Berkshire Family Fun: March 2015

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
March 2015

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of March. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

“I appreciate the extensive calendar listings and postings on Hilltown Families. They cover a wide geographic area and inspire me to visit new museums and other places and also remind me to return to some old favorites.” – Bridget Spann (Williamstown, MA)


Berkshire Family Fun is supported in part by a grant from the Monterey, Northern Berkshire, Pittsfield and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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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 »

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 »

Saturday Morning Music Party with Hilltown Families & Flywheel Arts Collective

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!

Join us on Saturday, March 14 and Saturday, April 18 from 10am-12noon in Easthampton, MA.

During a breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and fruit, a screening of new episodes of Pancake Mountain will delight families. After the breakfast, kids can join DJ Youthelectronix & special guests for the “best ever dance party before noon.” Who needs a night club when you have Saturday Morning Dance Parties with Hilltown Families & Flywheel?! Save on the babysitter and dance the morning away!  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 »

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days!

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts &
Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days!

Volunteering together teaches children positive values, like kindness, empathy and tolerance, and opens up channels of communication between parent and child. Engaging children in community service can increase their participation as future volunteers, helping to create more resilient and sustainable communities.

Over the years, Hilltown Families has partnered with The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in several ways, offering families in the region opportunities to engage in service-based learning while volunteering together as a family in support of food security in our region. We’ve organized a field trip and a couple of virtual food drives and told you how you could organize your own field trips and food drives too. We’ve given you a heads-up on youth volunteer opportunities, services for families during summer months, and resources to support child(ren)/student’s learning of hunger and food security, including Children’s Books on Food Security/Scarcity and Youth Against Hunger Education Curriculum.

One of the issues participants learned during our field trip was how difficult it can be for some families to have access to fresh organic fruits and vegetables. In response, we organized a station at our Family Community Service Event to empowered families to learn how to grow an extra row of vegetables in their home gardens to harvest and donate to their local food pantries, and collaborated with local business and farms to offer gleaning opportunities for families.

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts &
Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days!

Families continue to seek out new ways to spend time together that supports values and learning, and volunteering as a family at The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts is great way to do just that! In partnership with Hilltown Families, families are invited to attend a series of monthly volunteer sessions where they will help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. Volunteering together as a family encourages quality time, increases communication, and provides opportunities for family members to be role models.  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 »

Handmade Valentines: Connecting & Expanding a Community Tradition

Handmade Valentines: Connecting & Expanding a
Community Tradition

February 2015
Hawks-Hayden Room Gallery, Meekins Library
Williamsburg, MA

Featuring handmade Valentines by Hilltown Families’ Annual Handmade Valentine Swap participants, 2009-2015

For the past seven years, Hilltown Families has organized an intergenerational, community-based, handmade Valentine swap. Spearheaded by Hilltown Families founder, Sienna Wildfield, this community tradition has grown from an intimate group of families to an extensive roster of participants living across western Massachusetts, from Williamstown to Monson.

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.

These handmade tokens of friendship and community push back against the commercialization of Valentine’s Day while connecting and expanding an age-old tradition. The act of creating handmade Valentines supports creative-free play, while receiving them generates excitement to make community connections and eliminates loneliness. Having them on display at the Meekins Library chronicles the growth of what has become a delightful community tradition in western Massachusetts, open to all and free to participate. Read the rest of this entry »

STEM Fest For Teens With Science Quest at UMass

UMass’ Science Quest
Saturday, April 11th, 2015

Science Quest is an exciting opportunity for high school students to visit the UMass Amherst campus and engage in hands-on science activities, demonstrations, and guided lab tours. All presentations are organized by UMass faculty members and designed for high school-aged students. Science Quest is a one-day free event happening on Saturday, April 11, 2015 in Amherst. — Space is limited, so register early!

Students learn about a wide variety of STEM topics in school – everything from the periodic table to the Pythagorean Theorem – but all too frequently aren’t shown the interesting, practical, and often surprising ways that STEM topics can be applied to real life!

High school aged youth are invited to UMass’ Science Quest, an annual free event offering students the opportunity to learn firsthand about science research, the practical applications of science knowledge, and the creativity that STEM work sometimes allows!

Students in grades 10-12 who are interested in science, technology, engineering, and math can engage in hands-on science activities, demonstrations, and lab tours at UMass Amherst’s Science Quest event on Saturday, April 11, 2015 from 9:30am-3:40pm in the Integrated Science Building (661 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA).

