Learning Ahead: April 6th-10th, 2015

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long!

This week we are featuring 20 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

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


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by Marlboro College:


Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Funk Music Episode with Guest DJ, Mike Whitla

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Funk Music Episode
with Guest DJ, Mike Whitla

Mike Whitla from the band Rock’n’Rainbow is your guide into the world of Funk. This show will explore the roots history of funky music, it will also find out exactly what makes funky music sound the way it does. Get ready to boogie!!!  — rocknrainbow.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
April 4th & 5th, 2015
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured video: “5 Senses” – a great new Counting Song by Rock’n’Rainbow from Let’s Boogie


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • James Brown – “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” [Mighty Instrumentals]
  • Sly and the Family Stone – “Dance to the Music” [Greatest Hits]
  • Rock’n’Rainbow – “Hokey Funky“ [Let’s Boogie]
  • Parliament Funkadelic- “Give up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off)” [Mothership Connection]
  • Kool & the Gang – “Jungle Boogie” [Wild and the Peaceful]
  • Rock’n’Rainbow – “Let’s Boogie“ [Let’s Boogie]
  • Stevie Wonder – “Boogie on Reggae Woman” [Fulfillingness’ First Finale]
  • Queen – “Another One Bites the Dust” [The Game]
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers- “Funky Crime” [Uplift Mofo Party Plan]
  • Rock’n’Rainbow – “The Freeze“ [Let’s Boogie]
  • Living Colour – “The Cult of Personality” [Vivid]
  • Prince – “Cream” [Diamonds and Pearls]
  • Rock’n’Rainbow – “Five Senses“ [Let’s Boogie]

 

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for April 4th & 5th, 2015

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 April 4th-10th, 2015 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our monthly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 19 Community Highlights: Ducklings to Ukuleles. Chemistry to Anatomy., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and 2015 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA  for a comprehensive list!

April 4th-10th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

EasterArt/AnatomySTEMBird StudiesCulinary ArtsCreative-Free PlayTheaterDance StudiesLocal HistoryFarm AnimalsMusicParent WorkshopsMuseum AdventuresNature-Based Learning

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Let’s Play: Creative-Free Play in the Spring
  2. 6 Remedies to the Pre-Dinner Snack Dilemma
  3. A Flock of New Bird Books Take Flight
  4. HFVS Birds of Spring Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. Early Spring Gardening in the Hilltowns

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

19 Community Highlights: Ducklings to Ukuleles. Chemistry to Anatomy.

Celebrate the coming of spring at Winterberry Farm‘s annual Open Farm on Sunday, April 5, 2pm-4:30pm . Come meet animals, including lambs, chicks, and ducklings. A great way for families to spend this early-spring Sunday! Donations accepted for Right Sharing of World Resources. 413-624-3940. 340 Wilson Hill Road. Colrain, MA. (FREE/DONATIONS ACCEPTED)

Anatomy to Chemistry. Ducklings to Woodcocks. Ukulele to Intergenerational Playshop… 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: Do you want to learn how to solve mysteries using science? Attend a free, CSI-themed Chemistry Adventure Day at the Emily Williston Memorial Library on Saturday, April 4 from 10:30am-11:30am! Students from Mt. Holyoke College will lead this event for kids, which uses forensic science to figure out who stole the cookies from the school fundraiser. Kids who love science and mysteries will have a blast at this hands-on program, which will help teach basic chemistry concepts. Call 413-529-1605 or stop by the Youth Department to register. The library is located at 9 Park Street in Easthampton, MA. (FREE)


EasterArt/AnatomySTEMBird StudiesCulinary ArtsCreative-Free PlayTheaterDance StudiesLocal HistoryFarm AnimalsMusicParent WorkshopsMuseum AdventuresNature-Based Learning


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation:

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for April 4th-10th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“We love having one central place where we can find kid-friendly local activities happening on any given weekend! And now that our child is older, it’s great to have a source for summer camp suggestions, too.” – Amy Wilson (Florence, 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… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Summer Camps in Western MA

Check out our featured post, 2015 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a comprehensive list of summer camps & programs in the region! 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 4

