Weekly Suggested Events for September 30 – October 6, 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 30 – OCTOBER 6, 2023
SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING IDEAS
COMMUNITY-BASED EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES & OPPORTUNITIES
Featured Events, Resources, & Opportunities
Celebrate the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival with Grace Lin at The Carle on Saturday, September 30 from 10am-3pm! Activities include a Reader’s Theater and Draw-Along with Grace Lin (space limited; registration recommended), a book signing, story times, and art activities. The event is free with Museum admission. Visit www.carlemuseum.org for the schedule. The Carle is located in Amherst, MA at 125 W. Bay Road.
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 email@example.com or call 413-296-4785.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org; 413-475-1671.
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
2nd Annual 3-Ring Ruckus Spectacular
The 2nd Annual 3-Ring Ruckus Spectacular benefiting CHD’s Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County will be held at the Florence Civic Center in Florence on Saturday, October 14, from 11am-3pm. The Ruckus features a Craft Fair, First Responders Olympics, and Dazzling Family Entertainment – it’s a real Ruckus! Enjoy Craft Vendors, Games featuring a First Responders Picnic Olympics with local firefighters, police, and emergency responders competing in tug-of-war, three-legged races & dance contest, a corn shucking contest, a 50/50 raffle, and Family entertainment with the Pioneer Valley Jump Rope Team, live music by Grayson Ty & Company, food trucks, family-friendly crafts activities, and more! Contact: Susan Nicastro, email@example.com.
Fabric of Life Barnfest
Barnfest is Fabric of Life’s biggest community event of the year! The whole family will enjoy live demonstrations of glass blowing, birds of prey, sheep shearing, processing flax to linen, broom making, logging with oxen, and sawing on a portable sawmill. Bring your hand tools for sharpening, weave a cattail doll, make an apron from your favorite t-shirt, create an upcycled instrument, try a ukulele or fiddle, hone your fiddle skills, or build a Hugelkulture bed. Weave on a loom, take a free horse drawn wagon ride, join us for a parade led by a local brass band, enter a raffle, bid in a silent auction, enjoy a community supper, and stay for live after-dinner music and contra dancing! Please leave pets at home. www.fabric-of-life.org
FEATURED OPEN HOUSE
Stoneleigh-Burnham School (SBS) invites prospective students and their families to attend their upcoming Open Houses on October 9th, November 10th, 2023, or January 15th, 2024. SBS is a boarding and day school for girls in grades 7-12 and postgraduate, located in Greenfield, MA. Attendees can participate in person or virtually and will have the opportunity to witness how the girls at Stoneleigh-Burnham lead every classroom discussion, athletic team, and club. The school aims to showcase the transformative power of a Stoneleigh-Burnham education. Interested individuals can register for an Open House by visiting sbschool.org/open-house.
Whole Children and Milestones
Whole Children and Milestones’ goal is to create an inclusive environment where every child, teen, and adult is successful and valued for who they are, no matter their abilities or disabilities. They offer a diverse roster of after-school and Saturday classes, including yoga, art, cooking, theater, video games, and much more. Classes emphasize social skills, self-advocacy, and just plain fun. Visit their new location at 11 Village Hill Rd. in Northampton or choose from online classes. Whole Children and Milestones are filling a vital need by creating classes where the hard work of skill-building is made social and fun for people of all abilities and by creating a supportive and caring community for parents. For more info: firstname.lastname@example.org; 413-585-8010; www.wholechildren.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 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 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.
The Barrington Stage Company Education Department offers fun and creative outlets for young people. The unique KidsAct! & TeensAct! programs are back for spring break and summer for ages 7–14. These programs focus on building acting and performance skills through ensemble work to create original musical plays. The renowned, award-winning Playwright Mentoring Project meets weekly from October to April in Pittsfield or North Adams. Experienced mentors guide participants to develop and perform an original play based on stories and experiences from their lives. PMP creates a brave and welcoming space where young people can share important ideas and generate exciting, relevant theatre that will be performed for their peers. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org; 413-997-6117; www.bsceducation.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. Have an event, resource, or opportunity you’re ready to promote? Click HERE to submit your information.
