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 Institute for the Musical Arts (IMA) celebrates its 35th anniversary with a day-long music festival: Lady and the Amp Fest3. The quinquennial event features faculty, students, and alumnae of IMA’s summer rock programs and will include a memorial tribute to the music of Jana Ivanova Abromowitz. Takes place on Sat, Aug 27, on the lawn in front of IMA’s Big Barn (inside if it rains). Gates open at 11:30am. Music until 7:30pm. Family-friendly. Food, drink & merchandise on-site, including instruments & vintage gear. Coolers allowed. Tickets/info:www.ima.org. Sponsors and underwriters include: WRSI/The River 93.9; The ASCAP Foundation; Public Emily Artist Management; Signature Sounds; Dave Sullivan, DA; Healy Guitars. 165 Cape St, Goshen, MA
The Skating Club of Amherst offers a full schedule of figure skating instruction each year from September – early June. Ice sessions are offered 4 days a week to all level skaters, beginner to advanced, recreational or competitive. Their popular Learn-to-Skate program offers group lessons for ages 4-adult on Sundays. Additional private instruction is offered in freestyle, ice dancing, & testing for those looking to advance their skills. Participation in a spring ice show is available to all members. All sessions are held at the UMass Mullins Center Practice Rink. The club is a United States Figure Skating member & is a private, non-profit organization managed by volunteers. Registration forms, when available, can be printed from the website. For more information:www.scamherst.org; SCofAmherst@gmail.com
Whole Children’s goal is to create an inclusive environment where every child is successful & valued for who they are, no matter their abilities or disabilities. Visit their new location at 11 Village Hill Rd in Northampton, where they have classes emphasizing social skills, self-advocacy, and just plain fun. They offer a diverse roster of afterschool & weekend classes, including gymnastics, yoga, theater, art, music, cooking, performing arts, and much more. Whole Children is filling a vital need by creating classes where the hard work of skill-building is made social & fun for children of all abilities & by creating a supportive & caring community for their parents. For more info: firstname.lastname@example.org; 413-585-8010; www.wholechildren.org
Downtown Sounds Music School provides music education for a wide variety of instruments. They offer in-person and online lessons seven days a week for guitar, piano, voice, bass, drums, percussion, ukulele, brass and woodwind instruments, mandolin, and more. Whether students are just starting, looking to expand their abilities, or learning to play a favorite song, their teachers are passionate about working with students of all ages to meet their musical goals! For more information: email@example.com; 413-586-0998; downtownsounds.com.
Founded in 1986, the Northampton Community Music Center offers quality music instruction for all ages and abilities. The Center houses 15 teaching studios, 2 recital halls, keyboard lab, music library, and recording studio. 50 professional faculty members teach private lessons in more than 20 instruments. Other programs include Music Together® for babies and toddlers, a comprehensive Suzuki program in violin, cello and guitar for ages 4+, instrumental and vocal ensembles, multitrack recording, songwriting, and more. There are many programs for adults and seniors, too. Events showcasing professional and student performances are hosted throughout the year. Financial aid is available to all who qualify. Visit ncmc.net for more info.
Starlight’s Youth Theatre 2022 fall classes begin Saturday, September 10.Grades 1-3 will present the musical Frosty the Snowman; Grades 4-6 will present the musical Rudolph the Red nose Reindeer. Both shows will be at Amherst Middle School on Saturday, November 5, 2022. Grades 7-12 will be working on straight plays that are all based on true stories: And then they came for me, A Thousand Cranes, and Just before Sleep. Classes will be held at Maple Ridge Community Center in Sunderland, MA. Saturday and Monday classes are available. To register for classes, visit their website. More info: www.starlights-youth-theatre.com.
Classes are offered throughout the year. Berkshire Pulse is a dynamic, welcoming, nonprofit dance, music, and movement arts education center. Outdoor and in-studio year-round programming provides children, teens, and adults the opportunity to engage in the joys of movement, music, and performance while experiencing the rewards of community involvement and fitness – plus the vast benefits of artistic exploration and expression. High-caliber, professional teaching artists offer ongoing classes and workshops from beginner to advanced levels in Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Hip Hop, Breaking, Creative Dance, Choreography, Musical Theater, Tap, Flamenco, Scottish Folk Dance, West African Drumming, Tai Chi, Zumba, Yoga, and more. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org; 413-274-6624; berkshirepulse.org.