Sunnyside Child Care Presents: “Here Comes The Sun!” Spend the morning singing and dancing with the Valley’s own local heroes The Nields! The Nields are celebrating the release of their seventeenth album with a benefit for Sunnyside. Come Sing and Dance with us! Join Sunnyside on Saturday, April 4th from 10:30am–12noon at the Florence Community Center (140 Pine St. Florence MA). Tickets just $5 per person ($20 maximum per family). All proceeds fund the Sunnyside Scholarship Fund. www.sunnysidekids.org

Apr 11 & 12

Do you sleep under a quilt every night? Have you ever thought about who made that quilt? The Hands All Around Quilt Show, April 11 & 12, at the UMass Amherst Campus Center, will surprise and amaze you – modern quilts, pictorial quilts, and yes, great traditional quilts too. Introduce your child to the wonderful world of homemade quilts! Many quilters will be on hand to discuss and explain their wonderful craft. Something for everyone – 300+ quilts, quilting demonstrations, kids activities, a modern quilt exhibit, a mini-quilt sale, and much more. April 11 & 12, UMass Amherst Campus Center, don’t miss this quilt show. www.handsacrossthevalley.org

Apr 15

Amherst Montessori School has openings for children ages 15 months through 5 years for Fall 2015! Open House on Wednesday, April 15, 9-10:30 AM. Amherst Montessori School nurtures the child’s spirit, curiosity, confidence, and leadership, building the foundation for a lifelong love of learning. AMS programs feature thoughtfully-prepared classrooms to support the child’s development, and a curriculum that integrates music, art, practical life, outdoor time, PE, Spanish and more. Young Toddler through Sixth Grade. To register for the Open House, call 413-253-3101 or email Laura Miller, Director of Admissions, at lmiller@amherstmontessori.org. www.amherstmontessori.org

May 3-Jun 7

Biocitizen School presents Drawing on Nature: Art in the Woods: a class devoted to nurturing biophilia (love of life) and the skills of transporting nature’s beauty to the sketchbook with pencils, paints & clay—that includes hikes and plein aire activities, tracking and capturing nature’s emergencies through high Spring. Introductory concepts of composition, line, form, value, texture, color and pattern are used to inspire students’ imagination and expression. Students are provided with a notebook and a travel watercolor set that they get to take home. Tuition: $250 for 24 hours instruction & all materials. Dates: Classes are Sundays, 10am–2pm, from May 3-Jun 7. Age range: 9-12. Contact: 413-695-7994. info@biocitizen.org. www.biocitizen.org

The Harold Grinspoon Foundation is happy to announce that it will provide $4000 per year to qualifying younger students and $5000 to high school students who attend one of the region’s Jewish day schools. Ensuring small classes, excellent teachers and a nurturing environment, Jewish day schools can provide your child with a superb secular and Jewish education. Participating schools include: Heritage Academy, Longmeadow; Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy, Longmeadow; Lander-Grinspoon Academy, Northampton; and Hebrew High School of New England, West Hartford. For more information, visit www.hgf.org/TIP

Apr 18

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids with the second in our series happening on Saturday, April 18 from 10am-12noon. Mark your calendars and make plans to ome enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town in Easthampton, MA. 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)

Apr 23

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Saturday, April 18th, 9-11:30am, celebrating National Volunteer Month. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER) (Sponsored by Hilltown Tree & Garden)

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, program, 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.mps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE.

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
April 4th-10th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

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Family Friendly Fun at Easthampton BookFest

Community-Based Literacy Opportunities!

Celebrate all things local and book-related at the first annual Easthampton BookFest! Created by Easthampton City Arts+, and supported by countless literary folks from the community, the event is chock-full of book- and story-themed events that encourage learning and creativity. This is an opportunity that is not to be missed!

Residents of western Massachusetts suffer no shortage of independent bookstores, and there are wonderful authors and illustrators residing throughout. Easthampton City Arts+ – along with a great many local business, artists, and authors – celebrates the region’s rich literary culture with the first annual Easthampton BookFest! Held on Saturday, April 11, 2015, at locations all over Easthampton, the event highlights local authors and illustrators, as well as storytellers, bookbinders, translators, zine artists, and book-centric locations throughout the city.

