Weekly Suggested Events for January 8-14, 2022
Are you looking for things to do in western Massachusetts? Seeking place-based learning ideas? Are you a self-directed, life-long, and/or experiential learner? Are you curious or wanting to support the interests of your family? Our weekly Suggested Events list includes suggested learning ideas, resources, and fun events for all ages, each week!
Scroll down to discover featured events, learning opportunities, and educational videos to support learning from home. And be sure to subscribe to our free weekly eNewsletter so you never miss out!
SUGGESTED EVENTS: JANUARY 8-14, 2022
SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING IDEAS
COMMUNITY-BASED EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES
Featured Events, Resources, & Opportunities
Whole Children in Hadley, MA, is pleased to offer a Virtual & In-Person Winter Program for school-age kids and teens. Their 6-week program will be offered Monday through Saturday, January 10 – February 19, 2022 and will include a full roster of virtual classes and a selection of in-person classes, including photography, theater, Joyful Chorus, Friendship Band, and more! Price: $125 for six weeks of unlimited classes! For more information, visit wholechildren.org/class-schedule or call 413-585-8010.
Springfield, MA ♦ For homeschoolers and schoolers with five museums to mine for information and activities, the Springfield Museums does what few others can—combine art, history, science, and Dr. Seuss into fun-filled, engaging experiences that reinforce critical thinking and observation skills through inquiry-based learning. The Springfield Museums offer a broad range of educational programs for all ages and interest levels, and they are happy to custom-build an experience for your small group. For more information: email@example.com; 413-263-6800 x322; springfieldmuseums.org/groups/school.
Amherst Montessori School
Amherst Montessori School believes your child is inherently intelligent and that hands-on learning is critical to their developing brains. In mixed-age classrooms, your child is empowered to explore, discover, and learn through all five senses. In a beautiful new building designed uniquely for children, classrooms are filled with sunlight, natural materials, and views outside to playgrounds. Trained Montessori teachers nurture each child’s innate curiosity and independence. For more information: 413-253-3101; firstname.lastname@example.org; amherstmontessori.org.
The Academy at Charlemont
The Academy at Charlemont is a community-oriented independent day school for grades 6-12. For 40 years, Academy students have become engaged learners and articulate leaders through small classes, rigorous coursework, diverse electives in the arts and beyond, inclusive athletics, personalized advising, and student leadership. Learn more about The Academy at a Virtual Info Session on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 (7-8pm), and visit The Academy’s campus along the Deerfield River for a personalized visit day. Generous financial aid and daily round-trip bus service from Amherst, Northampton, and the Hilltowns are available. Ready to learn more about The Academy family for your family? Find details & Info Session registration at www.charlemont.org.
The Bement School
The Bement School, founded in 1925 and located in Deerfield, MA, is a co-educational day and boarding school serving 200 students from kindergarten through grade 9. While Bement is scheduling individual campus tours in person, a series of virtual open houses are offered from January 11-13, 2022. A member of the admission office and faculty will share what makes Bement an incredible education. Registration is required. Zoom invitations will be sent upon registration. Applications for fall 2022 are being accepted now. Contact the admission office at email@example.com with questions or to register for one of the open houses.
Four Rivers Charter Public School
Four Rivers Charter Public School in Greenfield, MA, is accepting applications for Fall 2021. Prospective families can attend a Virtual Open House on Sat., January 15 at 10am, Wed., January 26 at 7pm, or Sat., February 12 at 10am. Four Rivers is a small Expeditionary Learning school for grades 7-12, dedicated to educating young people for lives of learning and service. Four Rivers offers a rigorous college preparatory program aligned with the MA curriculum frameworks and emphasizes character development for moral and social responsibility. Students connect learning to the real world, work hard, and develop the independence and thinking skills needed in college and beyond. For more info & Zoom link, visit FourRiversCharter.org.
