80+ Suggested Events, Resources & Learning Ideas for June 27-July 3, 2020

Awarded the “Essential Agent of Change Award” by the MDPH’s Massachusetts Essentials for Childhood, Hilltown Families is recognized as a leading family strengthening initiative in the region, promoting “positive parenting through the social norm of community social connectedness.” Serving Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families continues to support the development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, farms, individuals, schools, and non-profit organizations are invited to collaborate with Hilltown Families in their community outreach. With 10,000 opt-in subscribers and 2.7 million visits to our web site alone, Hilltown Families can deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA! Find out about our affordable advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by contacting us at info@hilltownfamilies.org… and scroll down to discover community-based educational opportunities to explore at home this weekend and next week.

SUBSCRIBE to our eNewsletter to stay up-to-date!
Sneak peaks of our newest podcast.

Bulletin Board

Online Program Jun 22-Aug 14

Montessori School of Northampton Summer 2020 Virtual Programs. Online/Northampton, MA. Group classes w/individual lessons/instruction included. Half & full-day options offered. All virtual programs designed to balance engaging instructional content w/mindfulness for appropriate screen time intervals. For elementary & middle school students they offer online modules like Film & Videography, LEGO Engineering w/Play-Well TEKnologies, Social Justice Workshop, How to Make a Radio Play, Make Your Own Podcast, STEM Engineering, Ukulele instruction, Instrument Building, Dance, Visual Arts, Dungeons & Dragons, Graphic Novel/Comic Book Art, and Digital Animation & Coding workshops with Holyoke Codes. For 40+ years, MSN has offered engaging summer programs for children 18mo-8th grade in the tradition of Italian educator Maria Montessori. Dates: Jun 22-Aug 14; Age Range of Participants: 5-14yo. Contact: 413-563-4645. summer@northamptonmontessori.org. msn.coursestorm.com

Online Camp Jun 8 – Aug 28

Virtual Camp

GCC Summer Virtual STEAM Camps. Online. GCC has paired up with Black Rocket, a national leader in tech-education, to bring Virtual Summer STEAM Camps to kids ages 8-14. Taught live by teachers with expertise in STEAM, the online camps will run for 12 weeks. Offering courses on topics such as coding, game design, eSports, virtual reality, and more, Black Rocket’s camps invite students to engage in cutting-edge curriculum designed to encourage their imaginations & bring their ideas to life. Each week-long session is divided into 2 sections: 3-hour session in the morning for 8-11yo & 3-hours in the afternoon for 11-14yo. Virtual Campers will benefit from smaller break-out sessions with Black Rocket coaches and ongoing access to Black Rocket’s Creator Corps. Tuition starts at $149. Dates: Jun 8-Aug 28; Age Range of Campers: 8-14yo. Contact: 413-775-1661. colek@gcc.mass.edu. noncredit.gcc.mass.edu

Now Virtual!

Online Programs Jul 6 – 31

The Bement School Online Summer Programs. The Bement School is excited to offer remote summer enrichment opportunities for middle school-age students in the summer of 2020! Beginning in July, students will engage in academically-focused classes taught by Bement’s renowned faculty. Students will be challenged in small, specialized remote instruction with a focus on individual attention and skill-building that will allow participants to explore their passions or prepare for their upcoming school year. Each class will occur between July 6 and July 31 under a Monday-Friday model with instructor office hours available. Visit online to learn more! Dates: Jul 6-31; Age Range of Campers: 10-15yo. Contact: 413-774-7061 ♦ summer@bement.orgwww.bement.org/summer

Three virtual music programs this summer!

Jul 6 – Aug 16

Virtually Rock the Summer! Institute for the Musical Arts Rock the Summer 2020 to be held on-line. IMA’s on-line music programs offer girls & young women tools to confidently use computers to generate & share music that they create individually & together. Programs will utilize digital tools to enable students to work collaboratively on the development, home recording & virtual presentation of their music. IMA’s faculty is composed of seasoned musicians, producers & engineers, many of whom have been ground-breakers for women in the field of music. July 6-12 Explore Rock ‘n Roll, performance-based program for preteen girls 9–12yo; July 15-26 Rock ’n Roll Performance, designed for teen-aged girls 13-19yo; Aug 6-16 Recording, Engineering & Producing, designed for girls & young women 16-24yo. Programs culminate in virtual concerts/listening party. Dates: Jul 6-Aug 16; Age Range of Participants: Girls/Young Women 9-24yo. Contact: 413-268-3074. info@ima.org. www.ima.org

Jul 6 – Aug 21

Online Courses

Summit View Learning Summer Math Courses. Online. Summit View Learning can help individuals or small groups of students learn math well in an online setting. They offer personalized instruction with a focus on conceptual understanding and deep long term learning. Whether helping to prepare for school in the fall or accelerating math learning generally, SVL’s 4-week summer courses are customized to meet the needs of all students. Their summer courses include 8 one-hour virtual (real-time) lessons with their highly qualified and experienced instructors and optional hands-on activities that students can work on independently. Pricing: $350 for 1 student, $300/student for 2, $250/student for 3, $200/student for 4, contact them for groups over 4. Rolling admission accepted through July. Dates: Jul 6-Aug 21; Age Range of Campers: 9-18yo. Contact: 339-927-6191. jagron.svl@gmail.com. www.summitviewlearning.com/summer-math.

