Learning Ahead: April 20th-24th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 15 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 »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for April 18th & 19th, 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 18th-24th, 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 42 Community Highlights: Earth Day to Park Clean-Ups. Revolutionary Muster to Jurassic Roadshow., 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 18th-24th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

DancingService-Based LearningEarth DayMusic StudiesLiteracyVernal PoolsEntomologyColonial HistoryPaleontologyArts & CraftsCulinary ArtsCommunity SingPuppetrySTEMAnimal StudiesTheaterEconomics

RECAP

Family Volunteer Days 

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Mug & Bugs in the Hills
  2. Virtual Tour: How Plastic Bags Get Recycle
  3. Planting Seeds: Music that Celebrates Gardening
  4. Where to Get New/Used Bikes for the Family in Western MA
  5. Q&A: Does Your Family Have a Pediatric Dentist You Love Here in Western MA?

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

42 Community Highlights: Earth Day to Park Clean-Ups. Revolutionary Muster to Jurassic Roadshow.

Discover the history of Patriot’s Day at Historic Deerfield’s Patriot’s Day Revolutionary Muster and Parade on Saturday, April 18 from 10am-4pm. Visitors can experience what life was like in a small New England town in the 18th Century with activities like crafts, fife and drum music, and a parade and muster. All ages will enjoy this experience, which will make you feel like you’re back in the 1700s. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street. Deerfield, MA. ($)

Park Clean-Ups to Earth Day Celebrations. Revolutionary Muster to Jurassic Roadshow. Papercutting to Wildcrafting… 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: 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! Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town. 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)


DancingService-Based LearningEarth DayMusic StudiesLiteracyVernal PoolsEntomologyColonial HistoryPaleontologyArts & CraftsCulinary ArtsCommunity SingPuppetrySTEMAnimal StudiesTheaterEconomics


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

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for April 18th-24th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

We recently attended an event at the Discovery Center in Turners Falls that was all about animals and baby animals. Our daughter had a great time and we enjoyed the museum after the event. I also really enjoy reading about dinner time suggestions from one of your contributors; and look forward to getting out to Shelburne Falls — SO excited to find out about the Art Garden through Hilltown Families. What a stellar idea and liked reading about the mitten project! Thank you for inspiring good family times for our family! – Sarah Czerwonka (Shutesbury, 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

Over 50 summer camps & programs, in and around western MA, to choose from!!!

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.

Hilltown Families Events

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 come 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 18

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)

Bulletin Board

School Vac

This April vacation, join the Springfield Museums for their amazing Puppet Festival, April 20-24. Performances included the timeless classic Peter & The Wolf by the National Marionette Theater, plus fun on the high seas with Everybody Loves Pirates by Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers, and many more. There’s also live animal demonstrations from Dave’s Soda & Pet City and plenty of hands-on science and art activities, all free with museum admission! For information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.

School Vac

April vacation at The Carle! Join The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst for a week of live entertainment and fun-filled activities! On April 19th, Nutshell Playhouse presents the swashbuckling adventure: Pirates! And on April 21st Cactushead Puppets performs Little Red Riding Hood. Then, everyone’s favorite, Mister G returns to play two concerts on April 24th. Plus, discover three galleries of picture book art, including Eric Carle’s new exhibition: Bees, Butterflies and Other Bugs. Get lost in a project in the Art Studio! Enjoy a story time, a film or a scavenger hunt. Picnic in their orchard! For additional information on performances, please contact 413-658-1126 or visit www.carlemuseum.org.

School Vac

New England Air Museum will hold April Vacation Break Programs April 20th- 24th. The Museum’s Flight Sim Spot will be open each of these days between 11am and 4pm. The Flight Sim Spot allows visitors to use state-of-the-art simulators with real cockpit controls. Monday, April 20th– Wednesday, April 22nd- Open Cockpits & Museum Tours; Thursday, April 23rd– Great LEGO Race; Friday, April 24th- Straw Rocket Competition. Activities are included with the price of admission on the day of your visit unless noted. Each day docents will be on hand to provide information and to interact with the visitors. NEAM is located in Windsor Locks, CT. For more info call 860-623-3305 or visit www.neam.org.

