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Self-directed learning through the seasons! Explore your interests through a seasonal lens in Western Massachusetts!
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Grow your family’s love for reading with this episode of Hilltown Family Variety Show! Jason Didner, from the Jungle Gym Jam, features songs inspired by storybooks, like The Brown Bear Rap, Chicken Soup with Rice, and The Dot Song. Jason also reads The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade, by children’s singer/songwriter, Justin Roberts.

Grow your family’s love for reading with this episode of Hilltown Family Variety Show! Jason Didner, from the Jungle Gym Jam, features songs inspired by storybooks, like The Brown Bear Rap, Chicken Soup with Rice, and The Dot Song. Jason also reads The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade, by children’s singer/songwriter, Justin Roberts.

HFVS Classic Children’s Books Episode
with Guest DJ, Jason Didner
Listen Now
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The last weekend of January is full of outdoor winter adventures & indoor learning opportunities, perfect for wintery days in Western MA.

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!

he 10th Annual Easthampton WinterFest will be held on Saturday, February 11, 2023. A major fundraiser to help support the health of Nashawannuck Pond, this event provides a winter celebration for the community near and far. Online events begin in January designed to engage the community, such as the Easthampton trivia contest, photo contest, snowflake-making contest, and more. In-person events begin February 2 with the 10 Days of WinterFest, ending on February 11 for the actual festivities of Winterfest. Look forward to an artisan, craft, and vendor fair, horse-drawn carriage rides, ice harvesting and ice carving demonstrations, magic shows, bingo, and a deca-dance gala featuring Johnny and the Flashback, an ice bar and hors d’oeuvres.
More info: www.nashawannuckpond.org/winterfest.html

Inspired academics, gifted teachers, music and art in everyday learning, active land stewardship, and a culture of compassion: this is the Hartsbrook School. Whether exploring the nearby fields and stream or delving into deep inquiry, Hartsbrook students develop foundational learning skills that last a lifetime. Discover how meaningful a school experience can be, and enjoy a vibrant, active parent community. Now accepting applications for 2023-24, pre-K thru high school! For more information, call 413-586-1908 x116 to begin your exploration. Visit the school online at www.hartsbrook.org. Hartsbrook School is located at 193 Bay Road in Hadley, MA.

What IS a Sparkle Party? It is a celebration of all things dazzling and fabulous, hosted by Art in Motion, an Easthampton-based dance school that creates powerful artists through dance education. The Sparkle Party is a glittery, inclusive family gathering that combines movement, books, visual art, and creative expression for kids 10 & under and their caregivers. All families are invited to this FREE event! Sparkle Party partners include Art Always and High Five Books (Florence, MA) and Salon 180 East (Easthampton, MA). The party will be on Saturday, January 28, 2023, from 2-4pm in the Art in Motion studio in the Keystone building, 122 Pleasant St. in Easthampton, MA. Email Art in Motion with any questions at hello@artinmotion413.com.

Saint Michael Catholic School (SMS) invites prospective families to spend a day with their students & staff. Enrollment is open, so now is the perfect time to explore alternatives in education for your child. Register at saintmichaelschoolvt.org. SMS is a classical PreK-12 Catholic co-educational day school founded in 1874 in Brattleboro, VT, to assist parents in the education and formation of their children through the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church. SMS’s mission is to promote & nurture their student’s spiritual, intellectual, and physical growth and talents through a classical liberal arts course of study. SMS believes “the soul of education is the education of the soul” (Pope Pius XI). More info: lindsayoneil@smsvt.info

FEATURED WINTER VACATION CAMP
Wolf Tree Programs
Montague, MA

Explore, play games, and learn wilderness skills! Wolf Tree in Montague, MA, offers school vacation week programs for the 2023 February and April school breaks for ages 8-12. These week-long outdoor programs are designed to foster children’s curiosity and connection to nature in a fun, safe, and supportive environment. Participants will work on their naturalist and wilderness skills with experienced and engaging instructors while building confidence and leadership. Looking beyond the school year, registration for Wolf Tree’s successful summer camp for children and teens opens on February 1st. Join Wolf Tree out in the woods for these weeks of exploration and connection to nature. More info at www.wolftreema.com.

FEATURED WINTER VACATION CAMP
Winter Puppet Camp
with Sandglass Theater
Putney, Vermont

Feb 20-24, 2023. Ages 8-14.

Join Sandglass Theater for five days of puppet building over winter break, play-making, and show creation for ages 8-14. Delve into the magical world of the marionette circus! Kids will explore basic marionette and rod puppets by picking the circus acts of their choice and developing scenes, culminating in a final performance for friends and family. Taught by Jana Zeller and Shoshana Bass. The camp will take place in Sandglass Theater’s own space located at 17 Kimball Hill in the heart of Putney, Vermont. Camp is $300 per camper for the week. Sandglass Theater Winter Puppet Camp takes place daily from 9am-3:30pm, February 20-24, 2023For more info or to register for camp, email info@sandglasstheater.org or visit sandglasstheater.org

FEATURED CHARTER SCHOOL
Pioneer Valley Performing Arts
Charter Public School
South Hadley, MA

Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School (PVPA) in South Hadley, MA, is accepting applications for grades 7-11 for the 2023/24 school year at www.pvpa.org/admissions. Application deadline: Feb 10, 2023. Lottery: Feb 17, 2023. PVPA is committed to supporting the Artist in every student! Students from over 50 towns in Grades 7-12 thrive in an arts-centered, creative, challenging learning environment. Join PVPA for an Open House and see why they are consistently voted one of the “Best Charter Schools in the Valley!” No tuition or audition is required. Questions? Email admissions@pvpa.org or call 413-552-1580 x216 for more info.

The Academy at Charlemont is a community-oriented independent day school for grades 6-PG. 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. Learn more from students and faculty at our Virtual Information Session on Wednesday, February 8, 2023, from 7-8pm, or email admissions@charlemont.org to schedule a campus visit. 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 at charlemont.org

Featured Summer Program
The Experimentory at Deerfield Academy
Deerfield, MA

The Experimentory at Deerfield Academy
July 5-23, 2023. Ages 11-14.

The Experimentory is a fantastic opportunity for sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade students to sample Deerfield Academy. The Experimentory is an innovative program that allows students to delve into project-based, creative learning. It focuses on collaboration, communication, fostering creativity, building character, and developing how we view the world. Contact: 413-774-1498. jbrown@deerfield.edu; deerfield.edu/summer-programs/experimentory

See Your Ad Here

Partner with HIlltown Families!

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: swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org. Have an event, resource, or opportunity you’re ready to promote? Click HERE to submit your information.

2022 Class Directory

Class Directory

Discover virtual & adapted programming in our Class Directory for Western MA

2022 Preschool & Daycare Directory

Preschool Directory

Find what you’re looking for in our Preschool & Daycare Directory for Western MA

Read More

Home

Follow Your Interests!

Self-directed learning through the seasons! Explore your interests through a seasonal lens in Western Massachusetts!
Read More
Home
Jesse Goldman of the band Moozika shares joyful city-based adventure songs highlighting the diversity of cultures, languages, and music in urban settings.

Jesse Goldman of the band Moozika! shares joyful city-based adventure songs highlighting the diversity of cultures, languages, and music in urban settings.

HFVS City Songs Episode
with Jesse Goldman of Moozika!
Listen Now
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Late January is a lovely opportunity for snowy adventures & warm local libraries filled with stories & events in Western MA!

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!

The 10th Annual Easthampton WinterFest will be held on Saturday, February 11, 2023. A major fundraiser to help support the health of Nashawannuck Pond, this event provides a winter celebration for the community near and far. Online events begin in January designed to engage the community, such as the Easthampton trivia contest, photo contest, snowflake-making contest, and more. In-person events begin February 2 with the 10 Days of WinterFest, ending on February 11 for the actual festivities of Winterfest. Look forward to an artisan, craft, and vendor fair, horse-drawn carriage rides, ice harvesting and ice carving demonstrations, magic shows, bingo, and a deca-dance gala featuring Johnny and the Flashback, an ice bar and hors d’oeuvres.
More info: www.nashawannuckpond.org/winterfest.html

Amherst Community Theater presents Disney’s Broadway musical The Little MermaidThis timeless fable will delight and dazzle audience members of all ages with its irresistible songs, stunning sets and costumes, and a full live orchestra! Cast away into a world of swimming, slithering, and singing sea creatures in this hauntingly beautiful love story for the ages. Join the cast & crew “under the sea” in the beautiful UMass Bowker Auditoriumnine performances run January 19-22 and January 26-29, 2023. (Please note: All audience members (age two and up) must wear masks throughout the performance. Audience members will not be required to show proof of vaccination.)For tickets, visit amherstacts.orgQuestions? Please email producer@amherstacts.org.