Made up of many different independent workshops, presentations, hands-on activities, celebrations, performances, and other happenings, Easthampton BookFest will take place from 10am-10pm, filling the city with all things literary all day long. Read the rest of this entry »

Time to Talk: Understanding & Helping Children Who Stutter

Smooth Speech

When a child repeats a beginning sound of a word or a beginning syllable, or pauses for a long time before speaking, or says filler words like “um, um, um,” parents wonder if their child is a stutterer. As listeners, we feel the effort and anxiety the child is experiencing to get their words out. We feel helpless, uncomfortable, or mildly annoyed to have to slow down and wait to find out what the child is trying to express, especially when we are on tight time schedules. We finish sentences for them, ask more questions to find out what they want, or tell them to relax and slow down.  Read the rest of this entry »

Under the Hat: When Sound Crosses Borders

The Universal Language of Dogs

Dogs all over the world understand each other, instantly! This universal language can be found in music too, crossing cultures and facilitating communication without barriers. Knowing how to play music can cultivate a sense of cultural appreciation and connection, building a bridge of cooperation and joy between people without the need for spoken language.

I’ve been a professional musician for thirty years, but it wasn’t until I started collaborating with artists from other countries and cultures that I finally understood the old cliché that music is a “universal language.”

I’m currently recording an album of original songs for a new bilingual album called, Los Animales. Part of the fun of making the record is working with great musicians from different parts of Latin America. Yesterday I was in a studio in Los Angeles with my friend Mari Nobre, who is a wonderful Brazilian singer. Over lunch we started talking about the different sounds we have for the way dogs bark in English and Portuguese. While we say “woof woof,” in Brazil they make a sound like “au, au.”

This realization led to a conversation about how dogs all over the world understand each other instantly. We concluded that there’s a universal language of dogs, which enables dogs to communicate and interact instantly regardless of where they’re from.  Read the rest of this entry »

The Art of Eric Carle: Bees, Butterflies, and Other Bugs

The Art of Eric Carle:
Bees, Butterflies, and Other Bugs

On View April 7 – August 30, 2015

Amateur entomology takes the spotlight at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art during the next few months, as a new bug-themed exhibit fills the galleries! The Art of Eric Carle: Bees, Butterflies, and Other Bugs will be on view from April 7th – August 30th, 2015, and brings with it not only beautiful and delightful images featuring a host of insects, but a swarm of special bug-themed and Eric Carle-centric events as well.

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Sparked by copious amounts of time spent outdoors as a child, Eric Carle’s picture books have often featured lovable insect characters, from fireflies to ladybugs to the iconic starving green caterpillar. The images featured in the exhibit are full of wings, crawly legs, and stingers, but portray the crawliest of earth’s inhabitants beautifully, with respect, reverence, and the light, playful style unique to Carle’s artwork.

In addition to a bug-filled gallery, the Eric Carle Museum will hold special events to accompany the exhibit. Over the next few months, families can take advantage of opportunities to engage in bug-themed hands-on art making in the museum’s studio, and can create their own original bug creations to add to a community art project that will adorn the trees in the museum’s orchard. Additionally, special events featuring bug-themed storytelling and comedy will be held, and the museum’s Children’s Book Festival (held on June 6th) will be bug-themed as well!  Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: April 2015

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
April 2015

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, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

“I love Hilltown Families! I live in Berkshire County and am much more aware of fun family events in the surrounding towns to take my daughter too… My daughter has enjoyed so many events we would not have known about.” – Rebecca Heath (Pittsfield, MA)


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

Read the rest of this entry »

Vision Boards Can Support Youth with Goals

Vision Boards: Tool for Supporting Children with Accomplishing 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 »

Hindsight Parenting: Have No Fear of Feelings

Sensitive Souls

Being sensitive is what makes me who I am; someone who strives on a daily basis to improve, a writer who notices the most minute life details, a philosopher who searches for meaning in the most mundane places.