FEATURED MUSIC SCHOOL
Berkshire Music School
Berkshire Music School (BMS) in Pittsfield, MA, is now enrolling for private lessons, in-person and online, for all levels and ages starting on January 3, 2022. Lessons may be arranged for 30, 45, 60, or 90 minutes each week to meet the individual student’s needs and may begin at any point throughout the year. BMS’s fun Community Group Classes are offered on a pay-what-you-can basis, with a new winter session beginning at the end of January 2022. Visit the BMS website at
www.berkshiremusicschool.org for class offerings and check out their new online registration feature! Share the joy of music and check out why the Berkshire Music School was named the Berkshire Eagle 2021 Best of the Berkshires “Best After-School Program.”
Pioneer Valley Performing Arts
Charter Public School
South Hadley, MA
Do you know a student who would thrive in a creative, collaborative, arts-focused learning environment? The Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School (PVPA) in South Hadley, MA, is accepting applications for the 2022/2023 school year for students entering grades 7-11. Enrollment to PVPA is open to all MA residents on a space-available basis. Application Deadline: Feb 1, 2022. Enrollment Lottery: Feb 14, 2022. As a public charter school with 400 students from 60+ communities, PVPA offers a free, college-prep education with arts at the heart of all they do. Apply at www.pvpa.org. Info session on Thursday, Jan 20, 2022, from 6:30-8pm. Registration online. For more info, call 413-552-1580 x134 or email
East Longmeadow, MA
At Sensory SpOT, children explore ways to foster the growth of their emotional well-being, a strong mind-body connection, & strengthen their foundational skills necessary for learning. They create a positive learning environment that builds on your child’s strengths to allow them to flourish and grow their skills. Located in East Longmeadow, MA, Sensory SpOT offers individualized & group-based occupational therapy services and wellness groups for children provided by a Licensed Occupational Therapist and/or Occupational Therapy staff. Sessions are 45-60 mins. They are registering now for January 2022 SpOT and Wellness groups. Space is limited & registration required for services. Visit sensoryspotma.com for info & registration.
See Your Ad 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 each week, Hilltown Families can bring your message to thousands of families in Western Massachusetts. Serving the region since 2005, Hilltown Families is an award-winning, online communication network, recognized as a leading family strengthening initiative in the region, promoting “positive parenting through the social norm of community social connectedness.” A trusted partner in your online marketing! To find out how we can partner together in your online marketing and outreach, contact us for info on our affordable options and packages: firstname.lastname@example.org. Have an event, resource, or opportunity you’re ready to promote? Click HERE to submit your information.
List of Weekly Suggested Events
SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2022
Self-Directed Learning: Winter Bird Watching
During the winter, young wildlife enthusiasts can focus their attention on feathered friends, one of the few creatures who are still very visible throughout the coldest months of the year. Whether your family are avid birders or simply enjoy watching feeder visitors, there are lots of ways to learn about the local environment and to participate in citizen science by watching birds this winter! From owls to chickadees, there are many ways to engage with the local landscape and to help contribute information to important studies. Read more in our post, Becoming a Citizen Scientist Opens Your Awareness to Birdlife In Your Backyard.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 9, 2022
Self-Directed Learning: Ice Skating
People have been skating on ice for hundreds of years, although this “early” skating was pragmatic rather than recreational. “Skate” is derived from the Dutch word “schaats,” which means leg bone, as the first skates were simply lengths of animal bone strapped to the bottom of boots. When wood and then iron blades were introduced as a replacement to bone, skaters gained more control and speed, and skating for sport and fun began to rise. Our local skating culture traces its roots to Scottish immigrants, who brought skates with them when they resettled in the U.S., and can be a great topic to explore on and off the ice while learning about the world and New England culture and history. Find local skating resources in our post, 24 Ice Skating Rinks in Western Mass, then take the time to learn about neuroscience, physics, engineering, anatomy, and the history of ice skating!
MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2022
Self-Directed Learning: Cross Country Skiing
There are many ways to remain active and engaged with the outdoors during the winter. Nordic skiing, downhill skiing, ice skating, and snowshoeing are a sample of activities that allow one to get outside, stay fit, and maintain a healthy lifestyle while exploring the beauty of nature in the winter. Choosing a winter sport is not only spending time outdoors. It is also a way of participating in local culture and history traditions. Want to learn how to cross country ski? Learn the basics of cross country skiing and the history of a local treasure to practice what you learn in the Hilltowns of Western MA! Download our Jan/Feb edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for places to ski, skate, and snowshoe in Western MA.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2022
Self-Directed Learning: Snowflakes & Frost
Snow in New England not only offers opportunities for sledding, but it is also a great creative medium that can support science studies too! The chemistry behind snowflakes and frost is just waiting to be discovered! Kids can use snow, ice, and frost to learn about crystals. Snowflakes are a beautiful form of crystals, each one showing off a microscopic symmetrical design of spears, points, indents, and cutouts. (Be sure to read the book Snowflake Bentley!). Families can explore the formation of crystals with science experiments, including a giant snowflake made out of a Borax solution and homemade rock candy. These experiments create crystals slowly and on a scale that kids can examine for themselves. To maximize the learning possibilities, do both experiments simultaneously and make comparisons – determine which one grows faster, grows larger crystals, and makes the most transparent crystals. Another great topic to include in a study of winter precipitation is frost. See if you can find out the difference between snow and frost, and then see if you can identify the specific types of frost. You might even try creating your own frost flowers by soaking fallen branches or bits of logs and freezing them – a comparison between an outside log and a log frozen in a home freezer might present exciting results! The many different frost types are found during various weather and moisture conditions, and some are very rare.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2022
Self-Directed Learning: Family Dinner
Family dinner. It’s been proven that having meals together with your children benefits their social and emotional development and linguistic skills. Family dinner is a time for adults to model good manners, gratitude, and generosity—a time to connect through storytelling, conversations, and holding space for one another. But family dinner doesn’t have to be solely dinner. It can be breakfast. Snacks. Even picnics in the summer. Aim for the “Good Enough” dinner, with goals to connect rather than holding expectations that your time together should be anything other than what transpires. In today’s self-directed learning modules, adults can learn about the value of sharing meals with the family, and kids can discover a history of family dinners through one cultural perspective.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 13, 2022
Self-Directed Learning: Extinction
The extinction of animal species can be attributed to many different factors, but it all boils down to the impacts of humans. Thinking about endangered and extinct animals can conjure up great questions and topics to explore. Loss of habitat and invasive species are two human-induced causes of extinction of plants and animals. (Are WE an invasive species?!) A complex topic to face, learning about extinction, the contributions of human behavior, and understanding which species will survive can lead us to a better understanding of why scientists are looking towards gene-editing and cloning as a method for reversing extinction and solutions for habitat conservation. For today’s self-directed learning module, link together human impact, invasive species, the strategy behind the conservation of umbrella species, the ethics of gene-editing, and a look at the efforts to save species for a deep dive on a challenging subject.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 14, 2022
Self-Directed Learning: Hibernation
In the winter, your kids might wonder where are all of the animals! Curiosity about the seasonal changes in local fauna can support learning about zoology, biology, and ecology! Using this as a lens for learning, get curious about hibernation! Do animals only hibernate in the winter? Do trees hibernate? How long do they hibernate? Is it the same for all animals? Start with these questions to begin your self-directed learning journey today!
Online and in-person events and resources shared above are done so as a courtesy and not as an endorsement. While we do our best to share accurate and up-to-date information, please take the time to confirm information, age appropriateness, registration requirements, safety protocols, and associated costs.
Hilltown Families’ list of Suggested Events is supported in part by grants from the Agawam, Colrain, Granby, Greenfield, Hadley, Windsor, and Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.