ADVERTISE HERE: Partner with Hilltown Families in your online advertising! Delivering your message each week to over 25,000 subscribers, web visitors, and social media followers, Hilltown Families can deliver your message to thousands of readers in Western MA who are committed to their community and willing to support one another in times of need. Local and online businesses, virtual and local service providers, non-profit organizations, and individuals in need of services are encouraged to reach out to find out about our affordable advertising options. Please send us an email to find out how we can partner together in your online marketing and outreach, contact Sienna at swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org.

June 27-July 3, 2020

Saturday, June 27Sunday, June 28
Monday, June 29Tuesday, June 30Wednesday, July 1
Thursday, July 2Friday, July 3

Subscribe to Our Weekly eNewsletterAdvertising & Partnership Opportunities
Class DirectoryPreschool DirectoryBirthday Party Venue Directory
Cultural Itinerariesen Español

Resources and opportunities below are shared as a courtesy. While we do our best to share accurate and up-to-date information, please take the time to confirm age appropriateness, registration requirements, and associated costs.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Suggested Events: Click here to suggest distant learning and in person events!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Suggested Events: Click here to suggest distant learning and in person events!

  • Want to have your online or in person event, class, or workshop featured with Hilltown Families? Inquire at info@hilltownfamilies.org.


    COMMUNITY-BASED EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE/SKILL-SHARING: Farmers’ markets are community builders, the American version of the European plaza, and are intrinsically a part of our New England culture and traditions. They are places that bring a community together in support of local agriculture, healthy food choices, share stories, and connect with neighbors and farmers. They are also great places to learn through the collaborative consumption of knowledge freely shared between farmers and customers. The opportunity to learn at farmers’ markets through intergenerational skill-sharing makes them a highly valued community-based educational resource that brings people together via shared interests. If that’s not enough to convince you about the value of your local farmers’ market, check out this actionable talk by social entrepreneur Mohammad Modarres who shows how to put your purchasing power into action via local farmers’ markets and CSAs.

    FAMILY DINNER/STORYTELLING: Create a meal with your family from start to finish! Together with your children, visit a local farmers’ market to learn where your food comes from, meet local farmers, and prepare a seasonal meal together. Based on the seasonal produce you find at the market, be inspired to create a meal together. Cooking seasonally with ingredients found at a farmers’ market help to connect to the seasons and the history of New England by understanding when and how local produce impact our meals and food traditions. Stopping by the different booths (at a safe distance, of course!) let your kids meet the farmers who grow the food. Introduce yourself! Perhaps mention what you plan to make that evening. Ask them for tips on how to prepare their seasonal produce and swap recipes with others. Purchasing food directly from a local farm is part of a storytelling experience. From their farm and hands to your hands and kitchen, it’s all woven together into a tale of sustainability and local community. The learning continues later at the dining table as studies have shown that young children benefit from experiential learning during the family meal as highlighted in this video:

    FOOD TRADITIONS/FAMILY RECIPES: Food is an integral part of our human story. The act of cooking calls upon centuries of cooking methods, ingredients, spices, and flavors that have shaped our distinct cultures and traditions. Within our families, recipes are passed down, and special dishes are often considered an important part of our unique family gatherings and holiday celebrations. For example, when someone says, “My aunt always made the best strawberry cake on the 4th of July,” that reflects how food shapes our memories and connects us to those we have spent time with and who are an important part of our personal history. The art of recipe collecting and writing is something that allows the generations to share their family’s culture through the legacy of food.

