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!
Montessori School of the Berkshires(MSB) inspires children to develop independent thinking, self-assurance, inner discipline, and a love of learning in an authentic Montessori environment. Serving children aged 15 months through grade 8 on 40 wooded acres, MSB supports each child’s innate curiosity and helps them develop focus and motivation, and embraces collaboration and cooperation. Engaging materials, designed for hands-on learning through all senses, are continually adapted to meet each child’s needs, interests, and development, so they are best prepared for the next level of education. Open 7:30am-3pm; extended coverage until 5:15 pm. Daycare & Preschool ♦ Ages 15mo-8th grade. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org; 413-637-3662; www.berkshiremontessori.org.
Hilltown CDC (HCDC) seeks to improve the quality of life for Hilltown residents by addressing economic, housing, education, social, & community needs while preserving the rural character of the area. Thanks to a generous grant from the MGCC, the HCDC offers FREE, confidential business assistance to Hilltown residents! If you’re thinking of starting or growing your business, HCDC can help. They have experts in various areas who can help entrepreneurs get on their feet, including website help, social media marketing, business tax & accounting, legal assistance, & more. Sign up for free virtual classes: hilltowndirectory.com/events. For more info, contact HCDC Economic Development Director Michele Kenney: MicheleK@Hilltowncdc.org; 413-354-1055
Nature Sprouts is a morning program and takes place at The Bement School in Deerfield, MA, every Tuesday from April 5 – May 10, 2022, from 9-10am. Children and their families are invited to spend mornings connecting with nature through stories and hands-on activities with Nature Sprouts, a meaningful way to build a sense of discovery and wonder. Children ages 3-5 learn about colors, shapes, textures, and more! Email email@example.com to RSVP and for more information.
Learn to take care of & exercise a world-class athlete – the Alaskan Husky Sled Dog. Choose a dog for the week. Learn to feed, pet, play, clean-up after & train a sled dog. Ride a racing rig, scooter, bike, hike, jog & swim – some of the warm weather activities dogs & campers love to do together. All have fun bonding, playing & mushing with the team! “My daughter loved the week-long camp, really bonded with her dog and plans to return next year. Hilltown Sleddogs is one of Pioneer Valleys’ unique treasures!”(JG) “The hands-on connection with dogs is amazing. At the end of the week, my boys don’t want to come home.” (EM) *New Bonfire/BBQ eve last night Week 4 & Gals Only Week 5, all ages! Successful COVID Safety Protocol continues for 2022.
Academy Summer Programs tap into The Academy’s artistic, outdoor, and academic communities by enabling students to explore areas of interest in a safe, in-person, outdoor environment. Offerings are week-long, half or full day for rising 4th-10th graders.
Welcome to Summer 2022 at Stoneleigh-Burnham school. Here is the list of their camps for this summer and a brief overview of what they will offer. Animation Camp: an introduction to computer animation for girls ages 12-18, with no experience necessary. Speak Up: an introduction to debate & public speaking for girls ages 10-15, with no experience necessary. Performing Arts Camp: a co-ed program for students ages 10-18 with an interest in dancing, singing, and acting, but no experience required. Bonnie Castle Riding Camp: a riding program for girls ages 8-16 with experience who can tack up, walk, trot, and canter independently. Horsemanship Day Camp: a co-ed riding program for novice and beginner riders ages 9-12, with no experience necessary.
Looking for an exciting, fun, and natural way for your teen to learn Spanish this summer? What if you share your home with a Spanish student and then have your student spend time in Spain? Student’s Home Exchange (SHE) Families organizes reciprocal exchanges for students ages 13-18 for 4-6 weeks. They match up families with similar objectives and characteristics, and the students participate in a direct exchange. Students participate in normal summer activities, whether it be camps, trips, or just hanging around the neighborhood. Student exchange is a fantastic way to share your culture and for your teen to experience and learn the Spanish language and culture from others. What are you waiting for? ¡Las familias españolas les esperan!
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 a 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 summer camp fun. Summer Program dates are listed on their website. Sign up now, as sessions are filling fast!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org; 413-750-9560; communitymusicschool.com/prelude
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.
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org. Have an event, resource, or opportunity you’re ready to promote? Click HERE to submit your information.