Students can choose from a variety of classes, demos, and tours, including ones on topics like food science, physics, biology, nanotechnology, astronomy, alternative energy, chemistry, animal sciences, and engineering. High school students can become more engaged in the sciences through this free event, which promotes hands-on learning and participation. In addition to these activities, UMass undergraduate science students will be present to talk about their experiences as science majors and an admissions representative will be on hand to discuss preparing for college and applying to UMass.

Read the rest of this entry »

Vote for Hilltown Families by 12noon this Wednesday!

Hilltown Families: BEST BLOG
Vote for Us by 12noon this Wednesday, Feb. 4th!

As Hilltown Families enters its tenth year, celebrate with us as we finish out the past 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 this Wednesday, Feb 4th by 12Noon!

Participants must vote for a total of 10 local favorites… how about some of our sponsors (listed in the left-hand column)?

Spread the word & share the ❤ love!

Click here to cast your votes: www.valleyadvocate.com/best-of

Berkshire Family Fun: February 2015

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
February 2015

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of February. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

“This was the first year my three year old participated in the Valentine’s Day swap & we had a blast making and receiving our cards in the mail. This site truly enhances what western Massachusetts is all about community and our great state!” – Summer Mikaitis (Pittsfield, MA)


Berkshire Family Fun is supported in part by a grant from the Monterey, Northern Berkshire, Pittsfield and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Show Your Support for Hilltown Families: Vote for Us!

Hilltown Families: BEST BLOG
Vote for Us by Feb. 4th!

As Hilltown Families enters its tenth year, celebrate with us as we finish out the past 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 Noon, Feb 4th.

Participants must vote for a total of 10 local favorites… how about some of our sponsors (listed in the left-hand column)?

Spread the word & share the ❤ love!

Click here to cast your votes: www.valleyadvocate.com/best-of

ABOUT HILLTOWN FAMILIES

Hilltown Families believes in creating resilient and sustainable communities by developing and strengthening a sense of place in our children and citizens through community based education and engagement.  We work to accomplish this by highlighting the embedded learning that is found everywhere in our communities, making the information accessible to families, and giving parents/educators access to opportunities that supports their children’s interests and education while encouraging community engagement.

Founded in late 2005 by Sienna Wildfield, the Hilltown Families blog is part of a online grassroots communication network for families living in Western MA, and is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Serving thousands of families living throughout the region, Hilltown Families supports education through community engagement by connecting, collaborating, and creating community building events, community based educational opportunities, and service learning experiences.

See this TEDx Talk, Supporting Education Through Community Engagement, where Hilltown Families founder, Sienna Wildfield, shares the story behind the vision and mission of Hilltown Families:

Susan Langenheim of Plainfield, MA, writes:  “Hilltown Families has been an extremely important resource for our family since the birth of our twins.  Living in the Hilltowns poses some challenges in staying connected with what is going on in the different communities, and Hilltown Families has been vital in keeping us supported with what resources and community events are happening in the surrounding areas.”

Kim Pedigo of Westhampton, MA, writes: “As a mom to 4 small children, Hilltown Families is my go to resource for fun and educational family activities. It has enriched our lives tremendously by keeping us informed and connected to our community.”

NJ Rongner Holyoke, MA, writes: “I was a new mom who was staying at home with my son when I discovered Hilltown Families. At the time, I had a pretty sweet case of Postpartum Depression. Hilltown Families encouraged me to attend events and kept me from isolating myself. Now that I’m past those early lonely days, it is still a great resource full of wonderful (SMART) blog posts, has a great weekly podcast that my son loves, and continues to be the first place I go to when I want to know what family friendly activities are going on in the Pioneer Valley!”

Kerri Simonelli of Haydenville, MA, writes: “I love Hilltown Families!  I always check out the calendar for upcoming events to see all the good things going on.  I know that in one place I can count on finding quality, fun events for my family to enjoy.  My favorite thing is the ability to click on a particular day to go right to what’s happening!  I also love sharing this incredible resource with new families I meet at the Northampton Parents Center.  Hilltown Families is a real gem of a resource!  THANK YOU for all you do!”

