Suggested Events for January 7th-13th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families keeps us busy doing all sorts of fun and amazing things every weekend… and there’s no time left for winter blues!” – Erin Klett (Greenfield, MA)

“Hilltown Families keeps us busy doing all sorts of fun and amazing things every weekend… and there’s no time left for winter blues!” – Erin Klett (Greenfield, MA)

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

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

Bulletin Board

Jan 7

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

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

Open House: Jan 29

Sunday, January 29th: Open House from 2-3:30pm at Smith College Center for Early Childhood Education (Fort Hill). Visit welcoming classroom environments, chat with teachers, and find out more about the Reggio Emilia-inspired curriculum. Providing engaging, intentional early experiences that support children in becoming lifelong learners, joyful investigators, and thoughtful citizens of the world. Fort Hill has dedicated visual arts and music teachers and studios, an emphasis on natural materials, and classroom experiences that nurture joy, curiosity, deep thinking, and imagination. Consider joining the Fort Hill family! Actively accepting applications for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers for 2017-2018. Contact forthill@smith.edu for information.

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

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
January 7 – January 13, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Winter Explorations of Local Places: Winter Sports

Winter Sports in the Snow & on the Ice

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

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

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


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

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Nordic Skiing in Western MA

Nordic Skiing in Western MA

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

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

Alpine Skiing in Western MA

Alpine Skiing in Western MA

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

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

Ice Skating in Western MA

Ice Skating in Western MA

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

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

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

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

History of Snowshoeing

History of Snowshoeing

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

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

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

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


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

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Winter Trail Days: Snowshoeing & Nordic Skiing

Winter Trail Days: Snowshoeing & Nordic Skiing

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


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

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Art and the Winter Landscape

Art and the Winter Landscape

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

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

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


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

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Winter Landscape: History, Art, Place & Sports

In Appreciation: Emphasizing Giving over Receiving During the Holidays

Emphasizing Giving over Receiving During the Holidays

A few weeks before Christmas, my 6-year-old lamented the lack of presents under the tree. This was pretty new to me, since up to this point, the kids had really been too young to conceptualize just how much this season can be about what they get out of it. But this past year, whenever they saw something they coveted at a store, they’d add it to the working list of what they want for Christmas or their birthday. Of course, both these events are times in our house when they receive gifts, but in neither case do I want that to be the emphasis for them. I decided to more consciously work with them to first and foremost appreciate the opportunities for giving that the season can afford, because giving to me, is the true gift.

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Off the Mat: Being and Doing

Being and Doing

“To be is to do.” – Aristotle
“To do is to be.” – Sartre
“To be or not to be.” – Shakespeare
“Do be do be do, be do be do be…” – Sinatra

12212575524_5b9e2f06be_nI remember this list from days long ago, an era when we shared memes via T-shirt rather than gif. The fact that it keeps popping into my head indicates there’s a message for me here.

I’m a list person. The type who writes down a completed task to have the satisfaction of crossing it off. Kitchen chalk board lists the week’s meals and food in danger of spoiling. Mobile app separates TODAY/THIS WEEK/NEXT WEEK/SOMEDAY actions and includes a DONE column, the virtual equivalent to crossing it off. Placing a task on my list means its accounted for and needn’t rattle ‘round my brain during work hours or at 2 a.m..

Because I trust my list. It holds what I need to do so my brain doesn’t have to. Reviewing my completed tasks talks back to my anxious critic inner voice, the part that says I don’t do enough. My brain was raised on the Sartre perspective. Doing makes me who I am. You’ll be known by your deeds. Actions speak.

And yet, as social media replaces year end top 10 lists with New Year’s resolutions, the list in my heart focuses less about what I intend to DO and more of who and how I want to BE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Peace, Love and Intention Episode
Guest DJ, Charity Kahn

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

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

Featured Video: Charity Kahn – “The Lovingkindness Song”


New Podcasts ♦ Archived Podcasts Subscribe to Podcast
Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

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

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Berkshire Family Fun: January 2017

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:

January 2017

“I like the ability to see what is happening in the area. We have experienced many different and delightful events that I would not known of if I did not know about the [Hilltown Families] eNewsletter.” – Kathy Couch (East Otis, MA)

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


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 Pittsfield, Sandisfield, and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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First Day Morning Music Party Rings in the New Year!

