Learning Ahead: May 26th-29th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 6 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:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for May 23rd & 24th, 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 May 23rd-29th, 2015 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Memorial Day, Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our monthly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 23 Community Highlights: Baked Potatoes to Kielbasas. Wild Flowers to Rhubarb., 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!

May 23rd-29th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Hikes & WalksAnimal StudiesHistorySheep & WoolLiteracyFood CelebrationsMuseum AdventuresSTEMService-Based LearningPicnicsCommunity Meal

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVE

  1. Oak & Acorn: Rhubarb Crumble in Season
  2. Let Them Grow: Backyard Bird Paradise Brings Toddlers Closer to Nature
  3. HFVS Music from South Africa with Guest DJ, Debbie Lan (Radio Show/Podcast)
  4. What to Play? Creative-Free Music Making!
  5. 5 Ways to Prepare Your Child For Summer Camp

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music Family Volunteer Days

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

23 Community Highlights: Baked Potatoes to Kielbasas. Wild Flowers to Rhubarb.

The Lenox Rhubarb Festival takes place Saturday, May 23 from 10am-3pm at the library reading park! Come celebrate all things rhubarb at this fun festival. There will be delicious rhubarb foods, activities, and more. 18 Main Street. Lenox, MA.

Baked Potatoes to Kielbasas. Wild Flowers to Rhubarb. Picnics to Museum Adventures… 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: First conceived at a potluck dinner 1974, the Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair has grown into a weekend-long celebration of all things sheep-related. This weekend, join local farmers and crafters at the Cummington Fairgrounds to experience demonstrations (shearing, rug hooking, fiber dyeing, and cooking, to name a few), participate in workshops (including Angora rabbit care, felting, yarn spinning, and intarsia knitting), watch sheep and sheep dog shows, and visit with over 60 vendors of woolcraft-related products. Kids will love learning to spin yarn, dyeing wool with Kool-Aid, and creating felted fairies and treasure bags in workshops designed especially for them! Where else might you be able to watch a speed knitting contest and taste unique lamb-based dishes created by students in the Smith Vocational School’s Culinary Arts program? Come immerse yourself in local sheep farming and woolcraft culture, and discover why this festival has been going strong for forty years. Saturday, May 23 & Sunday, May 24, 9am-4pm. Cummington Fairgrounds. Cummington, MA (>$)


Hikes & WalksAnimal StudiesHistorySheep & WoolLiteracyFood CelebrationsMuseum AdventuresSTEMService-Based LearningPicnicsCommunity Meal


Join our stellar team supporters!
Become a sponsor of Learn Local. Play Local. and see your banner here:

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for May 23rd-29th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

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

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending. Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Summer Camps in Western MA

Nearly 60 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.

Bulletin Board

May 23

This Memorial Day weekend make your memories at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst! The Berkshire Theatre Group presents Atlantis, Lost! And Other Legends of the Strange Waves on Saturday, May 23 at 11am & 1pm. Atlantis, Lost! is a collection of stories about historical wonders and the waters of the world. This assortment of wet and wonderful tales includes the lost civilization of Atlantis, the life of a pirate, the origin of surfing and the Loch Ness monster. Ride the strange waves and discover a whole new view of the world through these inspired episodes of modern mythology. Tickets are $6.50 (Members $5.50) and may be purchased in advance at the Museum Admissions Desk or by calling 413-658-1126. www.carlemuseum.org

Jun 6

Renowned ecologist & educator Tom Wessel is coming to Ashfield on June 6 as part of the Bug Hill Farm On-Farm Workshop Summer Series. Set on 50 acres of fields, forest & trails, Bug Hill Farm is a certified organic, PYO uncommon fruit & edible flower farmstead, crafting healthy value-added products in their commercial kitchen. Serving as an educational center for visitors interested in the complementary aspects of ecological restoration, sustainable small-scale farming & local micro- businesses, the farm serves as a model for environmental, agricultural & social sustainability. Wessels is just one of many talented workshop presenters hosted by the farm. Find out about this series & to register at www.bughillfarm.org, or call 413-628-3980.

