Community Highlights: Family Concerts to Purim. Pancakes to Seeds.

Community meals are great intergenerational opportunities to sit down with neighbors of all ages, making connections and nurturing relationships across the generations. Participating in a community pancake breakfast does more than fill your belly… it strengthens the social fabric of community by developing a sense of place in our children! The Easthampton PTO is hosting a Pancake Breakfast at Easthampton High School on Saturday, February 28, 8:30am-10:30am.

Family  Concerts to Purim. Pancake Breakfast to Charles Dickens. Seeds to Origami. 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: Families can join the Northampton Parents Center for Family Fun Night on Saturday, February 28, 4pm-7pm! There will be a performance by In the Nick of Time, dessert from Herrell’s, an optional potluck dinner, and playtime. This is a great chance to to get to know other local families! 413-582-2636. 297 Main Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE/DONATIONS ACCEPTED)


STE(A)MSustainabilitySocial JusticeSpring MusicalsCommunity MealNature/Animal StudiesPuppetryLiterature/WritingPurimSocial StudiesHistoryFamily Concerts


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 February 28th-March 6th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Thanks to Hilltown Families, our source for so many good things – this weekend we’ll be tapping some of our own trees, then using your list of sugar shacks to find one to sample.” – Carrie Cuthbert (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.

Bulletin Board

Feb 28

Sunnyside Child Care Presents: “February Fiesta!” Spend the morning singing and dancing with the Valley’s own Grammy-Nominated Mister G! “Kid-friendly, bilingual rockstar…Mister G and his guitar will surely make you feel like bailando!” – The Washington Post. Come dance, decorate a maraca, and eat pizza with your friends! Join Sunnyside on Saturday February 28th 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

Mar 7

Shake off the cold at Nonotuck Community School’s 4th annual Winter Family Dance Party! Bring the whole family for a morning of dancing, face painting, and arts & crafts! Come build your own tambourines and shakers and try your luck in the 50-50 raffle. Enjoy delicious pizza by Hillside Pizza! Tickets are just $5 per person and $15 per family! Happening on Saturday, March 7th from 10am-12pm at the Jackson Street School Gym (120 Jackson Street) in Northampton. All proceeds will benefit the Nonotuck Community School. Sponsored by Florence Bank.

Mar 14 & 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: 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)

Begins Mar 20

The Center in Amherst is offering a new class for toddlers! Enroll now for an 8 week spring session, starting Friday, March 20th. In this 45 minute class for kids aged 2-5, students will leap, twirl and spin their way into the world of children’s literature. Using picture books, nursery rhymes and songs as inspiration, children will be introduced to the fundamentals of creative movement in a fun, nurturing environment. Whether they’re soaring like the red bird that brown bear saw, leaping and pouncing at the Wild Rumpus, or dancing the alphabet, kids will love this interactive class that honors the reader, and storyteller, in all of us. For more information visit www.thecenterdance.com or email thecenterdanceschool@gmail.com.

Mar 21

March Family Volunteer Day takes place on Saturday, March 21 from 9-11:30am.

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 (FREE)

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

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: 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE. Take advantage of our Early Rate by signing your camp/program today!

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
February 28th-March 6th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: Getting Beyond the Dam

Life Will Return to Our Rivers!

The challenge we (who value these nonhuman lives) face is to turn the immense powers we have to obstruct life into powers that liberate it.

Sweet as maple syrup, the thaw is coming.

Sea lamprey, shad, herring, alewives, eels, sturgeon and the last of the salmon: all are sensing it, as they swim far offshore in the (comparatively) warm ocean. Exactly how they sense the return of Spring remains unknown, even to the brightest marine biologist; but our lack of comprehension, alone, will not prevent their return. Our dams will.

Every dam we remove increases the chances that our native anadromous fish—and all the other creatures (birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles) that feed upon them—will thrive. For this reason, I long ago joined the Connecticut River Watershed Council, which has a laudable record of success in removing the obstructions that block fish passage.  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: Feb 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 12 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 »

33 Community Highlights: Sledding to Fireworks. Food Swap to Seed Saving.

Have some winter fun at the Clark Art museum on Sunday, February 22, 12noon-4pm! Bring a sled or cross-country skis, or borrow snowshoes from the museum, and have a blast exploring the campus and all its beauty. There will be fun family-friendly activities, like capture the flag and touch football, led by the Williams College men’s lacrosse team. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA.

Sledding to Fireworks. Vintage Photographs to Antique Threads. Food Swap to Seed Saving… 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: Families can have some winter fun at Red Gate Farm‘s annual Fire and Ice event on Saturday, February 21, 5pm-8pm! There will be a winter bonfire, grilled food, sledding, hot cocoa, marshmallows, and more. Bring or borrow a sled and slide down the farm’s big or small hills. This fun winter event is great for all ages! 413-625-9503. 4 Norman Road. Buckland, MA. ($)


TrackingHistoryLocal FoodMusic StudiesSTEMWinter FunPerformancesDance StudiesSustainabilityCultural StudiesPreschool HighlightsParent Workshops


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 February 21st-27th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“The connections we’ve made with other families through Hilltown Families over the years keeps us going over these winter months! There is always somebody out there to join us sledding at the golf course, skating on the lake, or cross-country skiing in the yard! Thanks for helping us build community in what could be a very isolating geographical area one email at a time!” – Kara Kitchen of Plainfield, MA

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

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

Bulletin Board

Feb 14-28

Share the Love this Valentine’s Day! Oak Meadow is offering 10% off enrollment and 15% off materials in their Bookstore from February 14 to 28. 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.

Feb 28

Sunnyside Child Care Presents: “February Fiesta!” Spend the morning singing and dancing with the Valley’s own Grammy-Nominated Mister G! “Kid-friendly, bilingual rockstar…Mister G and his guitar will surely make you feel like bailando!” – The Washington Post. Come dance, decorate a maraca, and eat pizza with your friends! Join Sunnyside on Saturday February 28th 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

Accepting applications for fall 2015. The Bement School founded in 1925 and located in Deerfield is a co-educational junior boarding and day school serving 220 students in kindergarten through grade 9. Bement’s rich, traditional curriculum motivates and challenges students with strong academics, a renowned fine arts program, and a diverse athletic program. Students participate in athletics and fine arts every day. The pervasive atmosphere at Bement is that of a family, learning and living together. Bement actively seeks an academically diverse, international, and multi-cultural student body. For information on how to apply, financial aid, our upcoming Kindergarten Screenings, or to arrange a visit to campus, call 413-774-4209 www.bement.org

Mar 14 & 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: 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)

Mar 21

March Family Volunteer Day takes place on Saturday, March 21 from 9-11:30am.

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 (FREE)

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

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: 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE. Take advantage of our Early Rate by signing your camp/program today!

