Weekly Suggested Events for October 14-20, 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 self-directed learning. And be sure to subscribe to our free weekly eNewsletter so you never miss out!
SUGGESTED EVENTS: OCTOBER 14-20, 2023
SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING IDEAS
COMMUNITY-BASED EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES & OPPORTUNITIES
Featured Events, Resources, & Opportunities
Join the Smith College Museum of Art (SCMA) on October 13 as they relaunch SCMA’s Second Friday monthly program! Admission is free to all. Enjoy an evening of creativity at SCMA, with special extended hours until 8pm. From 4–7pm, drop in for art-making activities in the museum’s atrium; at 6pm, explore the galleries through guided conversations and enjoy light refreshments! Second Friday program themes include: October 13: Art and Multiples; November 10: Art and Scale; and December 8: Art and Focus. Visit scma.smith.edu/calendar for more details!
FEATURED HIGH SCHOOL
Berkshire Waldorf High School is a college prep, independent, coed day school that aims to balance academic work with the arts. The school provides an education for adolescents that seeks truth, develops imagination, nurtures growth, fosters responsibility, and honors inner freedom in an atmosphere of academic excellence, artistic fulfillment, openness, and mutual respect. They are fully integrated into their community, using local resources such as libraries, artists’ studios, museums, and the outdoors. They welcome applicants who have a variety of talents & interests, who seek an education that will prepare them for university admissions and for lifelong learning. To schedule a visit, email firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-298-3800.
A school community that is intentional, a curriculum that inspires, and students that engage with land, animals, and nature: find it all at The Hartsbrook School. Whether exploring the nearby fields and stream, or delving into deep inquiry, Hartsbrook students develop academic curiosity that lasts a lifetime. Discover how vibrant and meaningful a school experience can be, both for students and parents alike. Now accepting applications for 2024-25, pre-K thru high school! Call 413-586-1908 x116 to begin your exploration. 193 Bay Road, Hadley, MA. www.hartsbrook.org
Making Food Fun with CISA
Making Food Fun comes to Westfield! CISA and local farms will celebrate the harvest season with apples, pumpkins, and flowers. This family event is free and open to the public. Rain or shine, the fun takes place at the Westfield Bank Pavilion, next to the playground at Stanley Park in Westfield on Saturday, October 14 from 10am-12pm. Kids of all ages are welcome to get creative and make their own flower bouquets with Rooted Flowers of Agawam, decorate a pumpkin, and test apple varieties from Kosinski Farms of Westfield. Parent resources from Westfield Eats or the Healthy Incentives Program will be available. Free samples of cider and fall treats round out the morning’s offerings. More info: www.buylocalfood.org/event/fun-on-the-farm-edition
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
Common School Children’s Carnival
The Common School will hold its annual Children’s Carnival on Saturday, October 21, from 10am-3pm, on the school’s campus at 521 South Pleasant Street in Amherst, MA. Open to the community, the Children’s Carnival will offer old-fashioned activities, games, food, and entertainment. Admission to the carnival is free. Some games and activities have a small fee. Breakfast, hearty lunches, and treats such as cotton candy and homemade baked goods. For more information, call 413-256-8989 or go to www.commonschool.org
The Academy at Charlemont
The Academy at Charlemont is a community-oriented independent day school for grades 6-12. For over 40 years, Academy students have become engaged learners and articulate leaders through small classes, rigorous coursework, diverse electives in the arts and beyond, inclusive athletics, personalized advising, and student leadership. Visit The Academy’s campus along the Deerfield River and learn more from students and faculty at their Open House on Sunday, October 22, 2023, from 1-3pm. Generous financial aid and daily round-trip bus service from Amherst, Northampton, and the Hilltowns are available. Ready to learn more about The Academy family for your family? Pre-register for their Open House at www.charlemont.org/open-house-registration.
Campus School of Smith College
Campus School of Smith College will hold an open house on Thursday, November 16, from 8:30-10:30am. At the lab school of Smith College, hands-on learning sparks intellectual engagement, research findings inform modern methods, and transformative relationships enrich masterful teaching. Campus School of Smith College is a kindergarten through sixth-grade elementary school located in the heart of Northampton, MA. Affordable tuition and financial aid are available. RSVP 413-585-3270 or call to schedule a visit. Learn more at campus-school.smith.edu.
River Valley Co-op
Northampton & Easthampton, MA
River Valley Co-op is offering a variety of FREE community workshops and classes this Fall. Some will take place online, and some will be held in person at one of their locations in Northampton or Easthampton. Hosted by various local teachers, business owners, authors, and community leaders, classes cover a range of topics such as the benefits of medicinal veggies and herbs, personal health and wellness, and more! To see the full list of workshops and to register, visit www.rivervalley.coop.
FEATURED JOB OPPORTUNITY
Davenport Child Care
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.
FEATURED TEEN WRITERS WORKSHOP
Juniper Young Writers
A kind of magic happens when you bring together young people who love to write! This winter, Juniper Young Writers Online will offer the JYWO Winter Workshops, December 26-29, 2023. Guided Writing Labs will provide high school students, freshmen through seniors, with space to share their work and develop new writing projects. Their online curriculum is synchronous, dynamic, and participatory. Juniper’s write-alongs and write-ins provide an immersion in the writer’s life and an unforgettable week of wild invention. Applications are required for the JYWO Winter Workshops; click here to apply! App deadline: November 1. Acceptance is rolling until the program fills. Scholarships are available. Questions can be directed to email@example.com.
