Weekly Suggested Events for August 26-September 1, 2023
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!
Scroll down to discover featured events, learning opportunities, and educational videos to support learning from home. And be sure to subscribe to our free weekly eNewsletter so you never miss out!
SUGGESTED EVENTS: AUGUST 26-SEPTEMBER 1, 2023
SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING IDEAS
COMMUNITY-BASED EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES & OPPORTUNITIES
Featured Events, Resources, & Opportunities
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.
Housatonic Heritage Walks
Berkshire County, MA, & Litchfield County, CT
Housatonic Heritage Walks are FREE, guided interpretive walks to the most interesting historic, cultural, industrial, natural, and scenic sites in Berkshire County, MA, & Litchfield County, CT. These family-friendly free walks are offered on autumn weekends throughout September and early October. Explore with knowledgeable & local historians, naturalists, and environmentalists at sites within the Housatonic River Valley: tours of historic buildings and town centers, trail hikes, walks through industrial heritage sites, a canoe paddling trip on the Housatonic River, bike rides on quiet country roads that have a history, behind-the-scenes tours at performing arts venues, and strolls through formal gardens and estates. All ages & all people are invited. More info: Heritage-Hikes.org.
Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum
Shelburne Falls, MA
Immerse yourself in regional history while fostering a deep appreciation of local heritage by visiting Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum in Shelburne Falls, MA. Explore the beautifully restored 1896 trolley car, No. 10, and envision riding across the historic Bridge of Flowers. The museum features engaging displays that showcase the region’s railway history, allowing families to deepen their knowledge & understanding of trolleys AND railroads. Take a 15 min. trolley ride or operate the handcar for a more memorable experience. Explore various railroad equipment displays, including a caboose, for experiential learning. Open from 11am-5pm on weekends & holidays through the end of Oct. All-Day passes: $5/adults; $3/ages 6-17; FREE/ages 5 & under.
FEATURED BALLET CLASSES
Pioneer Valley Ballet
Introducing Pioneer Valley Ballet’s 2023–2024 Season! Open House: August 26, 2023, from 10am-1pm. Casting Day for The Nutcracker: September 9, 2023. Ages 4–10. No dance experience is necessary. All in attendance will be cast. New this year: The Nutcracker Workshops for participants are available prior to rehearsals. PVB offers year-round pre-professional ballet training, community classes for children, teens and adults, and performance opportunities for dancers of all ages and abilities in the Eastworks building (116 Pleasant St.). Fall classes begin September 5, 2023. Visit their website to register for classes and The Nutcracker. For more information: 413-527-6363; www.pioneervalleyballet.org.
Creative Sector Pathway Program
The Creative Sector Pathway Program (CSPP) at LaunchSpace is a FREE 20-week out-of-school badge & certificate program for teenagers interested in learning about creative skills training, entrepreneurship, & apprenticeships. CSPP offers hands-on experiential education in tools training & entrepreneurship for teenagers aged 13-17 interested in pursuing the intersection of art, technology, & entrepreneurship. Participants meet in LaunchSpace’s 13,000 sq. ft. facility, which includes 2D to 3D design, pottery, woodshop, leather, textiles, jewelry, stained glass, electronics, & digital fabrication. An info session will take place at their makerspace Thursday, August 31, 2023, at 6pm, & applications are due by 5pm on Friday, September 1, 2023. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org; 978-633-5131; www.launchspace-orange.com
Stoneleigh-Burnham School offers an afterschool Community Dance Program for local students ages 5-18. Their program provides a variety of dance classes, including modern, ballet, and jazz. Participants will be able to learn alongside SBS students and participate in three annual performances. Middle and high school Community Dance students learn alongside Stoneleigh-Burnham School students and have the opportunity to take part in three performances over the course of the year. Modern, ballet, and jazz classes meet on weekdays, excluding Wednesdays, which are reserved for young dancers ages 5-11. A complete schedule for their Community Dance Program can be found at sbschool.org/hilltown-dance. For more information: email@example.com; 413-475-1671.
FEATURED MUSIC SCHOOL
Berkshire Music School
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 student. BMS’s fun Community Group Classes are offered on a pay-what-you-can basis throughout the year. Visit the Berkshire Music School website for class offerings. Check out why the excellence of BMS’s programs have been recognized with The Berkshire Eagle’s Best of the Berkshires Awards and Rural Intelligence Readers’ Choice Awards. For more information:
firstname.lastname@example.org; 413-442-1411; www.berkshiremusicschool.org
FEATURED MUSIC SCHOOL
Downtown Sounds Music School
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.
FEATURED AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM
Circles for Jewish Living
CJL’s weekly After School Program for students in second through sixth grade, builds connections, community, and friendships. With up to eight students per group, we collectively identify common interests and activities to pursue: community service projects, topical discussions, movies, art, cooking, singing, movement, and Hebrew writing. Each week from September to May, these 75-minute gatherings meet in one participant’s home in the Northampton/ Florence area. Parents continue to share their appreciation for this program: “My daughter came back on Tuesday evening over the moon. She loved the class!” For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org; 413-559-9208; www.circlesforjewishliving.com.
FEATURED CHILD CARE PROGRAM
Franklin County’s YMCA School-Age Child Care
Franklin County’s YMCA School-Age Child Care program provides youth with a safe place to go before and after the bell! More importantly, this program helps youth realize who they are and what they can achieve by reinforcing positive values in a caring atmosphere, with activities designed to help kids make friends and grow stronger in mind, body, and spirit. For students ages 5 – 14 enrolled in the Greenfield Public Schools or the Gill-Montague Regional School District. Don’t be caught off-guard – plan all your child’s school closings: Vacation Weeks, Snow Days, Holidays & In-Service School Closures. For more information: email@example.com; 413-773-3646; www.your-y.org.