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
February 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: Feb 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 13 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:

Learning Ahead Ad: Four Sundays in Feb
Read the rest of this entry »

41 Community Highlights: Straw Rockets to Storytelling. Candyland to Bread Baking.

The Trustees of Reservations and the Hilltown Land Trust are teaming up to offer a day full of Snowshoe Shenanigans at Notchview on Saturday, February 14, 10am-2pm! There will be a 1K snowshoe race, a snowshoe relay race, an obstacle course for kids, sledding, snow sculptures, a snowshoe hike, a bonfire, and other winter fun. Cost includes a day pass to Notchview. Pre-register. 413-628-4485 x4. Route 9. Windsor, MA. ($$)

Porcupines to Arctic Gray Wolf. Candyland to Bread Baking. Straw Rockets to Storytelling… 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 learning highlight this week: 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 will be held approximately once a month on various days and times. Participation is free and open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Tuesday, February 17 from 6-8pm. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (FREE)


Animal StudiesTrackingCreative-Free PlayCulinary ArtsSTEMOrnithologyHistoryStorytellingFamily PerformancesService-Based LearningAviationPreschool Highlights


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 February 14th-20th 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“It’s so wonderful to be able to check the Hilltown Families eNewsletter and website for non-commercial events/playgroups, etc. You are an amazing resource!” – Maxine Oland (Belchertown, 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.

Family Volunteer Days

February Family Volunteer Day takes place on Tuesday, February 17 from 6-8pm.

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 Tuesday, February 17 from 6-8pm. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (FREE)

Bulletin Board

Feb 14

What’s the best way to beat the winter blues? Run around and look silly in snowshoes of course! On February 14 (Valentine’s Day), you can join the Hilltown Land Trust and The Trustees of Reservations for Snowshoe Shenanigans from 10am-12pm at Notchview Reservation in Windsor. There will be 1km relay and snowshoe races, as well as a kids obstacle course! Everyone is invited to enjoy hot cocoa and s’mores next to a warm fire. Prizes will be awarded for race categories including the most outrageous outfit! Members, $10/ or $25 family max; Non-members $15 or $35 family max. Foul weather date is Sunday, February 15. To reserve snowshoes, email hltlandsteward@ttor.org or call 413-628-4485 ext. 4 FMI: www.hilltown-land-trust.org/events/snowshoe

Feb 14-28

Share the Love this Valentine’s Day! Oak Meadow is offering 10% off enrollment and 15% off materials in their Bookstore from February 14 to 28. 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.

Feb Vac Week

Join us at The Carle vacation week! A Madeline Weekend Celebration on Feb 14 & 15 kicks off the weekend with films, story readings, art projects and visits from Madeline! See Madeline at 75: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans before it closes on Feb 22! Weeklong fun includes live theatre from the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts High School on Feb 17, 18 & 19, a special storytime with author/illustrator Jane Dyer on Feb 18, and CactusHead Puppets performs The Pied Piper of Hamelin on Feb 20! Open on Monday, Feb 16 too! Enjoy art making, scavenger hunts and more! For additional information or to purchase event tickets, please contact 413-658-1126 or visit www.carlemuseum.org The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 W. Bay Road. Amherst, MA.

Feb Vac Week

Fight cabin fever with the Springfield Museums’ “All About Animals” programs during school vacation, with lots of family shows, hands-on science and art activities, and live animal programs, including opportunities to see live owls and a live wolf up close! Discover the hidden lives of forest animals at the new “Animal Secrets” exhibit at the Science Museum. And don’t miss Above the Fold, the breathtaking origami exhibit by master folders from around the world at the D’Amour Museum. For information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org

Feb Vac Week

Winter is a great time for your kids to be creative and learn how to throw on the potters’ wheel with Kathryn Kothe Roszko of CyclePottery in her new studio in Florence at 225 Nonotuck St. Unit A. Only 4 students in all classes! February Vacation Week Workshop for ages 9+ held Wed-Fri. Choose half day, 9-12 for $135, or full day, 9-2 for $225. New 6wk session (6 classes) of Beginner Wheelthrowing Kids’ Classes for ages 7+ starting March 3rd: Tuesdays 4-5:30, and March 5th: Thursdays 3:30-5 for $150. All class and workshop fees include the clay, Kathryn Trimming (for the youngest), glazing and firing. Paint Your Own Pottery Workshops and Kids’ Night Out coming soon! More info: 413-219-9594; kathryn@cyclepottery.com; www.CyclePottery.com

Feb 16-18 & Jun 22

Central Rock Gym in Hadley invites your children to participate in their Vacation Program sessions! Sessions are offered Feb 16-18 and this summer starting June 22 for ages 7-13. The program focuses on climbing for all skill levels and includes an emphasis on problem solving and team building initiatives. Throughout the week, attendees will have the opportunity to experiment with different types of climbing techniques and will learn how to belay. In addition, they will have the chance to engage in exciting games and group activities, such as the “Flying Squirrel” and “Nitro Crossing.” The fun week of climbing concludes with a pizza party on the final day. Register www.centralrockgym.com under “Programs & Events.” Hadley@centralrockgym.com.

Accepting applications for fall 2015. The Bement School founded in 1925 and located in Deerfield is a co-educational junior boarding and day school serving 220 students in kindergarten through grade 9. Bement’s rich, traditional curriculum motivates and challenges students with strong academics, a renowned fine arts program, and a diverse athletic program. Students participate in athletics and fine arts every day. The pervasive atmosphere at Bement is that of a family, learning and living together. Bement actively seeks an academically diverse, international, and multi-cultural student body. For information on how to apply, financial aid, our upcoming Kindergarten Screenings, or to arrange a visit to campus, call 413-774-4209 www.bement.org

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

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: 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE. Take advantage of our Early Rate by signing your camp/program today!

Check our eNewletter this week for details on these upcoming events and how you can enter for a chance to win tickets.

TICKET GIVEAWAY: Berkshire Theatre Group welcomes two family-friendly events for February School Vacation Week: Going to the Farm with Spot and Bill Blagg’s 10 Illusions at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA… and Hilltown Families has a family 4-pack of tickets to giveaway to both! Check our eNewletter this week for details on these upcoming events and how you can enter for a chance to win tickets. Not yet subscribed to our eNewsletter? Sign up here and receive it every Thursday for highlights, updates and giveaways exclusive to our subscribers!