Click here to cast your votes: www.valleyadvocate.com/best-of

What we’ve been chatting about…

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 »

7th Annual Handmade Valentine Swap for Western MA Families

Hilltown Families 7th Annual
Community Handmade Valentine Swap

Hilltown Families 7th Annual Community Handmade Valentine Swap! Free to sign up and open to all in Western MA. Deadline to sign up: Jan 29th. Join us!

It’s that time of the year again! 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. Sign up below!  It’s free to sign up and open to all families in western Massachusetts!

A handmade valentine swap gives local families an opportunity to be creative together while connecting with other families in Western Massachusetts.  Through the swap, participating families mail out handmade valentines to ten assigned addresses, and in return, they receive handmade valentines from ten other participating families.  The cards can be handmade by any combination of child and adult, so if you’re kids aren’t completely up to the task, or if an adult would like to make their own design, there’s flexibility.  All are welcomed!

Deadline to sign up (below) is Thursday, January 29th. On Friday (1/30/15), you will be emailed your assigned names/address of participants to mail your handmade valentines to.  Everyone is kindly requested to mail your valentines off by Feb. 7th.

Here are a few samples of valentines swapped in years past to stir your creative juices:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If interested in participating, the information below must be filled out and submitted by Thursday, January 29th.  If you have multiple children and would like each one to receive their own list of families to swap with, please register each person separately. Click here to sign up!

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 »

Berkshire Family Fun: January 2015

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
January 2015

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of January. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

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


Berkshire Family Fun is supported in part by a grant from the Monterey, Northern Berkshire, Pittsfield and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

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!

Suggested Events for December 27th, 2014-January 2nd, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families helps us to cast a wider net when we are looking for activities during school vacation or on the weekends. Often we find sweet little buried gems that would otherwise have escaped our notice… Thanks for being here.” – Sarah Rankin (Greenfield, MA)

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

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… 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 end-of-the-year giving so we can move forward together! Click here to make a tax-deductible donation today. Thank you for your support!

Bulletin Board

Dec 27 & 28

Make family memories at The Carle in Amherst! Celebrate A Very Merry Madeline Weekend December 27th and 28th. Visit the special exhibition, Madeline at 75: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans, to learn about this incredible artist and his beloved character, Madeline. Gallery searches, films, story readings and art projects take place throughout the day, and children will have a chance to meet Madeline at 1pm and 3pm! Plus, CactusHead Puppets presents The Bremen Town Musicians, the classic tale of a donkey, dog, cat, and rooster who set off on a journey together to start new lives as musicians, and the exciting adventures they have along the way. Tickets can be purchased in advance. Visit www.carlemuseum.org for more information.

Dec 31

Why should the grownups get to have all of the fun? Come celebrate New Years Eve for the KIDS at Chandler’s Restaurant at Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield on December 31st from 11am – 1pm. Countdown to 12NOON instead of Midnight with interactive live entertainment by guitarist Tom Carroll. Full award winning kids menu & lunch menu will be available. Noisemakers will be handed out and an apple cider toast … Just for fun! Please call for reservations. 413-665-1277

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.

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.

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
December 27th, 2014 — January 2, 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: The Survival Instinct of the Sea Lamprey Endures…for 460,000,000 years

Why I Love Sea Lampreys

Sea Lampreys: A lot to love, and even more to admire.

Our rivers—the Westfield and the Connecticut—are alive. They could be more alive than they are, but the Holyoke and Turners Falls dams on the Connecticut and the West Springfield dam on the Westfield prevent that vivacity. These dams make anadromous fish (that spend part of their lives in fresh water and another part in salt water) go extinct.

I have wondered how it is that people can allow these extinctions to happen, without feeling absolute horror and guilt, and preventing any more of them. One reason is that we don’t know why their lives are valuable. Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for December 20th-26th, 2014

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“As a new mom without local family, Hilltown Families has given me essential information about activities I can do with my son and husband, and feel like a part of my new community.” – April Genung (South Deerfield, 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? 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 end-of-the-year giving so we can move forward together! Click here to make a tax-deductible donation today. Thank you for your support!

Bulletin Board

Dec 19-21

Santa Claus is coming to town! PaintBox Theatre makes a December appearance with The Santa Show! This year’s all-new show stars Santa, Mrs. Claus, a bunch of elves, and Blitzen the reindeer. Poor Mrs. Claus: she works hard all year and no one seems to notice! Her secret wish? To travel with Santa this Christmas, delivering toys, seeing the children, and maybe even enjoying a picnic aboard the sleigh. Who will tell Santa? Performances of The Santa Show are at Northampton High School (380 Elm Street) on Friday, Dec. 19 at 7:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 20-21 at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Tickets: $10 (general seating) at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. www.paintboxtheatre.com.