School Vac

Vacation Break camps at SHOW are a great place for kids to express themselves creatively and to be a part of a community steeped in circus culture and traditions. Campers 6-12yo have the opportunity to try a variety of circus skills, including aerial and ground work, and then choose their favorite activities to focus on for the final performance. Each week has a different theme for the final circus show and campers are challenged to incorporate the theme into their circus act, making each session and final show unique! Spring Break Camp (Apr 20-24) and 5 Weeks of Summer Camp (Jul 13-Aug 14) available in Easthampton. Mon-Fri, 9-3pm. For more information and registration visit www.showcircusstudio.com, or email/call: info@showcircusstudio.com; 413-527-6901.

School Vac

Vortex Dance Fitness Studio is having a Kids Cabaret Dance Program during school vacation week, running 2-3:30pm on Monday April 20, Wednesday April 22, and Friday April 24, and 9:30-11am on Tuesday April 21 and Thursday April 23. There will be a performance for family and friends from 3:30-4pm on Friday, April 24, the last day. Cabaret Style dance is a mix of jazz, ballet, lyrical, and hip-hop which uses props such as hats and canes. Cost: $100/per student. Ages 8-12. Dancing is a fun way to exercise and make new friends. Vortex Dance Fitness Studio is located on the 2nd floor of the Eastworks Building, 116 Pleasant Street, Suite 251, in Easthampton. Sign up today by email: fontaineangela7@gmail.com or through www.vortexdancestudio.com.

Apr 28

Parent Workshop on Montessori: What is a Montessori education? What is the Montessori difference? The Montessori School of Northampton is offering a free workshop for parents with Elizabeth Slade, Montessori consultant, trainer and teacher, to answer these questions. The workshop will be held at the Montessori School of Northampton, 51 Bates Street, Northampton, MA, on Tuesday, April 28 from 5:15-7pm. It is open to current and prospective parents and anyone who is curious about the Montessori philosophy, materials and curriculum. Admission is free; participants are asked to register in advance through Brown Paper Tickets at http://bpt.me/1451689 or by calling 413-586-4538 x103. More information can be found at northamptonmontessori.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

Open House: May 9

Ashfield Community Preschool invites families to their annual open house on Saturday, May 9 from 9:30am-Noon. This event is for families with young children ages 15mo-5yo who are looking for quality care & small class sizes in the rural Hilltown of Ashfield (103 Baptist Corner Rd). Children who attend the preschool participate in a hands-on gardening program, growing a sunflower house & pumpkin patch. Their developmentally appropriate curriculum is inspired by the natural world. In this pastoral setting the preschool offers a 6 week summer program with walking trips to visit local Ashfield artists. Open House on May 9. Tour their facility & grounds and register for summer & fall sessions. 413-628-3248. New Toddler Program Opening Fall 2015!

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

Jul 6-10

Journey Camp returns to Cummington for Hilltown families this summer. The supportive staff makes it easy to find new friends while exploring nature, theater, games, music. Inclusiveness and peace building are hallmarks of Journey Camp. Founder and Director, Sarah Pirtle, has numerous awards for her books and music for children. Session One, boys & girls ages 7-12,June 29-July 3, 8:45-4, Woolman Hill, Deerfield. Hilltown Journey Camp, boys & girls, 7-12, July 6-10, 8:45-4, Taproot Common Farm, Cummington. Moonseed Teen Leadership for Girls, 11-18, July 27-July 30, two overnights & campfires, Woolman Hill. Girls Week, 7-13, Aug. 3-7 & Aug. 10-14, 8:45-4, Woolman Hill. www.sarahpirtle.com. Contact: 413-588-6399, marsha.journey@gmail.com.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, 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. 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 18th-24th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

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Learning Landscapes: Building A Balanced Life System

Foundation of a Learning Landscape

There is a natural symbiotic relationship between the complex life system that comprises healthy soil and all the other elements thriving in that ecosystem. What is the health of the “soil” in your child’s learning landscape?