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
February 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 »

Learning Ahead: Feb 9th-13th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 18 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:

Learning Ahead Ad: Four Sundays in Feb
Read the rest of this entry »

31 Community Highlights: Winter Carnivals to Ice Festival. Chemistry of Candy to Victorian Valentines.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, visitors to the Berkshire Museum can learn to make their own hand-dipped chocolates at the Learner’s Lab on Saturday, February 7, 10am-11am! Kathy Sinico of Catherine’s Chocolates will teach you how to make several types of chocolate. Free with museum admission. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)<

Winter Carnivals to Ice Festival. Hand-Dipped Chocolates to Chemistry of Candy. Victorian Valentines to Birds of Prey… 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 learning highlight this week: Discover the chemistry behind candy at the Springfield Science Museum on Saturday, February 7, 10am-12:30pm! Kids can make fudge, chocolates, and other all natural treats while learning about their physical and chemical properties. This workshop will also help kids improve their math skills through measuring, counting, and modifying ingredients. Purchase tickets in advance. 800-625-7738. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. ($$)


Winter CelebrationsAnimal Studies/TrackingOrnithologyBlack History MonthParent WorkshopsCulinary Arts & ScienceValentinesLocal HistoryIce HarvestingSingingFolk TalesSTEMPreschool Highlights


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 February 7th-13th 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“We have found fun things to do to lift the winter blues on this web site… There’s really no need to look further than Hilltown Families for fun events during the week and on the weekends!” – Sandra Dias (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.

Handmade Valentine Exhibit

For the past seven years, Hilltown Families has organized an intergenerational, community-based, handmade Valentine swap. This year, 1,550 handmade valentines are being prepared for swapping through the mail by families, individuals, and even youth groups, just in time for Valentine’s Day. For the month of February, in the Hawks-Hayden Room Gallery at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, over 100 handmade Valentines sent to Hilltown Families by swap participants over the years will be on display in an exhibit, Handmade Valentines: Connecting & Expanding a Community Tradition. New handmade Valentines received this year as part of the swap will be added to the display throughout the month. Add your handmade valentine to the exhibit! Mail to Hilltown Families, P.O. Box 98, West Chesterfield, MA 01084 by Feb 14.

Bulletin Board

Feb Vac Week

Winter is a great time for your kids to creative and learn how to throw on the potters’ wheel with Kathryn Kothe Roszko of CyclePottery in her new studio in Florence at 225 Nonotuck St. Unit A. Only 4 students in all classes! February Vacation Week Workshop for ages 9+ held Wed-Fri. Choose half day, 9-12 for $135, or full day, 9-2 for $225. New 6wk session (6 classes) of Beginner Wheelthrowing Kids’ Classes for ages 7+ starting March 3rd: Tuesdays 4-5:30, and March 5th: Thursdays 3:30-5 for $150. All class and workshop fees include the clay, Kathryn Trimming (for the youngest), glazing and firing. Paint Your Own Pottery Workshops and Kids’ Night Out coming soon! More info: 413-219-9594; kathryn@cyclepottery.com; www.CyclePottery.com

Feb 16-18 & Jun 22

Central Rock Gym in Hadley invites your children to participate in their Vacation Program sessions! Sessions are offered Feb 16-18 and this summer starting June 22 for ages 7-13. The program focuses on climbing for all skill levels and includes an emphasis on problem solving and team building initiatives. Throughout the week, attendees will have the opportunity to experiment with different types of climbing techniques and will learn how to belay. In addition, they will have the chance to engage in exciting games and group activities, such as the “Flying Squirrel” and “Nitro Crossing.” The fun week of climbing concludes with a pizza party on the final day. Register www.centralrockgym.com under “Programs & Events.” Hadley@centralrockgym.com.

Now Enrolling

Spring Street Preschool in Amherst is enrolling new students for September 2015! Spring Street Preschool is a small school with both mixed aged and separate small group programming, individualized instruction, large art studio space, experienced and caring teachers, music program and outdoor play. Enrolling children from 2 yrs, 9 months – 5 years. Flexible schedule, affordable tuition. Spring Street Preschool is independent and non-denominational, welcoming new families to their school community. Best kept secret in Amherst! To schedule a tour call 413-256-8442 or info@springstreetpreschool.org. For more info visit www.springstreetpreschool.org.

Feb 7

WinterFest Amherst 2015 is the best family entertainment value of the winter! Over 160 volunteers and hundreds of residents flock to Cherry Hill in their winter gear to attend the 25+ fun-filled events & activities offered throughout the day. With so much snow, they anticipate it to be their biggest ever! The Chili Cook-Off kicks off the event at 1:30pm, followed by the Family Ice Sculpture Contest, Best in Snow Dog Show, Cardboard Classic at 3:30pm, Umass Doo Wop Shop performance, wine & cheese tasting at 5pm, and SO much more! For complete activity listing, visit them on Facebook. Saturday, February 7 from 1pm-6:30pm at Cherry Hill Golf Course in North Amherst, MA. Presented by Integrity Development & Construction. $20 for family of four.

Featured your February Vacation Week event, class or camp here!

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your February Vacation Week 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: 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE. Take advantage of our Early Rate by signing your camp/program today!

TICKET GIVEAWAY: Berkshire Theatre Group welcomes two family-friendly events for February School Vacation Week: Going to the Farm with Spot and Bill Blagg’s 10 Illusions at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA… and Hilltown Families has a family 4-pack of tickets to giveaway to both! Check our eNewletter this week for details on these upcoming events and how you can enter for a chance to win tickets.  Not yet subscribed to our eNewsletter? Sign up here and receive it every Thursday for highlights, updates and giveaways exclusive to our subscribers!

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
February 7th-13th, 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: Feb 2nd-6th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 13 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:


Read the rest of this entry »

24 Community Highlights: Children’s Opera to A Cappella. Valentines to Tu B’Shevat.

With new snow on the ground, winter is the best time of the year to go in search for animal tracks! There are several opportunities this weekend, most lead by interpretive guides and naturalists to point out signs of animal life and to interpret their findings in the context of your natural surroundings. Terrific community-based educational opportunities that utilizes our natural environment, regional species, weather and local experts. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Snowshoeing to Tracking. Children’s Opera to A Cappella. Valentines to Tu B’Shevat… 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 learning highlight this week: The Araboolies of Liberty Street is a picture book by Sam Swope, about a street with lots of rules, where everything looks the same and must be a certain way. That is, until an exotic new family moves to the neighborhood, and with the help of the kids of Liberty Street, the neighborhood is changed forever. The Smith College Department of Music and the Smith College Campus School have taken this story and turned it into a children’s opera, with libretto by Constance Congdon and music by Ronald Perera. The opera will be performed on Saturday, January 31 at 4pm in Sweeney Concert Hall on the Smith College campus and the performance is free and open to the public. The one-act children’s opera stars Smith College student actors and features music by the Smith College Campus School chorus. All ages will enjoy seeing this story come to life! 144 Green Street. Northampton, MA


SnowshoeingChildren’s OperaMuseum AdventuresValentinesTrackingTu B’ShevatSingingLocal HistoryUnderground RailroadMusicalsPreschool HighlightsParent Workshop


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 January 31st – February 6th 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“The winter is a perfect time to explore culture and the outdoors in our community. We love to head out for a snowshoe hike (leisurely, so the kids can keep up) and then treat everyone to hot chocolate at a local diner, followed by a visit to the local library, Mass Moca’s Kidspace & the Clark Museum. Now there’s a winter day (10am to 3pm!).” – Cecilia Hirsch

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.