Inspired academics, gifted teachers, music and art in everyday learning, active land stewardship, and a culture of compassion: this is the Hartsbrook School. Whether exploring the nearby fields and stream or delving into deep inquiry, Hartsbrook students develop foundational learning skills that last a lifetime. Discover how meaningful a school experience can be, and enjoy a vibrant, active parent community. Now accepting applications for 2023-24, pre-K thru high school! For more information, call 413-586-1908 x116 to begin your exploration. Visit the school online at www.hartsbrook.org. Hartsbrook School is located at 193 Bay Road in Hadley, MA.

The Montessori School of the Berkshires (MSB) in Lenox Dale, MA, inspires children to develop independent thinking, self-assurance, inner discipline, and a love of learning in an authentic Montessori environment. Serving children aged 15 months through grade 8 on 40 wooded acres, MSB supports each child’s innate curiosity and helps them develop focus and motivation, and embraces collaboration and cooperation. Engaging materials, designed for hands-on learning through all senses, are continually adapted to meet each child’s needs, interests, and development, so they are best prepared for the next level of education. Open 7:30am-3pm; extended coverage until 5:15 pm. For more information: info@berkshiremontessori.org; 413-637-3662; www.berkshiremontessori.org.

Are you looking for an alternative school experience for your child? A school where community, collaboration, inclusivity, social justice, and environmental education are highly valued? Learn how these words are put into action at The Common School’s winter Open House on Saturday, January 21, from 10am-12noon in Amherst, MA. Visit their classrooms (inside and outside – dress warmly), meet their teachers, chat with current caregivers, and explore their beautiful campus situated amongst 140 acres of conservation land on Larch Hill in Amherst. Light refreshments will be provided. Questions? Contact Co-Head of School, Dana Kadish at outreach@commonschool.org or visit www.commonschool.org

Saint Michael Catholic School (SMS) invites prospective families to spend a day with their students & staff. Enrollment is open, so now is the perfect time to explore alternatives in education for your child. Register at saintmichaelschoolvt.org. SMS is a classical PreK-12 Catholic co-educational day school founded in 1874 in Brattleboro, VT, to assist parents in the education and formation of their children through the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church. SMS’s mission is to promote & nurture their student’s spiritual, intellectual, and physical growth and talents through a classical liberal arts course of study. SMS believes “the soul of education is the education of the soul” (Pope Pius XI). More info: lindsayoneil@smsvt.info

Four Rivers Charter Public School in Greenfield, MA, is accepting applications for Fall 2023. Prospective families can attend an  Open House on Wed., January 25, at 7pm, Sat., February 4, at 10am, or Wed., February 15, at 7pmFour Rivers is a small Expeditionary Learning school for grades 7-12, dedicated to educating young people for lives of learning and service. Four Rivers offers a rigorous college preparatory program aligned with the MA curriculum frameworks and emphasizes character development for moral and social responsibility. Students connect learning to the real world, work hard, and develop the independence and thinking skills needed in college and beyond. For more info, visit www.fourriverscharter.org

What IS a Sparkle Party? It is a celebration of all things dazzling and fabulous, hosted by Art in Motion, an Easthampton-based dance school that creates powerful artists through dance education. The Sparkle Party is a glittery, inclusive family gathering that combines movement, books, visual art, and creative expression for kids 10 & under and their caregivers. All families are invited to this FREE event! Sparkle Party partners include Art Always and High Five Books (Florence, MA) and Salon 180 East (Easthampton, MA). The party will be on Saturday, January 28, 2023, from 2-4pm in the Art in Motion studio in the Keystone building, 122 Pleasant St. in Easthampton, MA. Email Art in Motion with any questions at hello@artinmotion413.com.

FEATURED CHARTER SCHOOL
Pioneer Valley Performing Arts
Charter Public School
South Hadley, MA

Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School (PVPA) in South Hadley, MA, is accepting applications for grades 7-11 for the 2023/24 school year at www.pvpa.org/admissions. Application deadline: Feb 10, 2023. Lottery: Feb 17, 2023. PVPA is committed to supporting the Artist in every student! Students from over 50 towns in Grades 7-12 thrive in an arts-centered, creative, challenging learning environment. Join PVPA for an Open House and see why they are consistently voted one of the “Best Charter Schools in the Valley!” No tuition or audition is required. Questions? Email admissions@pvpa.org or call 413-552-1580 x216 for more info.

FEATURED WINTER VACATION CAMP
Wolf Tree Programs
Montague, MA

Explore, play games, and learn wilderness skills! Wolf Tree in Montague, MA, offers school vacation week programs for the 2023 February and April school breaks for ages 8-12. These week-long outdoor programs are designed to foster children’s curiosity and connection to nature in a fun, safe, and supportive environment. Participants will work on their naturalist and wilderness skills with experienced and engaging instructors while building confidence and leadership. Looking beyond the school year, registration for Wolf Tree’s successful summer camp for children and teens opens on February 1st. Join Wolf Tree out in the woods for these weeks of exploration and connection to nature. More info at www.wolftreema.com.

FEATURED PRESCHOOL
Prelude Preschool of the Arts
Springfield, MA

Prelude Preschool of the Arts in Springfield, MA, offers five-day arts-integrated learning and play for children ages 2.9-5 years. Full-day and half-day programming feature specialized classes taught by expert musicians and artists in early childhood music, dance, yoga, Suzuki violin, bucket drumming, and visual art. Flexible before and aftercare is available to meet your needs. Prelude children are cared for by a dedicated team of expert artists, musicians, and educators within the walls of the treasured Community Music School of Springfield, encouraging children and families to explore, learn, and create. For more information: info@communitymusicschool.com; 413-732-8428

FEATURED SCHOOL
Amherst Montessori School
Amherst, MA

Ages 3mo-12yrs

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; kedreich@amherstmontessori.org; amherstmontessori.org.

The Academy at Charlemont is a community-oriented independent day school for grades 6-PG. 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. Learn more from students and faculty at our Virtual Information Session on Wednesday, February 8, 2023, from 7-8pm, or email admissions@charlemont.org to schedule a campus visit. 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 at charlemont.org

FEATURED DAYCARE/PRESCHOOL
Amherst Montessori School
Amherst, MA

Amherst Montessori School
Daycare & Preschool ♦ Ages 3mo-12yrs

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; admissions@amherstmontessori.org; amherstmontessori.org.

See Your Ad Here

Partner with HIlltown Families!

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: swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org. Have an event, resource, or opportunity you’re ready to promote? Click HERE to submit your information.

2022 Class Directory

Class Directory

Discover virtual & adapted programming in our Class Directory for Western MA

2022 Preschool & Daycare Directory

Preschool Directory

Find what you’re looking for in our Preschool & Daycare Directory for Western MA

2022 Preschool & Daycare Directory

Handmade Valentine Swap

Join us!

Read More

Home

Follow Your Interests!

Self-directed learning through the seasons! Explore your interests through a seasonal lens in Western Massachusetts!
Read More
Home
Let's add music and story to our winter fun! Join HFVS Guest DJ Flor Bromley as she takes us on an adventure through her favorite winter songs. She will share music and stories about playing in the snow, learning about migration and hibernation, and dancing to keep ourselves warm.

Let’s add music and story to our winter fun! Join HFVS Guest DJ Flor Bromley as she takes us on an adventure through her favorite winter songs. She will share music and stories about playing in the snow, learning about migration and hibernation, and dancing to keep ourselves warm.

Winter Wonderland Episode
with Guest DJ, Flor Bromley
Listen Now
Read More
Home

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!

Collaborating community organizations will host Springfield’s annual citywide Dr. King Day Celebration on Monday, January 16, 2023, from 11am-1pm. This year’s theme, Chasing the Dream, Arriving Together, and Standing in the Light, will engage youth, community leaders, and artists with performances to reflect on the legacy of Dr. King and the struggle for social justice in communities across the country. Held in person at the MassMutual Center, the event is hosted by Martin Luther King Jr Family Services, Community Music School of Springfield, Inclusive Strategies LLC, Springfield College and Focus Springfield, Legacy Sounds, Springfield Cultural Partnership, Focus Springfield, Urban League of Springfield, and Springfield Public Schools.

