Area Family Centers Offer Refuge for Parents with Babies & Toddlers
When my daughter was a baby I found sanctuary in our area family center. I was able to meet other sleep deprived parents in a safe environment where mother’s could breastfeed freely and compare notes while our children took their first steps. I formed everlasting bonds with these parents as we discussed teething and potty training, while reassuring one another that we weren’t alone in our sleepless world of spit-up and dirty diapers.
Early Childhood Department of the Collaborative for Educational Services describes family centers as “places where parents meet other parents, children socialize, and parents and children play together. A family center is a drop-in place for parents to spend time with their young children. Children can play, learn, explore, and make new friends. Parents can meet local families and talk about their children. Family centers have toys, books, and activities that young children enjoy.”
To follow is a list of Family Centers in Hampshire County. All centers listed below receive funding from a Coordinated Family and Community Engagement grant from the MA Department of Early Education and Care and support families with children up through the age of four.
Amherst Family Center
Directions: Old Amherst School. 1200 N. Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA 01002 (entrance in the rear). It is on the PVTA bus routes 31 and 46. Limited parking is available onsite or in adjacent public spots. 413-256-1145.
Belchertown Family Center
Directions: 720 Franklin Street. Located on Rte. 181 five miles south of Belchertown Center. 413-283-7594
Cummington Family Center
Directions: 33 Main Street. Enter in back of the Community House on Main St. in Cummington. 413-634-5362
Easthampton Family Center
Directions: Playgroups meet at Christ United Methodist Church, 271 Rocky Hill Road (Rte. 66) in Northampton. 413-563-7672
Gateway Family Center
Directions: Located across from the Fire Station at 9 Russell Rd. (Rte. 20) in Huntington. 413-667-2203.
Northampton Parents Center
Directions: Located at the Edwards Church, corner of State and Main Streets in Northampton. Please use rear entrance. 413-582-2636
South Hadley Family Center
Directions: Located at All Saints Episcopal Church on Rte. 116, across from the post office in South Hadley Center. 7 Woodbridge Street, South Hadley. 413-533-7096
Ware Family Center
Directions: Located in the United Church of Ware, uphill from Rte. 9 in Ware Center. 413-205-8714