Jun 26-Jul 27

Share the local Hilltown summer experience with a student from Spain and receive a camp discount/voucher & stipend (Total $1,000). Students personally screened and placed in host families with children of same ages & interests to create a strong connection. Local organizers Joe Bock & Paula Garcia are always close-by & in touch to ensure a successful experience. Attending a camp during the stay? Better! Get a discount/rebate in addition to $700 stipend. Paperwork for student done/paid by organizers. Hosts also invited to Six Flags & New York City trip. Many references available. Great way to make a friend from Spain, have fun & represent the Hilltown community. Jun 26-Jul 27 joe.homestaysusa@gmail.com 413-203-1371 homestaysusa.org

Jul 21-27

ibmeThis summer teens can unplug & tune in at Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme), July 21-27, at Powell House in Old Chatham, NY. Teaching mindfulness helps lay down the foundation for a successful life by building emotional resiliency, developing self-awareness, and strengthening communication skills. iBme teen retreats offer a life transforming experience in the serenity of nature through meditation & mindfulness that is both interactive & fun. Teens return home having learned valuable skills and techniques to calm and focus their minds. Supporting diversity, iBme welcomes all backgrounds & abilities. Affordable financing for all families. No teen is turned away due to lack of funds. For info/register: 978-254-7082. contact@ibme.info.

Jun 27

Join us on Saturday, June 27 from 10am-12noon for a meaningful morning volunteering with your family and your community! Free and open to everyone!

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, June 27th, 10am-12noon, Farming with Friends at Mountain View Farm. 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. 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 May 23rd-29th, 2015

SaturdaySunday MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrate the Turtle on World Turtle Day!

Laughing Brook Hosts Family Friendly Nature Celebration

Fascinating creatures that they are, turtles have been given their very own holiday! Families can celebrate World Turtle Day with a visit to Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary to learn about local turtles, or can explore the wetlands of the Berkshire to look for these endangered bog turtles!

Unbeknownst to most of us, the nearby bogs of the Berkshires are the perfect habitat for a very precious and endangered species, the bog turtle! One of ten species of turtles found in Massachusetts, the perfect habitat for this tiny rare turtle can be found in the naturally alkaline wet patches of field and meadow across the westernmost portion of our region. Families can learn more about this and other species of testudines by engaging in community-based opportunities for hands-on learning about habitat conservation and species preservation.

Bog turtles are not exclusive to western Massachusetts. They can, in fact, be found as far south as Georgia, but local populations are nevertheless endangered. The closet turtle populations to those in the Berkshires are located 250 miles away, a separation that has been caused by land development. As a result, local bog turtles are genetically isolated – a fact that, when combined with habitat loss and other factors, puts them in danger. Luckily, researchers from The Nature Conservancy have worked to study and monitor bog turtle populations using turtle-mounted radio transmitters. Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: May 18th-22nd, 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.


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for May 16th & 17th, 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 May 16th-22nd, 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 50 Community Highlights: Handwriting to Storytelling. Electric Bikes to Historic Trains., 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!

May 16th-27th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Community CelebrationsHistoryBicycleCommunity ResiliencyCommunity MealsPlant SalesSeed SwapsService-Based LearningNature-Based LearningPlanes, Trains & AutomobiliesAncestryArts & CraftsLiteracyMuseum AdventuresMusicParent WorkshopsPreschool HighlightsSTEM

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVE

  1. HFVS History Through Stories & Songs Episode with Guest DJ, David Grover (Radio Show/Podcast)
  2. Open Sesame: Craft & Storytelling Urge Us to Jump Into This Graphic Novel
  3. Google Lit Trips Puts Literary Characters Back on the Map
  4. Literrariums: The Art & Science of Story Terrariums
  5. 7 Literary Guides for Expanding Family Reading Time

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music Family Volunteer Days

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

50 Community Highlights: Handwriting to Storytelling. Electric Bikes to Historic Trains.

Bridge over West Branch of Westfield River near Middlefield Rd, Chester MA

Chester on Track is this weekend, Sat., May 16,  a free, community-wide celebration of railroads and local history around Chester. This year’s event features many activities for the whole family to enjoy with history-focused events and demonstrations, including blacksmithing and woodworking demonstrations, early Irish railroad reenactments, a historic train show, classic cars, gas engine demonstrations, 1920s-era freight cars, and more. Community members of all ages can attend this fun annual event to celebrate life in Chester and learn about historic railroads and other local industries.

Handwriting to Storytelling. Electric Bikes to Seed Swaps. Trains to Planes… 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:  The River’s Song is a community-wide celebration of the Connecticut River in Turners Falls on Saturday, May 16, 11am-9pm. There will be an opening ceremony and drumming by the Nolumbeka Project, art activities with the Art Garden, a river parade, a chance to learn about fish at the Great Falls Discovery Center, live music, an art reception, a dance performance, and more. The whole community can come together to celebrate the river at this fun all-day event. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

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


Community CelebrationsHistoryBicycleCommunity ResiliencyCommunity MealsPlant SalesSeed SwapsService-Based LearningNature-Based LearningPlanes, Trains & AutomobiliesAncestryArts & CraftsLiteracyMuseum AdventuresMusicParent WorkshopsPreschool HighlightsSTEM


Join our stellar team supporters!
Become a sponsor of Learn Local. Play Local. and see your banner here:

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for May 16th-22nd, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

My family recently relocated to Western Mass and I am LOVING Hilltown Families – so many great ideas for weekend activities, I just wish the weekends were longer! Katie D. (South Hadley, 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 55 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.