Support Hilltown Families with Your Vote!

Deadline to cast your votes is Wednesday, Feb 4th by 12noon! Vote today!

As Hilltown Families enters its tenth year, celebrate with us as we finish out the decade by voting for Hilltown Families as BEST BLOG in the Valley Advocate’s Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2015! BEST BLOG is listed under the “Information Age” category. Deadline to cast your votes is Wednesday, Feb 4th by 12noon. Participants must vote for a total of 10 local favorites… how about some of our sponsors! Click here to cast your votes: www.valleyadvocate.com/best-of

Bulletin Board

Open House: Jan 31

Smith College Campus School at 33 Prospect Street, Northampton will host an Open House on Saturday, January 31, 9:30-11am. All prospective kindergarten through sixth grade students and their families are welcome. Come explore classrooms and see what students are learning. Located on the beautiful Smith College campus, children experience a nurturing environment and an idea-centered curriculum that integrates art, music, physical activity, and computer programming. SCCS offers a newly expanded after school program and financial aid is available. For more information about Smith College Campus School or to preregister for the Open House visit online at www.smith.edu/sccs or call the admission office at 413-585-3270.

Open House: Jan 31

The Common School: Community, collaboration, social justice, intrinsic motivation, deep understanding, diversity, inclusivity, environmental education- Come learn how these words are put into action at their winter Open House on Saturday, January 31, from 10am-12noon. Play in their classrooms, meet their teachers, chat with current parents, and tour their beautiful campus situated amongst 120 acres of conservation land on Larch Hill in Amherst. Light refreshments provided. Questions? Contact Director of Admissions, Dana Kadish at outreach@commonschool.org or visit www.commonschool.org.

Jan 31

What does an eagle feed its young? How do mother bats find their babies in a cave? Children ages 3 through 8 and their parents can find out at Animal Secrets, the new exhibit at the Springfield Science Museum. Opening celebration, this Saturday, January 31 from 10am-5pm, with fun activities and live animal programs, including birds of prey presentations at 11am and 1pm. A $5 special exhibit fee allows you to see both Animal Secrets and Above the Fold, the breathtaking new origami exhibit at the D’Amour Museum (fee is in addition to museum admission). For information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Jan 31

Saturday, January 31, 4pm, at Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley: Meet George O’Connor author & illustrator of the New York Times Bestselling graphic novel series, The Olympians. The Olympians is a series of graphic novels about Greek mythology. Each volume of the Olympians tells the story of one of the gods in the Olympic pantheon–accompanied by extensive back matter that tells the history behind each myth. Extensively researched & written & illustrated in a bold, dynamic style, these are action-packed, fast-paced, high-drama adventures, with monsters, romance, & huge explosions. O’Connor’s vibrant, kinetic art brings ancient tales to life in a fusion of super-hero aesthetics & ancient Greek mythology. Perfect for ages 9+. RSVP@odysseybks.com

Open House: Feb 3 & 9

Sunnyside Child Care Center in Northampton is hosting two evening open houses on Tuesday, February 3 and Monday, February 9, from 6-7:30pm. Interested parents and other community members are invited to join the school for a tour through their toddler and preschool classrooms. The Director, teaching staff, and Center parents will be available to answer questions about the program. Sunnyside Child Care Center is located at 557 Easthampton Rd. Serving children 18 months to five years old their mission is to provide an early care and education program of the highest quality. For more info call 413-727-3665. www.sunnysidekids.org.

Open House: Feb 5

Lander~Grinspoon Academy in Northampton, MA, welcomes families from all Jewish traditions and backgrounds. Their mission is to provide a rich, academically rigorous, and values-based education integrating general and Jewish studies in a nurturing environment. Come to their Open House, Thursday, February 5 from 9am-10:30am to meet faculty, parents and students and take a school tour. Their seasoned educators emphasize critical thinking and the social and ethical components that teach children compassion and respect LGA offers generous tuition subsidies. For more information, contact Gail Lansky, Admissions Director or visit www.landergrinspoon.org.

Now Enrolling

Spring Street Preschool in Amherst is enrolling new students for September 2015! Spring Street Preschool is a small school with both mixed aged and separate small group programming, individualized instruction, large art studio space, experienced and caring teachers, music program and outdoor play. Enrolling children from 2 yrs, 9 months – 5 years. Flexible schedule, affordable tuition. Spring Street Preschool is independent and non-denominational, welcoming new families to their school community. Best kept secret in Amherst! To schedule a tour call 413-256-8442 or info@springstreetpreschool.org. For more info visit www.springstreetpreschool.org.

Featured your February Vacation Week event, class or camp here!

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your February Vacation Week 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: 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE. Take advantage of our Early Rate by signing your camp/program today!

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
January 31st – February 6th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: Listen to the Story of the River

The Importance of Escaping to the River

Be adventurous and skirt the edge, but do be careful; use snowshoes, stay clear of ice jams, and have a friend close by if you can’t resist walking in spots that clogged with frozen floes.

A walk alongside one or our rivers is a walk with a companion, even when alone. Cares of the world will ping pong and even hornet in the head ‘til settled by rushing water. Give a river a chance, when one’s thoughts have quieted down: listen—it tells a story, and like every really good story, it draws us out of our heads and into another.

Asked how I began to love rivers so much, I recall how as a lad I’d scoot to the flow whenever things stagnated, or became too crazed, in a house with three brothers. No matter the boredom or conflict I escaped from, the river—Silvermine river it is—settled the ping pongs in my head by providing fresh and loud sensations, and endless opportunities for adventure. Rafting down it in cold April floods, in cheap inflatable pool rafts that punctured instantly (unless steered by experienced skippers), introduced me to hyperthermia, blue lips and the need to pack hot chocolate in thermos.’ (We wore cotton back then, and I remember shivering for hours like a wet cat on an iceberg. The experience toughened me up, and made me realize that dressing correctly makes all the difference between teeth gritting and laughing when on the adventure. To this day, I dress so I when sleep in snowdrifts, I purr.) Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: Jan 26th-30th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 12 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.


