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!
The Hilltown Community Development Corporation (Hilltown CDC) offers free, confidential business assistance to Hilltown residents. If you are thinking of starting or growing your business, the Hilltown CDC can help! And thanks to a generous grant from the MGCC, all of their business assistance is FREE. They have experts in a wide range of areas that can help Hilltown entrepreneurs get on their feet, including website help, social media marketing, business tax and accounting, legal assistance, and more. For more information, email Hilltown CDC Economic Development Director Michele Kenney at MicheleK@Hilltowncdc.org, or call 413-354-1055. Sign up for their free virtual classes at hilltowndirectory.com/events
All aboard for the Easter Eggspress at the Connecticut Trolley Museum: April 9-10 & 15-16 from 10am-4pm. A great opportunity to visit the Easter bunny while learning about transportation & local history! Take a trolley ride operated by period-dressed motormen sharing historical information about the trolley cars & museum. The Easter Bunny will be roaming the grounds posing for pictures. Children will receive a surprise-filled Easter egg when they complete a Scavenger Hunt, make a Bunny Ear Craft, and visit the Fire Truck Museum. Earn up to 3 filled eggs! Cost: $13/Adults; $11/Kids ages 2-12. The Connecticut Trolley Museum is located in East Windsor, CT. For more info and to purchase tickets, visit www.ct-trolley.org.
Autism Connections’ 31st Annual Autism Conference (virtual) on April 28 includes speakers, exhibitors, and breakout sessions on various topics of interest to people with autism, parents, caregivers, education agency, and education professionals. The two keynote speakers are Alix Generous, an #ActuallyAutistic advocate for advancing mental health reform and institutional treatment of autistic people, and Jed Baker, Ph.D., director of the Social Skills Training Project, an organization serving individuals with autism and social communication problems. Registration for parents/caregivers/people with autism is $50, and for agency professionals and educators, $100. Registrants will have access to the entire recorded conference until 7/29/22.
The Institute for the Musical Art’s (IMA) residential music programs give girls access to top-notch facilities & instruments, veteran professional musicians & teachers, and musical exploration & collaboration. Explore Rock ‘n Roll (June 29-July3) offers girls 9-12 opportunities to explore instruments, to begin writing songs, and to participate in a concert. Teen Performance Program (Jul 8-17) offers girls 13-19 an opportunity to speak their truth through the medium of rock ‘n roll, gain confidence in performance abilities, improve musicianship, and develop collaborative leadership skills. Studio Recording, Engineering & Production (Aug 4-14) offers a hands-on studio recording seminar for women 16-22 who are ready to record their work and/or interested in engineering and producing. Dates: June 29-August 14, 2022; Age Range: Girls/young women 9-22yrs. Contact: 413-268-3074; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ima.org.
In June of 2021, the Center School moved to a beautiful brand new building, situated on 30 acres of land to explore. Admissions season is underway, and the school is booking more tours than ever. Valley families are drawn to the Center School’s approach– weaving justice, joy, collaboration, innovation, and love into a unique educational experience. If you’re looking for a school where kids are immersed in 21st Century curriculum and in the timeless world of nature and play that is so essential to childhood, visit www.centerschool.net to learn more and to book an in-person tour today! Please email Lauren Obregón, Director of Admissions and Outreach, at email@example.com with any questions.
Join The Ecology School at River Bend Farm for a week of a lifetime along the Saco River in Southern Maine. With delicious farm-fresh food, arts & crafts, and ecosystem exploration, a summer spent on their 105-acre farm is sure to create quintessential Maine summer camp memories that will continue to inspire and encourage for years to come. Weekly youth overnight camp: June 26-July 23, 2022. Family camp: August 7-10, 2022. Dates: June 26-August 10, 2022. Age Range: 8-15yo & Families. Contact: 207-283-9951; firstname.lastname@example.org; theecologyschool.org/camps.
Do you have a junior archeologist? A junior curator? A chef? This summer at the Berkshire Museum, they offer classes to ages Pre-K to Grade 8 for all areas of interest! Each program is a weeklong experience catered to specific age groups. Campers will be led through their program by the museum’s expert educators and be immersed in the world of their choosing. The museum’s Junior Curator camp for Grades 6-8 will work hands-on with its Collections Department, exploring their collection and what it takes to create an exhibit. Or maybe your 1st or 2nd grader would enjoy their Kitchen Ka-Boom class, where campers will explore kid-safe chemistry and get messy! Want to learn more? Check out their website for a complete list of camps! Dates: June 27-August 26, 2022; Age Range: PreK-14yo; Contact: 413-443-7171 x360; email@example.com; berkshiremuseum.org/programs/camp.