Registration is open for spring semester classes at Holyoke Community College. More than 80 degree and certificate options are available. There is extensive academic and student support, flexible on-campus and online schedules, laptops for loan and WiFi hotspots to borrow, a student food pantry, a student emergency fund, and a drop-in child watch. Adult-focused programs include Pathways, New Directions for Adult Learners, Veterans Services, and college credit for work/life experience. Classes begin January 17. Flexible. Affordable. Holyoke Community College. Email admissions@hcc.edu today.

Amherst Community Theater presents Disney’s Broadway musical The Little MermaidThis timeless fable will delight and dazzle audience members of all ages with its irresistible songs, stunning sets and costumes, and a full live orchestra! Cast away into a world of swimming, slithering, and singing sea creatures in this hauntingly beautiful love story for the ages. Join the cast & crew “under the sea” in the beautiful UMass Bowker Auditoriumnine performances run January 19-22 and January 26-29, 2023. (Please note: All audience members (age two and up) must wear masks throughout the performance. Audience members will not be required to show proof of vaccination.)For tickets, visit amherstacts.orgQuestions? Please email producer@amherstacts.org.

The 10th Annual Easthampton WinterFest will be held on Saturday, February 11, 2023. A major fundraiser to help support the health of Nashawannuck Pond, this event provides a winter celebration for the community near and far. Online events begin in January designed to engage the community, such as the Easthampton trivia contest, photo contest, snowflake-making contest, and more. In-person events begin February 2 with the 10 Days of WinterFest, ending on February 11 for the actual festivities of Winterfest. Look forward to an artisan, craft, and vendor fair, horse-drawn carriage rides, ice harvesting and ice carving demonstrations, magic shows, bingo, and a deca-dance gala featuring Johnny and the Flashback, an ice bar and hors d’oeuvres.
More info: www.nashawannuckpond.org/winterfest.html

Hartsbrook Farm Camp in Hadley, MA

Spend the summer joyfully outside! For two decades, children have loved Hartsbrook Farm Camp: the animals, the crafts, and the feeling of being part of something meaningful. Children feel grounded and inspired while exploring the natural world. This summer, Hartsbrook Farm Camp invites your child to tend the goats, feed the chickens, work with wool, play under the trees and enjoy unhurried time outside in 55 acres of fields, farm and forest. Their caring camp staff makes all children feel welcome, and campers look forward to Farm Camp all year! This summer, spend some time on the farm!
Dates: June 26 – July 28, 2023; Age Range: 4-14yo
Contact: 413-586-1908 ♦ farmcamp@hartsbrook.orgwww.hartsbrook.org

Are you looking for an alternative school experience for your child? A school where community, collaboration, inclusivity, social justice, and environmental education are highly valued? Learn how these words are put into action at The Common School’s winter Open House on Saturday, January 21, from 10am-12noon in Amherst, MA. Visit their classrooms (inside and outside – dress warmly), meet their teachers, chat with current caregivers, and explore their beautiful campus situated amongst 140 acres of conservation land on Larch Hill in Amherst. Light refreshments will be provided. Questions? Contact Co-Head of School, Dana Kadish at outreach@commonschool.org or visit www.commonschool.org

Four Rivers Charter Public School in Greenfield, MA, is accepting applications for Fall 2023. Prospective families can attend an Open House on Wed., January 25, at 7pm, Sat., February 4, at 10am, or Wed., February 15, at 7pmFour Rivers is a small Expeditionary Learning school for grades 7-12, dedicated to educating young people for lives of learning and service. Four Rivers offers a rigorous college preparatory program aligned with the MA curriculum frameworks and emphasizes character development for moral and social responsibility. Students connect learning to the real world, work hard, and develop the independence and thinking skills needed in college and beyond. For more info, visit www.fourriverscharter.org

FEATURED CHARTER SCHOOL
Pioneer Valley Performing Arts
Charter Public School
South Hadley, MA

Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School (PVPA) in South Hadley, MA, is accepting applications for grades 7-11 for the 2023/24 school year at www.pvpa.org/admissions. Application deadline: Feb 10, 2023. Lottery: Feb 17, 2023. PVPA is committed to supporting the Artist in every student! Students from over 50 towns in Grades 7-12 thrive in an arts-centered, creative, challenging learning environment. Join PVPA for an Open House and see why they are consistently voted one of the “Best Charter Schools in the Valley!” No tuition or audition is required. Questions? Email admissions@pvpa.org or call 413-552-1580 x216 for more info.

FEATURED WINTER VACATION CAMP
Wolf Tree Programs
Montague, MA

Explore, play games, and learn wilderness skills! Wolf Tree in Montague, MA, offers school vacation week programs for the 2023 February and April school breaks for ages 8-12. These week-long outdoor programs are designed to foster children’s curiosity and connection to nature in a fun, safe, and supportive environment. Participants will work on their naturalist and wilderness skills with experienced and engaging instructors while building confidence and leadership. Looking beyond the school year, registration for Wolf Tree’s successful summer camp for children and teens opens on February 1st. Join Wolf Tree out in the woods for these weeks of exploration and connection to nature. More info at www.wolftreema.com.

Start 2023 off on the right note with music lessons at the Berkshire Music School! Enjoy a 10% discount on all private lessons if you register for the entire spring semester. (Mention Hilltown Families when you call to receive your discount!) Lessons may be arranged for 30, 45, or 60 minutes each week to meet the individual student’s needs online or in person at their Pittsfield campus. BMS’s fun Community Group Classes are offered on a pay-what-you-can basis, with their winter session beginning at the end of Jan. Visit BMS website to register and more info. Share the joy of music and check out why the Berkshire Music School has been awarded “Best of the Berkshires” by The Berkshire Eagle and a “Readers’ Choice Award” by Rural Intelligence.

FEATURED PRESCHOOL
Prelude Preschool of the Arts
Springfield, MA

Prelude Preschool of the Arts in Springfield, MA, offers five-day arts-integrated learning and play for children ages 2.9-5 years. Full-day and half-day programming feature specialized classes taught by expert musicians and artists in early childhood music, dance, yoga, Suzuki violin, bucket drumming, and visual art. Flexible before and aftercare is available to meet your needs. Prelude children are cared for by a dedicated team of expert artists, musicians, and educators within the walls of the treasured Community Music School of Springfield, encouraging children and families to explore, learn, and create. For more information: info@communitymusicschool.com; 413-732-8428

FEATURED SCHOOL
Amherst Montessori School
Amherst, MA

Ages 3mo-12yrs

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; kedreich@amherstmontessori.org; amherstmontessori.org.

See Your Ad Here

Partner with HIlltown Families!

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: swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org. Have an event, resource, or opportunity you’re ready to promote? Click HERE to submit your information.

2022 Class Directory

Class Directory

Discover programming in our
Class Directory for Western MA

2022 Preschool & Daycare Directory

Preschool Directory

Find what you’re looking for in our
Preschool/Daycare Directory for Western MA

2022 Preschool & Daycare Directory

Handmade Valentine Swap

Join us!

Read More

Home

Follow Your Interests!

Self-directed learning through the seasons! Explore your interests through a seasonal lens in Western Massachusetts!
Read More
Home
Take an adventure in the deep blue sea & connect w/a whole range of incredible ocean creatures through song & story in this marine biology-themed episode.

The ocean covers 71% of our planet and forms 90% of its habitable space, yet we humans have encountered maybe only 1/3 of the life forms that call it home. Guest DJ, Claudia Robin Gunn, invites listeners to take an adventure in the deep blue sea and connect with a whole range of incredible ocean creatures through song and story in this marine biology-themed episode. Music that encourages caring for our environment and understanding the biodiversity in this incredible natural space.

HFVS Marine Biology Episode
with Guest DJ, Claudia Robin Gunn
Listen Now
Read More

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Western MA's second week of January offers events and learning opportunities to celebrate the winter and local culture!

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!

Spring Young Company, a twice-weekly, 10-week program for high school students looking to further their actor training, begins Feb 28 at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA! This program is designed for high school students looking to begin or continue their actor training. These young actors work on voice, movement, text, and scene work, often finding what they haven’t found elsewhere. Spring Session 2023 runs Feb 28-May 6. Classes meet twice a week. Auditions are required and will be held in-Person at Shakespeare & Company on Fri, Jan 6, from 4-8pm & Sat, Jan 7, from 10am-4pm, at the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre. Learn more about auditions: www.shakespeare.org/education/spring-young-company. Email schedule an audition: springsyco@gmail.com.

