Weekly Suggested Events for September 23-29, 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: SEPTEMBER 23-29, 2023
SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING IDEAS
COMMUNITY-BASED EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES & OPPORTUNITIES
Featured Events, Resources, & Opportunities
FEATURED DANCE CLASSES
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.
Whole Children and Milestones in Northampton, MA, offers classes for children & teens of all abilities, including those with developmental & intellectual disabilities & those with autism, to connect & express themselves. A hybrid curriculum of after-school & Saturday online & in-person classes creates an inclusive environment where every person is successful & valued for who they are. Classes include kung-fu, yoga, art, cooking, theater, chorus, video games, & much more. These programs fill a vital need with classes where the hard work of skill-building is made social & fun. The session runs Oct 3-Dec 9, 2023. Scholarships are available. Check out their catalog of classes & register at wholechildren.org/class-schedule or call 413-585-8010.
FEATURED FUNDRAISING EVENT
The 13th Annual Will Bike 4 Food on September 24, 2023, raises funds for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts by bringing together cyclists of all levels and ages to pedal towards a hunger-free future on scenic routes through the Connecticut River Valley. Ride and fundraise individually or with a team of friends, family, or coworkers! Participants can choose between biking a 10, 25, 50, or 100-mile route or riding on their own anytime during Hunger Action Month in September. Join in at the after-party, where participants will meet back at the pavilion for free lunch, snacks, and beverages while enjoying live music by SoulKeys. For more details and sign-up, visit www.willbike4food.org.
FEATURED JOB OPENING
Davenport Child Care, located in the center of Chesterfield, MA, is hiring full and part-time toddler and preschool teachers. Davenport Child Care is a not-for-profit daycare and early education center that serves as a cornerstone in the community, providing quality early education and care for local children. Offering a nurturing environment plays a pivotal role in shaping young minds and serving families. As the only full-day, center-based program located in the Hilltowns for children aged one month to kindergarten, it is a vital resource for the Hilltown community. For more information on these open teacher positions, email Therese at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 413-296-4785.
Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum
Shelburne Falls, MA
Trolleyfest will be held at the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum on Saturday, September 30, from 11am-5pm. The event will celebrate the history of Trolley No. 10 with trolley and pump car rides, as well as speeder rides – a fan favorite this year! Children can enjoy wooden and electric train playsets, plus Morse code and blacksmith demos. Guests can enjoy special activities such as Trolley Era re-enactors, a quilt sale, and railroad movies. For a nostalgic feel, visitors can try hands-on activities like cider & butter making, weaving, and historical games. All-day passes are available for $5 for adults, $3 for ages 6-17, and free for those under 6. The event will be held at 14 Depot St, Shelburne Falls, MA—more info at www.sftm.org.
Celebrate the 25th Annual North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival, Sept 30/Oct 1, 2023, in Orange, MA. Delight in this family-friendly event, set amid fall foliage on a historic farm. Wander among 100 exhibitors featuring art, farm products, healing arts, & community groups. Enjoy music, performances, & spoken word across three stages. Fabulous food vendors plus chef demos. Free kids’ art-making tent & garlic games for all! Orange is the New Green! Local living workshops, EV displays, & only 2 bags of trash for 8,000 attendees. Special: $5 half-price admission for the weekend; kids 12 & under free. EBT, WIC, & ConnectorCare cardholders free. No pets; service animals only. Travel info, advance tickets, full details: www.garlicandarts.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.
FEATURED MUSIC SCHOOL
Berkshire Music School
Berkshire Music School (BMS) private lesson and Community Group Class registration is now open! Start the new school year off with weekly private lessons, available in all band and orchestral instruments, as well as voice and theory, which may be arranged for 30, 45, or 60 minutes each week. Interested in exploring your passion for music with others? BMS Community Group Classes are a wonderful opportunity to try something new while having fun with your peers. Classes are available in a variety of topics for all levels and ages and are offered on a pay-what-you-can basis. For more information on how to register, class offerings, and our new tiered payment option, visit the BMS website: 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 BALLET SCHOOL
Pioneer Valley Ballet
Pioneer Valley Ballet provides classes, performances, and outreach programs to cater to all levels of expertise. They prioritize technique, inclusivity, and artistry to create well-rounded performers and appreciative audiences. The institution also offers behind-the-scenes glimpses into ballet productions to showcase the collaborative efforts that bring artistic visions to life on stage. Pioneer Valley Ballet offers year-round pre-professional ballet training, community classes for children, teens, and adults, as well as performance opportunities for dancers of all ages and levels of ability. To register for classes, visit their website. For more information: 413-527-6363; www.pioneervalleyballet.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: firstname.lastname@example.org. Have an event, resource, or opportunity you’re ready to promote? Click HERE to submit your information.