Camp Common Ground (CCG) is an intergenerational family camp designed to provide families with a healthy and happy bonding experience while weaving in elements of nature education, arts, wellness, sports, and fun! CCG is dedicated to celebrating all families and cultivating a sense of community among campers. CCG’s 700-acre site in Starksboro, Vermont, provides campers with hiking trails, streams, ponds, and a low carbon footprint main campus to explore. Sliding scale fees include lodging in a tent, cabin, or lodge; all meals (local, organic, and vegetarian) and all activities. There is something for everyone’s taste – whether you want to ‘rough it’ or are more into ‘glamping’ – CCG has you covered! Dates: July 23-August 12, 2022. Age Range: 0-99yo. Contact: 802-453-2592; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.cgcvt.org.
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 own schedule by choosing from our 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 our 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. Summer Program dates are listed on our 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: email@example.com; 413-750-9560; communitymusicschool.com/prelude
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. Have an event, resource, or opportunity you’re ready to promote? Click HERE to submit your information.
Following the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolutionary War, the colonial cuisine of North America changed forever. The early colonial Americans were forced to develop their unique culinary traditions without access to imported foodstuff from Britain and the West Indies. Of course, much of early American colonial cuisine was still linked to its British and European roots. Still, variations on traditional dishes were typical and indigenous cuisine was also a heavy influence. For the Puritans, who had come to the New World, particularly from the region of Anglia in Eastern England, traditional dishes were favored, even though substitutions had to be made. Apple pie, for example, perhaps the most quintessentially colonial American dish, is derived from a typical Anglian preparation. Baked beans and porridge were among the most common early staples among the New England settlers, and the abundant seafood offerings also became integrated. Perhaps the most unique adaptation in early American cuisine was the absence of wheat and the substitution of cornmeal and rye in most baked goods. This development is responsible for the innovation of the “johnnycake,” a flatbread made from cornmeal, which is common throughout North America and the Caribbean to this day. Something families can do together as a pathway to learn about American colonial history and culinary arts. Learn more about the 18th Century lifestyle and food traditions online with Townsends, where interpretive historians share the history and recipes.
Money-saving is a form of delayed gratification, the ability to resist an immediate reward in favor of a later reward. Often, and especially in the case of money-saving, the later reward is also a greater one. Money-saving requires planning ahead, envisioning a goal, and exerting self-restraint. These skills benefit young children just as they benefit adults. Talking to your children about saving up for college or trade school, for example, can get them thinking realistically about their long-term goals and future planning. Learn more with videos from Two Cents.
Self-Directed Learning: Peregrine Falcon Breeding Season
Support interests in ornithology while connecting to where you live through the season … breeding season! Several web cameras around Massachusetts are available to the public to witness the Peregrine Falcon breeding season up close and throughout the spring! Get an inside look at the nests of the fastest birds on Earth through the live nest cameras. These cameras are pointed directly at or are within nest boxes and allow an up-close live look at nesting pairs and their chicks. Getting curious and viewing these native species throughout their breeding season can support learning in ornithology, anatomy, and aerodynamics.
When humans leave earth and travel to space, they return with the universal reward of a new perspective. These videos highlight astronauts’ renewed viewpoints, echoing an embodied awareness through their experiences in outer space that we are all connected. In today’s self-directed learning module, listen deeply to the wisdom of these astronauts, discuss with your family, and share your thoughts on the human connection in contrast to our most recent times of social isolation.
April 14 is national American Sign Language (ASL) Day. ASL was created by Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, a minister, in the early 1800s. Before ASL, other forms of visual communication were utilized by deaf individuals in America. Learning a language is crucial to understanding the culture of the people who speak it. ASL is no exception. While learning a verbal and written language can open international possibilities, the learning of ASL opens possibilities within the local community. The pursuit of a second language can be fascinating when supported by valuable resources – and it’s great for hands-on learners! Read more in our post,ASL Support & Resources in Western MA.
One of the oldest Good Friday customs is baking and sharing hot crossed buns. These small sweet buns, marked with a cross of white icing, may have originated in pre-Christian times. Early Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans marked their loaves of bread with symbols to honor their gods and goddesses. Many superstitions grew out of this custom, offering a terrific way for learning through the lens of hot crossed buns! So gather up your ingredients (gluten-free recipe) and get busy baking and learning in the kitchen with your kids.
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.