List of Weekly Suggested Events
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Fiber Arts/Sewing
Which came first, the button or the buttonhole? Learning to sew is not just about creating garments, mending tears, or reattaching buttons; it’s an enriching educational experience packed with self-directed learning opportunities. Individuals can improve their precision and fine motor skills through the art of stitching. Drafting patterns introduces them to foundational concepts of geometry and spatial understanding, while fabric selection teaches them about textiles and material science. Sewing projects require problem-solving skills, especially when modifying designs or adjusting fits. Understanding the history and evolution of sewing techniques can also provide valuable cultural insights! Sewing is a hands-on method of combining integrative learning with practical skills.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Food Studies/Cranberries
Have you ever considered the significance of cranberries in the cool, marshy landscapes of New England? These berries have thrived there for thousands of years and are an essential part of the region’s culinary, ecological, and cultural heritage. The unique habitat of a cranberry bog, where sandy and peat-rich soil provides a perfect breeding ground, is not only for growing and harvesting cranberries but also a haven for diverse wildlife. The Indigenous people were the first to harvest these berries, using them in pemmican—a high-energy blend of fat, protein, and the tart berry. Later, European settlers quickly recognized their culinary and commercial potential, making them a staple at Thanksgiving tables. However, cranberries are versatile and can be used in many recipes, including cranberry walnut bread or a refreshing cranberry punch. A visit to a cranberry bog or trying out a new recipe is a great way to celebrate the rich heritage of the berry’s vibrant hue during a New England autumn.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Naturalist Skills/Journaling
Nature journaling is a captivating practice that combines art, science, and personal reflection, enabling individuals to connect more deeply with the natural world. It encourages a keen sense of observation and wonder, becoming a record of these discoveries. Nature journals document the changing seasons, the appearance and behavior of flora and fauna, and the journaler’s emotional response to nature. How might sketching a bird or noting the color variations in a landscape enhance your understanding and appreciation of the environment? By committing observations to paper, not only do memories get solidified, but patterns can emerge, leading to greater insights about local ecosystems. As an exercise in mindfulness and environmental education, nature journaling offers a profound way to deepen one’s relationship with the Earth, fostering knowledge and admiration. Will your next walk inspire an entry?
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Weather Folklore
The Woolly Bear (Pyrrharctia isabella), with its distinctive bands of black and reddish-brown, is more than just a fuzzy caterpillar—it’s a harbinger of winter in many North American folklores. As you stroll through New England’s autumnal landscapes, have you ever wondered about the age-old belief that the width of the Woolly Bear’s bands can predict the severity of the upcoming winter? Legend has it that wider brown bands indicate a mild winter, while broader black ones suggest a harsher one ahead. But what’s the science behind this? While studies have explored this folklore, no concrete evidence supports the caterpillar’s predictive prowess. Instead, factors like age and species variations more likely account for the band differences. Beyond folklore, did you know that these caterpillars have a unique survival mechanism? They can freeze solid, only to thaw and continue their lifecycle in spring! It’s a blend of nature’s marvel and cultural tales. So, the next time you spot a Woolly Bear, ponder this: is it a weather prophet or merely a testament to nature’s resilience?
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Dendrology/Oak Trees
In New England, oak trees are vital to the environment and provide valuable learning opportunities. Various species like white, red, and black oak contribute to biodiversity and support local wildlife through their acorns. Additionally, oaks have significant historical relevance in shipbuilding and architecture. These trees are also living classrooms, offering hands-on education in botany, ecology, and history. The growth rings of oaks reveal past climate conditions, while their presence in folklore enriches cultural understanding. As a multidimensional educational resource, parents and educators can ask children questions like, “How do oaks adapt to their environment?” or “What historical uses have been found for oak wood?” to encourage learning and exploration.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Food Studies/Garlic
Autumn is the season to plant garlic in New England! Have you ever wondered how garlic became a culinary sensation? Its strong taste and numerous health benefits have been cherished for centuries. Despite originating in Central Asia, how did this unassuming bulb entwine itself so profoundly into the culinary traditions of countless cultures across the globe? Historically, garlic has been pivotal in various traditions, from ancient Egyptians swearing oaths on garlic bulbs to medieval Europeans believing it warded off evil spirits. Yet, beyond folklore and flavor, garlic holds potential health benefits and is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Have you ever pondered the chemistry behind its signature scent? When garlic is crushed, it releases allicin, which is responsible for its aroma and health properties. Next time you savor a garlicky dish, consider the heritage, science, and culture encapsulated in every bite. Curious to experiment? Why not try growing or roasting your own to unlock garlic’s full spectrum of flavors?
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Botany/Moss & Lichen
The forest floor and tree trunks are home to mosses and lichens, which play essential roles in their respective ecosystems. Despite their unassuming appearance, these tiny life forms engage in symbiosis and contribute to the survival of other species. Lichens, for instance, are not solitary organisms but rather a combination of fungi and algae. They facilitate soil formation, provide moisture, and serve as a food source for various species. Mosses, on the other hand, serve as bioindicators for air quality and soil health, thanks to their leafy-green elegance. Curious about how they survive without roots? Mosses absorb water and nutrients directly through their leaves, while lichens have been used for centuries in dyes and traditional medicines. Next time you stroll through a forest, take a moment to appreciate these small but impactful organisms. Can you identify their different types? What other plants and animals thrive because of them?
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.