 Classes run from January 9, 2023 – March 11, 2023. Register at  wholechildren.org

Check out Whole Children’s bright, sunny new center at 11 Village Hill Road in Northampton! Their goal is to create an inclusive environment where every child is successful and valued for who they are, no matter their abilities or disabilities. Winter Sessions include a variety of classes, including friendship band, yoga dance, book club, theater, cooking, and so much more. Whole Children is filling a vital need by creating classes where the hard work of skill-building is made social and fun for children of all abilities and, perhaps just as importantly, by creating a supportive and caring community for their parents. Classes run from January 9, 2023 – March 11, 2023. Register at  wholechildren.org

Collaborating community organizations will host Springfield’s annual citywide Dr. King Day Celebration on Monday, January 16, 2023, from 11am-1pm. This year’s theme, Chasing the Dream, Arriving Together, and Standing in the Light, will engage youth, community leaders, and artists with performances to reflect on the legacy of Dr. King and the struggle for social justice in communities across the country. Held in person at the MassMutual Center, the event is hosted by Martin Luther King Jr Family Services, Community Music School of Springfield, Inclusive Strategies LLC, Springfield College and Focus Springfield, Legacy Sounds, Springfield Cultural Partnership, Focus Springfield, Urban League of Springfield, and Springfield Public Schools.

Registration is open for spring semester classes at Holyoke Community College. More than 80 degree and certificate options are available. There is extensive academic and student support, flexible on-campus and online schedules, laptops for loan and WiFi hotspots to borrow, a student food pantry, a student emergency fund, and a drop-in child watch. Adult-focused programs include Pathways, New Directions for Adult Learners, Veterans Services, and college credit for work/life experience. Classes begin January 17. Flexible. Affordable. Holyoke Community College. Email admissions@hcc.edu today.

Amherst Community Theater presents Disney’s Broadway musical The Little MermaidThis timeless fable will delight and dazzle audience members of all ages with its irresistible songs, stunning sets and costumes, and a full live orchestra! Cast away into a world of swimming, slithering, and singing sea creatures in this hauntingly beautiful love story for the ages. Join the cast & crew “under the sea” in the beautiful UMass Bowker Auditoriumnine performances run January 19-22 and January 26-29, 2023. (Please note: All audience members (age two and up) must wear masks throughout the performance. Audience members will not be required to show proof of vaccination.)For tickets, visit amherstacts.orgQuestions? Please email producer@amherstacts.org.

Hartsbrook Farm Camp in Hadley, MA

Spend the summer joyfully outside! For two decades, children have loved Hartsbrook Farm Camp: the animals, the crafts, and the feeling of being part of something meaningful. Children feel grounded and inspired while exploring the natural world. This summer, Hartsbrook Farm Camp invites your child to tend the goats, feed the chickens, work with wool, play under the trees and enjoy unhurried time outside in 55 acres of fields, farm and forest. Their caring camp staff makes all children feel welcome, and campers look forward to Farm Camp all year! This summer, spend some time on the farm!
Dates: June 26 – July 28, 2023; Age Range: 4-14yo
Contact: 413-586-1908 ♦ farmcamp@hartsbrook.orgwww.hartsbrook.org

The 10th Annual Easthampton WinterFest will be held on Saturday, February 11, 2023. A major fundraiser to help support the health of Nashawannuck Pond, this event provides a winter celebration for the community near and far. Online events begin in January designed to engage the community, such as the Easthampton trivia contest, photo contest, snowflake-making contest, and more. In-person events begin February 2 with the 10 Days of WinterFest, ending on February 11 for the actual festivities of Winterfest. Look forward to an artisan, craft, and vendor fair, horse-drawn carriage rides, ice harvesting and ice carving demonstrations, magic shows, bingo, and a deca-dance gala featuring Johnny and the Flashback, an ice bar and hors d’oeuvres.
More info: www.nashawannuckpond.org/winterfest.html

FEATURED SCHOOL
The Bement School
Deerfield, MA

The Bement School

The Bement School, founded in 1925 and located in Deerfield, is a day and boarding school serving 220 students in kindergarten through grade 9. They are still accepting applications for fall 2023. Attend a virtual open house to learn more about the school! Contact the admission office at admit@bement.org with questions and to receive the Zoom link for the open house.

FEATURED CHARTER SCHOOL
Pioneer Valley Performing Arts
Charter Public School
South Hadley, MA

Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School (PVPA) in South Hadley, MA, is accepting applications for grades 7-11 for the 2023/24 school year at www.pvpa.org/admissions. Application deadline: Feb 10, 2023. Lottery: Feb 17, 2023. PVPA is committed to supporting the Artist in every student! Students from over 50 towns in Grades 7-12 thrive in an arts-centered, creative, challenging learning environment. Join PVPA for an Open House and see why they are consistently voted one of the “Best Charter Schools in the Valley!” No tuition or audition is required. Questions? Email admissions@pvpa.org or call 413-552-1580 x216 for more info.

Start 2023 off on the right note with music lessons at the Berkshire Music School! Enjoy a 10% discount on all private lessons if you register for the entire spring semester. (Mention Hilltown Families when you call to receive your discount!) Lessons may be arranged for 30, 45, or 60 minutes each week to meet the individual student’s needs online or in person at their Pittsfield campus. BMS’s fun Community Group Classes are offered on a pay-what-you-can basis, with their winter session beginning at the end of Jan. Visit BMS website to register and more info. Share the joy of music and check out why the Berkshire Music School has been awarded “Best of the Berkshires” by The Berkshire Eagle and a “Readers’ Choice Award” by Rural Intelligence.

FEATURED PRESCHOOL
Prelude Preschool of the Arts
Springfield, MA

Prelude Preschool of the Arts in Springfield, MA, offers five-day arts-integrated learning and play for children ages 2.9-5 years. Full-day and half-day programming feature specialized classes taught by expert musicians and artists in early childhood music, dance, yoga, Suzuki violin, bucket drumming, and visual art. Flexible before and aftercare is available to meet your needs. Prelude children are cared for by a dedicated team of expert artists, musicians, and educators within the walls of the treasured Community Music School of Springfield, encouraging children and families to explore, learn, and create. For more information: info@communitymusicschool.com; 413-732-8428

FEATURED SCHOOL
Amherst Montessori School
Amherst, MA

Ages 3mo-12yrs

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; kedreich@amherstmontessori.org; amherstmontessori.org.

FEATURED WINTER VACATION CAMP
Wolf Tree Programs
Montague, MA

Explore, play games, and learn wilderness skills! Wolf Tree in Montague, MA, offers school vacation week programs for the 2023 February and April school breaks for ages 8-12. These week-long outdoor programs are designed to foster children’s curiosity and connection to nature in a fun, safe, and supportive environment. Participants will work on their naturalist and wilderness skills with experienced and engaging instructors while building confidence and leadership. Looking beyond the school year, registration for Wolf Tree’s successful summer camp for children and teens opens on February 1st. Join Wolf Tree out in the woods for these weeks of exploration and connection to nature. More info at www.wolftreema.com.

See Your Ad Here

Partner with HIlltown Families!

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: swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org. Have an event, resource, or opportunity you’re ready to promote? Click HERE to submit your information.

2022 Class Directory

Class Directory

Discover virtual & adapted programming in our Class Directory for Western MA

2022 Preschool & Daycare Directory

Preschool Directory

Find what you’re looking for in our Preschool & Daycare Directory for Western MA

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Learning ideas, events, and resources for Dec 31, 2022 – Jan 6, 2023

Home

Follow Your Interests!

Self-directed learning through the seasons! Explore your interests through a seasonal lens in Western Massachusetts!
Read More

Home
“New Year Dance Party” with Award-winning Peruvian-American bilingual kindie musician, Twinkle. Twinkle brings all genres of dance music -pop, electronic dance, rock, and hip-hop as she spins the hottest dance tracks for the kindie generation.

“New Year Dance Party” with Award-winning Peruvian-American bilingual kindie musician, Twinkle. Twinkle brings all genres of dance music -pop, electronic dance, rock, and hip-hop as she spins the hottest dance tracks for the kindie generation.

HFVS New Year Dance Party
with Guest DJ, Twinkle
Listen Now
Read More

Discover ways to support your interests and education through community engagement for the new year!