Dec 21

“Light in the Darkness” Community Chanukah Celebration. On Sunday, December 21st from 5-7pm, Congregation B’nai Israel (253 Prospect Street. Northampton, MA.) welcomes the public to a joyous Chanukah celebration filled with music, storytelling, communal candle lighting and latkes. From 5-5:45pm, Felicia Sloin will lead singing and stories for little ones at the same time as a “Moth”-inspired story session on the theme of “Light in the Darkness” with three featured storytellers for adults and older kids. From 5:45-6:15pm, communal candle lighting and singing. Then from 6:15-7pm, latkes and treats. $5 per person. For more information email rabbijacob@cbinorthampton.org or call 413-584-3593 x203.

Dec 31

Why should the grownups get to have all of the fun? Come celebrate New Years Eve for the KIDS at Chandler’s Restaurant at Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield on December 31st from 11am – 1pm. Countdown to 12NOON instead of Midnight with interactive live entertainment by guitarist Tom Carroll. Full award winning kids menu & lunch menu will be available. Noisemakers will be handed out and an apple cider toast … Just for fun! Please call for reservations. 413-665-1277

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.

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
December 20th-26th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for December 13th-19th, 2014

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Our family learned about volunteer opportunities at The Food Bank of Western MA through Hilltown Families, and our young daughter enjoys being able to give to other families who need the help.” – Vincent Romano (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.

Bulletin Board

Dec 5-31

R{E}volve, a pop-up shop of handmade objects, will be at Eastworks (116 Pleasant St) in Easthampton, Dec 5-31. Highlighting our region’s vibrant creative culture, R{E}volve underscores the economic & community benefits of buying locally.This year, R{E}volve will offer items for kids & adults, clothing & accessories, home goods, furniture, jewelry and fine art, by local artists. Special events include: Opening Reception/Ugly Sweater Party on Dec 5, 5-8pm; Art Walk Easthampton Reception on Dec 13, 5-8pm w/silent auction for artist made Christmas trees & gingerbread cookie decorating to benefit the Easthampton High Art Program. Shop hours are Dec 5-31, Mon- Sat 10am-6pm. Closed Sundays. Special exceptions: Dec 24 & 31, 10am-2pm; closed Dec 25.

Dec 12-14

Welcome Yule: A Midwinter Celebration. 30th annual show celebrates the return of light with a delightful family show filled with music, dance, song, story and customs to drive the dark away. This year’s show centers on the younger people in an imaginary English village. Fri. Dec. 12th and Sat. 13th at 7:30pm.; Sun. Dec. 14th at 2pm. The Shea Theater, 71 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA.Tickets: adults $12, seniors and children $10 (four and under free), family of five $40. Reserve tickets at 413-863-2281 or purchase in advance at Jones Library, Amherst; River Valley Market, Northampton; World Eye Bookstore, Greenfield; Basically Bicycles, Turners Falls; online at Brattleborotix.com. More information: www.welcomeyule.org or 413-665-3206.

Dec 12-14

Pioneer Valley Ballet presents its holiday classic, The Nutcracker. Always sweet and always new, follow Clara on her journey through the land of sweets. Featuring Jan Burkhard Catlin and Pablo Javier Perez of Carolina Ballet dancing the roles of The Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier, and local favorites Meghan Mangsen and Christopher Phillips as Clara and The Nutcracker. Performs December 12-14 at the Academy of Music in Northampton. Tickets and info: www.pioneervalleyballet.org. PVB also welcomes tiny princes and ballerinas to join them at their second annual Sugar Plum Fairy Tea on December 7 at the Clarion Hotel. Advanced reservations required. 413-527-6363.

