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!
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
Play outside this summer! 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 Berkshire Music School’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. Dates: June 27-Aug 5, 2022. Age Range: 5-9yo. Contact: 413-442-1411; email@example.com; www.BerkshireMusicSchool.org
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.
Miss Leticia Music Summer Camp and Songwriting Camp offers three levels of instruction for three weeks in July, with a beginning group (guitar, ukulele, bass, drums), intermediate, and advanced Rock Band. Week 1: Beginner group, Interm & Adv Rock band- Radio Hits July 11-15, 9-3pm; Week 2: Beginner group, Interm & Adv Rock Band- Rock Week, July 18-22, 9-3pm; Week 3 Songwriting/Recording Camp: July 25-29 Mon – Thurs 9-4pm, Friday 9-6pm.
Spend the summer with Amherst Recreation! At Amherst Recreation Summer Programs,children will have the opportunity to participate in sports clinics, arts, science, crafts, games, nature activities, swimming lessons, and more. Their caring and experienced staff will make this a summer to remember. Learn more and browse all of their exciting programs on the Amherst Recreation website.
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.
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.
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 Tues, March 29 (7-8pm), and join them for a personalized visit day. Generous financial aid and daily round-trip bus service from Amherst, Northampton, and the Hilltowns are available. Rolling admission for select grade levels is now open. Ready to learn more about The Academy family for your family? Find details and Info Session registration at www.charlemont.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.
Often, math and art are seen as opposites: structure and the lack thereof. However, at the intersection of the two lies quilting: an inherently mathematical art form. The third Saturday in March is recognized as National Quilting Day. Let it be your catalyst for learning! Families can explore everything from shape identification to tessellations by learning to create quilts together! Read more in our post,Quilting Offers Multidisciplinary Exploration of Math and Art.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the spring equinox falls on March 20 or 21, depending on when the Sun crosses the celestial equator. As we spend the month of March wishing away the snow and scouring the local landscape for the first signs of spring, we often forget to prepare ourselves for the most accurate sign of spring there is … the vernal equinox! Marking the first official day of spring, the vernal equinox is when the Sun is located directly over the Earth’s equator. Along with a shadow-less noontime around the equator, the equinox brings six months of darkness to the south pole and six months of a perpetually visible sun to the north pole. Read more in our post, Celebrate & Learn about the Vernal Equinox at UMass Sunwheel.
Western Massachusetts has been home to many poets and writers inspired by this region’s remarkable landscapes and natural settings. Since today is National Poetry Day, the spring season is a great time to explore some of the local poets’ homes and writing places from the past. Read more in our post, Poetry & Place in the Hilltowns, and check out our archived column, One Clover & A Bee: Poems for Families to Learn & Love, for more encouragement that supports love for poetry in our children and ourselves.
Like autumn, spring is a time of transition as habitats and animals begin to respond to the change in weather and climate. Phenology-based activities coincide with the natural changing of our seasons (our ultimate accessible community-based educational resource) and are great catalysts for learning through community engagement. Maple syrup season, filled with delicious community activities and opportunities, is our first harvest of the year, followed by another seasonal event as winter transitions into spring. Vernal Pools! Studies of vernal pools support learning in many areas of interest, and a close look at amphibian reproduction can help spark children’s curiosity about other aspects of amphibian life. Read more in our post, Learning Ahead: Spring Landscape & Vernal Pools.
Just before the moment arrives when the memory of cold river plunges on hot summer days becomes faded and difficult to place, the sap begins to run, the snow starts to melt, the vernal pools reemerge, and the spring peepers advertise their arrival with their ear-piercing choruses. The impermanence of winter and its long cold nights is made evident with the change of seasons towards the welcoming arms of summer through these micro-seasons of spring. Memories of the past are alive within every one of us. Experiences become memories, propelling us towards the future, moment by moment. Our perceptions draw the line between all three, defining what is past, what is present, and what is future. Our only hope is to let go of our preconceived notions of what should be and embrace what is. Within the letting go, we may find relief, openness, and forgiveness in a forever-changing world. Welcome, Spring!
Like tiny submariners bursting up and out of the bottom of the brook, breaking into wings and soaring for a short time above the world they once knew, the stoneflies are here, molting from crab-shells they lived in. Learn more in our post, The Ripple: Synchronization of the Watershed Flora & Fauna.
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.
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.