When I was 9, while eating dinner in a fancy restaurant with my parents and sisters, an elderly woman at another table began to choke. The two men seated with her stood up quickly and one grabbed her around her middle to perform the Heimlich maneuver (although at the time, I didn’t know that was what he was doing). There was quite a lot of commotion surrounding the scene; silverware clanking on dishes, women gasping, and chairs scraping, but I couldn’t seem to take my eyes off of the poor woman’s face. She was so clearly suffering, and so terribly full of fear. In an instant, her fear seemed to wash over me and I began to panic as well. My body started to shake. I felt the familiar sourness of nausea. My hands trembled and my armpits prickled with sharp needle-like jabs. I was overwhelmed with dread and turned to my mother who was standing across the table from me. I appealed to her with the only word that my dry lips could form, “Mommy?”

There was a lot of meaning in that single utterance…Mommy can we help? Mommy I am scared. Mommy I don’t like how fearful I feel. Mommy will it be ok? Perhaps because she was feeling just as scared, or maybe because she didn’t have any answers to those invisible questions, she responded with a scolding “Logan, don’t start!!”  Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Vernal Pools

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: March Segment
Vernal Pools: Natural Habitats & Local Species as Community Resources

Hilltown Families and Mass Appeal (a weekday, hour-long lifestyle program on NBC) have teamed up to offer a live monthly segment on WWLP 22News!  Each month, Hilltown Families’ Founder & Executive Director, Sienna Wildfield,  joins Mass Appeal hosts, Ashley Kohl and Seth Stutman, to talk about ways to engage in your community while supporting the interests and education of your children (and yourselves!).

This monthly segment continued on Thursday, March 26, 2015, highlighting how local habitats and native species can be used as a catalyst for learning. Through the lens of Vernal Pools and the animals that depend on them for survival, Sienna shares three methods of engagement as a way to support interests and education via Vernal Pools:


Vernal Pools: Methods of Engagement that Support Community-Based Learning

When looking for community-based resources that support learning via the lens of vernal pools, consider nature center, conservation organizations and your local library.

Phenology-based activities coincide with the natural changing of our seasons (our ultimate accessible community-based educational resource) and are great catalysts for learning through community engagement. Maple syrup season, filled with delicious community activities and opportunities, is our most recent seasonal activity here in Western MA.  But can you name other seasonal events coming our way as winter transitions into spring? The one we want to highlight this month is Vernal Pools!

As the seasons transition and habitats and animals respond to the change in weather and climate, Vernal Pools begin to emerge and come to life based on the timing of this change and the relationship plants and animals have with their environment! Taking advantage of these changes and getting out into your community to participate in nature-based learning activities will support the development of skills and integrated learning in a wide variety of subjects.

Methods of engagement as they relate to Vernal Pools can include nature-based learning, service-based learning and citizen scientist, and the embedded learning families can extracted from these engagement opportunities can range from ecology to natural history, entomology to zoology, scientific process to art!

The following methods of engagement and events highlight these community-based resources and the embedded learning you can extract from participation: Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: March 30th-April 3rd, 2015

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long!

This week we are featuring 11 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

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


Sponsor Learning Ahead


Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Twofers & Threefers Episode with Guest DJ, Randy Kaplan

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Twofers & Threefers Episode
with Guest DJ, Randy Kaplan

Randy returns to the Hilltown airwaves with a set of twofers and threefers: short mini-segments of two or three related songs——songs by the same group, in the same style, or whose themes or subject matter connect in some way. You’ll hear blues, folk, country, calypso, a few off-the-beaten-path numbers, and even a show tune lullaby sung by Randy’s wife, Julie May Kaplan…and, of course, a few trademark Randy songs as well.  — www.randykaplan.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
March 28th & 29th, 2015
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured video:  “Crew Cut” from Jam on Rye:


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Dave Van Ronk – “Did You Hear John Hurt?” […And The Tin Pan Bended, And The Story Ended… {Live}]
  • Mississippi John Hurt – “My Creole Belle” [Satisfied…..{Live}]
  • Doc Watson – “Curly Headed Baby” [Memories]
  • Randy Kaplan – “Crew Cut” [Jam on Rye]
  • Dan Bern – “My Frigerator Broke” [Three Feet Tall]
  • The Clash – “Lost in the Supermarket” [London Calling]
  • Randy Kaplan – “So Funny I Forgot to Laugh” [Jam on Rye]
  • Pete Townsend – “Sleeping Dog” [Who Came First {Bonus Track}]
  • Randy Kaplan – “Virginia, Vega, and I” [Jam on Rye]
  • Truckstop Honeymoon – “Home Is Not a Hotel” [The Madness of Happiness]
  • Truckstop Honeymoon – “Couch Surfing with a Family of Six”[The Madness of Happiness]
  • Sam Manning’s Orchestra – “Back to my West India Home” [Calypso Calaloo]
  • Charlie Binger & His Quartet – “Jamaica Is the Place to Go” [Trojan CALYPSO Box Set (Disc 1)]
  • Dan Bern – “Cheetah” [Three Feet Tall]
  • Randy Kaplan “Slow Motion Mom” [Jam on Rye]
  • Julie May Kaplan – “Goodnight, My Someone” [Jam on Rye]

 


 

Related Post: Jul 21/22, 2012 — Guest DJ, Randy Kaplan — Playlist/Video ♦ Podcast

 

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for March 28th & 29th, 2015

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 28th-April 3rd, 2015 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our monthly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 28 Community Highlights: Pysanky to Passover. Aerodynamics to Shakespeare., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and 2015 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA  for a comprehensive list!

March 28th-April 3rd, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

GeologyFolk Art/UkrainianPuppets/Marionettes  ♦ Library AdventuresSTEMConservationTheater/MusicalsHistory/ArtifactsAerospace ScienceCommunity Meal/PassoverParenting/HomeworkSleddingFamily MusicPaleontology

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Phenology: Connecting with Nature Science & Local Culture
  2. Children’s Book Highlights the Pioneer Valley
  3. Citizen Scientists Wanted to Map the Stars
  4. Parenting Green: The Gift of Honey
  5. HFVS Occupation Episode with Guest DJ, Brandon Smith (Radio Show/Podcast)

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

28 Community Highlights: Pysanky to Passover. Aerodynamics to Shakespeare.

Saturday, March 28, 12noon-2pm – PYSANKY: Learn about “pysanky,” or Ukrainian Easter eggs, at the S. White Dickinson Memorial Library with local art teacher Marion Abrams. Abrams will teach kids and families ages 8 and up about pysanky and thow to paint these beautifully decorated eggs using beeswax and dyes. Please register in advance. 413-665-2170. 202 Chestnut Plain Road. Whately, MA. (FREE)

Pysanky to Passover. Fossils to Dinosaurs. Aerodynamics to Shakespeare… 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: Families can join Mass Audubon for a Bluebird Nest Box Building Workshop at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary on Saturday, March 28, from 1:30pm-3pm. Build pre-cut nest boxes to help provide much-needed nesting sites for cavity nesting birds like bluebirds, tree swallows, house wrens, chickadees, and others. Participants will also learn how and where to mount the boxes, and will learn about Eastern Bluebird conservation efforts. Call to register. 413-637-0320. 472 West Mountain Road. Lenox, MA. ($$)


GeologyFolk Art/UkrainianPuppets/Marionettes  ♦ Library AdventuresSTEMConservationTheater/MusicalsHistory/ArtifactsAerospace ScienceCommunity Meal/PassoverParenting/HomeworkSleddingFamily MusicPaleontology


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for March 28th-April 3rd, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

”Hilltown Families has benefited us in so many ways… expanding our abilities to attend family events around the area, be it in nature, music, dance, art. Our child has grown and learned so much (and will continue to) by being able to expand his horizons in so many ways… more than we could have ever imagined. Thank you HILLTOWN FAMILIES! YOU ROCK!” – Erin Long (Easthampton, 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… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Summer Camps in Western MA