Home

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!

Image Credit: Eric Carle, Illustration for Do Bears Have Mothers Too? by Aileen Fisher. Collection of Eric and Barbara Carle. © 1973 Penguin Random House LLC. 

Bring your art- and book-loving family to The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art over the holidays, December 28-31. The Museum, which is devoted to the art of children’s books, is celebrating its 20th anniversary with three special exhibitions: Eric Carle Book BirthdaysThe Carle Collection: Recent Acquisitions, and Celebrating Collage, A 20th Anniversary Exhibition. In addition to exploring art in the galleries, drop into their art studio to create 3-D sculptures, join in a storytime, and let the kids go on a scavenger hunt throughout the Museum. (Note: The Carle will be closed Jan 1-13 for routine maintenance.) The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is located at 125 W Bay Rd in Amherst, MA. For more info, visit www.carlemuseum.org.

Spring Young Company, a twice-weekly, 10-week program for high school students looking to further their actor training, begins Feb 28 at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA! This program is designed for high school students looking to begin or continue their actor training. These young actors work on voice, movement, text, and scene work, often finding what they haven’t found elsewhere. Spring Session 2023 runs Feb 28-May 6. Classes meet twice a week. Auditions are required and will be held in-Person at Shakespeare & Company on Fri, Jan 6, from 4-8pm & Sat, Jan 7, from 10am-4pm, at the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre. Learn more about auditions: www.shakespeare.org/education/spring-young-company. Email schedule an audition: springsyco@gmail.com.

 Classes run from January 9, 2023 – March 11, 2023. Register at  wholechildren.org

Check out Whole Children’s bright, sunny new center at 11 Village Hill Road in Northampton! Their goal is to create an inclusive environment where every child is successful and valued for who they are, no matter their abilities or disabilities. Winter Sessions include a variety of classes, including friendship band, yoga dance, book club, theater, cooking, and so much more. Whole Children is filling a vital need by creating classes where the hard work of skill-building is made social and fun for children of all abilities and, perhaps just as importantly, by creating a supportive and caring community for their parents. Classes run from January 9, 2023 – March 11, 2023. Register at  wholechildren.org

Registration is open for spring semester classes at Holyoke Community College. More than 80 degree and certificate options are available. There is extensive academic and student support, flexible on-campus and online schedules, laptops for loan and WiFi hotspots to borrow, a student food pantry, a student emergency fund, and a drop-in child watch. Adult-focused programs include Pathways, New Directions for Adult Learners, Veterans Services, and college credit for work/life experience. Classes begin January 17. Flexible. Affordable. Holyoke Community College. Email admissions@hcc.edu today.

Inspired academics, gifted teachers, music and art in everyday learning, active land stewardship, and a culture of compassion: this is the Hartsbrook School. Whether exploring the nearby fields and stream or delving into deep inquiry, Hartsbrook students develop foundational learning skills that last a lifetime. Discover how meaningful a school experience can be, and enjoy a vibrant, active parent community. Now accepting applications for 2023-24, pre-K thru high school! For more information, call 413-586-1908 x116 to begin your exploration. Visit the school online at www.hartsbrook.org. Hartsbrook School is located at 193 Bay Road in Hadley, MA.

Collaborating community organizations will host Springfield’s annual citywide Dr. King Day Celebration on Monday, January 16, 2023, from 11am-1pm. This year’s theme, Chasing the Dream, Arriving Together, and Standing in the Light, will engage youth, community leaders, and artists with performances to reflect on the legacy of Dr. King and the struggle for social justice in communities across the country. Held in person at the MassMutual Center, the event is hosted by Martin Luther King Jr Family Services, Community Music School of Springfield, Inclusive Strategies LLC, Springfield College and Focus Springfield, Legacy Sounds, Springfield Cultural Partnership, Focus Springfield, Urban League of Springfield, and Springfield Public Schools.

The 10th Annual Easthampton WinterFest will be held on Saturday, February 11, 2023. A major fundraiser to help support the health of Nashawannuck Pond, this event provides a winter celebration for the community near and far. Online events begin in January designed to engage the community, such as the Easthampton trivia contest, photo contest, snowflake-making contest, and more. In-person events begin February 2 with the 10 Days of WinterFest, ending on February 11 for the actual festivities of Winterfest. Look forward to an artisan, craft, and vendor fair, horse-drawn carriage rides, ice harvesting and ice carving demonstrations, magic shows, bingo, and a deca-dance gala featuring Johnny and the Flashback, an ice bar and hors d’oeuvres.
More info: www.nashawannuckpond.org/winterfest.html

FEATURED SCHOOL
The Bement School
Deerfield, MA

The Bement School

The Bement School, founded in 1925 and located in Deerfield, is a day and boarding school serving 220 students in kindergarten through grade 9. They are still accepting applications for fall 2023. Attend a virtual open house to learn more about the school! Contact the admission office at admit@bement.org with questions and to receive the Zoom link for the open house.

FEATURED SCHOOL
Amherst Montessori School
Amherst, MA

Ages 3mo-12yrs

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; kedreich@amherstmontessori.org; amherstmontessori.org.

Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School in South Hadley, MA, is committed to supporting the Artist in every student! Students from over 50 towns in Grades 7-12 thrive in an arts-centered, creative, challenging learning environment. No tuition or audition is required. They are now accepting applications for grades 7-11 for the 2023/24 school year at www.pvpa.org/admissions. Application deadline: February 10, 2023. Lottery: February 17, 2023. Limited seats available for the 2nd semester of the 2022/23 school year. Applications will be accepted for Grades 7, 10 & 11 until January 2, 2023. Lottery: January 6, 2023. Students will start by January 31, 2023. Questions? Email admissions@pvpa.org for more info.

Make music with the Community Music School of Springfield! CMSS offers high-quality music instruction for students of all ages and levels with flexible scheduling and a choice of online or in-person learning. Whether you’re just starting or are a seasoned musician, CMSS takes the time to match you with a teacher who will connect with you while helping you accomplish your personal musical goals. Offering instruction in over 30 instruments and voice, their registration team can help you decide whether to rent or purchase your instrument. Getting started is easy – your future music lesson is a click or a phone call away! More info: www.communitymusicschool.com

The Academy at Charlemont is a community-oriented independent day school for grades 6-PG. 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. Learn more from students and faculty at our Virtual Information Session on Wednesday, February 8, 2023, from 7-8pm, or email admissions@charlemont.org to schedule a campus visit. 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 at charlemont.org

See Your Ad Here

Partner with HIlltown Families!

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: swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org. Have an event, resource, or opportunity you’re ready to promote? Click HERE to submit your information.

2022 Class Directory

Class Directory

Discover virtual & adapted programming in our Class Directory for Western MA

Preschool Directory

Find what you’re looking for in our Preschool & Daycare Directory for Western MA

Read More

Learning ideas, events, and resources for Dec 25-30, 2022

Home

Follow Your Interests!

Self-directed learning through the seasons! Explore your interests through a seasonal lens in Western Massachusetts!
Read More

Kindie musician Suzanne Jamieson delivers holiday cheer with this holiday episode of Hilltown Family Variety Show!

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Kindie musician Suzanne Jamieson delivers holiday cheer with this holiday episode of Hilltown Family Variety Show! Suzanne spins holiday music for families, shares some weird-but-true Christmas trivia, tells a story of why spiders are an important part of a Ukrainian Christmas tree, and more!

Kindie musician Suzanne Jamieson delivers holiday cheer with this holiday episode of Hilltown Family Variety Show! Suzanne spins holiday music for families, shares some weird-but-true Christmas trivia, tells a story of why spiders are an important part of a Ukrainian Christmas tree, and more!

HFVS Holiday Episode
with Guest DJ, Suzanne Jamieson
Listen Now
Read More

Hilltown Families’ list of weekly suggested events includes suggested learning ideas, resources, and fun events for all ages, each week!

Home
It's the last week of 2022, and we have a rich list of events to support learning during winter vacation week in Western MA!

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!

COMMUNITY-BASED EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES

NATURAL HISTORY/ ART STUDIES: Berkshire Museum. 413-443-7171. 39 South St, Pittsfield, MA.

LITERACY: Tilton Library. 413-665-4683. 75 North Main Street. South Deerfield, MA.

FOOD JUSTICE: Abundance Farm. 413-584-3593. 253 Prospect St. Northampton, MA.

AMERICAN HISTORY: Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA.

