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!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org; 413-263-6800 x322; springfieldmuseums.org/groups/school.
Openings in middle and high school for 2022-23! Beautiful outdoor classrooms, deep academic inquiry, music, and art in everyday learning, active land stewardship, and a culture of compassion: that is the Hartsbrook School. During this time of uncertainty, Hartsbrook has provided students with a grounding and nurturing foundation every day. Discover how meaningful a school experience can be and enjoy a vibrant, active parent community. PreK thru high school. Call 413-586-1908 x116 to begin your exploration and imagine the potential for your child. 193 Bay Road, Hadley, www.hartsbrook.org
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.
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; email@example.com; amherstmontessori.org.
Four Rivers Charter Public School in Greenfield, MA, is accepting applications for Fall 2022. 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.
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.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: email@example.com. Have an event, resource, or opportunity you’re ready to promote? Click HERE to submit your information.
Everything that we do has some science behind it. Everyday tasks, like the simple act of boiling water for tea and riding a bicycle, are all powered by scientific principles, offering us a wide array of possibilities for further innovation and change. Curious about how something works or interested in making a discovery? Research it, and make it happen! Students in grades 5-8 are invited to do just that by participating in the annual Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. The challenge asks students to create a short video explaining a solution they’ve found to a problem related to how we work, play, or relax. Read more in our post, Young Scientist Challenge: Encouraging Students to Share Their Passion for Science.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 16, 2022
FAMILY RADIO: 7-8am. Hilltown Family Variety Show. WXOJ 103.3FM Northampton, MA. (Radio)
There are lots of concepts that children learn that involve chain reactions. The interrelatedness of nature is entirely dependent on an intricately woven set of relationships. When one thing changes – the availability of a resource or the population of an animal, perhaps – everything else is affected. Human populations experience a similar phenomenon – such relationships are all around us! However, the abstract nature of interrelated relationships can be challenging for kids to grasp. Explaining complex concepts using metaphor or visual representations can be helpful, but what about something that kids can touch and see themselves? Something that perfectly illustrates the idea of interrelatedness and chain reactions but happens much more quickly than chain reactions do in nature or within human society? Read more in our post, Science & Fun of Chain Reactions.
Warm, starchy comfort food is a delicious way to enjoy the long nights and cold winds of New England in January, and sweet potatoes are the perfect pick! With a long and interesting history, the sweet potato can be a lens for learning about agricultural history, cultural studies, and culinary arts. Take the kids to pick out sweet potatoes at your local co-op or winter farmers’ market. Ask the farmer how they grew the potatoes and when they were harvested. See how many varieties you can find at the co-op, then head home with these sweet tubers for a lesson in the kitchen and explorations in taste and texture! Discover a sweet recipe for preparing lasagna in our post, Comfort Food: Roasted Sweet Potato Lasagna.
Not only is winter the ideal season for tracking because of the blank canvas that snow provides, but the cold temperatures also help to open up access to habitats that trackers cannot explore during the rest of the year. In particular, winter is an excellent time to learn about beaver habitat! Read more in our post, Nature Guide for January: Beaver Habitats.
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.
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, Amherst, Buckland, Colrain, Goshen, Granby, Greenfield, Hadley, Huntington, Palmer, Shelburne, South Hadley, Tyringham, Windsor, and Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.