Bulletin Board

May 15 & 16

CATS, let the “Memory” live again! The magical legendary Broadway hit by Andrew Lloyd Webber, which ran for 21 years in London and 18 years on Broadway, will come alive on stage at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton by the talented Starlight’s Youth Theatre on May 15 & 16! This song and dance masterpiece of second chances and unconditional love, based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, tells of Jellicle cats and the quest to be the lucky one who will ascend to “the Heaviside Layer.” Come support over 60 teens from across the Pioneer Valley! This show is the purrfect opportunity for the entire family to create a “memory” that will live forever. Tix: www.academyofmusictheatre.com. Questions: starlights.yt@gmail.com

May 16

Pioneer Valley Ballet is hosting an open house on Saturday, May 16, 10am-12noon. Tour PVB’s studio in Easthampton, meet the trainers, and sample a class. At 11:30am, children ages 4-6 can participate in a FREE 30-minute Creative Ballet Class—an excellent introduction to PVB’s training programs that create exceptional young dancers. For more information, call 413-527-6363 or visit PVB online at www.pioneervalleyballet.org.

May 16

The OnTrend Spring Craft Fair will be held on Saturday, May 16 at the Hadley Farms Meeting House in lovely Hadley, MA. The fair will showcase talented indie crafters and makers of all kinds from throughout New England and New York. Shoppers will find high-quality handmade jewelry, paper goods, wood crafts, home goods, ceramics, and much more. Come support our talented local artisans — shop local, shop small! Free to attend. Free gift for the first 100 shoppers! For more information, visit ontrendcrafts.com or email Jennifer at jennifer@ontrendcrafts.com.

May 20

Open School Day at the Montessori School of Northampton: On Wednesday, May 20 at 9am, the Montessori School of Northampton at 51 Bates Street will host a morning Open School Day. This is an opportunity for parents to spend time in classrooms and observe Montessori in action. The visit will also include a tour of the school, which includes programs for students age 2 through 12, and a group parent meeting with the Head of School and Director of Admissions. The morning will end at 11am. Parents must register in advance with the Director of Admissions at laura@northamptonmontessori.org or at 413-586-4538 x103. More information on the school can be found at northamptonmontessori.org.

May 10-25

Mother’s Day to Memorial Day Discount! Oak Meadow is offering 10% off enrollment and 15% off materials in their Bookstore from May 10 to 25. Their student-centered, nature-based homeschooling curriculum for students in K-12 allows families to set their own natural rhythm of learning and encourages creativity, critical thinking, and intellectual development through hands-on activities and interdisciplinary projects. Use their curriculum independently or enroll in their fully accredited distance learning school.

Jun 26-Jul 27

Share the local Hilltown summer experience with a student from Spain and receive a camp discount/voucher & stipend (Total $1,000). Students personally screened and placed in host families with children of same ages & interests to create a strong connection. Local organizers Joe Bock & Paula Garcia are always close-by & in touch to ensure a successful experience. Attending a camp during the stay? Better! Get a discount/rebate in addition to $700 stipend. Paperwork for student done/paid by organizers. Hosts also invited to Six Flags & New York City trip. Many references available. Great way to make a friend from Spain, have fun & represent the Hilltown community. Jun 26-Jul 27 joe.homestaysusa@gmail.com 413-203-1371 homestaysusa.org

Jun 27

Join us this Saturday, June 27 from 10am-12noon for a meaningful morning volunteering with your family and your community! Free and open to everyone!

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, June 27th, 10am-12noon, Farming with Friends at Mountain View Farm. 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. 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
May 16th-22nd, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Pay It Forward Inspires Community Volunteering

Learning Landscapes: Empowering Children in Learning Critical Life Skills

Thinking Tools for Community Experiential Education by Design

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…

Setting: Dad is quietly folding laundry, Antonio (4-years-old) is playing games by himself in the living room, and Lucia (2.5-years-old) is playing with her toy doll and another stuffed animal on the floor in the master bedroom near dad.  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: May 11th-15th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 8 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.


Join our stellar team of supporters!
Become a sponsor of Learning Ahead and see your banner here:

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for May 9th & 10th, 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 May 9th-15th, 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 36 Community Highlights: Mother’s Day to Bird Watching. Architecture to Film Studies., 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!

