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 curriculumprovides 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.
For over 40 years, Montessori School of Northampton has offered exciting and engaging summer workshops for children in the tradition of Italian educator Maria Montessori. Located near downtown Northampton, Route 9 and I-91, they offer 8 weeks of programming starting at 18 months old up to 8th grade. Their Toddler and Children’s House (pre/K) programs have half and full-day options available, with a strong teacher/student ratio, theme-based programming, and an expansive playground. Elementary and middle school workshops include Rock Band, Podcasting, Robotics, Digital Animation & Game Making, Outdoor Wilderness Adventures, Film & Videography, Visual Arts: Magical Creatures, LEGO Engineering w/ Minecraft and Unplugged Gaming, Graphic Novel/Comic Book Art. Dates: June 27-August 19, 2022; Age Range: 18mo-14yo Contact: 413-563-4645 ♦ email@example.com ♦ msn.coursestorm.com
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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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.
We all know about the four seasons, but did you know that in parts of western Massachusetts there’s a “fifth season?” Locals in the Hilltowns call this time of year Mud Season! Happening simultaneously with Maple Sugar Season, mud season is a harbinger to spring. Paying attention to weather patterns and annual documenting when this seasonal phenomenon happens near your home year after year can strengthen a sense of place. Mud is also an excellent lens for learning about various topics and interests. Let this “fifth season” spark interests and guide your learning about 3-D printing, entomology, ornithology, architecture, creative free-play, and even pastry arts!
Why does February only have 28 days? The answer to the question is a blend of Roman history, agriculture, and legends. Asking this question and being self-directed in your learning can support interests in calendars, Roman history, and superstition.
Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday) arrives on the 47th day before Easter every year (the day before Ash Wednesday). It may be business as usual here in New England, but way down south in New Orleans, they will be throwing a huge party! In New England, costumes and masks are generally reserved for Halloween (and maybe the occasional themed party). However, in New Orleans, they play a significant role in celebrating Mardi Gras. Incredibly rich in culture, Mardi Gras is a catalyst for learning about the neighborhood cultures of New Orleans (Mardi Gras Indians), food traditions, music, and carnival production.
Though western Massachusetts isn’t known as a sports mecca, it’s filled with community–based resources for exploring sports and the history behind them. As the birthplace of at least two major sports and home to teams and clubs engaging in a great many more, the area offers a variety of ways to learn about sports of all kinds. Read more in our post, Exploring Athletics and Sports History Through Community-Based Resources.
Western Massachusetts is home to many women changemakers who have dedicated their lives to enacting social change through the arts, critical inquiry, and learning. Still today, there are many women poets, writers, activists, artists, teachers, educators, and scientists that reside in Western Massachusetts who continue to work towards positive social change, including Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Porter Phelps, and Juanita Nelson. March is Women’s History Month, a national observation that honors and pays tributes to women who dedicated their lives to social justice, the environment, education, and positive change for society. These women are a tiny sample to explore; however, note the incredible number of talented women today in Western Massachusetts that continue to demonstrate the importance of women’s rights. Their grit and perseverance as pioneers are honored during the month of March. Read more in our post, Local Women & Local History: Understanding New England Women’s Lives from the Past.
To say that immigration is an important aspect of American history is an understatement. Many of us would not be here if it were not for immigration. Moreover, the United States is not unique in this. Human populations have been immigrating around the world since the beginning of history. If you go far back enough, you will be hard-pressed to find a community of people in the world that did not originate somewhere else. What this historical phenomenon demonstrates is that human societies are always hybrids. Groups travel and move, and as they do so, they adopt customs, influence the creation of new cultures, and bring certain cultural elements with them. All cultures, from the most heterogeneous to those that might appear homogeneous, result from generations of immigration. Food cultures and traditions are great ways to illustrate this historical fact. Chicken tikka masala is a perfect example: one of the most popular and recognizable Indian dishes in the world was likely invented in Scotland by Pakistani chef Ali Ahmed Aslam, in the 1970s. He decided to add tomato soup to a plate of chicken curry after a customer complained that it was too dry. — Let international food and culinary arts lead your learning this week by seeking out traditional recipes, researching their cultural significance, checking out the ingredients at grocery stores, and, if available, preparing a family meal together.
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, Hinsdale/Peru, Huntington, Leyden, Montgomery, Mount Washington, Northern Berkshire, Orange, Otis, Palmer, Pelham, 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.