Experience the joy of music at the Berkshire Music School! Take a private lesson for all levels and ages offered in any band or orchestral instrument as well as voice and theory, online or in-person at our historic Pittsfield campus. Lessons may be arranged for 30, 45, or 60 minutes each week to meet the needs of the individual student. BMS’s fun Community Group Classes are offered on a pay-what-you-can basis. Visit the Berkshire Music School website for class offerings. Check out why BMS was named the Berkshire Eagle’s 2021 Best of the Berkshires “Best After-School Program.” For more information: email@example.com; 413-442-1411; www.berkshiremusicschool.org
Community Action’s Head Start & Early Learning Programs offer a variety of program options for pregnant women and families with children ages birth-5 throughout Hampshire, Franklin, & Western Hampden Counties. Community Action’s Head Start provides early education and care and quality comprehensive services to children in Head Start/Early Head Start programs, offering full-day and part-day center-based classrooms, family childcare, and home visiting. Centers are located in Orange, Turners Falls, Greenfield, Amherst, Northampton, Easthampton, Ware, Westfield, & Agawam. All services are provided at either low or no cost to eligible children and families. Daycare. Preschool. Early Childhood Education Program. Ages 6wks-5yrs. For more information: 413-387-1250; www.communityaction.us.
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Partner with Hilltown Families in your online advertising! Delivering your message each week to over 35,000 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.
As you gaze at the base of a pinecone, did you know that you’re regarding an incredible example of mathematical reasoning? Nature’s patterns, as it happens, are deeply rooted in the Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Ratio. It’s the ultimate in a marriage between the aesthetic beauty of nature and its mathematical base that makes it make sense. To discover what a learning opportunity this is for the family to share, read our post, Nature’s Patterns Reveals Mathematical Reasoning. Also, get curious about patterns that resemble geometric shapes! Through bubbles, basalt columns, and honeycombs, discover the integration of math, physics, and biology in exploring hexagons in nature. And find the hidden mathematics inside the atomic repeating patterns that contribute to the crystalline structures of not only minerals but also sand, DNA, ice, and metals. Learn what causes them to grow into these shapes and the geometric properties of crystals that contribute to this process.
“Get dressed!” These two words have been said more than once in an impatient tone to children when parents are running late or running out of patience. Let’s take this sentiment and look through the lens of getting dressed as an opportunity to learn about history. Starting with women getting dressed in the medieval fashion of 14th century England and spanning centuries through the lives of many, this featured video series visits working women in the summer (18th century), working-class suffragettes of the early 1900s, British WW1 soldiers, and many others. Can you imagine getting dressed in a hurry in the 18th century? After watching this series, you might better appreciate Velcro and snap buttons! While watching, note things you might be wondering about or your child’s questions. Let your curiosity lead your learning. Search the internet for answers, and allow the questions and interests that arise from your quest for knowledge to continue fueling your learning path.
Did you know that around 11,000 years ago, a seven-foot-long, three-hundred-pound giant beaver lived in North America during the Pleistocene period? Castoroides was the most massive beaver ever to exist, though because of the shape of its six-inch long teeth, scientists suspect it may not have built dams like modern beavers. Castoroides may not have had as sophisticated social interactions as its smaller descendants with a much smaller brains. Indeed, today’s beavers are unique regarding their ingenuity and complex behaviors. Get curious about the behavior of beavers and discover their contributions to the ecosystems of North America as a keystone species.
So far this summer, our fruit-based learning has included strawberry, blueberry, and cherries. The first two are a type of berry, and cherries are a type of stone fruit! The summer begins with berries, peaks with stone fruits, and ends with apples. Seeing as it’s mid-summer, let’s learn through the lens of stone fruits in today’s self-directed learning module! Pick up a basket of freshly picked stone fruit at your local farmers’ market and get inspired by its juicy sweetness to learn about botany, agriculture, pastry arts, culinary arts, chemistry, living art, and even fine art through the lens of fruit!
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.
The long days and warm nights of summer provide the perfect conditions for family camping, a tradition that serves as one of childhood’s most classic summer adventures. Camping trips allow children to learn how to live outside of their homes and provide them with the opportunity to engage in experiential learning about their surroundings during all hours of the day (and perhaps the night, too). From afternoon playtime in the woods to an evening of fireflies and campfires to the misty early morning hours that bring endless bird songs, camping trips offer constant exposure to the world’s sights, sounds, and smells. As a bonus, children who connect with their surroundings are more likely to practice environmentally friendly and conservation-minded behaviors as adults. Read more in our post, “Summer Camping Adventures Promote Nature-Based Play and Learning.”
MUSIC STUDIES/ DRUMMING. 6:45pm. The Hilltown Intergenerational Drum Circle – All ages and beginners are welcome to this biweekly drum circle, led by Rosie Fanale. Call to confirm before heading over. Shelburne Senior Center. 413-625-8470. Shelburne Falls, MA.
What do Chiffon, Tunnel of Fudge, Sock-it-to-me, Watergate, Jell-O Poke, Hummingbird, Funfetti, Chocolate Lava, Viennetta, Red Velvet, Bacon, and Pops have in common? They are all popular cakes! Featured on Mashed: “Chances are, you have your favorite, go-to birthday cake — but how about enjoying the one everyone was eating on the day you were born? Let’s take a walk down memory lane and look at all the biggest, best, and most popular cakes that have trended over the years. So, what was the most popular cake the year you were born?”
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, Chester, 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, Westhampton, Windsor, and Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.