April and May might be filled with the blossoms of spring, but there is no need for flowers when we have sweet maple syrup to enjoy on our pancakes with family and friends! Let sugar season be a time of year to reconnect to the community and strengthen your sense of place through value-based community engagement that supports learning. Maple sugaring is a centuries-old tradition in New England, and the seasonal industry remains an essential part of the foundation upon which local agriculture is built. Additionally, maple sugaring brings opportunities for families to engage in intergenerational community-based learning through visits to farms, community meals, living history, and experiential, hands-on activities. Read more in our thread, “Learning Ahead: Early Spring is Sugar Season.” Explore Native American traditions, New England history, sugar shacks, shared meals, art & literature, and early spring food tradition, all through the lens of the first harvest of the year, maple syrup!
Step on a crack, break your mother’s back? Who came up with this superstition, and why? Black cats, whistling in a theater, Friday the 13th, knocking on wood, opening an umbrella inside … these are all examples of superstitions, many of which have their origins in coincidences, forgotten religions, or outdated advice. Cultural habits and psychological bias often perpetuate superstitions. Getting curious about the origins of superstition can be a “lucky penny” for self-directed learners. History, psychology, religion, humanities, and more are often supported. With Friday the 13th as your catalyst, ask questions and seek answers to support your learning! (Unless you have friggatriskaidekaphobia. In which case, maybe tomorrow is better?)
Coyotes and Bobcats add to our soundscape in late winter, while skunks add to our scent-scapes. This time of year is the mating season for all three mammals. While coyotes and bobcats are wrapping up their courtships, the Striped Skunk mating season spans into early spring, with March being the peak of the season. Because they are covering territory to find their mates, crossing paths with other animals that might threaten or scare them, the noxious spray of a skunk tells us that spring is here! This spray is a defense mechanism for the skunk and a lovely, albeit stinky, lens for learning! Using your nose to alter you to their presence, get curious and learn about their mating behavior, the chemistry of their spray, and how skunks
Purim is a joyous Jewish holiday in late winter/early spring. The story of Purim comes from the Bible and is set in ancient Persia. Haman, an evil and egotistical minister of the King, concocts a plan to destroy all Jews in the empire because they refuse to bow down to him. Little does Haman know that the new queen, Esther, is herself a Jew. Esther bravely reveals her true identity to the King. The Jews are spared, and Haman is destroyed instead. Purim customs include telling Biblical stories, dressing in costumes, and eating hamantashen. Read more in our post, Purim in Western MA.
Corned beef has become synonymous with Saint Patrick’s Day and Irish American culture, but the history of this dish is much more complicated than one might think. First of all, the name “corned beef” refers to preserving beef in coarse salt, known as “corn” in old English. While some versions of salted or “corned” beef can be traced back to 12th century Ireland, any version of the dish that would be recognizable today is derived from a product that originated in the 17th century. Until the late 19th century, Ireland was the world’s largest producer of canned corned beef, which became a major tradeable commodity because it was nonperishable. Irish corned beef was traded across the Atlantic to the French to be used in their sugar plantations in the Caribbean and many other British and French colonies. Despite the considerable amount of corned beef produced in Ireland, the vast majority of the product was exported and not consumed by Irish people. Moreover, the corned beef industry played a role in the Irish Potato Famine. As more and more farmland was taken over for corned beef production, Irish farmers were pushed onto smaller, poorer-quality plots of land, where potatoes became the only sustainable crop. Nevertheless, corned beef has become an essential part of Irish American cultural heritage linked to Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations. In Ireland, to this day, corned beef and cabbage remain the traditional dish eaten on this holiday
American Woodcocks, also known as Timberdoodles, return their migration north in the early spring, where males perform their mating displays at dusk in open fields. Catching sight of these interesting breeding displays can teach you a lot about woodcocks – how the males attract mates, their ideal habitat, which mating displays seem most effective, and how females react to the displays. Budding birdwatchers can learn how to enter the ideal woodcock habitat in search of these birds to observe their unique behavior. If you’ve never heard the telltale peents of the woodcock looking for a mate to do its early spring sky dance, you’ll fall in love with this ground-nesting, football-sized bird once you do! Get curious and learn about their feeding behavior, diet, eggs, nesting, calls, and young.
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.