FEATURED MUSIC SCHOOL
Community Music School of Springfield’s Children’s Chorus of Springfield
Community Music School of Springfield’s Children’s Chorus of Springfield (CCS) offers high-quality musical education and creative experiences to students in grades 1-12. Children’s Chorus of Springfield introduces young people to a wide variety of repertoire, languages, and cultures. CCS students will grow in confidence, have opportunities to collaborate, and perform within and outside of Springfield. CCS tuition is FREE for students enrolled in private lessons at CMSS and current Springfield & Holyoke residents. More info: www.communitymusicschool.com/our-programs/childrens-chorus
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, OCTOBER 14, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Ecology/ Population & Community Ecology
Population and community ecology delve into the complex relationships that govern life on Earth. While population ecology focuses on the dynamics of individual species—how they reproduce, survive, and interact within their environment—community ecology zooms out to consider multiple species living together. Have you ever wondered how certain plants dominate a landscape or how predators and prey keep each other in check? Questions like these form the crux of ecological study. Researchers use mathematical models, field observations, and laboratory experiments to unpack these interactions. What happens, for instance, when an invasive species enters a new habitat? How do mutualistic relationships, where both parties benefit, evolve? Understanding these dynamics is crucial for conservation efforts and human well-being. Whether it’s assessing the health of fisheries or monitoring the spread of diseases, the implications are broad and deeply relevant. Could this scientific lens alter how you view your local ecosystem and plant communities?
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Mycology/ Mushrooms
October 15 is National Mushroom Day! The kingdom of mushrooms is truly magical. Mushrooms are more than just a culinary delight; they are a fascinating hub of ecology, biology, natural history, and gastronomy. As vital decomposers, they recycle nutrients, promote forest health, and frequently partner with trees in symbiotic exchanges crucial for plant growth. These fruiting fungi introduce us to the vast world of mycology, unveiling intricate life cycles and phenomena such as bioluminescence. Throughout history, cultures have revered them for their medicinal and spiritual properties, and in modern kitchens, their unique “umami” flavor is celebrated. However, being knowledgeable and cautious is crucial, as the line between edible and toxic is thin. Mushrooms take us from understanding ecosystems to savoring gourmet dishes, representing the intersection of nature’s marvels and human curiosity.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: History/ Maps
Here Be Dragons! Old maps, often considered artistic relics of bygone eras, can serve as significant tools for historians and geographers, offering insights into ancient kingdoms, trade routes, and sociopolitical landscapes. These maps, created by cartographers—individuals specialized in crafting maps—reveal both the accurate geographical knowledge and the prevalent misconceptions of their times. While medieval maps, for instance, blended factual territories with imagined realms and fantastical creatures, their inaccuracies arose from limitations in cartographic tools, techniques, and occasional biases or political influences. Modern cartographers now harness advanced technology like satellite imagery to improve accuracy. Thus, while old maps are invaluable for historical insights into the interpretation of spaces and places of a particular era, they must be approached with discernment, appreciating the blend of art, science, and occasional conjecture that charted the once-uncharted. Old maps provide an excellent entry point for local history studies, too. Read more in our post, “Maps of Massachusetts: Supporting Social Studies & Local History.”
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Music Studies/ Classical Music
The beauty and complexity of classical music can captivate people of all ages. To spark a child’s interest in this genre, it’s helpful to expose them to it intentionally. This can be done by taking them to live symphony performances, allowing them to play with musical instruments, using community-based educational resources, and encouraging them to listen intently to recorded classical masterpieces. Special occasions like Halloween can also introduce younger listeners to specific, evocative pieces. For example, “Danse Macabre” by Camille Saint-Saens and “Funeral March of a Marionette” by Gounod are perfect gateways that tie the allure of classical music to the spooky season. These immersive experiences can ignite a lifelong passion for classical music in children. Families can also listen to classical music at home or in the car by tuning in to the Classical Music Episode of the Hilltown Family Variety Show. Local community-based educational resources, like the Berkshire Symphony, Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra, Smith College, Springfield Symphony Orchestra, and the Pioneer Valley Symphony, offer performances throughout the year that are open to the public.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Arachnology / Spiders
Spiders may not be a popular animal to study, but there is much to learn from these eight-legged neighbors; plus, they’re everywhere in the early autumn, otherwise known as spider season! Learning about the different species of spiders is one place to start. With a field guide in hand (or an online arachnid group), stop to take the time to learn about spiders in their natural habitat, seeking answers to questions like, “What kinds of webs do they spin?” and “How are they beneficial to gardens and ecosystems?” For today’s self-directed learning module, spiders spin a web of interests that connect us to places through amazing arachnids. Here are a few questions and interests to lead the way: Why are we afraid of spiders? (Psychology!) How do spiders spin their webs? (Vibrations!) Can spiders fly? (Yes, sort of, thanks to physics!)
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Costumes
Halloween is a holiday that invites us to tell stories through costumes, allowing us to engage in fantasy and role-playing for at least a single night. Traditional costumes for Halloween include ghosts, zombies, iconic monsters (Dracula, Frankenstein, werewolves, etc.), and harvest icons (scarecrows, pumpkins, corn, etc.). Still, costumes, in general, can span the genres of history, reality, and culture. With interest in costumes being one many families consider this time of year, today’s self-directed learning module offers lessons in puppetry, indigenous cultures, history, film studies, costume design, storytelling, fashion design, and much more! Let costumes be your catalyst for learning today!
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2023
Self-Directed Learning: Agriculture/ Pumpkins & Winter Squash
Pumpkins and winter squashes are a traditional harvest in New England. In Western Massachusetts, you’ll find locally grown varieties being sold at roadside stands, co-ops, and local farms this time of year. Memories of pumpkin games at town festivals, the smell of winter squash baking with cinnamon and nutmeg, and gourds decorating dining room tables and front porches conjured up a connection to place through the seasons. In today’s self-directed learning module, let’s use this local harvest to guide our learning about art, science, and culinary arts.
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.