Dec 13

Storytime With The Grinch! Saturday, December 13th at 2pm. “Every Who down in Who-ville liked Christmas a lot . . . but the Grinch, who lived just north of Who-ville, did NOT!” The Grinch himself will be at the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley for a very special storytime of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Free giveaways, pins, stickers, snacks and more will accompany this grincy event. There will even be a photo opportunity with the Grinch himself— so parents, don’t forget to bring your cameras! FREE and All Ages. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley. 413-534-7307. www.odysseybks.com

Dec 13

This holiday season, experience the beloved story of The Nutcracker told through Celtic Dance. A Celtic Nutcracker will beautifully blend the Tchaikovsky score with Celtic music and original choreography by the Celtic Heels Dance Company Director, Cara Leach. Bring your family to either the matinee performance at 2pm or the evening performance at 7pm on Saturday, December 13th at Bowker Auditorium, UMass, in Amherst. Featuring the Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company and live music by the Celtic Music Academy of MA this is sure to become a family tradition for anyone who loves The Nutcracker or Celtic Dance! Tickets are $11-$20 and are available at www.ACelticNutcracker.com

Dec 19-21

Santa Claus is coming to town! PaintBox Theatre makes a December appearance with The Santa Show! This year’s all-new show stars Santa, Mrs. Claus, a bunch of elves, and Blitzen the reindeer. Poor Mrs. Claus: she works hard all year and no one seems to notice! Her secret wish? To travel with Santa this Christmas, delivering toys, seeing the children, and maybe even enjoying a picnic aboard the sleigh. Who will tell Santa? Performances of The Santa Show are at Northampton High School (380 Elm Street) on Friday, Dec. 19 at 7:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 20-21 at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Tickets: $10 (general seating) at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. www.paintboxtheatre.com.

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.

Through Dec 31

The Springfield Museums – the perfect place to spend time with out of town guests or just an afternoon with the family during the holidays. See the new Adventures in Gingerbread exhibit, featuring hand-painted murals based on a certain popular winter fairy tale. See decorative snowglobes, prints of winter scenes from Japan, and original Norman Rockwell drawings. Shop The Museum Store, with gifts for all ages and tastes…and don’t miss Wacky Week family programs during school vacation (December 26-31), featuring “Wacky Chad” and other great family entertainers from around the region plus planetarium shows and educational activities for all! For more information, visit springfieldmuseums.org or call 413-263-6800.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your holiday event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, community event, 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 enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 13th-19th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for December 6th-12th, 2014

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“As a new parent, Hilltown Families was such a valuable resource! Whether looking for something to do on a Saturday afternoon, looking for an idea for begin a new family tradition marking a holiday, or just connecting with other parents, Hilltown Families kept me connected. Over the years the people I met through the Hilltown Families have remained an active part of our lives! Thanks for all you do!” – Tony Lemos (Ashfield, 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

Click here to schedule your donation!

Schedule your tax deductible donation today!

On Wednesday, December 10th, Hilltown Families will be will be participating in Valley Gives! As we enter our 10th year, this will be our 1st Annual Appeal Campaign, asking our readers to support us with a tax deductible donation so that we may continue to support education through community engagement through this communication network you have grown to love and depend upon! Wondering how your tax deductible donation will support Hilltown Families? Here are 15 ways your donation will support Hilltown Families!

Check out our video trailer, placing in the top 10 of Valley Gives Video Contest:

Want to learn more about the vision and mission of Hilltown Families? Check out this TEDx Talk: Supporting Education Through Community Engagement by Hilltown Families Founder, Sienna Wildfield.

Bulletin Board

Dec 5-31

R{E}volve, a pop-up shop of handmade objects, will be at Eastworks (116 Pleasant St) in Easthampton, Dec 5-31. Highlighting our region’s vibrant creative culture, R{E}volve underscores the economic & community benefits of buying locally.This year, R{E}volve will offer items for kids & adults, clothing & accessories, home goods, furniture, jewelry and fine art, by local artists. Special events include: Opening Reception/Ugly Sweater Party on Dec 5, 5-8pm; Art Walk Easthampton Reception on Dec 13, 5-8pm w/silent auction for artist made Christmas trees & gingerbread cookie decorating to benefit the Easthampton High Art Program. Shop hours are Dec 5-31, Mon- Sat 10am-6pm. Closed Sundays. Special exceptions: Dec 24 & 31, 10am-2pm; closed Dec 25.