ANIMAL WELFARE: Equiculture: Alderman Farm. 413-813-2000. 67 Alderman Rd, Chester, MA.

Image Credit: Eric Carle, Illustration for Do Bears Have Mothers Too? by Aileen Fisher. Collection of Eric and Barbara Carle. © 1973 Penguin Random House LLC. 

Bring your art- and book-loving family to The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art over the holidays, December 21-23 & 28-31. The Museum, which is devoted to the art of children’s books, is celebrating its 20th anniversary with three special exhibitions: Eric Carle Book BirthdaysThe Carle Collection: Recent Acquisitions, and Celebrating Collage, A 20th Anniversary Exhibition. In addition to exploring art in the galleries, drop into their art studio to create 3-D sculptures, join in a storytime, and let the kids go on a scavenger hunt throughout the Museum. (Note: The Carle will be closed Jan 1-13 for routine maintenance.) The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is located at 125 W Bay Rd in Amherst, MA. For more info, visit www.carlemuseum.org.

Registration is open for spring semester classes at Holyoke Community College. More than 80 degree and certificate options are available. There is extensive academic and student support, flexible on-campus and online schedules, laptops for loan and WiFi hotspots to borrow, a student food pantry, a student emergency fund, and a drop-in child watch. Adult-focused programs include Pathways, New Directions for Adult Learners, Veterans Services, and college credit for work/life experience. Classes begin January 17. Flexible. Affordable. Holyoke Community College. Email admissions@hcc.edu today.

Inspired academics, gifted teachers, music and art in everyday learning, active land stewardship, and a culture of compassion: this is the Hartsbrook School. Whether exploring the nearby fields and stream or delving into deep inquiry, Hartsbrook students develop foundational learning skills that last a lifetime. Discover how meaningful a school experience can be, and enjoy a vibrant, active parent community. Now accepting applications for 2023-24, pre-K thru high school! For more information, call 413-586-1908 x116 to begin your exploration. Visit the school online at www.hartsbrook.org. Hartsbrook School is located at 193 Bay Road in Hadley, MA.

Collaborating community organizations will host Springfield’s annual citywide Dr. King Day Celebration on Monday, January 16, 2023, from 11am-1pm. This year’s theme, Chasing the Dream, Arriving Together, and Standing in the Light, will engage youth, community leaders, and artists with performances to reflect on the legacy of Dr. King and the struggle for social justice in communities across the country. Held in person at the MassMutual Center, the event is hosted by Martin Luther King Jr Family Services, Community Music School of Springfield, Inclusive Strategies LLC, Springfield College and Focus Springfield, Legacy Sounds, Springfield Cultural Partnership, Focus Springfield, Urban League of Springfield, and Springfield Public Schools.

Students interested in saving time and money can earn three college credits in just 11 days during the Holyoke Community College Wintersession. Wintersession is the perfect opportunity to complete college prerequisites and lighten spring course loads for students who want to earn college credit during the January break. Registration is due by Dec. 28, 2022, for classes that begin on Dec. 29. Holyoke Community College credits are affordable, and you can take your credits with you. (Many of their classes easily transfer to other institutions. Check-in with your receiving college or university for details.) hcc.edu/wintersession

Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School in South Hadley, MA, is committed to supporting the Artist in every student! Students from over 50 towns in Grades 7-12 thrive in an arts-centered, creative, challenging learning environment. No tuition or audition is required. They are now accepting applications for grades 7-11 for the 2023/24 school year at www.pvpa.org/admissions. Application deadline: February 10, 2023. Lottery: February 17, 2023. Limited seats available for the 2nd semester of the 2022/23 school year. Applications will be accepted for Grades 7, 10 & 11 until January 2, 2023. Lottery: January 6, 2023. Students will start by January 31, 2023. Questions? Email admissions@pvpa.org for more info.

FEATURED COUPLES THERAPY
Couples Therapy, Inc.
Cummington, MA

Couples Therapy
Marriage Retreats: In-person & Online

We are living in historically stressful times. Unfortunately, many families and marriages have struggled to navigate these difficult times. But did you know that science-based couples therapy is 70-92% effective for most motivated couplesDaniel Dashnaw is a Marriage and Family therapist AND one of the founders of www.couplestherapyinc.com, the most extensive science-based couples therapy practice in the United States. Daniel has been a Hilltown resident for over 20 years. Couples from around the world visit his secluded sanctuary in the deep woods of Cummington to roll up their sleeves and turn their marriages around. We live in tough times. Intimacy is hard. Can science-based couples therapy help your marriage? Email Daniel at daniel@couplestherapyinc.com to learn more. 

FEATURED EVENT
Hancock Holiday Nights
Hancock Shaker Village

Hancock Holiday Nights are back with more nights, lights, and wonder. Stroll outdoors across the farm at Hancock Shaker Village to view artist Joe Wheaton’s stunning video projections on several historic buildings, including the iconic Round Stone Barn and Brick Dwelling in Pittsfield, MA. Enter the kitchen of the Brick Dwelling and the Round Stone Barn to see stabled farm animals reminiscent of the first Nativity. Shop for holiday gifts, make simple crafts, and gather for festive spirits by the fire. See the season, and Hancock Shaker Village, in a whole new light. Takes place on select evenings throughout December from 5-8pm. Member discounts and free for children five and under. For info and to buy tickets, visit their website.

FEATURED EVENT
Christmas by Candlelight
Old Sturbridge Village

Experience old cherished traditions and create new ones as you celebrate the season during Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village! Explore the beautifully decorated Village, watch a nightly lighting ceremony, stroll through the Christmas Tree Trail and Christmas Wish Bridge, watch demonstrations of classic Christmas projects, visit with Santa, taste samples of sweet treats, enjoy live music and storytelling, and so much more. Visit osv.org to learn more and purchase your tickets in advance.

Give the gift of music this holiday season with a private lesson package from the Berkshire Music School! The Holiday Private Lesson Package includes four 30-minute lessons, free instrument rental, waived membership fee, and a BMS tote bag, all for $154! Your loved ones can enjoy private lessons in-person at Berkshire Music School’s historic campus in Pittsfield or online from the comfort of their home. Berkshire Music School lessons are offered in all band and orchestra instruments, including voice and theory, for students of all levels and ages. For more information on how to register, visit the Berkshire Music School website: www.berkshiremusicschool.org. 
Questions? Call 413-442-1411 or email cpearson@berkshiremusicschool.org 

Make music with the Community Music School of Springfield! CMSS offers high-quality music instruction for students of all ages and levels with flexible scheduling and a choice of online or in-person learning. Whether you’re just starting or are a seasoned musician, CMSS takes the time to match you with a teacher who will connect with you while helping you accomplish your personal musical goals. Offering instruction in over 30 instruments and voice, their registration team can help you decide whether to rent or purchase your instrument. Getting started is easy – your future music lesson is a click or a phone call away! More info: www.communitymusicschool.com

See Your Ad Here

Partner with HIlltown Families!

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: swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org. Have an event, resource, or opportunity you’re ready to promote? Click HERE to submit your information.

2022 Class Directory

Class Directory

Discover virtual & adapted programming in our Class Directory for Western MA

2022 Preschool & Daycare Directory

Preschool Directory

Find what you’re looking for in our Preschool & Daycare Directory for Western MA

Read More

Learning ideas, events, and resources for Dec 17-23, 2022

Home

Follow Your Interests!

Self-directed learning through the seasons! Explore your interests through a seasonal lens in Western Massachusetts!
Read More

In this episode of the Hilltown Family Variety Show, Tom Knight guides listeners through the different seasons of a year, observing and appreciating what each season has to offer.

Home
The theme of the show is the seasons. Here in the northeast, each season is very different. We have leaves changing in the autumn, snow in winter, the new green that happens in the spring, and the warm, fun activities of summer before it starts all over again. In this episode of the Hilltown Family Variety Show, Tom Knight guides listeners through the different seasons of a year, observing and appreciating what each season has to offer.

The theme of the show is the seasons. Here in the northeast, each season is very different. We have leaves changing in the autumn, snow in winter, the new green that happens in the spring, and the warm, fun activities of summer before it starts all over again. In this episode of the Hilltown Family Variety Show, Tom Knight guides listeners through the different seasons of a year, observing and appreciating what each season has to offer.

HFVS Seasons Episode
with Guest DJ, Tom Knight
Listen Now
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The week before Christmas, and all through the house ... holiday events and learning opportunities in Western Massachusetts abound!