May 9th-15th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

OrnithologyFilmsMother’s Day HighlightsCollaborative ConsumptionService-Based LearningPlant SalesPreschool HighlightsAstronomyPlant & Nature StudiesHistorySTEMParent WorkshopsArt Walk

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVE

  1. How Does Your Sunscreen Rate? 
  2. Mother’s Day Brunch in Western MA
  3. HFVS Mother’s Day Episode
  4. Play Spring Walk Bingo! 
  5. Little Homes for Little Folks: Make Your Own Gnome Home

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music Family Volunteer Days

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

36 Community Highlights: Mother’s Day to Bird Watching. Architecture to Film Studies.

Tending to a family garden not only provides food for your family and adds beauty to your surroundings, but the process of growing and caring for plants brings with it ample opportunity to learn about everything from edible plants to soil science! Here in western Massachusetts, gardening season is just kicking into full swing – meaning it’s time to start planning and planting your family garden!

Wildflower Walks to Plant Sales. Mother’s Day to Bird Watching. Architecture to Film Studies… 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: Is your child interested in learning about birds? The Hampshire Bird Club and the Broad Brook Coalition are holding a children’s birding event at Fitzgerald Lake Conservation Area. In honor of International Migratory Bird Day, kids can come learn about birding and bird identification. Kids can learn how to use binoculars and can view photographs of common birds and those seen on the walk to help with identification and understanding. This bird walk is an excellent way to get kids of all ages interested in studying birds and spending time outdoors. Call group leader Bruce Hart at 413-584-4176 for more information. Cooke Avenue. Northampton, MA.

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


OrnithologyFilmsMother’s Day HighlightsCollaborative ConsumptionService-Based LearningPlant SalesPreschool HighlightsAstronomyPlant & Nature StudiesHistorySTEMParent WorkshopsArt Walk


Join our stellar team supporters!
Become a sponsor of Learn Local. Play Local. and see your banner here:

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for May 9th-15th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“I have been referring to Hilltown Families for years — I make my weekly calendar from the suggested events list! As a mother of 3, 5 and under, it has been an invaluable resource for our family.” – Ellen Ferris (South Hadley, 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 55 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 Event: Saturday, May 9

May 9

Join us this Saturday, May 9 from 9-11:30am for a meaningful morning volunteering with your family and your community! Free and open to everyone!

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, May 9th, 9-11:30am with a community potluck and volunteer day. 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

May 8

Platypus Police Pizza Party with Jarrett Krosoczka at Odyssey Bookshop, Friday, May 8th at 6pm. FREE. Join the Odyssey Bookshop in the celebration of the release of Platypus Police Squad: Last Panda Standing, the third installment in the hilarious, high-action illustrated middle grade series featuring two platypus detectives, perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Big Nate, and Jarrett’s own Lunch Lady series. Hear from Jarrett and two South Hadley Police officers, decorate your own police academy badges and have all you can eat pizza (no synthetic fish guarantee)! Perfect for ages 7+. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley, MA. RSVP required. Email RSVP@odysseybks.com

May 9

Saturday, May 9, 1-2 pm, Radical Renewal. Six Steps to Nourish the Heart and Soul of Mothering. For Mothers of all ages and stages. Gift yourself an hour to step away. Step away and remind yourself of what you need to sustain your joy and resilience as a mother. Radical Renewal is a way to reframe your relationship to mothering, profoundly impacting what you know to be true in the journey of nurturing your children as you nourish yourself. Bring your sister, your mother, girlfriend or daughter and renew yourself in the holistic environment of Eastover Retreat Center in Lenox, MA. Refreshments served. Free Mother’s Day program. Registration requested: eastover.com/marilyn-taylor.html; Marilyn@confident-directions.com.

May 10-25

Mother’s Day to Memorial Day Discount! Oak Meadow is offering 10% off enrollment and 15% off materials in their Bookstore from May 10 to 25. Their student-centered, nature-based homeschooling curriculum for students in K-12 allows families to set their own natural rhythm of learning and encourages creativity, critical thinking, and intellectual development through hands-on activities and interdisciplinary projects. Use their curriculum independently or enroll in their fully accredited distance learning school.

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!