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

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for December 31, 2016 – January 1, 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 December 31st, 2016 – January 6th, 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 monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational, cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

December 31, 2016 – January 1, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Calendar HistoryEcologySTEMPlacemakingLiving HistoryOutdoor AdventuresWinter SportsYo-YoPhysicsAstronomyLiteracyPlant StudiesAfrican American HistoryNew Year CelebrationsGuided Hikes Native American StudiesOrnithologyCollaborative Consumption




RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

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19 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Guided Hikes to First Night. Dance Party to Winter Sports.

There are many ways to remain active and engaged with the outdoors during the winter. Nordic skiing, downhill skiing, ice skating and snowshoeing are a sample of activities that allow one to get outside, stay fit, and maintain a healthy lifestyle while exploring the beauty of nature in the winter. Choosing a winter sport is not only spending time outdoors, it’s also participating in the traditions of local culture and history. Download our Jan/Feb edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for places to ski, skate and snowshoe in Western MA.

Gregorian Calendar to Engineering. Telescope to Owls. Snow Sports to Sweetgrass.  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 New Year’s Day, Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids! This year, we are starting off this family series on New Year’s Day, Sunday, January 1, with a First Day Morning Music Party from 10am-12noon in Easthampton, MA. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! It takes place at Flywheel in Easthampton’s old Town Hall. This event is a fundraiser for both Flywheel & Hilltown Families, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend with your family. So much cheaper than a night out on the town and just as much fun!


Calendar HistoryEcologySTEMPlacemakingLiving HistoryOutdoor AdventuresWinter SportsYo-YoPhysicsAstronomyLiteracyPlant StudiesAfrican American HistoryNew Year CelebrationsGuided Hikes Native American StudiesOrnithologyCollaborative Consumption


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

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

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

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

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

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

Hilltown Families’ Events:

Jan 1

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

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

On New Year’s Day (Jan 1), Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids! This year, we are starting off this family series on New Year’s Day, Sunday, January 1, with a First Day Morning Music Party from 10am-12noon in Easthampton, MA. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! It takes place at Flywheel in Easthampton’s old Town Hall. This event is a fundraiser for both Flywheel & Hilltown Families, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend with your family. So much cheaper than a night out on the town and just as much fun!

Featured Winter & Spring Classes in Western MA

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

Bulletin Board

Dec 26-30

Let your imagination soar at the New England Air Museum this holiday season! The museum is offering an exciting array of family fun activities during December School Vacation Week, Monday, December 26 through Friday, December 30. Explore 3 giant exhibit hangars filled with over 60 historic aircraft, and experience the wonders of flight through hands-on activities including: Daily hands-on Build & Fly Challenges; Interactive Flight Science Demonstrations; Computerized Flight Simulators; and Open Cockpit experiences in historic aircraft. Visitors can also take to the skies at the museum’s Virtual Flight Center using advanced, three screen yoke and pedal flight simulators (ages 10+). Visit their website www.neam.org for day to day activities.

Dec 26-30 & Feb 20-24

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

Jan 7

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

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

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

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

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 31st, 2016 – January 6th, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: Jan & Feb Cultural Itinerary for Western MA

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to download PDF (44 pages).


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

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

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First Day Morning Music Party Rings in the New Year!

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

New England New Year Traditions: First Night & First Hikes

New England New Year Traditions: First Night & First Hikes

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

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5 First Day Hikes for the New Year

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

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

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

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

2017 Winter/Spring Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA

The Ripple: The Importance of Ice

Learning Landscapes: Embracing Change in the Light of Solstice

Many people believe that Earth is closer to the sun in the summer and that is why it is hotter or, conversely, it is the farthest away in winter and, hence, colder. Even though this seems to make logical sense, it’s incorrect. This cognitive dissonance can be a solution and ignite natural curiosity and wonder that leads to greater love and a sense of responsibility to care for Earth. Read the rest of this entry »

Weekdays in Western MA: December 26 – 30, 2016

Weekdays in Western MA:
December 26 – 30, 2016

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 Christmas Episode with Guest DJ Frank Gallo of Rolie Polie Guacamole (Podcast/Radio Show)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

The Christmas Episode
Guest DJ Frank Gallo

This week, The Hilltown Family Variety Show brings you a Christmas Episode with Guest DJ Frank Gallo of Rolie Polie Guacamole!

