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!
Love your learning! Oak Meadow’s K-12 homeschooling curriculum provides a comprehensive educational experience, delivered with imagination and heart. The curriculum includes weekly lesson plans for an entire year and can be customized to meet your student’s needs and interests. Take 20% off all Oak Meadow’s bookstore items from February 14-28, 2022. Purchase complete curriculum packages for PreK-8 or individual courses for high school, or purchase craft supplies, homeschooling resources, books, and more. Plus, they’re offering free shipping on all orders over $499! Shop February 14-28, 2022, at oakmeadowbookstore.com.
On Sunday, February 20, 2022, come to the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT, to meet John Collins, the Paper Airplane Guy! Collins holds a Guinness World Record in paper airplane distance and will be teaching visitors of all ages how to build their very own amazing paper airplanes, including the record-breaking “Suzanne” design! Collins will hold performances at 11am and 1pm and will be available for demos and hands-on instruction throughout the day. This event is included with the price of admission. For more information, visit neam.org.
Play outside this summer at the Berkshire Music School! Designed for young music lovers ages 5-9, Adventures in Music gives your budding musician a solid foundation in making music in a fun, engaging atmosphere. Participants will enjoy group classes in introduction to music, chorus, creative movement, and puppetry on the tented lawn of BMS’s historic campus, as well as small group workshops in piano, drama, visual arts, and more! Monday-Friday 10am-4pm. Mini Session: June 27-July 1, Session 1: July 11-22, Session 2: July 25-August 5. Contact: 413-442-1411; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.BerkshireMusicSchool.org
Deerfield Academy Summer Arts Camp (DASAC) is an alternative education community focusing on experimental and traditional arts in a day camp setting for campers ages 11 through 16. DASAC creates space and agency for campers to be their most authentic selves. DASAC is designed to welcome children from the communities that surround Deerfield. Because of this design, they seek camper families rooted in the nearby communities.
A kind of magic happens when teen writers gather together in a learning community. Juniper Young Writers Online provides such an opportunity in their one- and two-week creative writing programs. Participants engage in morning Craft Sessions, afternoon Writing Labs and early-evening open mics and Writer’s Life talks. The online curriculum is synchronous, dynamic, and participatory. Applications are required for the lab and intensive sessions. Scholarships are available; deadline to apply is March 15. Self-guided Writing Packages will be available for teens who want to engage with the content at their own pace. Enrollment for packages opens May 2022; no application necessary. Community, Wild Invention and the Writer’s Life await!
Early American Summer Days combines 19th-century history with 21st-century fun! Designed for ages 7-12, all sessions give children who have completed grades 1-5 a glimpse into the museum’s historical spaces and an opportunity to do themed activities and craft projects. Children will have a choice of four themed days to create their own 19th-century adventure. Children will also get to interact with a range of special guests, from farm animals to theater people! Staff and volunteers will aid in hands-on learning with a variety of activities.
The Bement School offers summer programs for children from 4 to 15 years old. Children have the opportunity to enjoy the fun of a traditional day camp and help create their schedule by choosing from Bement’s wide range of unique activities. Digging into Nature at Pine Hill provides outdoor education for ages 6-9. The Junior Camp provides a safe, nurturing camp experience for the youngest campers. The Adventure Day Camp offers activity choices that include sports, nature, arts and crafts, and swimming. The Counselor-in-Training program gives young teenagers experience working with children and developing valuable job skills while still enjoying the fun of summer camp. Prospective families can find summer Programs dates on their website.
Prelude Preschool of the Arts is now enrolling for summer and fall 2022! Full-day & half-day programming options feature specialized classes taught by expert musicians & artists in the areas of early childhood music, dance, yoga, Suzuki violin, bucket drumming, and visual art. Prelude Preschool’s arts-centered curriculum fosters creativity and a lifelong love for learning while supporting students’ social-emotional development. Flexible before & aftercare is available to meet your scheduling needs, and regularly scheduled family nights facilitate connection & collaboration among students, their families, and their teachers. To learn more or schedule your tour: email@example.com; 413-750-9560; communitymusicschool.com/prelude
The Common School, located in Amherst, serving children ages 3-12, is currently accepting applications for Fall 2022. The Common School provides strong student/teacher ratios, a diverse and inclusive community, opportunities for experiential learning, a stellar social and emotional curriculum, a rich social and environmental justice program, and significant time spent outdoors amongst 140 acres of conservation land and Bramble Hill farm. To schedule an in-person tour, call 413-256-8989 and visit the website at www.commonschool.org.
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. Applications for Fall 2022 are now being accepted. Bement offers both in-person tours and interviews and online opportunities to connect and learn more about Bement. Contact the admission office at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or schedule a campus tour.
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.
Presidents’ Day celebrates the life and work of George Washington. It comes every year on the third Monday of February. Presidents’ Day allows us to explore the tenets of democracy and civil freedoms. Download our Jan/Feb edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts that support learning through the lens of Presidents’ Day.
Bobcats, a North American wildcat, have been on the rebound in recent decades due mainly to efforts to protect them that began in the 1970s. Despite their increasing numbers, it is still relatively uncommon to encounter one. Bobcat breeding takes place mid-late winter, adding another dimension to our winter soundscape. While listening for their mating calls, get curious about our feline neighbors, ask questions, and find answers. Here are a few questions to get you started: What are the differences between a bobcat and a house cat? How and when do they eat, sleep, and travel from place to place? In addition to Massachusetts, where else do bobcats live? What type of habitat do they prefer, and why? Do bobcats travel in packs, or are they solitary? What do they eat, and how do they hunt? How can bobcats and humans live together safely, and how can we protect them?
It seems that the connections between children’s literature and topics within many academic disciplines are endless. Captivating stories introduce fascinating historical eras, animal tales for young readers share basic biology concepts, and community stories teach children about interacting with new people and building relationships. However, somewhat elusive within children’s literature are math concepts. Perhaps the most challenging academic subject to integrate smoothly into your family’s everyday life, math has often been taught through memorization and drilling rather than curiosity-driven exploration. Despite its elusiveness, math is very much present within children’s literature, and there are numerous resources to support families in exploring math together… and making it fun! Discover more in our post, Children’s Literature & Resources that Support Math.
Self-Directed Learning: Local History/Sojourner Truth
As an area rich in history, it is no surprise that the Pioneer Valley has deep connections to the movement that eventually led to the ending of slavery in the United States. Sojourner Truth, an African-American woman famous for her anti-slavery and women’s rights activism, lived in Florence for nearly fifteen years during the mid-19th century. Born into slavery and freed after more than 25 years of labor, Truth used her experiences as an enslaved woman to fuel her passion for speaking out for human rights. In addition to being Truth’s home for many years, Florence was also a stop on the Underground Railroad, and numerous African-Americans stopped in the town while escaping to freedom. Studying Sojourner Truth’s life in Florence can provide an entry point for studies of the Underground Railroad and the history of slavery in the United States. Learn more in our post, Sojourner Truth Memorial: American and Western MA History.
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, Becket, Bernardston, Buckland, Chicopee, Colrain, Cummington, Easthampton, Goshen, Granby, Greenfield, Hadley, Hatfield, Heath, Huntington, Leyden, Montgomery, Northern Berkshire, Orange, Otis, Palmer, Rowe, Shelburne, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Tolland, Tyringham, Windsor, and Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.