Dec 6

Crafty Rumpus and Yggdrasil: (Center School’s Open House that is Open to Everyone) is Saturday, December 6 from 10am-2pm. PreK-8th grade teachers will offer free nature art and crafting projects for kids ages 3-12. And, back by popular demand, Yggdrasil: an interactive, enchanted indoor forest. Yggdrasil is a tree in Norse mythology that welcomes us into 9 magical realms. Free Yggdrasil realms will feature archery with Amherst Archery Association, a labyrinth, a transfiguration realm, a cave to discover one’s own power animal and more! In addition: savory and sweet foods available for purchase, Come to Rumpus and Yggdrasil, meet the teachers and families of The Center School. All are welcome! centerschoolrumpus.blogspot.com.

Dec 6

Winter Fair on Saturday, December 6 from 10am–3pm at the Hilltown Cooperative Charter School new location: 1 Industrial Way, Easthampton, MA. The Winter Fair at HCCPS is a fun and festive annual event which includes craft and gift-making for all ages, musical performances, book sales and delicious food. Come with your children and create gifts for family and friends, then stay for performances and some homemade treats! There is something for everyone at the Hilltown Winter Fair. For more information call the school at 413-529-7178 or check out their web site: www.hilltowncharter.org.

Dec 6

Five Little Monkeys Pajama Party with author, illustrator – Eileen Christelow. Saturday, December 6th, 4pm. The Odyssey Bookshop welcomes the legendary author and illustrator, Eileen Christelow, creator of the Five Little Monkeys series for a celebration of the 25th anniversary of Five Little Monkeys Jumping on The Bed! Bring your favorite bedtime stuffed animal and join us for a pajama party with this wonderful author! Freebies, stickers are all in store for you on this Saturday afternoon! FREE and All Ages. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley. 413-534-7307. www.odysseybks.com

Dec 7

Sugar Plum Fairy Tea on Sunday, December 7 at 2:30 at The Clarion Hotel in Northampton. Dust off your shoes and shine your tiara! You and your child will delight in dainty treats, delicate sweets, and a visit from The Sugar Plum Fairy. PVB ballet dancers will share their ballet skills, read a story with you, and present a short performance. This event is a fundraiser for Pioneer Valley Ballet. As a non-profit, PVB relies on the generosity of their community and special events to support their valuable programming like The Nutcracker. Join them at The Clarion Hotel for a very special wintry tea party. Reservations Required: $25 per person, seating at 2:30. www.pioneervalleyballet.tix.com

Dec 12-14

Pioneer Valley Ballet presents its holiday classic, The Nutcracker. Always sweet and always new, follow Clara on her journey through the land of sweets. Featuring Jan Burkhard Catlin and Pablo Javier Perez of Carolina Ballet dancing the roles of The Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier, and local favorites Meghan Mangsen and Christopher Phillips as Clara and The Nutcracker. Performs December 12-14 at the Academy of Music in Northampton. Tickets and info: www.pioneervalleyballet.org. PVB also welcomes tiny princes and ballerinas to join them at their second annual Sugar Plum Fairy Tea on December 7 at the Clarion Hotel. Advanced reservations required. 413-527-6363.

Dec 12-14

Welcome Yule: A Midwinter Celebration. 30th annual show celebrates the return of light with a delightful family show filled with music, dance, song, story and customs to drive the dark away. This year’s show centers on the younger people in an imaginary English village. Fri. Dec. 12th and Sat. 13th at 7:30pm.; Sun. Dec. 14th at 2pm. The Shea Theater, 71 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA.Tickets: adults $12, seniors and children $10 (four and under free), family of five $40. Reserve tickets at 413-863-2281 or purchase in advance at Jones Library, Amherst; River Valley Market, Northampton; World Eye Bookstore, Greenfield; Basically Bicycles, Turners Falls; online at Brattleborotix.com. More information: www.welcomeyule.org or 413-665-3206.

Dec 13

This holiday season, experience the beloved story of The Nutcracker told through Celtic Dance. A Celtic Nutcracker will beautifully blend the Tchaikovsky score with Celtic music and original choreography by the Celtic Heels Dance Company Director, Cara Leach. Bring your family to either the matinee performance at 2pm or the evening performance at 7pm on Saturday, December 13th at Bowker Auditorium, UMass, in Amherst. Featuring the Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company and live music by the Celtic Music Academy of MA this is sure to become a family tradition for anyone who loves The Nutcracker or Celtic Dance! Tickets are $11-$20 and are available at www.ACelticNutcracker.com

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your holiday event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, community event, 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 enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 6th-12th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for November 29th-December 5th, 2014