May 15 & 16

CATS, let the “Memory” live again! The magical legendary Broadway hit by Andrew Lloyd Webber, which ran for 21 years in London and 18 years on Broadway, will come alive on stage at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton by the talented Starlight’s Youth Theatre on May 15 & 16! This song and dance masterpiece of second chances and unconditional love, based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, tells of Jellicle cats and the quest to be the lucky one who will ascend to “the Heaviside Layer.” Come support over 60 teens from across the Pioneer Valley! This show is the purrfect opportunity for the entire family to create a “memory” that will live forever. Tix: www.academyofmusictheatre.com. Questions: starlights.yt@gmail.com

May 16

The OnTrend Spring Craft Fair will be held on Saturday, May 16 at the Hadley Farms Meeting House in lovely Hadley, MA. The fair will showcase talented indie craters and makers of all kinds from throughout New England and New York. Shoppers will find high-quality handmade jewelry, paper goods, wood crafts, home goods, ceramics, and much more. Come support our talented local artisans — shop local, shop small! Free to attend. Free gift for the first 100 shoppers! For more information, visit ontrendcrafts.com or email Jennifer at jennifer@ontrendcrafts.com.

May 16

Pioneer Valley Ballet is hosting an open house on Saturday, May 16, 10am-12noon. Tour PVB’s studio in Easthampton, meet the trainers, and sample a class. At 11:30am, children ages 4-6 can participate in a FREE 30-minute Creative Ballet Class—an excellent introduction to PVB’s training programs that create exceptional young dancers. For more information, call 413-527-6363 or visit PVB online at www.pioneervalleyballet.org.

Jun 26-Jul 27

Share the local Hilltown summer experience with a student from Spain and receive a camp discount/voucher & stipend (Total $1,000). Students personally screened and placed in host families with children of same ages & interests to create a strong connection. Local organizers Joe Bock & Paula Garcia are always close-by & in touch to ensure a successful experience. Attending a camp during the stay? Better! Get a discount/rebate in addition to $700 stipend. Paperwork for student done/paid by organizers. Hosts also invited to Six Flags & New York City trip. Many references available. Great way to make a friend from Spain, have fun & represent the Hilltown community. Jun 26-Jul 27 joe.homestaysusa@gmail.com 413-203-1371 homestaysusa.org

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, 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
May 9th-15th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Museum Adventures: Museums10 Turns 10 & Continues to Think Smart

Museums10 Deepens Western Mass Cultural Life Through Creative Collaboration

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Arts in Amherst, MA.

Western Massachusetts is rich with opportunities for families to get out into their community to explore, to get to know the world better, and gain a deeper understanding of history. The museums in our region embody that richness to the fullest! Now in its 10th year, Museums10 can point to the fact that they host more exhibitions annually than at the Met, Lourve, and Guggenheim combined and house 1.3 million collection objects (equal to what you’d find at the Harvard Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Cleveland Art Museum put together!).

Who is Museums10? Ten years ago, 10 local museums came together to build a collaborative to foster greater cooperation. The hope was that by working together they could accomplish more than any could solo. During the past decade, they’ve hosted large joint exhibitions, worked with local organizations to create events, and built relationships with area schools to help make the museums part of children’s educational lives during the school day.  Read the rest of this entry »

Recognizing and Supporting Seniors during Older Americans Month

‘Get into the Act’

Senior volunteers have fun and prepare bags of groceries to be distributed through The Food Bank’s Brown Bag: Food for Elders program. Click here to register to join The Food Bank and Hilltown Families for another free Family Volunteer Day on Saturday, May 9 from 9-11:30am.

In May, the nation will be celebrating Older Americans Month to recognize seniors’ contributions and provide them with resources to stay healthy and active. Older adults are a vital part of our society. Since 1963, communities across the country have shown their gratitude by celebrating Older Americans Month each May. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Get into the Act,” to focus on how seniors are taking charge of their health, getting engaged in their communities, and making a positive impact in the lives of others.

Throughout the country, older Americans face a number of unique challenges that contribute to food insecurity. Many seniors are living on fixed incomes that often force them to choose between paying for healthcare or prescriptions and buying groceries. Although food insecurity affects people of all ages, seniors are particularly vulnerable because they have unique nutritional needs related to aging and/or medical conditions.  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: May 4th-8th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 10 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.


Join our stellar team supporters!
Become a sponsor of Learning Ahead and see your banner here:

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for May 2nd & 3rd, 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 May 2nd-8th, 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 36 Community Highlights: May Day to Art Walks. Historical Hikes to Museum Adventures., 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!