Read the rest of this entry »

29 Community Highlights: Owl Moon to Porcupine Tracks. Youth Yoga to Family Volunteer Days.

By Richard Crossley (Richard Crossley) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Come to Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary to see a magical puppet show retelling of Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon on Saturday, January 24, 5pm-7pm. Learn about Massachusetts’ seven native owl species and take a walk in the winter woods to search for them. After exploring the forest, head back inside for a warm treat. Best for ages 5-10. Registration is required. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road. Easthampton, MA. ($)

Owl Moon to Porcupine Tracks. Youth Yoga to Whalemobile. Family Volunteer Days to Family Fun Night… 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 learning highlight this week: Search for tracks and sign of fisher and porcupine at Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center on Saturday, January 24, 1pm-4pm. Hike the trails on snowshoe and learn about track patterns and tips for observing prints. Studying animal tracks is a good way to learn about animal behavior, since tracks tell you exactly where the animal has been. Beginner snowshoers are welcome, but participants should be able to comfortably snowshoe two miles. Call for more info and to register. Please pre-register. 800-859-2960. 99 Millers Falls Road. Northfield, MA. (FREE)


Service-Based LearningAnimal StudiesLocal HistoryLocal FoodYoga for YouthPreschool HighlightsTransportation/TrainsParent SupportMuseum AdventuresCostume MakingFamily Fun Night


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 January 24th-30th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“I enjoy the range of things you offer…the listings of all different types of events…the parenting ideas. I appreciate that your site connects me to many quality kid-friendly and outdoor friendly activities and cultural events in the area. Thank you!” – Joanna Morse (Amherst, 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.

Vote for Hilltown Families

As Hilltown Families enters its tenth year, celebrate with us as we finish out the decade by voting for Hilltown Families as BEST BLOG in the Valley Advocate’s Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2015! BEST BLOG is listed under the “Information Age” category. Deadline to cast your votes is Feb 4th by 12noon. Participants must vote for a total of 10 local favorites… how about some of our sponsors! Click here to cast your votes: www.valleyadvocate.com/best-of

Hilltown Families 7th Annual Handmade Valentine Swap

Deadline to sign up: Thursday, January 29.

It’s that time of the year again for the Hilltown Families Annual Handmade Valentine Swap! For the past seven years Hilltown Families has coordinated a community Handmade Valentine Swap — and we’re doing it again! Making handmade valentines is a great way to push against the commercialization of yet another holiday, while being creative with your family and friends. JOIN US! It’s free to sign up and open to all families in western Massachusetts!

Bulletin Board

Open House: Jan 24

Smith College Campus School at 33 Prospect Street, Northampton will host an Open House on Saturday, January 24, 9:30-11am. All prospective kindergarten through sixth grade students and their families are welcome. Come explore classrooms and see what students are learning. Located on the beautiful Smith College campus, children experience a nurturing environment and an idea-centered curriculum that integrates art, music, physical activity, and computer programming. SCCS offers a newly expanded after school program and financial aid is available. For more information about Smith College Campus School or to preregister for the Open House visit online at www.smith.edu/sccs or call the admission office at 413-585-3270. [POSTPONED, TBD]

Open House: Jan 24

Does your child love to learn? Is your child respected, nurtured and inspired? Come warm up at The Hartsbrook School’s winter open house and see how they’re different. Their multi-disciplinary curriculum blends academics, art, music and craftsmanship for a lifetime of creative and critical thinking. Sip hot chocolate, speak with current families, participate in a hands-on activity, see student work and meet early childhood, grades and high school teachers. Join The Hartsbrook School on Saturday, January 24, from 10 am to noon at 193 Bay Rd. in Hadley. All ages welcome! www.hartsbrook.org [CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER]

Jan 25

Mister G, whose concert last year at Lander-Grinspoon Academy (LGA) sold out, will return to LGA’s stage on Sunday, January 25 at 3pm with a concert for the entire community at 257 Prospect St. in Northampton. Mister G, an award-winning musician, nominated for a Latin Grammy has recently been selected as a PJ Library musical artist for 2015. People Magazine, Parents Magazine, & The Washington Post have selected his CD’s as best children’s albums of the year. This concert has been funded in part by the PJ Library of Western Mass, The Harold Grinspoon Foundation, and the Jewish Federation of Western Mass. Tickets are available in person at Lander- Grinspoon Academy, the Jewish Federation of Western Mass, and online at www.landergrinspoon.org.

Jan 27

Lander~Grinspoon Academy in Northampton, MA, welcomes families from all Jewish traditions and backgrounds. Their mission is to provide a rich, academically rigorous, and values-based education integrating general and Jewish studies in a nurturing environment. Come to their Open House, Tuesday, January 27 from 9am-10:30am to meet faculty, parents and students and take a school tour. Their seasoned educators emphasize critical thinking and the social and ethical components that teach children compassion and respect LGA offers generous tuition subsidies. For more information, contact Gail Lansky, Admissions Director or visit www.landergrinspoon.org. [Postponed to Thursday, February 5]

Open House: Jan 31

The Common School: Community, collaboration, social justice, intrinsic motivation, deep understanding, diversity, inclusivity, environmental education- Come learn how these words are put into action at their winter Open House on Saturday, January 31, from 10am-12noon. Play in their classrooms, meet their teachers, chat with current parents, and tour their beautiful campus situated amongst 120 acres of conservation land on Larch Hill in Amherst. Light refreshments provided. Questions? Contact Director of Admissions, Dana Kadish at outreach@commonschool.org or visit www.commonschool.org.

January

It’s not too late to enroll! At The Center in Amherst, children spin stories from movement using classical and modern dance techniques. Sister duo Ashley and Caddy Carlisle combine their years of dance training with a special approach to teaching that gets kids reading, writing and dancing; connecting, collaborating and creating. It’s a holistic approach to dance. Classes beginning in January for children and teens, K-12. For more information visit www.thecenterdance.com or email thecenterdanceschool@gmail.com.

Open House: Feb 3 & 9

Sunnyside Child Care Center in Northampton is hosting two evening open houses on Tuesday, February 3 and Monday, February 9, from 6-7:30pm. Interested parents and other community members are invited to join the school for a tour through their toddler and preschool classrooms. The Director, teaching staff, and Center parents will be available to answer questions about the program. Sunnyside Child Care Center is located at 557 Easthampton Rd. Serving children 18 months to five years old their mission is to provide an early care and education program of the highest quality. For more info call 413-727-3665. www.sunnysidekids.org.

Feature your OPEN HOUSE here!

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your 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.

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
January 24th-30th, 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: Jan 19th-23rd, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 12 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.


Read the rest of this entry »

28 Community Highlights: Monet to Manga. Minecraft to Aircraft.

Food Swap to Backyard Chickens. Monet to Manga. Minecraft to Aircraft… 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 learning highlight this week: CISA’s Winter Fare happens during the Northampton Winter Farmers’ Market on Saturday, January 17 from 9am-2pm at the Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School.  Come learn how to make homemade yogurt, herbal honeys and infused vinegars. Find out what it takes to keep chickens in your backyard and what your neighbors have made in their kitchens.  Bring your own home-preserved food and swap it with other participants. And see what the farmers’ have in their stalls that you can take home and prepare for your family dinner. This is a wonderful community-based learning event that incorporates collaborative consumption with food-based learning. 80 Locust Street. Northampton, MA (FREE)


Outdoor Adventures  ♦ SnowshoeingLocal History  ♦ GraveyardsWorld MusicPeople’s MusicPuppetryFairy TalesService-Based LearningMLK DayAnime/MangaScienceLocal FoodBackyard ChickensFather GroupsParent WorkshopsArtAviationSilent FilmReading to DogsMinecraft


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 January 17th-23rd, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Last year our family participated in the Valentine’s Day card swap. It was really exciting and my kids loved it. It was a unique family activity put together by Hilltown Families… Without this website we would have missed great events that we wouldn’t know about but thanks to the information on Hilltown Families we we able to attend!” – Chrissy Costigan (Westfield, 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.