    PERSONAL STORIES/FAMILY RECIPES: What stories do your recipes tell? Instead of looking up recipes quickly on the internet and then closing the browser once you’re finished, perhaps use this summer to create a recipe collection by making a recipe book to pass down to your children and grandchildren. This type of storytelling and collecting has transformed into a new art, as this video below illustrates. When making your recipe book, ask yourself: “Who will inherit the recipes we discover and invent this summer?” “What stories will they tell of the food that grows near me in Western Massachusetts?” “How will future generations 100-200 years from now understand the cultural and food traditions practiced during this time?” There are many creative ways to compile your collection of family recipes; here is one:

    CULINARY ARTS: Seasonal produce picked out at your local farmer’s market for ingredients of a favorite recipe to be made for your family dinner can be strengthened with lessons in the culinary art. Knowing the base flavors of different styles of cooking is a great place to start a lesson! In this video, learn how to make and use all the culinary bases from around the world, including French mirepoix, Italian sofrito, Spanish sofrito, the Cajun holy trinity, and Chinese GGS. This base knowledge will help you create new family favorites to pass down in your family recipe book!


Start planning now!

Monday, June 29, 2020

Suggested Events: Click here to suggest distant learning and in person events!

Want to have your online or in person event, class, or workshop featured with Hilltown Families? Inquire at info@hilltownfamilies.org.


COMMUNITY-BASED EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE/BOGS & CARNIVOROUS PLANTS: There are many myths and legends around carnivorous plants, and a couple of these plants we can find right here in Western MA! These plants include the corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum) at the Botanic Garden of Smith College and Nepenthes (a.k.a. pitcher plant) where you can find a species at the Hawley Bog. According to the Botanic Garden of Smith College web site, “The infamous Amorphophallus titanum first bloomed at the Botanic Garden in 2005, the first of its kind to do so in Massachusetts. Once mature, this plant blooms every 3-5 years. True to predictions, it bloomed again in 2008 and four years later in 2012…” and again in 2019! Unlike the corpse flower, the pitcher plant species at the Hawley Bog flowers every year in June, along with several other carnivorous plants, including sundew and bladderwort. One of the best ways to learn about these unique plants is to visit them in their native habitat. The Hawley Bog is an excellent case of an intact New England bog and bog plants flowering in June are easier to spo. Take your field guides, sketchbooks, and cameras and spend some time looking closely at these native species’ in their natural environment. Get curious about the differences between habitats, asking questions like, “What’s the difference between a bog and wetlands?” “How are bogs formed?” “Why are bogs important ecosystems?” Seek out answers and return next year. Blooming bog flowers are another way to connect us to the season through native species. Bogs are a great example of a balanced ecosystem, as shown in this video featuring the bogs of Ireland:

BOTANY/CARNIVOROUS PLANTS: In this TED-Ed video, “The wild nature of carnivorous plants,” Kenny Coogan takes us on an informative tour. “Learn about carnivorous plants and their predatory antics to lure, trap, and digest prey. — Around the world, there are more than 600 plant species that supplement a regular diet of sunlight, water, and soil with insects, frogs, and even rats. Flies, tadpoles, and beetles fall prey to the remarkable, predatory antics of carnivorous plants. What exactly are carnivorous plants, and how do they trap their prey? Kenny Coogan dives into the world of these flesh-eating tricksters.”

ORGANIC CHEMISTRY/BOGS: In this SciShow, “Chemistry & Corpses: The Science of Bog Bodies,” “SciShow explains the chemistry, archaeology, and history of bog bodies — naturally mummified corpses (and other fun things!) that have been discovered in Europe’s peat bogs.”


Schools are accepting applications for 2020/2021 school year!

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Suggested Events: Click here to suggest distant learning and in person events!

  • Want to have your online or in person event, class, or workshop featured with Hilltown Families? Inquire at info@hilltownfamilies.org.


    SENSE OF PLACE/MINDFULNESS: It’s Firefly season! Fireflies mark this time of year, dancing their bioluminescence ballet across the summer evening landscape. An orchestra made up of frogs, insects, and leaves swaying in the breeze is the backdrop as the sun sets, and these glowing beetle emerge for a brief time every year, lighting up yards, fields, and forests. Take the time to sit quietly in the evening, listen, and watch a spectacular presentation that only nature could orchestrate. Engaging the sense with the natural world helps connect us to the present moment while strengthening a sense of place. The summer enchantment fireflies can bestow on young children brings fantasy and lore into their childhood memories, staying with them as they learn through nature and grow with the seasons. That magic can lead the way towards learning, bridging a sense of place with the sciences through curiosity and discovery.

    ENTOMOLOGY/FIREFLIES: In this episode of SciShow Kids, “Fireflies: Nature’s Baffling Blinkers,” young and old alike can learn about entomology through the lens of the bioluminescent firefly. Discover how and why this flying beetle twinkles in the evening sky in the summertime.

    SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING/CATCHING FIREFLIES: While it’s best for the firefly to watch them up-close while out in nature during their short appearance during the summertime, many parents remember catching them in jars for a bedtime nightlight. If this is you and you want to share your memories with your children by doing the same with them, this video will show you how to catch and store them for a few hours safely. Once the kids are asleep, it’s advised that you immediately release these friends so they can live out their lifecycle during their short stay on earth.