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
Dec 24th & 25th 2016
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: Rolie Polie Guacamole – “Mr. Sun” (singalong)


New Podcasts ♦ Archived Podcasts Subscribe to Podcast
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A Christmas Episode with Guest DJ Frank Gallo of Rolie Polie Guacamole!

Listen to Podcast:

  • Station Id: Steve Weeks [www.steveweeksmusic.com]
  • Rolie Polie Guacamole “This Little Light of Mine” [Live on the Fourth of July]
  • Okee Dokee Brothers “Evergreen” [Through the Woods]
  • Dean Jones “3 Corgis and a Dachshund ”
  • Karen K & the Jitterbugs “Milk” [Pancakes for Dinner]
  • Rocknoceros “Christmas Brie” [Happy Holidays]
  • Trout Fishing in America “Cheese Log” [Merry Fishes]
  • Rocknoceros “Snow Day” [Happy Holidays]
  • Rat Boy Jr. “Woodstock Christmas”
  • Gabby La La “Elf” [Be Careful What You Wish For]
  • Primus “I Want It Now” [Primus & the Chocolate Factory]
  • Rolie Polie Guacamole “This Land Is Your Land” [Chips and Salsa]
  • John Lennon & Yoko Ono “Happy Xmas” [John Lennon Collection]
  • Rolie Polie Guacamole “Snow Ball Fight / Snow Angel” [Triathlon]
  • Dean Jones “Ding Dong Merrily on High”
  • Dean Jones “Good King Wensaslus” [Casio Xmas]
  • Joni Mitchell “Chelsea Morning [Clouds]
  • Rolie Polie Guacamole “Circle Game” [Houses of the Moly]
  • Amelia Robinson “Home for the Holidays”
  • Laurie Berkner “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas” [A Laurie Berkner Christmas]
  • The Beatles “Goodnight” [White Album]

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for December 24-25, 2016

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 December 24th-30th, 2016 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 monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational, cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

December 24th – 30th, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

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Suggested Events for December 24th-30th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

Suggest Event

“We love Hilltown Families at our home because it provides us with resources for activities throughout the area, answers readers questions about various topics, and allows our family a chance to connect with other families in the area who have the same interest as we do!” -Victoria Valenti-Triggs (Shelburne Falls, MA)

“We love Hilltown Families at our home because it provides us with resources for activities throughout the area, answers readers questions about various topics, and allows our family a chance to connect with other families in the area who have the same interest as we do!” -Victoria Valenti-Triggs (Shelburne Falls, MA)

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

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

Hilltown Families’ Events:

Jan 1

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

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

On New Year’s Day (Jan 1), Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids! This year, we are starting off this family series on New Year’s Day, Friday, January 1, with a First Day Morning Music Party from 10am-12noon in Easthampton, MA. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! It takes place at Flywheel in Easthampton’s old Town Hall. This event is a fundraiser for both Flywheel & Hilltown Families, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend with your family. So much cheaper than a night out on the town and just as much fun!

Bulletin Board

Dec 26-30

Let your imagination soar at the New England Air Museum this holiday season! The museum is offering an exciting array of family fun activities during December School Vacation Week, Monday, December 26 through Friday, December 30. Explore 3 giant exhibit hangars filled with over 60 historic aircraft, and experience the wonders of flight through hands-on activities including: Daily hands-on Build & Fly Challenges; Interactive Flight Science Demonstrations; Computerized Flight Simulators; and Open Cockpit experiences in historic aircraft. Visitors can also take to the skies at the museum’s Virtual Flight Center using advanced, three screen yoke and pedal flight simulators (ages 10+). Visit their website www.neam.org for day to day activities.

Dec 26-30 & Feb 20-24

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

Jan 7

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

Dec 24

Looking for something to do on the first night of Chanukah? On Sat., Dec 24 at 5pm join Congregation B’Israel, Lander-Grinspoon Academy, Beit Ahavah ~ The Reform Synagogue of Greater Northampton and PJ Library of the Upper Pioneer Valley of Western Mass to celebrate with the lighting of Chanukah candles, the singing of Chanukah songs and playing dreidel under one roof. The festivities will be held at Congregation B’nai Israel (257 Prospect St., Northampton) and will continue after candle lighting with kosher Chinese food catered by Pengyew Chin, two movies (one for kids & one for teens/adults), and a dance party. Tickets: $10/adult; $5/child under 12. Reservations are requested by Dec 16 and may be made at Chanukah Chinese Food & a Movie.

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

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

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 24 – 30, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

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