.roundaboutbookstore.com.

Apr 16

The Blue Heron Restaurant will celebrate the arrival of spring with their annual farm-to-table Easter brunch buffet on Sunday, April 16, 2017. Seatings are available every half hour from 11am to 4pm. An abundant hors d’oeuvres station, a breakfast buffet, a carving station, and vegetarian and vegan guests will find many options (additional items can be modified to be vegan upon request). Most of the menu items are naturally gluten free. The buffet is $48 per adult and $20 per child ages 4-10; children under four eat free. The full menu is available at www.blueherondining.com/special-events. Reservations are required and by calling 413-665-2102 or info@blueherondining.com. The Blue Heron is located at 112 North Main Street in Sunderland.

Apr 17-21

Celebrate the arrival of spring with two weeks of school vacation week programming at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT. Explore three giant exhibit hangars filled with over sixty historic aircraft and experience the wonders of flight through daily hands-on activities including: Hands-on Build & Fly Challenges, interactive Flight Science Demonstrations, open cockpit experiences in historic aircraft, computerized Flight Simulators. Monday, April 17, Delta Dart Model Building Workshop 10am-2pm. April 18, Constellation Viewer Make & Take Workshop, 10am-2pm. April 19, Pinwheel Props Make & Take Workshop, 10am-2pm. April 20, Rocket Balloons, 10am-2pm. Friday, April 21, LEGO Flying Machine Contests, 10am-2pm. www.neam.org.

Apr 21-24

Experience the awakening of spring in Conway, MA. Wilderness Survival Vacation Program at Earthwork Programs, 4/21-4/24, 9am-3pm. Ages 7+. While spending lots of time outdoors, the group will notice new growth all around while learning about edible and medicinal plants. By practicing nature awareness, looking deeper becomes possible, and through tracking skills and the ability to be quiet in the forest, young wildlife may be seen. During April Vacation, children can wander and learn what to do if lost. They can even learn basic wilderness living skills, like shelter making, fire making, cordage, and knife safety. $276-$300 for 4 days (or 2-day minimum @$75/day). #OptOutside. 413-340-1161. earthworkprograms.com.

May 7

Peppa Pig’s Big Splash, Peppa’s theatre tour will visit Springfield’s Symphony Hall on Sunday, May 7, at 2pm. In Peppa Pig’s Big Splash, the nursery roof is leaking and Peppa and her friends need to fix it quickly. They set up a fair to raise money so Mr. Bull can do the repairs. There’s plenty of fun to be had as Peppa, George, Mummy and Daddy Pig, Danny Dog, Pedro Pony and Suzy Sheep organize an exciting day out complete with a Champion Puddle Jumping Competition judged by Mr. Potato, where everyone gets wet! An interactive experience full of singing, dancing, games, and muddy puddles, it’s a blast for the whole family. The fun-filled show gives families the opportunity to engage in an unforgettable first live theater experience. $29 and up. www.peppapigliveus.com.

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.

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
April 15th-21st, 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 »

Studies of Birds and Insects Illuminate Interconnectedness in Nature

Studies of Birds and Insects Illuminate Interconnectedness in Nature

Though the relationships between the two are generally predator-prey, studying the ways in which birds and insects depend on each other can offer insight into the inner workings of the local landscape. By learning to identify insects and birds, families can explore the who-eats-who of their surroundings!

Read more in our post, Interconnections Between the Birds & the Bees.


[Photo credit: (cc) Chris Devers]

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Learning Ahead: Spring Traditions & Celebrations

Exploring Culture through Food, History & Art:
Easter & Passover

The reemergence of flora and fauna in the outdoor world gives cause for celebration as the months turn warmer and new life abounds. For many, it is a time of celebration linked to spring’s seasonality as reflected in the types of food prepared in holiday celebrations, including Easter and PassoverRead the rest of this entry »

Literary Guide for Ann M. Martin’s “Rain Reign”

Literary Guide for Ann M. Martin’s Rain Reign

Download literary guide for Ann M. Martin’s Rain Reign.

Appropriately titled with a homonym pair, Ann M. Martin’s Rain Reign is told through the eyes of a young girl on the Autism spectrum whose two loves in life are homonyms and rules. Rose’s love of these things, unfortunately, often stands in the way of her ability to connect with those around her – including her father, a single parent with little patience for Rose’s needs. Through Rose’s narration, readers learn about the thoughts that drive her mind and the compulsions that fuel the behaviors that those around her cannot seem to understand.