Vote for Hilltown Families

As Hilltown Families enters its tenth year, celebrate with us as we finish out the decade by voting for Hilltown Families as BEST BLOG in the Valley Advocate’s Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2015! BEST BLOG is listed under the “Information Age” category. Deadline to cast your votes is Feb 4th by 12noon. Participants must vote for a total of 10 local favorites… how about some of our sponsors! Click here to cast your votes: www.valleyadvocate.com/best-of

Hilltown Families 7th Annual Handmade Valentine Swap

It’s that time of the year again for the Hilltown Families Annual Handmade Valentine Swap! For the past seven years Hilltown Families has coordinated a community Handmade Valentine Swap — and we’re doing it again! Making handmade valentines is a great way to push against the commercialization of yet another holiday, while being creative with your family and friends. JOIN US! It’s free to sign up and open to all families in western Massachusetts!

Bulletin Board

Jan 17

Drum, Stomp, & Dance! On Saturday, January 17, from 10am-5pm, get out and enjoy the holiday weekend at the Springfield Museums (21 Edwards St.) with a full day of art and science activities plus live animal demonstrations, special planetarium shows, and more! Highlighting the day’s activities is a performance of Trinidad 2 Timbuktu by Crocodile River Music (11am, Davis Auditorium, D’Amour Museum), free with museum admission. They’ll be taking visitors on a musical trip around the world, exploring calypso, reggae, flamenco, Brazilian, and Afro-Cuban music and dance styles. For information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Open House: Jan 17

Open House at Nonotuck Community School on Saturday, Jan. 17, 10:30am–1pm. Come learn about Nonotuck’s early childhood program for children 15 months–5 years. There will be tours for the grown-ups and activities for children. Applications are being accepted for summer/September. Nonotuck has well-appointed classrooms, daily access to indoor and outdoor play spaces, an art studio, yoga instruction, gardening & more. Curriculum is play-based and inspired by progressive early childhood education theory. Find out why Nonotuck has been serving the Northampton community for over 30 years! Conveniently located at 221 Riverside Drive in Florence. For more info visit www.nonotuck.org or contact the school: 413-586-5996, info@nonotuck.org.

Jan 17 & 18

German puppeteer, Mattias Kuchta, performs a magical production of the Grimm Brothers’ Snow White on Saturday, January 17 & Sunday, January 18 at 1pm at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (125 West Bay Rd) in Amherst. Kuchta, who is on an international tour, transports his audience to a new world with his Fellini-like textile puppets. Kuchta, doesn’t stand silently in the background while his puppets do all the performing. Instead, he moves and maneuvers his puppets like an onstage choreographer, giving them their unique personalities and voices, and fully involving the audience in the fun! Tickets are $8.50 (Members $7.50). Museum admission extra. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Museum Admissions Desk or call 413-658-1126

Jan 19 & 25

Consider Parenting in Cohousing. Families living in cohousing agree there are many benefits: Childcare support, community meal option, shared play areas, multigenerational connections, and more. Cohousing combines the best of privacy and community. Village Hill Cohousing (VHC) of Northampton has a few openings. Applications due in February. If you share VHC’s values of compassionate living, ecological sustainability, community, and welcoming diversity, check out these events: Parenting in Cohousing: Jan. 19, 3:30-5:30pm. VHC Intro: Jan. 25, 10:30a-1pm RSVP: info@villagehillcohousing.org. Let them know if you need childcare. Location: Rocky Hill Cohousing, 100 Black Birch Trail, Florence, MA. More about VHC: www.villagehillcohousing.org

Jan 21, 31 & Feb 11

Four Rivers Charter Public School in Greenfield will host Admissions Information Sessions for prospective students and families on Wednesday, January 21 (7:00 pm), Saturday, January 31 (10:00 am), and Wednesday, February 11 (7:00 pm). Meet faculty, administrators, current students and parents; look at samples of student work; see what makes this public school distinct. Accepting applications for Fall 2015 in grades 7-12, Four Rivers is dedicated to educating young people for lives of learning and service. Call 413-775-4577 or go to www.fourriverscharter.org.

Open House: Jan 24

Smith College Campus School at 33 Prospect Street, Northampton will host an Open House on Saturday, January 24, 9:30-11am. All prospective kindergarten through sixth grade students and their families are welcome. Come explore classrooms and see what students are learning. Located on the beautiful Smith College campus, children experience a nurturing environment and an idea-centered curriculum that integrates art, music, physical activity, and computer programming. SCCS offers a newly expanded after school program and financial aid is available. For more information about Smith College Campus School or to preregister for the Open House visit online at www.smith.edu/sccs or call the admission office at 413-585-3270.

Open House: Jan 25

Does your child love to learn? Is your child respected, nurtured and inspired? Come warm up at The Hartsbrook School’s winter open house and see how they’re different. Their multi-disciplinary curriculum blends academics, art, music and craftsmanship for a lifetime of creative and critical thinking. Sip hot chocolate, speak with current families, participate in a hands-on activity, see student work and meet early childhood, grades and high school teachers. Join The Hartsbrook School on Saturday, January 24, from 10 am to noon at 193 Bay Rd. in Hadley. All ages welcome! www.hartsbrook.org

Jan 25

Mister G, whose concert last year at Lander-Grinspoon Academy (LGA) sold out, will return to LGA’s stage on Sunday, January 25 at 3pm with a concert for the entire community at 257 Prospect St. in Northampton. Mister G, an award-winning musician, nominated for a Latin Grammy has recently been selected as a PJ Library musical artist for 2015. People Magazine, Parents Magazine, & The Washington Post have selected his CD’s as best children’s albums of the year. This concert has been funded in part by the PJ Library of Western Mass, The Harold Grinspoon Foundation, and the Jewish Federation of Western Mass. Tickets are available in person at Lander- Grinspoon Academy, the Jewish Federation of Western Mass, and online at www.landergrinspoon.org.

Open House: Jan 25

Academy at CharlemontThe Academy at Charlemont (1359 Route 2 in Charlemont, MA) will host an Open House for interested families on Sunday, January 25, with presentations beginning at 1 pm. Meet students, teachers, and current parents and get a feel for The Academy’s creative and rigorous academic program and warm, ethical community. The Academy offers vibrant arts and athletics, and an emphasis on critical thinking and ethical leadership. Academy students love school. Shouldn’t everyone? Details at www.charlemont.org.