Check out our featured post, 2015 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a comprehensive list of summer camps & programs in the region! Summer opportunities featured range from music, art, farming, theater, dance, science, nature, sports, speaking, yoga, rock ‘n roll… to traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

Bulletin Board

Mar 28

Valley Vegfest, Saturday, March 28, 10-4, at JFK Middle School, Bridge Road in Northampton. Featuring passionate speakers, vegan food vendors, veg-friendly products, and non-profit organizations dedicated to animal welfare, healthy living, and the environment. Learn about and sample delicious healthy foods. Join in discussions and demonstrations. Enjoy entertainment and activities for kids. Speakers include Kathy Stevens, founder and director of Catskill Animal Sanctuary; Reed Mangels, nutritionist and author, Pattrice Jones, co-founder of VINE Sanctuary; Tim Van Orden, vegan athlete and raw food proponent; and Mary Lawrence, author and vegan chef. Admission is free– donations welcomed. Details at www.valleyveg.org

Mar 28

Independent Middle School Fair. An opportunity for families to learn about seven local schools with middle-school programs. Meet representatives from The Academy at Charlemont, Academy Hill School, The Bement School, The Center School, Four Winds School, The Hartsbrook School, and Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School. Saturday, March 28, 2-4pm, at Four Winds School, 54 French King Highway (Route 2), in Gill, MA. More information at www.fourwindsschool.info or call 413-863-8055.

Mar 28 & 29

Pioneer Valley Ballet’s original performance of Aladdin and his Magic Lamp performs March 28 & 29 at the Academy of Music in Northampton. The colorful characters and spell-binding choreography of Aladdin and his Magic Lamp takes audience members on a magical ride through a land brimming with genies, dreams, love, and adventure. A perfect spring adventure for the whole family! Tickets: pioneervalleyballet.tix.com

Mar 29

New England Air Museum will hold its annual Space Expo on Sunday, March 29th from 10am-4pm. This is your opportunity to experience aerospace science and technology as well as meet pioneers from the aerospace industry. More than 15 exhibitors from across New England will participate in the event including demonstrations and hands-on activities. Visitors can meet an astronaut, try on a space suit, pilot a space craft simulator, touch a meteorite, learn about the atmosphere of Mars, build a rocket, and much more. NEAM is located in Windsor Locks, CT. For more info call 860-623-3305 or visit www.neam.org.

Apr 4

Sunnyside Child Care Presents: “Here Comes The Sun!” Spend the morning singing and dancing with the Valley’s own local heroes The Nields! The Nields are celebrating the release of their seventeenth album with a benefit for Sunnyside. Come Sing and Dance with us! Join Sunnyside on Saturday, April 4th from 10:30am–12noon at the Florence Community Center (140 Pine St. Florence MA). Tickets just $5 per person ($20 maximum per family). All proceeds fund the Sunnyside Scholarship Fund. www.sunnysidekids.org

Apr 18

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids with the second in our series happening on Saturday, April 18 from 10am-12noon. Mark your calendars and make plans to ome enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town in Easthampton, MA. 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)

Apr 23

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Thursday, April 23rd, 6-8pm, celebrating National Volunteer Month. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER) (Sponsored by Hilltown Tree & Garden)

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, program, 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.mps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE.

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
March 28th-April 3rd, 2015

SaturdaySunday
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Let Them Grow: Bringing A Taste of Winter Indoors!

Let Them Grow by Candice Chouinard

Chipping Away at Winter

As winter begins to wind down and we are left to unbury ourselves from the squishy sugar snow, I would like stir in a few more weeks of winter themed activities.

Recreating a frozen world is easy and by bringing a piece of winter to the table, you can create a fine motor and sensory adventure for your little one! All of these winter themed activities are variations of the same basic idea, freeze things inside ice and challenging your child to get them out. You can freeze the objects in ice cube trays, small plastic bowls or in giant trays. Add food-grade dye to match the theme, use sparkles or sand for texture- Have fun creating a mini frozen world. Then, offer tools such as squirt bottles of warm water, eye droppers, toothpicks, forks, child knives, tweezers, mini hammers, chop sticks… or whatever you can dream up to help excavate the ice.

