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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HFVS Mardi Gras Episode with Guest DJs, Johnette Downing & Scott Billington (Radio Show/Podcast)

Mardi Gras Episode
with Guest DJs, Johnette Downing & Scott Billington

LISTEN TO PODCAST:

Children’s book author and musician Johnette Downing and Grammy Award winning producer Scott Billington offer a carnival of Louisiana roots music; a showcase of Cajun, New Orleans Rhythm and Blues, Zydeco, Brass Band and Jazz music by Louisiana artists.

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

Featured video: Reading Rocks! By Johnette Downing Children’s book author and musician Johnette Downing sings “Reading Rocks!” from her Reading Rocks! CD to get children boppin’ into books and rockin’ into reading! – www.johnettedowning.com


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Professor Longhair – “Go to the Mardi Gras” (The Complete Ric & Ron Recordings,
  • Vol. 6: Classic New Orleans R&B and More, 1958-1965)
  • The Hawkettes – “Mardi Gras Mambo” (The History of Rhythm & Blues, Volume 3 –
  • The Rock’n’roll Years)
  • Zachary Richard – “File’ Gumbo” (Zack’s Bon Ton)
  • Johnette Downing – “Bon Jour Mes Amis,” (From the Gumbo Pot)
  • Papillion – “Cocodrie” (Cajun for Kids)
  • Johnette Downing – “Why the Possum Has a Large Grin,” (Reading Rocks!)
  • Huey Smith and the Clowns – “Don’t You Just Know It” (Having a Good Time With
  • Huey ‘Piano’ Smith & His Clowns – The Very Best of, Vol. 1)
  • Robert Parker – “Barefootin’” (Introduction to Robert Parker)
  • Fats Domino – “Walkin’ to New Orleans” (The Fats Domino Jukebox: 20 Greatest
  • Hits)
  • Nathan the the Zydeco Cha Chas – “Festival Zydeco” (Creole Crossroads)
  • Dirty Dozen Brass Band – “Little Liza Jane” (My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now)
  • Johnette Downing and Jimmy LaRocca’s Original Dixieland Jazz Band – “Dixieland
  • Jazz” (Dixieland Jazz for Children)
  • Louie Prima – “Banana Split for My Baby,” (Louis Prima Collectors Series)
  • Louis Armstrong – “What a Wonderful World,” (What a Wonderful World)
  • Johnette Downing and Jimmy LaRocca’s Original Dixieland Jazz Band – “It’s Time for
  • Mardi Gras,” (Dixieland Jazz for Children)

About Johnette Downing

Dubbed the “Musical Ambassador to Children” and the “Pied Piper of Louisiana Music Traditions,” Johnette Downing is a multi-award winning children’s book author and musician performing concerts and author visits for children, and workshops and keynote for educators globally. Dedicated to celebrating childhood, sharing cultures and fostering literacy through her music, books and programs, Johnette has performed in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Central America, North America and the Caribbean, has received twenty-one awards and has received rave reviews in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Disney Family Fun Magazine, Parenting Magazine, Parents Magazine and many more.

Scott Billington

Scott Billington is a musician, writer and Grammy® Award winning record producer. With a discography of over 100 albums of roots-based music, Scott has received the Porretta (Italy) Sweet Soul Music Award, the Blues Foundation’s Keeping the Blues Alive Award, and the Offbeat (New Orleans) Lifetime Achievement Award. His records have garnered a total of ten Grammy® nominations, along with awards from the French Academie du Jazz, Living Blues magazine and many others. His writing has appeared in the Oxford American, Gambit, the Boston Globe and numerous other publications. Scott’s harmonica playing has been featured on albums by artists as diverse as Appalachian folk singer Hazel Dickens, rockabilly musician Sleepy LaBeef and soul singer Irma Thomas.

[Original air date: Feb 9th & 10th, 2013]

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for March 4th & 5th, 2017

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

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for March 4th – 10th, 2017 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Ongoing Story Hours & Playgroups and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 40 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Tulip Mania to Gyoktaku. Purim to Poetry., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational, cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families

Other exciting posts to check out include our featured post of Winter & Spring Classes in Western MA and our new Preschool Directory for Western MA! If you  know of a preschool that should be added, let us know!

Plus, we have an exciting new opportunity for the Summer Camps in our region! In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in Western MA, 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 regional camps 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.

March 4 – 10, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Plant Studies ♦  PurimIchthyology ♦  STEMMaple HistoryHistory FairArt HistoryWorld Languages  ♦ Theater StudiesMusic HistoryOrnithologySustainabilityAgricultureIce FishingSeed SavingCommunity Meals ♦  PhotographyReligious StudiesGyoktakuHealth & Wellness ♦  Italian CultureHerbalisimWomen’s HistoryNutritionParentingCulture StudiesPoetryCollaborative Consumption

      advertise with Hilltown Families


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40 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Tulip Mania to Gyoktaku. Purim to Poetry.