Rose learns how to forge a deep connection when her father brings her home a dog, who she names Rain due to the very special triple homonym nature of the word (it matches both reign and rein). Rose cares for Rain herself, taking her responsibilities as a pet owner very seriously. But when a hurricane hits Rose’s home in upstate New York, Rain is lost in the storm. With homes destroyed, power lines downed, and roads (such as Rose’s) washed out, it’s nearly impossible for Rose to search for Rain. Showing incredible resilience and determination as a result of her intense love, Rose pushes herself to search long and hard for Rain – encountering new opportunities and challenges she couldn’t have imagined.  Read the rest of this entry »

Weekdays in Western MA: April 10-14, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA:
April 10 – 14, 2017

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

Select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

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


See your banner here! Sponsor Weekdays in Western MA!

HFVS Spring Forward with Guest DJ, Lucy Kalantari (Podcast/Radio Show)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Spring Forward with Guest DJ, Lucy Kalantari

Celebrate spring with HFVS Guest DJ Lucy Kalantari. Butterflies, botany, banana splits, and rainbows, this playlist covers the many beautiful colors and facets of spring. Featuring Red Pants Band, KB Whirly, Dog on Fleas, Laura Doherty and much more! — www.LucyKalantari.com

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

Featured Video: “Our Garden” – Lucy Kalantari


New Podcasts ♦ Archived Podcasts Subscribe to Podcast
Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

 

  • Karen K – “Spring Day” [Blue Bike Chronicles]
  • Grin Brigade – “It’s Spring” [Crazy With Happiness]
  • Key Wilde And Mr. Clarke – “Katy Caterpillar” [Animal Tales]
  • Laura Doherty – “Butterfly” [In a Heartbeat]
  • Dog on Fleas – “Grow Grow Grow” [Recipes]
  • 123 Andrés – “La Semilla” [Arriba Abajo]
  • Lucy Kalantari – “Our Garden” [Big Things]
  • Jon Samson – “Fruits or Vegetables” [A New Kids Album]
  • Danny Weinkauf – “Botany” [Red Pants Band]
  • Lucy Kalantari – “Close the Loop” [Big Things]
  • Frances England – “See What We Can See” [Explorer Of The World]
  • Tom Proutt and Emily Gary – “The Song of the Tiny Cat” [A Celebration of the Seasons: Goodnight Songs]
  • Lard Dog & the Band of Shy – “I Like” [Single]
  • Ella Fitzgerald – “Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall” [Ella & Friends]
  • Louis Prima – “Banana Split For My Baby” [Capitol Collectors Series]
  • KB Whirly – “The Littlest Worm” [Camp Songs Vol.1]
  • Israel Kamakawiwo’ole – “Somewhere Over The Rainbow & What A Wonderful World” [Facing Future]
  • Elizabeth Mitchell and You Are My Flower featuring Simi Stone – “Changes” [Let All The Children Boogie: A Tribute to David Bowie]

 

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Suggested Events for April 8th-14th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“I check in weekly with Hilltown Families to plan our weekend adventures… greatest places and activities on your site!” – Liz B. (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 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

Apr 8

Immerse yourself in the world of Ancient Rome, at the Smith College Museum of Art’s Free Community Day, inspired by the exhibition Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis near Pompeii, Saturday, April 8, from 11:30 am–3:30 pm. All ages welcome! The day’s events include: Story time with Forbes Library; fresco painting with Associate Director for Museum Services David Dempsey; a collaborative performance with Enchanted Circle Theater and the Springfield Conservatory of the Arts middle school; olive oil tasting by Ellie’s Oils; exploration of volcanic rocks with Smith College geoscientists, jewelry-making, and more! Also, visit the Great Garbanzo food truck outside the museum!

Apr 8-30

Bring the whole family to downtown Amherst and celebrate Daffodil Days! Town bursts with daffodils and fun. Sunday April 9 & 23 come to The Games on the Common where community joins college athletes to play bocce, badminton and croquet. A festival honors international students on April 8 on the common. On April 22, The Dessert Crawl benefit for non-profit Reader to Reader offers a chance to try 10 desserts for $10. The Sustainability Festival on the Common has music, demonstrations, and presentations on sustainable strategies. Amherst ChalkWalk on April 29 offers the chance to decorate the sidewalks to win special gift prizes. The annual Daffodil Run on April 30 has special awards for silly costumes and a cookout follows at Kendrick Park. www.amherstdowntown.com.