May 2nd-8th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Local History  ♦ Museum AdventuresWalking TourCollege SamplerService-Based LearningMay DayHiking  ♦ WorkshopsPreschool HighlightsCulinary ArtsSheep & WoolRenaissance StudiesSTEMZoologyParents’ Night OutArt Walks

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVE

  1. HFVS Cinco de Mayo Episode with Guest DJ, Sandra from Moona Luna (Radio Show/Podcast)
  2. Project 333 Challenges Consumerism While Supporting Style
  3. Parenting Green: 6 Reasons to Bike Ride with Your Family
  4. Plants Sales Support Multidisciplinary Learning in Your Backyard
  5. Hindsight Parenting: Stepping Out of Motherhood and into Yourself

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music Family Volunteer Days

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

36 Community Highlights: May Day to Art Walks. Historical Hikes to Museum Adventures.

Celebrate spring and May Day at the Meekins Library‘s May Faire on Saturday, May 2, 10am-3pm! Come in costume and enjoy magic tricks by Ed the Wizard, build a fairy house, make a May basket, and more. A fun way to celebrate May Day with community members of all ages! 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Hikes to Museums. May Day to Art Walks. Textiles to Renaissance… 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:  Explore the Clark Art Institute’s exhibit Machine Age Modernism: Prints from the Daniel Cowin Collection at their free Machine Age Family Day on Sunday, May 3, 1pm-4pm. There will be fun activities for all ages, including performances by the Williams College Jazz Ensemble (1:15pm) and Kris Allen Quartet (2:30pm), a Machine Age Modernism gallery talk (1:30pm & 2:30pm), a printmaking workshop, a 3D printing demonstration, fingerprinting, flipbooks, a robotics demonstration, art making activities, and more. This is a wonderful opportunity for families to explore this local museum for free! Call the Clark at 413-458-2303 for more information. The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

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


Local History  ♦ Museum AdventuresWalking TourCollege SamplerService-Based LearningMay DayHiking  ♦ WorkshopsPreschool HighlightsCulinary ArtsSheep & WoolRenaissance StudiesSTEMZoologyParents’ Night OutArt Walks


Join our stellar team supporters!
Become a sponsor of Learn Local. Play Local. and see your banner here:

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for May 2nd-8th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“I especially love the summer camp information all in one place! It’s good to know about parent/child craft classes too… Thanks for all you do!” – Martha Lorantos (Sunderland, 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 55 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 Event

May 9

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, May 9th, 9-11:30am with a community potluck and volunteer day. 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

May 2-3

The Alchemy Artisan Fair is proud to present it’s second annual show at Gateway City Arts at 92 Race Street in Holyoke from 10am-6pm on Saturday, May 2nd, and 11am-4pm on Sunday, May 3rd. Shop the work of over 30 local artisans, participate in a hula hoop jam with Kimqui Hoops, master your yo-yo skills with the A-Z Science and Learning Yo-Yo School, learn how to make your own mini-comic book with My Monster Hat, paint your own one of a kind stoneware bowl with The Celadon Studio or just chill in the beer garden and enjoy the day. Tickets are $5 at the door, free for children under 12. More information at www.alchemyfair.com

May 3

Sunday May 3, 2015 from 11am- 4pm: The Massachusetts Renaissance Center invites you to a day of music, theater, juggling, falconry, dancing and more at the 13th Annual Community Renaissance Festival in Amherst! Fun for all ages! Free admission and Free parking! Phoenix Swords returns with their popular swordsmanship demonstrations that are fun for the whole family! Robie Bones is back to lead music making! Play Renaissance games with Mutton and Mead! See demonstrations by local artisans and try your hand at one of these Renaissance crafts! There will be a Renaissance Poetry Performance Contest with cash prizes to win! For a complete schedule and parking info visit www.umass.edu/renaissance and click the festival link, or call 413-577-3600.

May 3

It’s a… Book! Book Launch with Angela DiTerlizzi at Odyssey Bookshop, Sunday, May 3rd at 3pm. FREE Join book lovers for the ultimate “book shower” with local author, Angela Diterlizzi. The author who brought you, Say What and Some Bugs, has returned to celebrate the joys of a new baby in her latest picture book, Baby Love. From bubble baths & baby kisses to chubby thighs & lullabies this book will delight babies young & old! A wonderful event for new parents, new babies and children of all ages, celebrate the arrival of this new creation. With sweet treats, book shower games and a toddler bubble dance party, this event will be fun for the whole family. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St., South Hadley. RSVP required. Email RSVP@odysseybks.com

May 8

Platypus Police Pizza Party with Jarrett Krosoczka at Odyssey Bookshop, Friday, May 8th at 6pm. FREE. Join the Odyssey Bookshop in the celebration of the release of Platypus Police Squad: Last Panda Standing, the third installment in the hilarious, high-action illustrated middle grade series featuring two platypus detectives, perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Big Nate, and Jarrett’s own Lunch Lady series. Hear from Jarrett and two South Hadley Police officers, decorate your own police academy badges and have all you can eat pizza (no synthetic fish guarantee)! Perfect for ages 7+. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley, MA. RSVP required. Email RSVP@odysseybks.com

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!