Here are just a few suggestions. I like to do these at the table, in trays to hold the mess. These activities also work great in a water table, in the bathtub, or outside on the ground: Read the rest of this entry »

Parents’ Night Out: Sinbad at the Calvin Theatre this Saturday!

Parents’ Night Out!

One of Comedy Central’s all-time top 100 standup comedians, Sinbad tells hilarious stories about the foibles of daily life, and he’s profound without being profane. We’re giving away two pairs of tickets for a night out in Northampton, MA, at the Calvin Theatre. Click on the image to find out how you can enter for a chance to win tickets:

Lenox Peeps Show Diorama Contest Presents Creative History Learning Opportunity

Let Your Puns Run Wild!

Peep through a history book or two in order to get ready for what might be the punniest contest of the year – the Lenox Peeps Show Diorama Contest calls for entrants to create dioramas featuring Peeps of any species as miniature mannequins in important moments in history. The most creative of dioramas not only dramatically display a piece of history, but use puns either in their title or within the diorama itself (think Declaration of Indepeepdence or the Leaning Tower of Peepsa). Read the rest of this entry »

Independent Bookshop Hosts Annual Youth Writing Contest in Pioneer Valley

Inspring Young People to Write

Writing Poetry

Young authors have a competitive outlet for their creativity this spring – Odyssey Bookshop’s 22nd annual Children’s Writing Contest is happening now! While the contest deadline isn’t until Friday, April 24th, now is the time to begin crafting an original story and, perhaps, an accompanying illustration. The contest is open to writers in first through fifth grade, and authors are expected to complete their submission on their own. Read the rest of this entry »

Open Sesame: Celebrating Women’s History with Children’s Picture Books

Open Sesame: Kid Lit Musings and Review by Cheli Mennella

Women In History: Three New Books

For more than thirty years, the National Women’s History Project has been devoted to “writing women back into history.” They created a national clearinghouse of multicultural women’s history, which includes information, materials, resources, referrals, training and strategies to anyone interested in learning about women’s roles in American history. Their successful lobbying efforts led Congress to recognize March as Women’s History Month, which has become a time to celebrate the bold and beautiful, courageous and curious, strong, smart, and compassionate women in our collective history. We have so much to learn from their example, which is why we need to keep getting books about these women into children’s hands. Here are three new books that recognize girls with big dreams. But first, recognition of a local woman who left her imprint on American history and on our own local history… Read the rest of this entry »

Easter Events in Western MA, 2015

Easter Events in Western MA 2015

During Easter many towns host egg hunts for their residents. Check our list of Easter events for an egg hunt nearest you, along with Easter craft opportunities, brunch and Easter Bunny appearances.

Community events that celebrate Easter take place over the next few week.

We’ll be adding to this list as events come in, so be sure to check back: Easter Events in Western MA 2015.

Mapping Vernal Pool Habitats Hosts Loads of Learning

Mapping Vernal Pools

Families can explore and map local vernal pools all on their own! The process of inspecting, mapping, and tracking present species is quite a project to undertake as a family, but is one that can provide endless opportunities for learning and exploration of the natural world.

Vernal pools are the breeding grounds for some of spring’s most exciting life – literally! Not only are they home to special species like fairy shrimp, who spend their entire lives in vernal pool habitats, but the watery mini-ponds provide a venue for salamander and frog species to lay eggs for late-spring hatching. While some vernal pools in western Massachusetts are well known (Sheburne’s High Ledges are home to a local favorite), there are certainly many, many more vernal pools whose locations have yet to be officially determined.

Families can explore vernal pools in their neighborhoods by using the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program’s GIS Data vernal pool maps, which can be downloaded either as a GIS layer (for tech-y families) or as a datalayer in an online map. While there’s still lots of snow on the ground, the sound of peepers will soon be serenading the hills on spring evenings, and vernal pools will be slowly coming alive with fresh water and lots of fascinating life.

But what about those vernal pools that have yet to be mapped by the state? Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: The Living Land Wants to Play

Our Bodies of Water

The land is an organism, wrote Aldo Leopold, the Yale-trained game management specialist, about seventy-five years ago. An organism is alive, and its life is made up of the contributions of disparate organs, each of which would be lifeless without the collaborations of all the others.