Warning: You are moving into another dimension – a dimension of place, a dimension of time, and a dimension of space. You’re moving into a landscape of both science and art, of things and ideas. The story you are about to read is true. You’re now crossing over into the Learning Landscapes zone…

Ready for a thought-provoking science question? What is the largest, most diverse, and most complex life system (that we know of) in the universe?

When thinking about growing plants in our landscapes, we often think about the need for food, water, energy, and maybe protection from harsh elements or scavengers. However, did you realize you don’t actually “feed” plants organically? You feed the soil and the microorganisms feed the plants. There is a natural symbiotic relationship between the complex life system that comprises healthy soil and all the other elements thriving in that ecosystem. Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: April 13th-17th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 17 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 »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for April 11th & 12th, 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 11th-17th, 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 31 Community Highlights: Drumming to Classical Music. Vernal Pools to Science Festival., 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 11th-17th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Bird StudiesLEGOsService-Based LearningFairy TalesLocal HistoryMusic StudiesPreschool HighlightsVernal PoolsSTEMPerformanceLiterary ArtsNature StudiesSustainable AgricultureAstronomyParent WorkshopsSurvival Skills

RECAP

Family Volunteer Days 

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Over 25 Walking Tours Support Community-Based Education in Western MA
  2. Poem-Mobiles: Bizarre Cars & Humorous Rhymes
  3. Capture & Record Your Wildlife Encounters for Fun & for Science
  4. 13 Ways to Spend a Rainy Day in Western MA
  5. Families in Western MA Offer Earth Day Eco-Tips

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

31 Community Highlights: Drumming to Classical Music. Vernal Pools to Science Festival.

Celebrate spring with baby animals at Hancock Shaker Village! The historic village opens for the season with a barn filled with new babies for visitors to welcome to the world. Families can take behind-the-scenes tours of the farm and learn about the village’s history and unique architecture, too!

Drumming to Classical Music. Bagshare to Mitzvah Bags. Vernal Pools to Science Festival… 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: Saturday, April 11 is “The Big Night” at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. Families can go on guided tours from 5:30pm-8:30pm of the forest and meet costumed characters from vernal pools, such as spotted salamanders, wood frogs, and fairy shrimp. There will be short, funny skits to teach families about these interesting creatures. Pre-registration is required. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road. Easthampton, MA. ($)


Bird StudiesLEGOsService-Based LearningFairy TalesLocal HistoryMusic StudiesPreschool HighlightsVernal PoolsSTEMPerformanceLiterary ArtsNature StudiesSustainable AgricultureAstronomyParent WorkshopsSurvival Skills


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

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for April 11th-17th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“As each weekend approaches, I immediately look to Hilltown Families to see if there are events & happenings that might interest us. We have often found really fun things to do that we may not have heard of otherwise and many times events are free which is an added bonus! I have recommended the Hilltown Families site to countless families that have moved to the area and are looking for fun things to do. Thank you Hilltown Families–you are a fabulous resource!” – Sara Cahillane (Whately, MA)

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

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

Hilltown Families Events

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 18

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)

Bulletin Board

Apr 11

Saturday, April 11th, 11am-12:30pm — Girls in Science! The Hilltown Land Trust is bringing local author Jeannine Atkins to Williamsburg to read from and discuss her children’s book Girls Who Looked Under Rocks: The Lives of Six Pioneering Naturalists. Following the reading, there will be a guided exploratory hike up Petticoat Hill, where kids will have the opportunity to uncover the natural world—perhaps it will be waiting for you under a rock! Signed books will be available for sale. RSVP with Nicole Rhodes at hltlandsteward@ttor.org or 413-628-4485 x4. For more information: www.hilltown-land-trust.org. Location: Meekins Library and Petticoat Hill Reservation, Williamsburg, MA (FREE).