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!

COMMUNITY-BASED EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES

NATURAL HISTORY/ ART STUDIES: Berkshire Museum. 413-443-7171. 39 South St, Pittsfield, MA.

LITERACY: Tilton Library. 413-665-4683. 75 North Main Street. South Deerfield, MA.

FOOD JUSTICE: Abundance Farm. 413-584-3593. 253 Prospect St. Northampton, MA.

AMERICAN HISTORY: Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA.

ANIMAL WELFARE: Equiculture: Alderman Farm. 413-813-2000. 67 Alderman Rd, Chester, MA.

The Amherst Business Improvement District is proud to present the first annual Downtown Sip ‘n Shop Stroll on Thursday, December 15 from 5-9pm, sponsored by People Bank! Head downtown to enjoy! Fabulous downtown retail with little “sips” along the way. Five amazing dinner options for a full 3-course meal for $35 with incredible options for smaller bites at our many global dining options throughout our downtown. FREE carriage rides will be happening through town to bring visitors to shops, restaurants, and bars, courtesy of Muddy Brook Farm. A beautifully curated Maker’s market will be happening, too, featuring artisans, crafters, and makers with bar service in the Drake: Live Performance and Music Venue, and more! 

The Eric Carle Museum in Amherst has something for everyone this December! Join author Tiffany Jewell on Saturday, December 17 at 1pm for The Antiracist Kid: A Book Talk. Kids ages 8 to 12 are invited to join a group conversation about racism and injustice and what to do when they encounter it at home, at school, or in the media. Also, on December 17 at 3pm, join the Happier Family Comedy Show in a performance full of high energy and family-friendly funnies. For more information, www.carlemuseum.org.

Registration is open for spring semester classes at Holyoke Community College. More than 80 degree and certificate options are available. There is extensive academic and student support, flexible on-campus and online schedules, laptops for loan and WiFi hotspots to borrow, a student food pantry, a student emergency fund, and a drop-in child watch. Adult-focused programs include Pathways, New Directions for Adult Learners, Veterans Services, and college credit for work/life experience. Classes begin January 17. Flexible. Affordable. Holyoke Community College. Email admissions@hcc.edu today.

The Connecticut Trolley Museum’s Annual Winterfest & the Tunnel of Lights begins Nov 25 and will be held from 5-9pm on Fri-Sun nights through Dec 23. Additionally, the Museum will be open from Dec 26-30. Halls are decked both inside & outside. Trolley cars transport guests down a tunnel of lights as they sing traditional Christmas Carols with their trolley car operators. For an open-air view of the “Tunnel of Lights,” enjoy a sleigh car lit up with holiday lights. The Visitor Center is decorated as a Winter Wonderland with model train layouts & lights galore. Admission: $15-$20. Ticket sales must be made in advance: www.ct-trolley.orgOther events include Picture with Santa on 11/25 & Storytime Trolley with Santa & his Elf on 12/3 & 12/10.

Hancock Holiday Nights are back with more nights, lights, and wonder. Stroll outdoors across the farm at Hancock Shaker Village to view artist Joe Wheaton’s stunning video projections on several historic buildings, including the iconic Round Stone Barn and Brick Dwelling in Pittsfield, MA. Enter the kitchen of the Brick Dwelling and the Round Stone Barn to see stabled farm animals reminiscent of the first Nativity. Shop for holiday gifts, make simple crafts, and gather for festive spirits by the fire. See the season, and Hancock Shaker Village, in a whole new light. Takes place on select evenings throughout December from 5-8pm. Member discounts and free for children five and under. For info and to buy tickets, visit their website.

Experience old cherished traditions and create new ones as you celebrate the season during Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village! Explore the beautifully decorated Village, watch a nightly lighting ceremony, stroll through the Christmas Tree Trail and Christmas Wish Bridge, watch demonstrations of classic Christmas projects, visit with Santa, taste samples of sweet treats, enjoy live music and storytelling, and so much more. Visit osv.org to learn more and purchase your tickets in advance.

The Pioneer Valley Symphony celebrates its annual Holiday Pops family concert tradition on Saturday, December 17, at 4pm at Greenfield High School Auditorium. 150 musicians ages 8-80+ share the stage and lead the audience in fun singalongs of favorite holiday songs, plus a medley of hits from Disney’s Frozen. Kid-friendly activities and concessions will be available at intermission, and audience members are encouraged to wear holiday attire and Frozen costumes! Face masks are required in the auditorium and are optional in the concession area. Tickets: pvsoc.org or 413-773-3664. $25 adult/$20 senior/$5 kids. Free family passes at most local libraries. Free tickets at the box office for EBT and WIC cardholders. 

Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School in South Hadley, MA, is committed to supporting the Artist in every student! Students from over 50 towns in Grades 7-12 thrive in an arts-centered, creative, challenging learning environment. No tuition or audition is required. They are now accepting applications for grades 7-11 for the 2023/24 school year at www.pvpa.org/admissions. Application deadline: February 10, 2023. Lottery: February 17, 2023. Limited seats available for the 2nd semester of the 2022/23 school year. Applications will be accepted for Grades 7, 10 & 11 until January 2, 2023. Lottery: January 6, 2023. Students will start by January 31, 2023. Questions? Email admissions@pvpa.org for more info.

Students interested in saving time and money can earn three college credits in just 11 days during the Holyoke Community College Wintersession. Wintersession is the perfect opportunity to complete college prerequisites and lighten spring course loads for students who want to earn college credit during the January break. Registration is due by Dec. 28, 2022, for classes that begin on Dec. 29. Holyoke Community College credits are affordable, and you can take your credits with you. (Many of their classes easily transfer to other institutions. Check-in with your receiving college or university for details.) hcc.edu/wintersession

FEATURED COUPLES THERAPY
Couples Therapy, Inc.
Cummington, MA

Couples Therapy
Marriage Retreats: In-person & Online

We are living in historically stressful times. Unfortunately, many families and marriages have struggled to navigate these difficult times. But did you know that science-based couples therapy is 70-92% effective for most motivated couplesDaniel Dashnaw is a Marriage and Family therapist AND one of the founders of www.couplestherapyinc.com, the most extensive science-based couples therapy practice in the United States. Daniel has been a Hilltown resident for over 20 years. Couples from around the world visit his secluded sanctuary in the deep woods of Cummington to roll up their sleeves and turn their marriages around. We live in tough times. Intimacy is hard. Can science-based couples therapy help your marriage? Email Daniel at daniel@couplestherapyinc.com to learn more. 

Give the gift of music this holiday season with a private lesson package from the Berkshire Music School! The Holiday Private Lesson Package includes four 30-minute lessons, free instrument rental, waived membership fee, and a BMS tote bag, all for $154! Your loved ones can enjoy private lessons in-person at Berkshire Music School’s historic campus in Pittsfield or online from the comfort of their home. Berkshire Music School lessons are offered in all band and orchestra instruments, including voice and theory, for students of all levels and ages. For more information on how to register, visit the Berkshire Music School website: www.berkshiremusicschool.org. 
Questions? Call 413-442-1411 or email cpearson@berkshiremusicschool.org 

Make music with the Community Music School of Springfield! CMSS offers high-quality music instruction for students of all ages and levels with flexible scheduling and a choice of online or in-person learning. Whether you’re just starting or are a seasoned musician, CMSS takes the time to match you with a teacher who will connect with you while helping you accomplish your personal musical goals. Offering instruction in over 30 instruments and voice, their registration team can help you decide whether to rent or purchase your instrument. Getting started is easy – your future music lesson is a click or a phone call away! More info: www.communitymusicschool.com

See Your Ad Here

Partner with HIlltown Families!

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: swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org. Have an event, resource, or opportunity you’re ready to promote? Click HERE to submit your information.

2022 Class Directory

Class Directory

Discover virtual & adapted programming in our Class Directory for Western MA

2022 Preschool & Daycare Directory

Preschool Directory

Find what you’re looking for in our Preschool & Daycare Directory for Western MA

Read More
Home

Follow Your Interests!

Self-directed learning through the seasons! Explore your interests through a seasonal lens in Western Massachusetts!
Read More

Kelli Welli shares her list of fun songs to help celebrate the various holidays lighting up our lives this season.

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Happy Holidays! Kelli Welli shares her list of fun songs to help celebrate the various holidays lighting up our lives this season. Kelli also shares her wintertime story, "Three Birds with Knobby Knees." Will three hungry and slightly ridiculous birds with knobby knees figure out which way is best—east or west—to find food when food is scarce?