“With rapidly rising global temperatures come seasonal changes. As spring comes earlier for some plant species, there are ripple effects throughout the food web. Regina Brinker explains how phenology, or the natural cycles of plants and animals, can be affected by these changes.” – TED-Ed. View full lesson: Phenology and nature’s shifting rhythms – Regina Brinker.

Economics to Engineering. Jazz Music to Japanese Art History. Linguistics to Female Explorers. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlight this week:  Spring comes sooner than you might think, at the Pioneer Valley’s local greenhouses! Spring bulb shows signal the coming end of winter and offer families an opportunity to learn together about habitat, the life cycle of plants, and species identification. A visit to a bulb show can support or inspire a love for flowers and learning about botany, plant and soil science, and possibly even evolutionary biology. You can also discover the beauty of this flower to gain a better understanding in the psychology behind the tulip mania featured in the video above. Charles Darwin, in his study of natural selection, examined the co-evolution of orchids and insect species. Visiting the greenhouse can be an opportunity for you and your children to think about this interrelation of plants and insects. Or you may simply want to see the beautiful sights and smell the fragrant flowers! The Smith College Bulb Show runs from March 4 through March 19. Lyman Conservatory. 16 College Lane. Northampton, MA. (<$)


Plant Studies ♦  PurimIchthyology ♦  STEMMaple HistoryHistory FairArt HistoryWorld Languages  ♦ Theater StudiesMusic HistoryOrnithologySustainabilityAgricultureIce FishingSeed SavingCommunity Meals ♦  PhotographyReligious StudiesGyoktakuHealth & Wellness ♦  Italian CultureHerbalisimWomen’s HistoryNutritionParentingCulture StudiesPoetryCollaborative Consumption


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Become a sponsor of Learn Local. Play Local. and see your banner here:


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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 »

Sense of Place: Winter Stillness

Think about this:

What activities or hobbies are you interested in pursuing during the winter months? Have these interests changed over the years? Why?

How can you incorporate a mindful practice into your daily winter routine? How does the stillness of winter support a meditation practice?

What types of skill sharing do you think happened in early New England during the winter months?  What pastimes or skills were passed down from generation to generation?

When was cursive handwriting first developed? Is it still taught in school?

How much was the first postage stamp in the United States? What is the origin and history behind the postage stamp?


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

 

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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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for February 25th & 26th, 2017

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

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for February 25th – March 3rd, 2017 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Ongoing Story Hours & Playgroups and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 35 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Tiny Houses to Fermented Foods. Physics to Anthropology., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational, cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families

Other exciting posts to check out include our featured post of Winter & Spring Classes in Western MA and our new Preschool Directory for Western MA! If you  know of a preschool that should be added, let us know!

Plus, we have an exciting new opportunity for the Summer Camps in our region! In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in Western MA, 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 regional camps 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.

February 25th – March 3rd, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

ReligionBotanyRace IdentityFilm StudiesNature-Based LearningRoboticsNeurodiversityComputer CodingPhysicsAnthropologyArchitectureHistoryRacial JusticeMaple SyrupTheater StudiesMusic StudiesInclusionOrchidsTrackingImmigrationSTEMCulinary Arts

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35 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Tiny Houses to Fermented Foods. Physics to Anthropology.

Local flower societies and college conservatories are community resources that can offer opportunities to learn about habitat, the life cycle of plants, and the structural nuances that differentiate one species from another. Three upcoming annual flower shows featuring orchids, flower bulbs and spring flowers are perfect events to support these interests and to inspire a love for flowers! Read more in our post, Orchids & Tulips: Learning About Botany & Habitat.

Buddhism to World Culture. Citizen Science to Neutrinos. Comics to Anime. Tiny Houses to Fermented Foods. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlight this week:

On Tuesday, February 28, 6:30pm at the Westhampton Public Library, Family Code Night will take the intimidation away from computer coding for kids as well as parents! Children ages five and up, and their caregivers, are invited to learn the basics of computer coding through fun puzzles. No experience is necessary for this introductory STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program. Registration is required. Participants are encouraged to bring one device for every two participants, if possible. Laptops, Chromebooks, and tablets will all work as long as they are able to connect to WiFi. There will be a limited number of laptops available for use. The event will take place at the Hampshire Regional High School library. Questions? Call the library at 413-527-5386 or email westhampton@cwmars.org. 19 Stage Road Westhampton, MA. (FREE)


ReligionBotanyRace IdentityFilm StudiesNature-Based LearningRoboticsNeurodiversityComputer CodingPhysicsAnthropologyArchitectureHistoryRacial JusticeMaple SyrupTheater StudiesMusic StudiesInclusionOrchidsTrackingImmigrationSTEMCulinary Arts


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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

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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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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Explore History & Culture through Food

Explore History & Culture through Food

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

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

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

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

Sense of Place: Winter Farmers’ Markets & Seasonal Food

Think about this:

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

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

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

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


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

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Let Them Grow: Arts & Crafts for Presidents’ Day