Apr 9

On April 9th, American Liberty Ballet presents “Sylvia ou la Nymphe de Diane,” an original 3 act ballet choreographed by Valerie Mae Browne. Since 1876 only 12 choreographers have ever tackled this difficult ballet: taking stage at the Academy of Music. Set to the romantic score of Léo Delibes, Sylvia is a classical ballet set in an Arcadian forest, where a shepherd boy falls in love with a huntress nymph loyal to the goddess Diana. When arrows and hearts go awry, deities intervene to save Sylvia, in this captivating mythological love story. Sylvia is played by Bolshoi trained ballerina Natasha Sheptalova. American Liberty Ballet is comprised of 15 highly skilled classically trained dancers from all over the world. For tickets: americanlibertyballet.com.

Open House: Apr 12 & 22

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: April 12 at 5:30pm & April 22 at 10:30am, at Smith College Seeley Hall Rm. 101.

Apr 14-15

Huge used music, DVD and children’s book sale at Roundabout Books in Greenfield, April 14 & 15. $1 sale: Saturday 10am-5pm. $2 pre-sale day: Friday, April 14, 12-7pm. Roundabout Books, member ABA and SNEAB, presents our huge Spring CD, DVD, and book sale. Of special interest to Hilltown Families will be Roundabout’s large collection of children’s picture and chapter books. All inventory is used, in excellent condition, with a focus on classic children’s books and series books. Roundabout is a large, open, child-friendly space. Delight in shopping for all ages, as well. $1 DVDs and DVD sets; $1 CDs and CD sets; $1 All children’s books (over 1000 to choose from); $1 All Sci-Fi and Fantasy; $1 audiobooks; 20% off all other books. www.roundaboutbookstore.com.

Apr 16

The Blue Heron Restaurant will celebrate the arrival of spring with their annual farm-to-table Easter brunch buffet on Sunday, April 16, 2017. Seatings are available every half hour from 11am to 4pm. An abundant hors d’oeuvres station, a breakfast buffet, a carving station, and vegetarian and vegan guests will find many options (additional items can be modified to be vegan upon request). Most of the menu items are naturally gluten free. The buffet is $48 per adult and $20 per child ages 4-10; children under four eat free. The full menu is available at www.blueherondining.com/special-events. Reservations are required and by calling 413-665-2102 or info@blueherondining.com. The Blue Heron is located at 112 North Main Street in Sunderland.

July 17-28

Hampshire College Summer Academic Programs is accepting applications for summer 2017. Students who will be high school juniors and seniors in fall 2017 are encouraged to apply and experience Hampshire College, located in Amherst, while still in high school. Get a sense of Hampshire’s innovative approach to learning and what life is like on Hampshire’s campus and in the classroom during the two-week precollege programs. This summer’s precollege program offerings are: Inside the Cell: Immersion into the Biology Laboratory, Meet the World of Metalworking, Young Feminist Collaborative, Citizens United. Apply by Friday, April 14, 2017 to receive a 10% tuition discount! Learn more and apply at precollege.hampshire.edu or email summer@hampshire.edu.

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
April 8th-14th, 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 »

Vision Boards: Creative Tool for Supporting Children with Accomplishing Goals

Vision Boards Can Support Youth with Goals

Vision boards – a tool for supporting children in keeping goals in mind – can serve as a powerful visual reminder of the importance of hard work and responsibility. When displayed in an important place at home, vision boards can help children to keep their goals in mind every day!

Almost all children hold firmly the belief that wishes really do come true, no matter what you ask for. Young folks often sincerely believe that shooting stars bring ponies and that wishing wells turn up time machines. Generally, though, children grow out of this belief at a certain point, as developmental shifts take place and their understanding of the world becomes more grounded in reality. However, believing in wishes doesn’t necessarily have to be something that children let go of entirely as they get older. While they must, of course, learn to stop expecting unicorns and superheroes, they can be supported in learning to wish for reasonable things and to work towards making that wish come true on their own.  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: National Poetry Month

Poetry & Place: Celebrating Poetry Month Locally

Western Massachusetts has been home to many poets and writers who were inspired by this region’s remarkable landscape. April is National Poetry Month. As nature begins to come to life in blossoms and buds, National Poetry Month is the perfect catalyst for exploring the outdoor spaces and places that inspired great writers of the past and present through some of the many local trails found in the region.