Jun 26-Jul 27

Share the local Hilltown summer experience with a student from Spain and receive a camp discount/voucher & stipend (Total $1,000). Students personally screened and placed in host families with children of same ages & interests to create a strong connection. Local organizers Joe Bock & Paula Garcia are always close-by & in touch to ensure a successful experience. Attending a camp during the stay? Better! Get a discount/rebate in addition to $700 stipend. Paperwork for student done/paid by organizers. Hosts also invited to Six Flags & New York City trip. Many references available. Great way to make a friend from Spain, have fun & represent the Hilltown community. Jun 26-Jul 27 joe.homestaysusa@gmail.com 413-203-1371 homestaysusa.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

Preschool Openings

Preschool Openings at the Common School in Amherst. What is the best way to insure a quality education for your child? Invest in it early. The Common School provides the foundation for life-long learning by emphasizing how to learn. Experiential activities, a strong social curriculum, environmental awareness and imagination are hallmarks of our pre-school program- paving the way for strong academic success. Openings for 3 – 5 year olds for fall 2015. Call for a tour 413-256-8989 and visit their website www.commonschool.org

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, 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
May 2nd-8th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: May 2015

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
May 2015

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

“First thing I check in the morning… last thing I check at night.. Hilltown Families is my constant check in to keep [my family] out and about. It’s a great way to meet other local families and stay connected with all our friends spread out through these hills. Thanks for all the great ideas and insight!” Brehan Bruce of Becket, MA


Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:


Berkshire Family Fun is also supported in part by a grant from the 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: Celebrating Local Culture Through Sheep & Wool

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: April Segment
Celebrating New England Culture Through Sheep & Wool

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 host, Ashley Kohl, 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, April 23, 2015, highlighting community-based resources and events that use sheep and wool as a lens for learning about our local culture and history.  Sienna and Ashley talk about events and activities families can access to support learning this time of year as it relates to our cultural heritage and learning connections with sheep and wool:

In the early spring, New England history and culture come alive with the arrival of newborn lambs and the shearing of sheep for the production of wool. The wool industry has strong ties to western Massachusetts, with annual events that celebrate our historical past and other events which showcase modern day shepherds and their flocks.  Discover local events and resources that make connects and support learning in our post, New England Culture & Learning Through the Lens of Sheep & Wool.


Mass Appeal is a live weekday program that airs at 11am on 22News (Springfield, MA).  Our next visit to the Mass Appeal studios will be Thursday, May 28!

You’re Your Community’s Expert. Invite People to Explore… 

Jane’s Walks Inspires Us to Showcase Our Community’s Beauty

janes walkImagine that a new family moves into your neighborhood. What parts of your community would you most like to share with them? How would you help them to learn about what makes your neighborhood unique? What hard-to-find things would you be sure to let them know about? Families can use their imaginations to answer these questions and more in order to develop tours of their very own communities. Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: April 27th-May 1st, 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.


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 25th & 26th, 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 25th-May 1st, 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 45 Community Highlights: Swordsmanship to Sheep Shearing. Sunspots to Dinosaur Valley., 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 25th-May 1st, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

GeologyService-Based LearningVernal PoolsOrnithologyHistoryHilltown HighlightsEco-CelebrationsSheep ShearingPlant StudiesCulinary ArtsPreschool HighlightsMusic StudiesAstronomyLocal HistoryArt HistoryEntomologyParent Workshops

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Support Language Art & Community Engagement Through Poetry
  2. Oak & Acorn: Sustainable and Wild Harvesting
  3. Message of the Spring Peepers
  4. What’s Your Favorite Way to Discover and Explore History with Your Kids?
  5. HFVS Weather Episode with Guest DJ, Alison Faith Levy (Radio Show/Podcast)

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music Family Volunteer Days

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

45 Community Highlights: Swordsmanship to Sheep Shearing. Sunspots to Dinosaur Valley.

See sheep shearing demonstrations at Hancock Shaker Village on April 25 and 26. Visitors can see the Village’s Merino sheep get rid of their winter coats, and there will be hands-on textile demonstrations. 413-443-0188. 1843 West Housatonic Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

Historical Swordsmanship to Sheep Shearing. Gospel Choir to Leonardo da Vinci. Sunspots to Dinosaur Valley… 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: Looking for a great way to celebrate Earth month with the whole family? Head to the 6th Annual Amherst Sustainability Festival on Saturday, April 25, 10am-4pm! You can learn more about home energy savings, renewable energy options, Arbor Day, permaculture, and waste footprint reduction. There will also be “How To” workshops on tree care, composting, bee keeping, growing mushrooms, and fermenting vegetables. While you’re learning, enjoy live entertainment throughout the day from local musicians. Or, take a break to pet the animals! The Goat Girls booth will have live goats and there will be draft horses from the Bluestar Equiculture booth. Kids can also have their faces painted, watch live juggling, and participate in tree identification activities. Feel free to bring pellet bags, large Styrofoam, and unwanted linens, rags, and clothes for recycling when you come! Amherst Town Common. Amherst, MA. (Free to attend).