Let Them Grow by Candice Chouinard

Presidents’ Day

Certain holidays are hard for small children to grasp. A great example of this is Presidents’ Day. It’s a vague concept for young preschoolers and toddlers to understand there is a hierarchy in government. Instead, I have found that by focusing on a theme in the holiday children can learn and explore the idea open ended. Collages are a fun way to explore art with limited restrictions and open a dialog about complex concepts.  Here are two fun President-themed activities. Read the rest of this entry »

Weekdays in Western MA: February 20 – 24, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA:
February 20 – 24, 2017

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

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

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


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

Hilltown Family Variety Show

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

Listen to Podcast:

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

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


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

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

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for February 18th & 19th, 2017

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

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for February 18th-24th, 2017 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Ongoing Story Hours & Playgroups and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 34 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Winter Festivals to Valentine’s Day. Nordic Skiing to Immigration Studies., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational, cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families

Other exciting posts to check out include our featured post of Winter & Spring Classes in Western MA and our new Preschool Directory for Western MA! If you  know of a preschool that should be added, let us know!

Plus, we have an exciting new opportunity for the Summer Camps in our region! In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in Western MA, 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 regional camps 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.

February 18th-24th, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

ArcheryPhilosophyOrnithologyGuided HikeFilm StudiesPaleontologyNature PhotographyArt StudiesIce HarvestingAstronomyPoetryWinter SportsCritical ThinkingDance StudiesZoologyCitizen ScienceAfrican American HistoryMusic StudiesFigure Drawing  ♦ Nature CenterIntergenerationalAviation

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FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. HFVS Music from South Africa with Guest DJ, Debbie Lan (Radio Show/Podcast)
  2. Springfield Armory: A National Historic Site
  3. Teaching Your Daughter to be Assertive
  4. Let Them Grow: Learning Activities for Mud Season

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25 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Philosophy to Silent Film. Musical Petting Zoo to Planetariums.

Family game sessions are one way to get both parents and kids to put aside their work, and their screen-based entertainment, to spend time together. Simple games can challenge young kids to think critically, while harder games can challenge older children through friendly competition. Spice up your family game experience by joining other families at the Meekins Library Game Afternoon on Thursday, February 23, 1pm-3pm. All ages are welcome and there will be snacks! Drop in anytime. Ages five and under must be accompanied by an adult. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Gender Studies to Film Studies. Wild Cats to Natural History Museum. Choreography to Classical Music. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlight this week:  When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. At the Berkshire Museum’s Instrument Petting Zoo on Thursday, February 23, 2pm-3pm, participants will be able to see, listen to, and play lots of different instruments! Picking the right instrument is an important factor for sustaining a lifelong hobby of musicianship. Explore risk-free as part of Ten Days of Play 2017. Included with regular museum admission. Check out a museum pass from your library for free admission. To find out which local library has free museum passes for borrowing, check our Educational Support & Local Resources page. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Route 7. Pittsfield, MA. ($; children under 18 <$; members, ages three and under FREE)


 ArcheryPhilosophyOrnithologyGuided HikeFilm StudiesPaleontologyNature PhotographyArt StudiesIce HarvestingAstronomyPoetryWinter SportsCritical ThinkingDance StudiesZoologyCitizen ScienceAfrican American HistoryMusic StudiesFigure Drawing  ♦ Nature CenterIntergenerationalAviation


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Become a sponsor of Learn Local. Play Local. and see your banner here:


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Suggested Events for February 18th – 24th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

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

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

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

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

Summer Camp

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

Bulletin Board

Feb 19-26

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

Feb 20-24

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

Feb 21-24

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

Feb 25

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

Feb 26

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

Open House: Mar 4

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

Feb 20-24

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

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

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

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

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

Featured Winter & Spring Classes in Western MA

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

Featured Winter & Spring Classes in Western MA

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


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

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Poetry Contest Encourages Local Poets of All Ages

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

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

Teen Video Contest Highlights Activist Leaders

Community Involvement for Social Change via Video

Writer Ayesha Siddiqi is quoted as giving this piece of advice: “Be the person you needed when you were younger.” Working to inspire younger generations can ensure that your vision grows, expands, and lives on beyond you. Many young people do have peers as well as older adults in their lives who inspire them to do important deeds such as organize within their communities, fight injustice, and educate others. Identifying leaders can help young people to discover qualities they would like to cultivate for themselves.

Making Democracy Work in My Community is a video contest for Massachusetts teens. The contest asks young people to create a two-minute video about a person who is “making democracy work.” This challenges teens to think about leaders who foster dialogues, organize action, and encourage civic participation from other community members. The contest will amplify young voices as teens have the chance to articulate what they admire about their chosen community leaders. Finally, the contest will have the broader impact of shining a spotlight on politically active people in our neighborhoods, thus encouraging everyone to get more involved in the democratic process.  Read the rest of this entry »

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

The Four Freedoms

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

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

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

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


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

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