Open House: Feb 3

Accepting applications for fall 2015. The Bement School founded in 1925 and located in Deerfield is a co-educational junior boarding and day school serving 220 students in kindergarten through grade 9. Bement’s rich, traditional curriculum motivates and challenges students with strong academics, a renowned fine arts program, and a diverse athletic program. Students participate in athletics and fine arts every day. The pervasive atmosphere at Bement is that of a family, learning and living together. Bement actively seeks an academically diverse, international, and multi-cultural student body. For information on how to apply, financial aid, our upcoming Kindergarten Screenings, or to arrange a visit to campus, call 413-774-4209 www.bement.org

Feature your OPEN HOUSE here!

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your 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.

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
January 17th-23rd, 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: Jan 12th-16th, 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.


Read the rest of this entry »

29 Community Highlights: Winter Wildlife to Winter Sports. LEGO Clubs to Social Justice.

Winter Trails Day happens on Saturday, January 10, a free one day event where families new to snow sports can try snowshoeing and/or cross country skiing. Simple events and demos are happening at Notchview and Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center, helping families discover the great fitness and social benefits of these easy to learn winter sports.

Winter Wildlife to Winter Sports. LEGO Clubs to Social Justice. Bagshare to Humane Hero… 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 learning highlight this week: Notchview is holding a Winter Trails Day for families this Saturday, January 10, 10am-3pm. Winter Trails Day is an annual nation-wide event that offers children and adults a chance to try snowshoeing and/or cross country skiing and the fun of getting outside in the winter. Come to Notchview and take advantage of free cross country ski lessons (10:30am &1:30pm), free guided snowshoe hike, free rentals and care clinic, and half-price trail passes for the day. Stay the day and warm up in Notchview’s new cafe featuring soup, sandwiches, and baked goods. Notchview has limited skis available for use, so come early. 413-684-0148. Route 9. Windsor, MA. ($)


Winter WildlifeOutdoor AdventuresWinter Trail DaysBonfireService-Based LearningLEGO ClubsFarmingSTEMBabysitting CourseLifestyleSocial Justice/MusicFeatured Storytimes


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 January 10th-16th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“The resources made available (and sent to my inbox!) have been such a treasure chest of information! I’ve followed up on many, and learned about so many others… Hilltown Families is like a quilt of the region–all the squares brought together into a wonderful blanket of information and opportunities: Thank you!” – Toni Hochstadt (Northampton, 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.

Support Hilltown Families

In this TEDx Talk, “Supporting Education Through Community Engagement,” Hilltown Families Founder, Sienna Wildfield, shares her story on why feeling connected to where you live matters, and how community-based education and community-service learning can help grow active citizens who care about where they live.Hilltown Families is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that relies on the support of our community! Click here to make a tax-deductible donation today! Hilltown Families has been working towards creating resilient and sustainable communities by developing and strengthening a sense of place in our children and citizens through community-based education and engagement for nearly a decade. As we embark on the next 10 years, we look forward to fortifying and expanding our mission to support community-based education and service-based learning through community engagement with the support of volunteers, sponsors and readers like you! Please include Hilltown Families in your giving this year so we can move forward together! Click here to make a tax-deductible donation today. Thank you for your support!

Bulletin Board

Open House: Jan 8, 12 & Feb 3

Accepting applications for fall 2015. The Bement School founded in 1925 and located in Deerfield is a co-educational junior boarding and day school serving 220 students in kindergarten through grade 9. Bement’s rich, traditional curriculum motivates and challenges students with strong academics, a renowned fine arts program, and a diverse athletic program. Students participate in athletics and fine arts every day. The pervasive atmosphere at Bement is that of a family, learning and living together. Bement actively seeks an academically diverse, international, and multi-cultural student body. For information on how to apply, financial aid, our upcoming Kindergarten Screenings, or to arrange a visit to campus, call 413-774-4209 www.bement.org

Auditions Jan 10

Pioneer Valley Ballet is holding auditions for an original ballet, Aladdin and his Magic Lamp on January 10, 2015. The story of Aladdin and his Magic Lamp comes to life this spring at The Academy of Music on March 28 & 29, 2015. Presented by Pioneer Valley Ballet, the colorful characters and spell-bounding choreography takes audience members on a magical ride through a land brimming with genies, dreams, love, and adventure. Roles include Bluebirds, Flowers, Canaries, Bats, Spiders, and Children of the Palace. Children 4.5 – 12 years are invited to audition. No dance experience needed. Children must be at least 4.5 by January 10. Registration and information at www.pioneervalleyballet.org.

Info Sessions: Jan 10 & 21, 31 & Feb 11

Four Rivers Charter Public School in Greenfield will host Admissions Information Sessions for prospective students and families on Saturday, January 10 (10:00 am), Wednesday, January 21 (7:00 pm), Saturday, January 31 (10:00 am), and Wednesday, February 11 (7:00 pm). Meet faculty, administrators, current students and parents; look at samples of student work; see what makes this public school distinct. Accepting applications for Fall 2015 in grades 7-12, Four Rivers is dedicated to educating young people for lives of learning and service. Call 413-775-4577 or go to www.fourriverscharter.org.

Fridays & Saturdays

Full Moon Girls–Wild Natured Girls: She feels comfortable in herself, inhabits a sense of place, and she makes choices with boundaries clear. She goes for higher dreams, has her voice, and takes risks. She is embracing her uniqueness. She’s got smarts & emotional savvy needed to balance all the cultural influences she swims in everyday. She wants it all, she is aliveness, laughing at her imperfections. Capable-Confident-Evolving. Full Moon Girls will help her get there. Fridays weekly, Feb 6-May 29, 9:30-3:30. Girls 9-15. Sliding scale $50-78/day. Saturdays monthly, Jan 17-Jun 14, 9:30-2:30. Girls 7-15. Sliding scale $45-75/day located at Brook’s Bend Farm in Montague. For more info call Full Moon Girls at 413-367-6191.

Open House: Jan 17

Open House at Nonotuck Community School on Saturday, Jan. 17, 10:30am–1pm. Come learn about Nonotuck’s early childhood program for children 15 months–5 years. There will be tours for the grown-ups and activities for children. Applications are being accepted for summer/September. Nonotuck has well-appointed classrooms, daily access to indoor and outdoor play spaces, an art studio, yoga instruction, gardening & more. Curriculum is play-based and inspired by progressive early childhood education theory. Find out why Nonotuck has been serving the Northampton community for over 30 years! Conveniently located at 221 Riverside Dr., Florence in Northampton. For more info visit www.nonotuck.org or contact the school: 413-586-5996, info@nonotuck.org.

Open House: Jan 25

The Academy at Charlemont (1359 Route 2 in Charlemont, MA) will host an Open House for interested families on Sunday, January 25, with presentations beginning at 1 pm. Meet students, teachers, and current parents and get a feel for The Academy’s creative and rigorous academic program and warm, ethical community. The Academy offers vibrant arts and athletics, and an emphasis on critical thinking and ethical leadership. Academy students love school. Shouldn’t everyone? Details at www.charlemont.org.