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


GeologyService-Based LearningVernal PoolsOrnithologyHistoryHilltown HighlightsEco-CelebrationsSheep ShearingPlant StudiesCulinary ArtsPreschool HighlightsMusic StudiesAstronomyLocal HistoryArt HistoryEntomologyParent Workshops


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

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for April 25th-May 1st, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“When you travel you think to find out about all the interesting places to visit; sometimes you forget to look around in your own backyard. Hilltown Families is a wonderful resource that reminds me of all the fun things to do right here in the region.” – Heather LaPenn

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.

Bulletin Board

Apr 24

Come sing and dance at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art this Friday, April 24th at 11am and 1pm with Mister G in Amherst! Mister G is a 2014 Latin-Grammy nominated artist who was recently named one of the “Best Live Acts for Kids and Families.” Called “irresistible” by People magazine, his original music is a true delight for the whole family, and has won praise from The Boston Globe, LA Times, Chicago SunTimes, and The Washington Post. Join The Carle for an interactive concert experience that’s not to be missed! Advance tickets contact 413-658-1126. For more information, visit www.carlemuseum.org

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.

Apr 30

Parent of a 12-18 yr old? Want to win a $100 VISA Gift Card & $100 Big Y Shopping Spree? Take Northampton Prevention Coalition’s Parent Survey by June 1st! Want more? Here are some great upcoming NPC Events for Parents of Teens: Youth Marijuana Use: What’s the Big Deal? A Community Meeting w/ Rick Cresta – LICSW, MSW/MPH, Thursday, April 30th, 7pm, Northampton High School’s Little Theatre at 380 Elm Street in Northampton. Childcare available, call 413-587-1366. Also, How to Help Your Teen Make Healthy Choices: A Taste of Motivational Interviewing w/ John Brelsford, PHD, Saturday, May 16th, 10:30am–2pm, Collaborative for Educational Services at 97 Hawley St, Northampton with lunch provided. Visit NPC at northamptonprevents.org to register!

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

May 3

Sunday May 3, 2015 from 11am- 4pm: The Massachusetts Renaissance Center invites you to a day of music, theater, juggling, falconry, dancing and more at the 13th Annual Community Renaissance Festival in Amherst! Fun for all ages! Free admission and Free parking! Phoenix Swords returns with their popular swordsmanship demonstrations that are fun for the whole family! Robie Bones is back to lead music making! Play Renaissance games with Mutton and Mead! See demonstrations by local artisans and try your hand at one of these Renaissance crafts! There will be a Renaissance Poetry Performance Contest with cash prizes to win! For a complete schedule and parking info visit www.umass.edu/renaissance and click the festival link, or call 413-577-3600.

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

Preschool Openings

Preschool Openings at the Common School in Amherst. What is the best way to insure a quality education for your child? Invest in it early. The Common School provides the foundation for life-long learning by emphasizing how to learn. Experiential activities, a strong social curriculum, environmental awareness and imagination are hallmarks of our pre-school program- paving the way for strong academic success. Openings for 3 – 5 year olds for fall 2015. Call for a tour 413-256-8989 and visit their website www.commonschool.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

May 9

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, May 9th, 9-11:30am with a community potluck and volunteer day. 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. 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 25th-May 1st, 2015

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5 Community Walks Lead Towards Seeing a Hidden Landscape in the Hilltowns

Hidden Walls, Hidden Mills: Exploring the Plainfield Landscape

Click to enlargeJoin the Plainfield Historical Society for five free walks and talks exploring and interpreting our forested historical landscape this spring and summer! Starting on Saturday, April 25, 2015, with the Plainfield Aquaduct Company, the first commonly-held utility in Plainfield history.

Sinking deeply into spring mud, as most families living in the Hilltowns are doing, reminds us of the abundance of water that once made Plainfield a center of industrial farming, a boomtown of sorts in which land speculation went hand in hand with great civic efforts to build a community. In five guided talks/walks, learn to see old Plainfield in the landscape, about the mills, springs, and wells, “read” stone foundations and walls like so many tablets, interpret trees and plants to find cellar holes, and enrich your understanding of this beautiful Hilltown.

All tours meet behind the Shaw Memorial Library (Plainfield, MA) at 1pm and are free (donations welcomed). There will first be a “show and tell” of the historical research involved in creating the walk, followed by a walk or hike.  Read the rest of this entry »

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:


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