    SCIENCE/BIOLUMINESCENCE: Fireflies are a native bioluminescence species here in New England, but they aren’t the only glowing critters on this planet! In this TED-Ed video, “The brilliance of bioluminescence,” Let your love of fireflies lead your learning about zoology through the lens of bioluminescence. Used for lifesaving purposes, including hunting and mating, a biochemical process produces the glow of a firefly. In this video, Leslie Kenna investigates this magical glow and our scientific quest to replicate it

    CITIZEN SCIENCE/FIREFLIES: Mass Audubon has teamed up with researchers from Tufts University for a summertime science opportunity, Firefly Watch Citizen Science Project. Citizens can register today and be in the field, tonight! The researchers are seeking to track the fate of these amazing insects. With your help, they hope to learn about the geographic distribution of fireflies and their activity during the summer. Fireflies also may be affected by human-made light and pesticides in lawns, so they hope to learn more about these effects. Sign up to participate at www.massaudubon.org.

Plan ahead for Fall 2020!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Suggested Events: Click here to suggest distant learning and in person events!

Start planning now!

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Suggested Events: Click here to suggest distant learning and in person events!

  • Want to have your online or in person event, class, or workshop featured with Hilltown Families? Inquire at info@hilltownfamilies.org.


    COMMUNITY-BASED RESOURCES/CONSERVATION PROPERTIES: Towards the end of June, we find the beginning of summer and a landscape ready for exploring in the warmer months. In Western Massachusetts, we are fortunate to have so many conserved landscapes that offer mountain views, scenic trails, access to waterways, and places to discover nature’s inspiring energy. When visiting these local treasures, take the time to discover the organization behind the conservation and care of the properties you visit, like Kestrel Land Trust, The Trustees, Fitzgerald Lake Conservation Area, Mass Audubon, to name a few. Learning about these organizations and properties with your kids and then exploring them together helps families understand their value and deepens their appreciation for their work and desire to support conservation efforts. It can also support an interest in literature and poetry as our natural landscape here in New England has inspired my influential writers.

    SENSE OF PLACE/MINDFULNESS: While exploring the local landscape this summer, think about how it can inspire an artist and a writer. Think about the past; why do you think nature writing was so prevalent in the early-mid 19th century? How did nature writing in the United States inspire American conservation in the 19th century and presently with the organizations that protect the properties you visit? And which property or hiking trail inspires you the most, and why? Being mindful about nature as you travel through the local landscape of foot through pathways and a top summits can intuitively answer these questions as they relate to your appreciation for nature and deepening connection to place. Let the work of writers like Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson inspire you!

    LANGUAGE ARTS/LOCAL LANDSCAPE: Follow the footsteps of earlier Americans and stay active and healthy during the summer by walking. Many of the local woods and trails in Western Massachusetts were common destinations for 19th-century hikers and fueled many writers’ creative genius. Engage with local history and experience the landscape from a literary perspective by reading some of these writers’ works while on the trail or before you embark on your next outdoor adventure. Check out Henry David Thoreau’s book, Walking, from your local library (or listen in the video here). A lecture delivered in 1851 and later published as an essay, Thoreau discusses the importance of nature to humanity through the act of walking and immersion in nature. Follow Thoreau’s lead and ramble through the woods along many of these Western Massachusetts trails. Look back to our September/October Season issue of Learning Ahead for trails in our region. Other trails to consider include literary trails featured in the March/April Season issue of Learning Ahead.

Start planning for Fall 2020!

Friday, July 3, 2020

Suggested Events: Click here to suggest distant learning and in person events!

Want to have your online or in person event, class, or workshop featured with Hilltown Families? Inquire at info@hilltownfamilies.org.


NATIVE SPECIES/INSECTS: Learning through the lens of native insects holds endless pathways in which self-directed learning can flow. Interests from ecology and food production, to language arts and technology, are vast when using insects as your point of entry to learning. It is endless! Let’s take a moment to appreciate these fantastic creatures starting with a fun fact about how high in the sky they can fly, followed two insects who make unique homes or themselves, the lifecycle on another well-loved critter, and conclude with a quick lesson in entomology.


Hilltown Families’ list of Suggested Events is supported in part by grants from the Amherst, Bernardston, Buckland, Chester, Gill, Goshen, Hadley, Heath, Hinsdale-Peru, Holyoke, Montgomery, Mt. Washington, New Salem, Northern Berkshire, Pelham, Plainfield, Rowe, Shelburne, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Springfield, Washington, Westhampton, and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.