FEATURED CONFERENCE CENTER
The Rowe Center
The Rowe Center is a special place where individuals transform into communities. The online courses and weekend programs, led by emerging thought leaders, don’t just end on Sundays. Participants carry the lessons and connections they forge back into their communities, kindling change. By inspiring each visitor, The Rowe Center hopes to create ripples of positive transformation throughout the world. This retreat center offers comfortable, relaxed lodgings and plenty of quiet spaces to explore. Nourish your body and soul with meals created by an award-winning chef. Amenities include a sauna, meditation hut, labyrinth & miles of serene hiking trails with scenic views of the Pioneer Valley. Find a program that speaks to your spirit today! For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org; 413-339-4954; rowecenter.org
See Your Ad Here
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: email@example.com.
List of Weekly Suggested Events
SATURDAY, AUGUST 26, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Ornithology/Kingfishers
Learning about Kingfishers can support an interest in ornithology and habitat conservation by providing insights into bird behavior, ecosystem dynamics, and the importance of preserving natural habitats. Studying these birds offers opportunities to explore their ecological role, habitat requirements, conservation status, adaptations, migration and behavior, art and culture, habitat restoration, citizen science, local biodiversity, and educational outreach. Overall, Kingfishers serve as a gateway to exploring the intricate relationships between birds, their habitats, and the importance of conserving these environments.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Phenology
Spring is an excellent time to pay attention to the seasonal changes that only happen this time of year. It’s a great opportunity to get curious about phenology! What is phenology? One online definition states, “Phenology is the study of periodic events in biological life cycles and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate, as well as habitat factors.” Families can help with studies of phenology! The National Phenology Network has developed Nature’s Notebook, a citizen science program that aims to get people outdoors to observe nature. Nature’s Notebook has an app and a website where citizen scientists can record observations to help scientists better understand how climate change is affecting plants in New England. The National Phenology Network needs volunteers to take part in many of Nature’s Notebook projects, of which there are several throughout the country. Independent, citizen science like Nature’s Notebook is a great way to connect with nature, learn about phenology, practice gathering data, and learn the basics of experimental design while contributing to a scientific study.
MONDAY, AUGUST 28, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Entomology/Dragonflies
Benthic freshwater macroinvertebrates are animals without backbones visible to the naked eye, living on the bottoms of waterways. These animals include beetles, crayfish, snails, and dragonflies! Learn about the aquatic state and adaptations of the dragonfly and what makes them excellent hunters! Getting curious about dragonflies can encourage learning about entomology. Their behavior and lifecycle can inspire your approach to learning, along with the practice of art techniques, like drawing and paper-folding. Studying dragonflies and learning how to sketch them can give you a better understanding of their structure and is an excellent skill for budding naturalists to practice.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 29, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Food Studies/Locavore
The Locavore movement emphasizes the importance of food and its origins. Food is not just fuel or entertainment; it becomes a part of us and comes from somewhere. However, the global industrial food system separates us from the source of our food, and we don’t know how it was produced or by whom. The Locavore movement aims to restore the ancient tradition of connecting humans and human communities to the Earth through food by consuming food produced within a one-hundred-mile radius, shopping at farmers’ markets, and joining a local Community Supported Agriculture farm.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 30, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Nutritional Anthropology/Pears
Pears are a versatile and sweet fruit used in diverse culinary traditions worldwide. They offer a glimpse into different regions’ cultural preferences and culinary creativity. Cross-cultural learning and culinary exploration can be found in pear-centric dishes. Asking questions about how ingredients, climate, and cultural traditions contribute to the flavors and types of foods consumed across various regions can encourage critical thinking about the role of food in reflecting history, environment, values, and cultural diversity. – How does using different ingredients in traditional dishes reflect the natural resources available in a specific culture’s environment? What role does climate play in shaping the types of foods that are commonly consumed in various regions around the world? In what ways does the combination of flavors, spices, and ingredients in certain dishes tell us about the culture’s taste preferences and culinary traditions? These questions encourage students to think critically about how food is more than just nourishment—it reflects history, environment, values, and cultural diversity.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 31, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Dendrology/Trees
New England’s lush landscapes are home to various trees that offer opportunities for exploration and learning. Trees provide ecological wisdom, from the colorful maples in the fall to the sturdy oaks throughout the year. By studying New England’s trees, individuals can learn about dendrology and identify tree species through their leaves, bark, twigs, fruit, and buds. The study of trees can also lead to environmental science, including concepts like photosynthesis and carbon sequestration. By observing tree habitats, individuals can delve into ornithology and study the diverse bird species that call these trees home. Art and literature also find inspiration in trees, sparking creativity through sketching their intricate forms or writing stories that celebrate their significance. From history to biology, ecology to art, the world of trees offers a multidisciplinary learning journey waiting to be explored.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2023 🐇🐇
Self-Directed Learning: Hurricane Season
September is peak hurricane season, offering a chance to explore meteorology and history. Studying hurricanes offers insight into Earth’s climate system and historical impacts on societies and infrastructure. This season allows exploration of both the mechanics of these natural phenomena and the resilience of communities.
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, Bernardston, Buckland, Goshen, Greenfield , Hadley, Heath, Huntington, Lee, Montgomery, Northern Berkshire, Orange, Pelham, Plainfield, Rowe, Shelburne, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Southampton, Springfield, Tolland, Washington, Westhampton, Windsor, and Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.