Feature your OPEN HOUSE here!

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your 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.

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
January 10th-16th, 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: January 5th-9th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 13 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.


Read the rest of this entry »

25 Community Highlights: Guided Hike to Nature Play. Roving Scientist to Knitting Groups.

Guided Hike to Nature Play. Roving Scientist to Knitting Groups. Storytimes to Playgroups… 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 learning highlight this week: Having both academic and social benefits, learning and practicing knitting is a terrific way for children to support their development of fine & gross motor coordination, math skills (think patterns, skip counting), problem solving, and self-esteem. Several of our local libraries offer weekly intergenerational knitting meet-ups, giving youth the opportunity to learn from their community members while allowing an older generation community enrichment through skillsharing. This week we are featuring five weekly knitting meet-ups that happen around the region. — Want to teach your children fiber arts at home? The Craft Yarn Council has online resources for knitting and crochet lesson plans.


HikingSnowshoeing/SkiingNature PlaySTEMParent WorkshopsKnittingCollaborative ConsumptionFeatured StorytimesFeatured Playgroups


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 January 3rd-9th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“With a toddler and a baby expected on New Year’s Day, our family is in the midst of creating new traditions during the winter months here in Western MA. Whether it is our daughter saying “moon” for the first time, a first cup of hot chocolate, or pulling a sled on the conservation land by the community gardens, we look forward to a season of firsts and memories.” – Celeste (Northampton, 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.

Support Hilltown Families

In this TEDx Talk, “Supporting Education Through Community Engagement,” Hilltown Families Founder, Sienna Wildfield, shares her story on why feeling connected to where you live matters, and how community-based education and community-service learning can help grow active citizens who care about where they live.Did you know that Hilltown Families is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that relies on your support? Click here to make a tax-deductible donation today! For nearly a decade, Hilltown Families has been working towards creating resilient and sustainable communities by developing and strengthening a sense of place in our children and citizens through community-based education and engagement. As we embark on the next 10 years, we look forward to fortifying and expanding our mission to support community-based education and service-based learning through community engagement with the support of volunteers, sponsors and readers like you! Please include Hilltown Families in your giving this year so we can move forward together! Click here to make a tax-deductible donation today. Thank you for your support!

First Day Hikes

New Years Day lends itself to reflection, prompting us to think of all that passed in the previous year and all that’s to come in the new one. Families can bring nature into their reflection by participating in an organized community First Day hike, or by finding their own place to explore on their own. Hiking to a high place and watching life in your community from above can provide some much needed perspective on your family’s place within what you see. Check our post, First Day Hike in Nature: A Time for Family Reflection, for hike to do with the family on New Year’s Day.

Bulletin Board

Begins Jan 5

The Holyoke Creative Arts Center brings quality instruction in the creative and industrial arts to adults in Holyoke and the surrounding communities. Beginning and experienced students learn side by side with expert instructors in a relaxed and friendly environment. Register today for the Winter II Session which begins Monday, January 5th. Classes include woodcarving, painting, quilting, upholstery, specialty workshops, and more! Join HCAC and contribute to a 90+ year legacy of fostering creativity and community in the Pioneer Valley. For more information and to register for classes, visit www.holyokecac.org or contact HCAC at info@holyokecac.org.

Jan 5

Young Shakespeare Players East in Turners Falls: Can kids ages 7 to 18 do Shakespeare? Yes, uncut and unbelievable. The Young Shakespeare Players East is a non-profit classical theater program where young people perform full-length, original works of Shakespeare. Join the fun: Free Soup and Game Night at Hope + Olive in Greenfield, Jan 5, 5-7:30pm, Twelfth Night Celebration and Benefit for YSP East! Baked goods for sale, proceeds support YSP’s Scholarship Fund. Want to join YSP East? Intro session for Spring 2015 Julius Caesar program is Wed, Jan 21, 4-7pm at The Shea Theater, rehearsals every Wed and Sun, scholarships available. No auditions or rejections. ‘Like’ their Facebook page to learn more: Facebook.com/yspeast.

Jan 8

Mermaid Pizza Party at Odyssey Bookshop on Thursday, January 8th at 5pm. Swim down to the Odyssey Bookshop to explore an underwater world of magic and fantasy! Author Jennifer Donnelly will unlock the secrets to the mermaid kingdom from the first and second books in the Waterfire saga. Munch on free pizza, get glitter tattoos and revel in the words as you hear from Carnegie Medal and a Michael L. Printz Honor author, Jennifer Donnelly. Perfect for ages 9+! This event is free, but please RSVP by emailing RSVP@odysseybks.com. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley, MA. www.odysseybks.com

Jan 10

Pioneer Valley Ballet is holding auditions for an original ballet, Aladdin and his Magic Lamp on January 10, 2015. The story of Aladdin and his Magic Lamp comes to life this spring at The Academy of Music on March 28 & 29, 2015. Presented by Pioneer Valley Ballet, the colorful characters and spell-bounding choreography takes audience members on a magical ride through a land brimming with genies, dreams, love, and adventure. Roles include Bluebirds, Flowers, Canaries, Bats, Spiders, and Children of the Palace. Children 4.5 – 12 years are invited to audition. No dance experience needed. Children must be at least 4.5 by January 10. Registration and information at www.pioneervalleyballet.org.

Begins Jan 11

Biocitizen is pleased to offer Words in the Woods, a special course that invites girls ages 10-12 to explore the natural world and to cultivate a greater understanding of themselves through walking, hiking, thinking, reading and writing. In combination with hiking and walking in the Pioneer Valley and beyond, girls who take the course will be asked to keep a journal to guide their creativity; whether the girls’ strengths be art or poetry or observation-based writing, the detailing of the biotic world will fall into their hands because creativity, as we know, comes in all shapes and forms. Creative work will be shared and celebrated to build self-confidence and community. These 8 classes will be held on Sundays, 11am-3pm, Jan. 11-Apr. 24.

Feature your OPEN HOUSE here!

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your 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.

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
January 3-9, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Words of Winter Wisdom for Life in Western MA

Check Out These Great Tips for Family Winter Fun!

Wondering where to get outside for a little winter fun? Or where to go inside for a winter birthday party or ice skating? There’s no better source of information on how to survive and thrive during the winter in Western MA than Hilltown Families’ readers!

Over the years Western MA families have shared their favorite places to go sledding and where to get a cup of hot chocolate after (or coffee for the parents!).  And once we get a big winter storm, their recommendations are going to be warmly welcomed! They’ve discussed how to get kids to dress for the cold, and where to take the family for a horse drawn sleigh ride (or an indoor winter birthday party).  Find out what local treasures and words of wisdom our readers have offered in these nine posts from our archives, and add your 2-cents too! Click here to read on!

Learning Ahead: Dec 29, 2014-Jan 2, 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 events 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.


Read the rest of this entry »

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