Apr 11

Odyssey Bookshop: Middle Grade Mash-up! Saturday, April 11th at 4pm. Baseball feats to witches treats and twinkie pies to record highs, this middle grade mash-up has something for everyone! Celebrate Odyssey’s first middle grade mash-up! Odyssey brings you four middle grade authors, Howard Bryant from ESPN, Natasha Lowe, Kat Yeh and Molly Burnham. Whether you’re a baseball fan or love a silly story, believe in witches or like to cook we have something for you. See author info and book synopsis at www.odysseybks.com. For ages 7-12. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley, MA. RSVP at rsvp@odysseybks.com

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 14

More than a Story Hour! Parents and caregivers with their children ages 5 and under are welcome to attend a story hour on Tuesday, April 14 at 9am in the library of The Bement School in Deerfield, MA. The story hour features the book Coyote: A Trickster Tale from the American Southwest. After reading the story, there will be a craft activity and light refreshments. Stay for a performance of Coyote performed by Bement’s kindergarten. The event is free, but please RSVP so the may plan accordingly: 413-774-4209. Directions and more information can be found at Bement.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

School Vac

New England Air Museum will hold April Vacation Break Programs April 20th- 24th. The Museum’s Flight Sim Spot will be open each of these days between 11am and 4pm. The Flight Sim Spot allows visitors to use state-of-the-art simulators with real cockpit controls. Monday, April 20th– Wednesday, April 22nd- Open Cockpits & Museum Tours; Thursday, April 23rd– Great LEGO Race; Friday, April 24th- Straw Rocket Competition. Activities are included with the price of admission on the day of your visit unless noted. Each day docents will be on hand to provide information and to interact with the visitors. NEAM is located in Windsor Locks, CT. For more info call 860-623-3305 or visit www.neam.org.

School Vac

Vortex Dance Fitness Studio is having a Kids Cabaret Dance Program during school vacation week, running 2-3:30pm on Monday April 20, Wednesday April 22, and Friday April 24, and 9:30-11am on Tuesday April 21 and Thursday April 23. There will be a performance for family and friends from 3:30-4pm on Friday, April 24, the last day. Cabaret Style dance is a mix of jazz, ballet, lyrical, and hip-hop which uses props such as hats and canes. Cost: $100/per student. Ages 8-12. Dancing is a fun way to exercise and make new friends. Vortex Dance Fitness Studio is located on the 2nd floor of the Eastworks Building, 116 Pleasant Street, Suite 251, in Easthampton. Sign up today by email: fontaineangela7@gmail.com or through www.vortexdancestudio.com.

School Vac

Vacation Break camps at SHOW are a great place for kids to express themselves creatively and to be a part of a community steeped in circus culture and traditions. Campers 6-12yo have the opportunity to try a variety of circus skills, including aerial and ground work, and then choose their favorite activities to focus on for the final performance. Each week has a different theme for the final circus show and campers are challenged to incorporate the theme into their circus act, making each session and final show unique! Spring Break Camp (Apr 20-24) and 5 Weeks of Summer Camp (Jul 13-Aug 14) available in Easthampton. Mon-Fri, 9-3pm. For more information and registration visit www.showcircusstudio.com, or email/call: info@showcircusstudio.com; 413-527-6901.

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

Open House: May 9

Ashfield Community Preschool invites families to their annual open house on Saturday, May 9 from 9:30am-Noon. This event is for families with young children ages 15mo-5yo who are looking for quality care & small class sizes in the rural Hilltown of Ashfield (103 Baptist Corner Rd). Children who attend the preschool participate in a hands-on gardening program, growing a sunflower house & pumpkin patch. Their developmentally appropriate curriculum is inspired by the natural world. In this pastoral setting the preschool offers a 6 week summer program with walking trips to visit local Ashfield artists. Open House on May 9. Tour their facility & grounds and register for summer & fall sessions. 413-628-3248. New Toddler Program Opening Fall 2015