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families gives a link to many events in our area.  I check it weekly to find out good ideas for events to attend alone or with my grandchildren.” – Denise Banister (Williamsburg, 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

Open House Dec 1

Gan Keshet (Rainbow Garden) Jewish Community Preschool Open House: Monday, Dec 1 from 9:30-11am (Snow date, Mon., Dec. 8) at 253 Prospect St., Northampton, MA. Come visit with your child and meet their experienced staff. The Preschool offers: Part/Full Day Options; flexible scheduling; Farm/Garden Based Activities; and a Summer Program. Ask about HGF Right Start Grant- your family could be eligible to receive $1000-2000 towards your child’s tuition! The preschool values diversity and welcome all families in the community. Contact Preschool Director, Wendy Stein at 413-584-3593 x204 or gan.keshet@cbi.northampton.org. For more info visit online: www.cbinorthampton.org; www.facebook.com/Gan.Keshet.Jewish.Community.Preschool.

Dec 6

Crafty Rumpus and Yggdrasil: (Center School’s Open House that is Open to Everyone) is Saturday, December 6 from 10am-2pm. PreK-8th grade teachers will offer free nature art and crafting projects for kids ages 3-12. And, back by popular demand, Yggdrasil: an interactive, enchanted indoor forest. Yggdrasil is a tree in Norse mythology that welcomes us into 9 magical realms. Free Yggdrasil realms will feature archery with Amherst Archery Association, a labyrinth, a transfiguration realm, a cave to discover one’s own power animal and more! In addition: savory and sweet foods available for purchase, Come to Rumpus and Yggdrasil, meet the teachers and families of The Center School. All are welcome! centerschoolrumpus.blogspot.com.

Every Sat

Find locally-grown food and live music every Saturday from 9am – 2pm at the Northampton Winter Farmers’ Market. Four vegetable farms offer organic greens, root vegetables, and winter squash all season long. Apples, cranberries, cheeses, meats, eggs, breads, ferments, mushrooms, pastries, chocolates, maple syrup, honey, herbs, cold-pressed juices, and prepared foods from over 25 farms and food producers add to the mix. Bring your family by the market every Saturday through April 18th at Smith Voke, 80 Locust Street, Northampton (Route 9 between downtown Northampton and Florence Center). Food Stamps/SNAP accepted. Subscribe to the market’s newsletter at www.nohowintermarket.com/subscribe or contact nohowintermarket@gmail.com for more information.

Dec 6

Winter Fair on Saturday, December 6 from 10am–3pm at the Hilltown Cooperative Charter School new location: 1 Industrial Way, Easthampton, MA. The Winter Fair at HCCPS is a fun and festive annual event which includes craft and gift-making for all ages, musical performances, book sales and delicious food. Come with your children and create gifts for family and friends, then stay for performances and some homemade treats! There is something for everyone at the Hilltown Winter Fair. For more information call the school at 413-529-7178 or check out their web site: www.hilltowncharter.org.

On Wednesday, December 10th, Hilltown Families will be will be participating in Valley Gives! As we enter our 10th year, this will be our 1st Annual Appeal Campaign, asking you to support us with a financial donation so that we may continue to support education through community engagement through this communication network you have grown to love and depend upon. We are inviting folks to be a part of our virtual STREET TEAM, helping us spread the word about our participation in Valley Gives and rallying support on our behalf. Join us in this exciting campaign! Email Sienna at swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org for information on how to get involved. Want to learn more about the vision and mission of Hilltown Families? Check out this TEDx Talk: Supporting Education Through Community Engagement. — And mark your calendars, DEC 10, for an exciting day of giving through Valley Gives!

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your holiday event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, community event, 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 enhanced publicity packages and 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
November 29th – December 5th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Holiday Events for Families in Western MA: 2014

Berkshire Family Fun: December 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
December 2014

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of December. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

“We can’t possible participate in all the wonderful events that are happening in our area but to have a web site where you can find the one that is right for you or your family is invaluable. I find just reading about all the exciting things that are happening in my area gives me a boost. I think what a vibrant and amazing place I live in, how lucky my family is to have all these options. It is a rich and varied resource that I have grown to depend and rely on. Thank you Hilltowns Families for keeping us connected and growing.” – Meredyth Babcock (Becket, MA)


Berkshire Family Fun is sponsored in part by:

Read the rest of this entry »

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