The Rivulet Trail at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead is a hiking trail accessible to the public in Cummington, MA. The path along the rivulet is the same trail that once inspired Bryant to write The Rivulet.  You can still hike this trail at The Trustees’ property and encounter the poem posted along the trail to read and reflect on this beautiful place that features old growth forest and some of the tallest stands of White Pine in the Northeast.  It’s a sacred space that may compel you to write a few verses of your own!  Read Bryant’s poem ahead of time, then read it again while hiking the trail. How does the integration of language arts and nature influence your connection to place and poetry?

The Robert Frost Trail is named after poet Robert Frost. It’s a 47-mile trail in the Pioneer Valley that passes through ten towns along the Connecticut River. Read the rest of this entry »

Carry Western MA Poets in Your Pocket During Poem in Your Pocket Day

Celebrating National Poetry Month:
Poem in Your Pocket Day

In celebration of National Poetry Month, Poem in Your Pocket Day is an annual day for people to celebrate the inspiring nature of poetry by selecting a poem and carrying it in their pocket for sharing with others throughout the day. Originally started in 2002, this annual day is a way for folks to share a common love for written word in the poetic verse.

To discover poetry by writers from the region, consider carrying a poem written by a local poet from Western Massachusetts.  Here are a few poets that inspire our region with their words:  Read the rest of this entry »

Weekdays in Western MA: April 3 – 7, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA:
April 3 – 7, 2017

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

Select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

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


See your banner here! Sponsor Weekdays in Western MA!

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Suggested Events for April 1st-7th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“I SO appreciate being able to go through your eNewsletter each Thursday evening to find the kinds of events & activities that appeal to me & my family! The format allows me to first scan the outdoor, educational and/or service opportunities, and then fine-tooth search through the day-by-day ‘suggested events.’ I usually check out at least a post or two as well – and I often email a link to the eNewsletter to a friend whom I think will be interested. I rely on Hilltown Families more & more as my son gets older – especially since we started home-schooling. Thanks very much for your excellent work, folks!” Susan M. (Amherst, 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 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

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 8

Immerse yourself in the world of Ancient Rome, at the Smith College Museum of Art’s Free Community Day, inspired by the exhibition Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis near Pompeii, Saturday, April 8, from 11:30 am–3:30 pm. All ages welcome! The day’s events include: Story time with Forbes Library; fresco painting with Associate Director for Museum Services David Dempsey; a collaborative performance with Enchanted Circle Theater and the Springfield Conservatory of the Arts middle school; olive oil tasting by Ellie’s Oils; exploration of volcanic rocks with Smith College geoscientists, jewelry-making, and more! Also, visit the Great Garbanzo food truck outside the museum!

Apr 8-15

Connecticut Trolley Museum will hold Easter Bunny Fun Days on April 8th, 9th, 14th & 15th. The Easter Bunny will be roaming the grounds and posing for pictures from 11am-3pm. Each child will receive an Easter egg with a surprise inside when they complete an Easter Scavenger Hunt. Additionally, there will be face painting from 11am-3pm and a Make & Take art craft. Take as many trolley rides as you would like operated by period dressed motormen. Inside the Visitor Center, you will find more static trolley cars and artifacts, a theater showing a short film about trolleys and a gift shop to buy that ‘special’ souvenir. Entrance into the Connecticut Fire Museum complete with antique fire trucks and apparatus is included with admission price. www.ct-trolley.org.

Apr 9

On April 9th, American Liberty Ballet presents “Sylvia ou la Nymphe de Diane,” an original 3 act ballet choreographed by Valerie Mae Browne. Since 1876 only 12 choreographers have ever tackled this difficult ballet: taking the stage at the Academy of Music. Set to the romantic score of Léo Delibes, Sylvia is a classical ballet set in an Arcadian forest, where a shepherd boy falls in love with a huntress nymph loyal to the goddess Diana. When arrows and hearts go awry, deities intervene to save Sylvia, in this captivating mythological love story. Sylvia is played by Bolshoi trained ballerina Natasha Sheptalova. American Liberty Ballet is comprised of 15 highly skilled classically trained dancers from all over the world. For tickets: americanlibertyballet.com.