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

Jul 6-10

Journey Camp returns to Cummington for Hilltown families this summer. The supportive staff makes it easy to find new friends while exploring nature, theater, games, music. Inclusiveness and peace building are hallmarks of Journey Camp. Founder and Director, Sarah Pirtle, has numerous awards for her books and music for children. Session One, boys & girls ages 7-12,June 29-July 3, 8:45-4, Woolman Hill, Deerfield. Hilltown Journey Camp, boys & girls, 7-12, July 6-10, 8:45-4, Taproot Common Farm, Cummington. Moonseed Teen Leadership for Girls, 11-18, July 27-July 30, two overnights & campfires, Woolman Hill. Girls Week, 7-13, Aug. 3-7 & Aug. 10-14, 8:45-4, Woolman Hill. www.sarahpirtle.com. Contact: 413-588-6399, marsha.journey@gmail.com.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, 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 11th-17th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Build Community & Inspire Change During National Volunteer Month

National Volunteer Month provides opportunities for the entire family to support the community

Families from across Western Massachusetts joined together at a recent Family Volunteer Day held at The Food Bank to sort and pack fresh produce. The food is distributed through The Fook Bank’s ‘Mobile Food Bank’ and ‘Brown Bag: Food for Elders’ programs, to food insecure families throughout the region.

April in National Volunteer Month — a time when we celebrate and honor the people who dedicate themselves to taking action and support their community. The month-long celebration is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. By working together, we can meet our challenges and accomplish all of our goals.

One of the best aspects of volunteering is that there are so many different reasons to get involved. It’s a fun opportunity to meet new people, network and gain new working skills. It’s also a great way to help an organization that aligns with your personal values and beliefs. Most importantly, volunteering is the best way to support your community.

At The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, we rely on the continued efforts of our volunteers to help us provide healthy food to the more than 235,000 people in our region struggling with food insecurity. We asked some of our volunteers why they donate their time to us. Here’s what they had to say:  Read the rest of this entry »

GIVEAWAY: CSA Farm Share from Crimson & Clover Farm

Enter to Win a Farm Share from
Crimson & Clover Farm this Summer!

Enter for a chance to win a Small Farm Share from Crimson & Clover Farm in Florence, MA for the 2015 season by sharing ways your family engages in our local food culture and the learning you glean from your experiences in the comment field. Deadline: April 28th, 2015.

Locally grown food is a great community connector! This past winter families could enjoy Winter Farmers’ Market in the Pioneer Valley while connecting with friends and neighbors during these festive weekly markets.  And during the growing and harvest season Farmers’ Markets happen nearly every day of the week and have quickly become places the community not only shops for fresh produce and local products, but a place they can participate in collaborative consumption by taking free workshops and learning from farmers who freely share their knowledge on growing a better garden or preserving food.

But Farmers’ Markets aren’t the only way the community can participate in farm-based learning while connecting with their neighbors and supporting local farmers… Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is another fabulous way families can support, participate and learn through the lens of our local food culture.  By purchasing a CSA share, shareholders pledge their support of a local farm and receive weekly shares of fruits, vegetables, herbs, cut flowers, honey, eggs, dairy and meat products.  For a list of CSA’s in the Pioneer Valley, check out CISA’s list of local farms.

FOOD-BASED EDUCATION

How does your family participate in our local food culture?  Maybe you have a garden in your yard, a plot at the community garden or container pots on the front stoop or windowsill? Do you engage in with farmers, buying your food at farmers’ markets or roadside farm stands? Is volunteering to support food security in our region a priority to your family?

We invite our readers to share ways your family engages in our local food culture and how you use this lens of community engagement as a way of supporting the interests and education of your children. Hilltown Families sponsor, Crimson & Clover Farm, a community based farm on the Northampton Community Farm land, is partnering with us by offering an incentive to our readers to share their stories. Share ways your family engages in our local food culture and the learning you glean from your experiences, and be entered to win a Small CSA Farm Share from Crimson & Clover Farm, a $420 value!  Deadline to enter to win: April 28th, 2015, by 11:59pm (EST). Details on how to enter to win are below.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Draw-Around Unleashes Creative Free-Play!

Interactive Event & Workshops Invites Community to Make its Mark

Draw all over the walls (and the floor and the tables) at the Art Garden’s first annual 12-hour Hilltown Draw Around! Creative types of all ages are invited to participate in art making, community-building, and creative free play all day long!