List of Weekly Suggested Events
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Humanities/Scarecrows
Have you ever stopped to consider the fascinating history of scarecrows, those iconic figures that stand guard in fields? These silent guardians were originally created to keep birds from feasting on newly sown seeds, and their origins can be traced back to ancient cultures like the Egyptians and the Japanese. Different materials were used to make scarecrows throughout history, and their designs have evolved to adapt to various bird species. Beyond their practical use, scarecrows have also become a part of folklore and pop culture, often symbolizing wisdom or introspection in literature and inspiring creative festivals worldwide. Observing a scarecrow can also lead to contemplation about the bond between humans and nature and our ongoing efforts to protect our food sources. Next time you see a scarecrow, take a moment to appreciate the history, craftsmanship, and stories it holds. Read more in our post, “Scarecrow Studies Illuminate Cultural History and Creative-Free Play.”
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Agriculture/Harvest Season
During the autumnal months, communities celebrate the change of season with activities that bridge agricultural and cultural traditions. Teaching our children the value of connection with seasonal traditions through self-directed learning can help them learn and grow in endless ways. Children who understand and connect with their local landscape are much more likely to value environmental conservation as adults while building awareness of various cultures represented within a community and across time. Connecting to where we live through the seasons can help children appreciate and understand the places(s) they call home. In addition to participating in seasonal patterns of community engagement, learning about harvest seasons in other parts of the world is a point of entry for self-directed learning that can help us to better understand culture through the harvest lens, including cinnamon, pecans, seaweed, cork, and kalo.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Language Arts/Comic Books
Today is National Comic Book Day, celebrating an art form that combines visuals and storytelling. Comics began as simple strips in newspapers, but have evolved into complex graphic novels and story arcs. Have you ever considered the pioneers who guided this transition? Comics have mirrored societal shifts and superhero characters have gained popularity during certain eras. They have also been redefined over the decades. Comics now challenge traditional norms and promote inclusivity with diverse characters and narratives. Genres range from fantasy to autobiographical tales, showcasing the talents of contemporary artists who push boundaries. Comics are enjoyed universally and offer a powerful tool for education and cultural exchange. Next time you read a comic, reflect on its roots, evolution, and its ability to both entertain and enlighten. Read more in our post, Comics & Role-Playing Gaming Promote Creativity & Storytelling for Teens .
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Food Studies/Hickory Nuts
During autumn, the hickory tree provides hickory nuts which play a significant role in various regional traditions, both historically and culinary. Indigenous diets have relied on these nuts for centuries due to their high levels of fat and protein, which are crucial for winter sustenance. Additionally, hickory nuts possess other nutritional properties that add to their value. As you explore the woods, take note of the different types of hickory trees and challenge yourself to identify at least two different species. The nut also plays an important role in ecology, providing food for various species. What would happen if the trees produced fewer nuts? Hickory nuts are not just for cracking open for pies, they also offer an opportunity for inquiry into their culinary uses and ecological impact. Each hickory nut is a little capsule of culinary history and habitat waiting to be explored.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Music Studies/Classical Music
September is Classical Music Month, inviting us to explore the timeless sounds and stories of centuries past. What makes the symphonies of Beethoven and the operas of Mozart so enduring? Can you distinguish the instruments carrying the melodies and harmonies that resonate so deeply? Each composition carries historical context or personal stories from the composer’s life. How did historical events in Europe influence the works of Chopin or Shostakovich? Classical music has shaped and been influenced by the cultures and societies it originates from. Delve into this musical realm to not only listen, but also feel and understand how classical compositions reflect societal moods or echo global events of their time. Let the sweeping orchestras, intricate sonatas, and dramatic arias inspire deeper inquiry and appreciation. It’s not just about music—it’s about the world that created it.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Nutritional Anthropology/New England Regional Foods
Experience New England’s rich culinary heritage and discover the history and culture behind its iconic dishes. Have you ever wondered why clam chowder is synonymous with the region? Or how Yankee pot roast, slow-cooked to perfection, embodies New England’s resilience and resourcefulness? These dishes, along with others, reflect the influences of Indigenous peoples, early European settlers, and subsequent immigrant communities. And what about the Shaker communities? How did their emphasis on simplicity and self-sufficiency translate into the recipes they championed? Have you ever pondered on the unique techniques they used to preserve the full spectrum of lemon flavors in their Shaker lemon pie? Let each dish be a gateway into exploring the complex history of the region. Discover how centuries of trade, migration, and adaptation have shaped the flavors of today. Taste the food and uncover the stories that simmer just below the surface, waiting to be told. This gastronomic journey is more than just about food – it’s a tangible taste of New England’s evolving identity.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Food Studies/Coffee
As you sip your coffee on National Coffee Day, ponder the elaborate dance of physics and chemistry that brings this beloved beverage to life. Ever wondered why a well-pulled espresso tastes so different from drip coffee? It’s all in the extraction process, which is governed by pressure, temperature, and time. What role do the Maillard reaction and caramelization play in giving coffee its signature flavor and color? How does the grind size of your coffee beans affect extraction? Even the water you use isn’t just a background character; its mineral content can dramatically affect flavor. Meanwhile, global coffee culture reflects a rich tapestry of history, trade, and capitalism. Why is Turkish coffee prepared the way it is, and how did the Ethiopian coffee ceremony become an intricate part of their culture? Ethical sourcing and sustainable agriculture are pressing questions too; do you know where your coffee comes from? This National Coffee Day, may your cup not only energize you but also spark curiosity about the complex world, from chemistry to culture, that makes your daily brew so much more than just a cup of coffee.
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.