Spring

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.

July 17-28

Hampshire College Summer Academic Programs is accepting applications for summer 2017. Students who will be high school juniors and seniors in fall 2017 are encouraged to apply and experience Hampshire College, located in Amherst, while still in high school. Get a sense of Hampshire’s innovative approach to learning and what life is like on Hampshire’s campus and in the classroom during the two-week precollege programs. This summer’s precollege program offerings are: Inside the Cell: Immersion into the Biology Laboratory, Meet the World of Metalworking, Young Feminist Collaborative, Citizens United. Apply by Friday, April 14, 2017, to receive a 10% tuition discount! Learn more and apply at precollege.hampshire.edu or email summer@hampshire.edu.

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
April 1st-7th, 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 »

Berkshire Family Fun: April 2017

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
April 2017

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of April. 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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: Spring Birds

Sense of Place: A Birds Eye View

Springtime is filled with sightings of all kinds of exciting natural wonders. The season’s outdoor appeal makes it a perfect time of year not only for enjoying our natural surroundings, but for learning about conservation and species preservation, too!

In particular, springtime is the season for bird sightings as Western Massachusetts becomes filled with a variety of migrating bird species in the early spring months. Species to look for in the spring include Baltimore Orioles, Eastern Bluebirds, Eastern Whip-Poor-Wills, American Kestrels, Indigo Buntings, Cedar Waxwings, American Robins, Carolina Wrens, American Goldfinches, Great Blue Herons, Red-winged Blackbirds, and many others! Knowing the names of the birds we share our home with and being able to identify them by their songs and behavior helps us connect to the seasons and strengthens our sense of place.  Read the rest of this entry »

Birding: Musings on Nature through Poetry & Place

Birding: Musings on Nature through Poetry & Place

The bird populations in Western Massachusetts have inspired many poets and writers to pick up their pens and compose verses dedicated to our feathered friends, celebrating nature and the land. Cummington native William Cullen Bryant, and Amherst native Emily Dickinson, both wrote poems about the bobolink. This intriguing species migrates back to New England in the late Spring (mid-late May) where it prefers large grasslands, such as hay fields, where they can build their nests on the ground. They are impressive birds, with a curious and clownish fluttering that is a joy to see in the late spring and early summer. Due to their preference to nest in hay fields often utilized by farmers, The Bobolink Project seeks to work with farmers to delay haying fields in order to protect grassland birds such as bobolinks.

Learn about bobolinks through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s website and their educational videos on different bird species.

Read the rest of this entry »

Birds in your Backyard and Environment

Investigating Nature at Home:
Birds in your Backyard and Environment

Land Trust: Supporting Community & Local Wildlife

Nesting boxes for any species of bird can bring them to your backyard for observation and inspiration!

There are many local organizations in Western Massachusetts that support species habitat and nesting opportunities for birds. Kestrel Land Trust, based in Amherst, MA, offers a unique volunteer opportunity to be a Kestrel Nest Box Monitor. Nest Box Monitors visit the Kestrel nest boxes regularly to keep track of their use during the breeding season starting in late March. It’s a chance to learn more about kestrels and their nesting patterns, and to observe these beautiful birds of prey locally in Western MA.

Bird Feeders: Supporting Language Arts

What better way to learn more about birds in early spring than in your own backyard! Like poets William Cullen Bryant and Emily Dickinson, you can observe the birds that frequent your backyard feeder and later reflect on their characteristics to write interesting and poetic descriptions that utilize metaphors and similes to convey the bird’s behavior through creative language. If you don’t yet have a bird feeder, building one can be a self-initiated project that may include a variety of skills including math, architecture, woodworking and the decorative arts. You can continue to use your bird feeder throughout the winter months by keeping it stocked for those birds that don’t migrate.  This will help birds have a source of food during the year’s coldest season. As a result, you can continue to watch birds in your backyard and gain a better sense of Western Massachusetts’ bird populations and the species with whom you share your natural surroundings. Perhaps you’ll begin to feel inspired similarly to Bryant and Dickinson!  Read the rest of this entry »

Weekdays in Western MA: March 27th – March 31st, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA:
March 27th – March 31st, 2017

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

Select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

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


See your banner here! Sponsor Weekdays in Western MA!

 

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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

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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 »

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