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to draw all over a room? The Art Garden is offering families exactly that opportunity! The first annual Hilltown Draw Around is a 12-hour interactive community art-making extravaganza held in a paper-covered gymnasium. Families can drop by between 12noon and midnight on Saturday, April 11th for a day filled with drawing workshops, community building, creative free play, and endless opportunities to draw anything and everything. And it’s not just for self-proclaimed artists – anyone and everyone is welcome to come and explore the creative materials available and make their own mark on the event.

A variety of volunteer-lead workshops throughout the day offer participants opportunities to learn new drawing-related skills or to participate in special projects – and many workshops use drawing as an entry point for interdisciplinary learning. A mathematical drawing workshop will teach participants about fractals, geometry, and the Golden Ratio, while a synesthesia-based drawing experience will help participants make connections between spoken language, color, and art, as well as teaching about the cognitive phenomenon that is synesthesia. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

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

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 »

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 »

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
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

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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 »

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


Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for March 21st-27th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“I always check out your Facebook page and check the weekly events. Your website provides us with information about all the great events at museums and elsewhere.” – Lyza Fennell (Southampton, 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 21

Piti Theatre Co. presents their 6th annual SYRUP: One Sweet Performing Arts Festival at Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls, MA, on Saturday, March 21, featuring the high-flying cirque show RUCKUS! by Nimble Arts, an award-winning troupe with Cirque de Soleil veterans at 5pm. Blending live music and magic, Piti Theatre presents the world premiere of “Innocenzo” a play for all ages about a clown who gets sick from electrosmog and then starts to heal at 3pm. SYRUP celebrates spring with syrup tasting, free pickles, a raffle, maple treats around the village and door prizes in a historic venue. Circus workshops for ages 7+ on Sunday, March 22 at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary (2pm: aerial silks, 3pm: juggling). Info and tickets: www.ptco.org/syrup

Mar 22

Celebrate spring with The Very Hungry Caterpillar on Sunday, March 22 from 12noon to 4pm at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. Guests can dance a Wiggle Jiggle down the Great Hall with the beloved Caterpillar, make found object caterpillars in the Art Studio, taste Very Yummy Smoothies from Whole Foods, enjoy special storytimes, and search for the Caterpillar’s favorite foods in a museum-wide scavenger hunt. Help welcome The Carle’s new custom Volkswagon Bug and have your picture taken in it. Plus, free apples and Caterpillar Cookies! For more information and a schedule of activities, please visit www.carlemuseum.org or call 413-658-1126. All activities free with Museum Admission!

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 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.

Farm Hands Preschool at Town Farm in downtown Northampton has several openings in their toddler room (18 to 33 months) for the coming school year (summer start dates are possible too)! Farm Hands Preschool is a small, loving, real-work-and-play-based community that trusts children to know themselves best. Teachers work as researchers and guides, providing support, materials, time, and space to meet individual and group needs. What are they up to these days? Tapping trees, planning their gardens, and still sledding every day down the dike! Find more information at www.thefarmeducationcollaborative.org or by emailing alya@thefarmeducationcollaborative.org or calling 413-695-4645.

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, March 21st, 9-11:30am. 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)

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)

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 21st-27th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: March 16th-20th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 14 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.


See your banner here! Sponsor Learning Ahead!


Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for March 14th & 15th, 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 14th-20th, 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 weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 26 Community Highlights: Cupcake Chemistry to Maple Celebrations. Upcycling to Family Dancing., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

March 14th-20th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Maple Syrup CelebrationPlant StudiesSt. Patrick’s DayUpcyclingSpring MusicalsArt WalkEnvironmental StudiesPerformancesSTEM Parent WorkshopsCulinary Arts Museum Adventures

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Let Them Grow: Four Steps to Support Toddler Art
  2. 7 Children’s Books that Embody Peace
  3. Seasons at Our Table: Maple Sugar
  4. HFVS Family Band Episode with Guest DJ, Michael Napolitano (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. Bedside Reading: A Collection of Five