The idea—actually fact—that land is an organism is, of course, an ancient one, as venerable as our anthropomorphic figure of “mother earth.” Leopold’s work, especially his classic book A Sand County Almanac, reveals how he struggled through his education in empirical science to prove something that we, as a species, have felt and known for eons. If Plato was correct, and knowledge is remembering something we have forgotten, then Leopold stands as a vibrant example of a knowledgeable person. His experience of translating the wisdom of our ancient ancestors into the lexicon of science is one that anybody who loves and tries to protect land knows well. Read the rest of this entry »

Become A Citizen Scientist & Get to Know Your Local Dragonfly!

Community-Based Education Right In Your Back Yard

Families can join in on an important citizen science project called Dragonfly Pond Watch.

While a season filled with winged insects may seem months away, now is the time to begin learning how to be on the lookout for seasonal indicator species! Certain creatures who migrate to warmer climes during Massachusetts’ winter can help to make the start of warmer weather with their presence. Just as returning robins dotting late-winter feeders mean that spring is near and the emergence of salamanders marks spring’s first good rain, the appearance of dragonflies can serve as an important seasonal indicator, too! Read the rest of this entry »

Coming to Pioneer Valley: The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum

Museum Honoring Dr. Seuss to Open in Pioneer Valley

Conceptual design for City Zoo Interactive Display, Amazing World of Dr. Seuss, Courtesy of Springfield Museums.

Given the worldwide impact of Dr. Seuss’ work, it’s hard to believe that there is no museum in his honor. That is set to change in 2016, when the Springfield Museums will open the first museum dedicated to celebrating the life and legacy of Springfield native Theodor Seuss Geisel.

Plans are now underway for the creation of The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum, which will feature a highly interactive literacy-based exhibition featuring beloved Seuss characters, as well as exhibits to honor Geisel himself and the community which fostered his early development and creative genius. The museum will be housed in the William Pynchon Memorial building on the Springfield Museums campus in downtown Springfield, MA.  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: March 23rd-27th, 2015

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long!

This week we are featuring 11 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

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


Sponsor Learning Ahead


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HFVS Sky Episode with Guest DJ, Suzanne Jamieson Selmo

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Sky Episode with Guest DJ, Suzanne Jamieson Selmo

Suzanne Jamieson Selmo celebrates the SKY and everything in it. She takes us through a whole day, from waking up with the sun to going to bed with the stars and the moon…and lots of fun stuff in between. She threads through poetry, history, and science into the hour and showcases a variety of music… from old classics to modern pop, jazz standards to popular children’s music. It’s a celebration of the sky with great tunes! — www.suzannejamiesonselmo.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
March 21st & 22nd, 2015
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured video:  Caspar Babypants- “Bird in an Airplane Suit” [Rise and Shine!]


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

1. Hilary Duff- “Wake Up” [Most Wanted]
2. Suzanne Jamieson Selmo- “Here Comes the Sun” [Shine]
3. Caspar Babypants- “Bird in an Airplane Suit” [Rise and Shine!]
4. Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights- “My Butterfly” [What a Zoo!]
5. Laurie Berkner- “Bumblebee (Buzz Buzz)” [Buzz Buzz]
6. Taylor Swift- “Superman” [Superman-Single]
7. The Beatbuds- “When the Rain Falls Down” [The Beatbuds, Volume 1]
8. Lesley Gore- “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows” [20th Century Masters: The Millenium
Collection]
9. Israel Kamakawiwo’ole- “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” [Alone in IZ World]
10. Selena Gomez- “When the Sun Goes Down” [When the Sun Goes Down]
11. Katy Perry- “Firework” [Teenage Dream]
12. Jack Johnson- “Constellations” [In Between Dreams]
13. Suzanne Jamieson Selmo- “Moonlight in Vermont” [Shine]
14. The Marcels- “Blue Moon” [The Marcels-Single]
15. Suzanne Jamieson Selmo- “Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)]

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