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

26 Community Highlights: Cupcake Chemistry to Maple Celebrations. Upcycling to Family Dancing.

Discover the history of maple sugaring at Storrowton Village’s annual Maple Harvest Day on Sunday, March 15, 11am-3pm. See demonstrations of tree tapping, sumac spile making, sap boiling, hearth cooking, and early American crafts, and learn about the history and folklore of maple sugaring in New England. 413-205-5051. 1305 Memorial Avenue. West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Family Dance Party to Maple Celebrations. Fireworks to Step Dancing. Cupcake Chemistry to Upcycling… These are just a few of the community 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: 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: March 14 & April 18 from 10am-12noon. Come 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. Who needs night clubs when you have Saturday Morning Dance Parties with Hilltown Families and Flywheel?! Save on the babysitter and dance the morning away! 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)


Maple Syrup CelebrationPlant StudiesSt. Patrick’s DayUpcyclingSpring MusicalsArt WalkEnvironmental StudiesPerformancesSTEM Parent WorkshopsCulinary Arts Museum Adventures


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 14th-20th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Big cousins are coming to visit- what should we do with them? I know! Let’s look on Hilltown Families! There’s always an amazing list of ideas that I’d never think of otherwise.” – 
Brita Dempsey (
Holyoke, 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.

Hilltown Families’ Events

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: March 14 & April 18 from 10am-12noon. Come 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. Who needs night clubs when you have Saturday Morning Dance Parties with Hilltown Families and Flywheel?! Save on the babysitter and dance the morning away! 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)

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, March 21st, 9-11:30am. 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)

Bulletin Board

Mar 13

Odyssey Bookshop hosts a RED launch: Friday, March 13, 7pm. Bring your tweens & teens and embrace the RED! Hailed from our very own East Longmeadow comes debut author Victoria Aveyard with the most anticipated young adult novel of 2015. A little bit, Hunger Games and a little bit Divergent, Red Queen will not disappoint. Discover the world of revolutionaries, powers and more, this March as you dress your best in RED, gorge on RED velvet cupcakes and drink RED sparkling juice for this epic event. Join the Odyssey Bookshop for an author reading, signing and RED costume competition! Ages 12+ Please RSVP by emailing RSVP@odysseybks.com, Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley. 413-534-7307

Mar 14

Chirping Storytime with Jane Yolen & Heidi Stemple: Saturday, March 14, 3pm. A launch party for the little bird in your life! Soar down to the Odyssey Bookshop for a fun-filled celebration! Storytelling greats, Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple will join for the launch of their much-anticipated picture book You Nest Here With Me. Combining their poetic writing and their love of birding, mother and daughter Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple have written what is sure to become a bedtime classic. Learn how this lovely story came to be with a bird call demonstration, peck at cupcakes, and make a nest of your own at our craft table! Perfect for ages 2+. Please RSVP by emailing RSVP@odysseybks.com, Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St, South Hadley, 413-534-7307

Mar 14

The Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company is excited to celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day with a performance at the Academy of Music Theatre in downtown Northampton on Saturday, March 14th at 7pm! Their vibrant modern take on the traditional style of step dancing has entertained sold out crowds in the Pioneer Valley and beyond for many years. Joined by local Celtic musical group ‘Four Sisters & the Farmhands’ this is sure to be a show that has something for everyone. Come join in the fun of the jigs and reels this season with your family! Tickets can be purchased via the web at www.AcademyOfMusicTheatre.com or by phone at 413-584-9032 x105. Ticket prices are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for students and children.

Mar 21

Piti Theatre Co. presents their 6th annual SYRUP: One Sweet Performing Arts Festival at Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls, MA, on Saturday, March 21, featuring the high-flying cirque show RUCKUS! by Nimble Arts, an award-winning troupe with Cirque de Soleil veterans at 5pm. Blending live music and magic, Piti Theatre presents the world premiere of “Innocenzo” a play for all ages about a clown who gets sick from electrosmog and then starts to heal at 3pm. SYRUP celebrates spring with syrup tasting, free pickles, a raffle, maple treats around the village and door prizes in a historic venue. Circus workshops for ages 7+ on Sunday, March 22 at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary (2pm: aerial silks, 3pm: juggling). Info and tickets: www.ptco.org/syrup

Farm Hands Preschool at Town Farm in downtown Northampton has several openings in their toddler room (18 to 33 months) for the coming school year (summer start dates are possible too)! Farm Hands Preschool is a small, loving, real-work-and-play-based community that trusts children to know themselves best. Teachers work as researchers and guides, providing support, materials, time, and space to meet individual and group needs. What are they up to these days? Tapping trees, planning their gardens, and still sledding every day down the dike! Find more information at www.thefarmeducationcollaborative.org or by emailing alya@thefarmeducationcollaborative.org or calling 413-695-4645.

Jun 8 – Aug 17

Our Place Summercamp gets kids off the screen and into the green. For 5 days campers hike, climb, wade and swim “our place”: the 5 ecoregions of the Nonotuck biome. These activities aren’t just “fun”—they’re designed to increase camper’s perceptual abilities, stimulate their critical thinking skills, inspire their creative imaginations, and counteract “nature deficit disorder.” Campers go from site to site—mountains, forests, brooks, industrial brownfields, you name it—on an adventurous, inquiry-based investigation into our living land. Through active physical and mental engagement with “our place,” they gain a deep and lasting appreciation of it—and themselves. Jun 8-Aug 17; Age/Grade Range: 1st-8th grades. 774-526-6507. info@biocitizen.org

Jul 6-10

Journey Camp returns to Cummington for Hilltown families this summer. The supportive staff makes it easy to find new friends while exploring nature, theater, games, music. Inclusiveness and peace building are hallmarks of Journey Camp. Founder and Director, Sarah Pirtle, has numerous awards for her books and music for children. Session One, boys & girls ages 7-12,June 29-July 3, 8:45-4, Woolman Hill, Deerfield. Hilltown Journey Camp, boys & girls, 7-12, July 6-10, 8:45-4, Taproot Common Farm, Cummington. Moonseed Teen Leadership for Girls, 11-18, July 27-July 30, two overnights & campfires, Woolman Hill. Girls Week, 7-13, Aug. 3-7 & Aug. 10-14, 8:45-4, Woolman Hill. www.sarahpirtle.com. Contact: 413-588-6399, marsha.journey@gmail.com.

Now available

Crimson & Clover Farm is happy to announce that 2015 CSA Shares are now available! Located at the Northampton Community Farm, near downtown Florence, Crimson & Clover Farm raises a wide variety of delicious, beautiful, and sustainably grown fruits and vegetables for our 20 week CSA program. As a community based farm, they offer a welcoming environment where their members and their families can come and enjoy this amazing community resource as well as receive nutritious locally grown food. In addition to vegetables, they also offer a variety of locally produced products for sale through their farm store, as well as a bountiful PYO garden. For more info about the CSA and how to become a member of the farm, visit crimsonandcloverfarm.com.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, 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.

MARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer. On Sunday, March 15th, 2015, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2015 Summer Camps 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 14th-20th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Nutrition Month Reminds Us What Eating “Well” Truly Means

Nutrition plays active role in supporting the community

Join us to honor National Nutrition Month. The Food Bank and Hilltown Families are holding a very special Family Volunteer Day at our Hatfield facility on Saturday, March 21. In addition to learning about hunger in our region and helping to prepare food for distribution, the event will also focus on healthy eating habits by providing a fun cooking demonstration. Click here to learn more about this event and how your family can participate.

March is National Nutrition Month — a campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of making informed choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. It highlights the value of adopting eating and physical activity plans  focused on consuming fewer calories and getting daily exercise in order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic disease and promote overall health.

Hunger is not just about lack of food. It’s also about lack of nutritious food. That’s why, at The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, we are dedicated to providing our neighbors in need with the healthiest foods possible. Every year, our farm in Hadley provides 100,000 pounds of fresh, chemical-free produce for us to distribute to our member agencies (including pantries, meal sites and shelters). We also work closely with many local farmers, who generously donated more than 266,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables in 2014. In the past year, our Mobile Food Bank has provided hundreds of thousands of pounds of produce directly to families in areas when they may not otherwise have access. Read the rest of this entry »

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