Happy Holidays! Kelli Welli shares her list of fun songs to help celebrate the various holidays lighting up our lives this season. Kelli also shares her wintertime story, “Three Birds with Knobby Knees.” Will three hungry and slightly ridiculous birds with knobby knees figure out which way is best—east or west—to find food when food is scarce?

HFVS Holiday Episode
with Guest DJ, Kelli Welli
Listen Now
Read More
Home
Mid-December in New England is rich in holiday events and cultural heritage learning opportunities. This month, from pastry to language arts, support your interests with community-based education ideas for the whole family!

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!

The Eric Carle Museum in Amherst has something for everyone this December! Join author Corinne Demas on Saturday, December 10 at 11am for a special storytime featuring her new book, The Perfect Tree. Then, join author Tiffany Jewell on Saturday, December 17 at 1pm for The Antiracist Kid: A Book Talk. Kids ages 8 to 12 are invited to join a group conversation about racism and injustice and what to do when they encounter it at home, at school, or in the media. Also, on December 17 at 3pm, join the Happier Family Comedy Show in a performance full of high energy and family-friendly funnies. For more information, www.carlemuseum.org.

Award-winning touring troupe Piti Theatre Company & Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association bring the 6th annual Great Greenfield DinoFest back to town on December 10 & 11. Blending science, arts, and history, DinoFest 2022 features Piti’s local history-inspired movie “Night at the Deerfield Museum,” fossils with experts, a webinar by a budding 10-year-old paleontologistDino Improv, and a preview of Piti Theatre’s next improv-based show “Once Upon a . . . Dino.” Events kick off at 11am at the Garden Cinema in Greenfield, MA. Admission is free. More at ptco.org/dino. Questions: info@ptco.org 

The Amherst Business Improvement District is proud to present the first annual Downtown Sip ‘n Shop Stroll on Thursday, December 15 from 5-9pm, sponsored by People Bank! Head downtown to enjoy! Fabulous downtown retail with little “sips” along the way. Five amazing dinner options for a full 3-course meal for $35 with incredible options for smaller bites at our many global dining options throughout our downtown. FREE carriage rides will be happening through town to bring visitors to shops, restaurants, and bars, courtesy of Muddy Brook Farm. A beautifully curated Maker’s market will be happening, too, featuring artisans, crafters, and makers with bar service in the Drake: Live Performance and Music Venue, and more! 

Smith Vocational High School in Northampton offers a FREE training program in Culinary Arts to prepare students over 18yo to work in the restaurant industry as entry-level prep cooks or line cooks. Students will also complete a 40-hour paid externship. Possible employment opportunities will exist in area restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes, and other environments where food prep is required. To qualify, students must be unemployed/underemployed, complete all required documentation with Smith Voc Career Center, pass a CORI/SORI test, and be a resident of Western MA. Classes begin January 17 & end June 13, 2023. Open house December 14 from 4-5:30pm. Contact Lorena Turner, Adult Ed Director, for more info 413-587-1414 x3530.

Registration is open for spring semester classes at Holyoke Community College. More than 80 degree and certificate options are available. There is extensive academic and student support, flexible on-campus and online schedules, laptops for loan and WiFi hotspots to borrow, a student food pantry, a student emergency fund, and a drop-in child watch. Adult-focused programs include Pathways, New Directions for Adult Learners, Veterans Services, and college credit for work/life experience. Classes begin January 17. Flexible. Affordable. Holyoke Community College. Email admissions@hcc.edu today.

Experience old cherished traditions and create new ones as you celebrate the season during Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village! Explore the beautifully decorated Village, watch a nightly lighting ceremony, stroll through the Christmas Tree Trail and Christmas Wish Bridge, watch demonstrations of classic Christmas projects, visit with Santa, taste samples of sweet treats, enjoy live music and storytelling, and so much more. Visit osv.org to learn more and purchase your tickets in advance.

Hancock Holiday Nights are back with more nights, lights, and wonder. Stroll outdoors across the farm at Hancock Shaker Village to view artist Joe Wheaton’s stunning video projections on several historic buildings, including the iconic Round Stone Barn and Brick Dwelling in Pittsfield, MA. Enter the kitchen of the Brick Dwelling and the Round Stone Barn to see stabled farm animals reminiscent of the first Nativity. Shop for holiday gifts, make simple crafts, and gather for festive spirits by the fire. See the season, and Hancock Shaker Village, in a whole new light. Takes place on select evenings throughout December from 5-8pm. Member discounts and free for children five and under. For info and to buy tickets, visit their website.

Welcome Yule, an annual Mid Winter Celebration takes place at Shea Theater Arts Center in Turners Falls on Dec 9-10 at 7:30pm & Dec 11 at 2pm. This year, Welcome Yule will weave in English, Scottish and Celtic traditions of Yule, Hogmanay, and Imbolc, with Brigid, who raises the fallen Winter and brings forth new life in Spring. Share in the magic of the ancient, eerie Abbots Bromley horn dance, giant puppetry, and the passing of the Yule log. Tickets on sale at the door, at sheatheater.org, World Eye Bookshop in Greenfield, Broadside Books in Northampton, and Amherst Books in Amherst. Adults (17-64): $15, Seniors (65+) & children (5-16): $12, Children under 5: FREE. Thank you for wearing a mask! Learn more: https://linktr.ee/welcomeyule

Celebrating its 50th year, Pioneer Valley Ballet presents The Nutcracker, an annual favorite at The Academy of Music in Northampton. Each year, PVB’s Nutcracker is reinvented by Artistic Directors Maryanne Kodzis and Thomas Vacanti, celebrating the history of the company and the tradition of Clara’s magical story. In addition to PVB dancers and local community members, this year’s performance will feature guest artists from Carolina Ballet for the first time since 2019. Join them as they celebrate 50 years of Pioneer Valley Ballet! On Friday, December 9, there will be a Sensory Safe performance at 4pm and PVB’s 50th Anniversary Performance at 6:30pm. Weekend Performances December 10 & 11 at 1pm & 4:30pm Purchase tickets at aomtheatre.com

The Pioneer Valley Symphony celebrates its annual Holiday Pops family concert tradition on Saturday, December 17, at 4pm at Greenfield High School Auditorium. 150 musicians ages 8-80+ share the stage and lead the audience in fun singalongs of favorite holiday songs, plus a medley of hits from Disney’s Frozen. Kid-friendly activities and concessions will be available at intermission, and audience members are encouraged to wear holiday attire and Frozen costumes! Face masks are required in the auditorium and are optional in the concession area. Tickets: pvsoc.org or 413-773-3664. $25 adult/$20 senior/$5 kids. Free family passes at most local libraries. Free tickets at the box office for EBT and WIC cardholders. 

Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School in South Hadley, MA, is committed to supporting the Artist in every student! Students from over 50 towns in Grades 7-12 thrive in an arts-centered, creative, challenging learning environment. No tuition or audition is required. They are now accepting applications for grades 7-11 for the 2023/24 school year at www.pvpa.org/admissions. Application deadline: February 10, 2023. Lottery: February 17, 2023. Limited seats available for the 2nd semester of the 2022/23 school year. Applications will be accepted for Grades 7, 10 & 11 until January 2, 2023. Lottery: January 6, 2023. Students will start by January 31, 2023. Questions? Email admissions@pvpa.org for more info.

Students interested in saving time and money can earn three college credits in just 11 days during the Holyoke Community College Wintersession. Wintersession is the perfect opportunity to complete college prerequisites and lighten spring course loads for students who want to earn college credit during the January break. Registration is due by Dec. 28, 2022, for classes that begin on Dec. 29. Holyoke Community College credits are affordable, and you can take your credits with you. (Many of their classes easily transfer to other institutions. Check-in with your receiving college or university for details.) hcc.edu/wintersession

Give the gift of music this holiday season with a private lesson package from the Berkshire Music School! The Holiday Private Lesson Package includes four 30-minute lessons, free instrument rental, waived membership fee, and a BMS tote bag, all for $154! Your loved ones can enjoy private lessons in-person at Berkshire Music School’s historic campus in Pittsfield or online from the comfort of their home. Berkshire Music School lessons are offered in all band and orchestra instruments, including voice and theory, for students of all levels and ages. For more information on how to register, visit the Berkshire Music School website: www.berkshiremusicschool.org. 
Questions? Call 413-442-1411 or email cpearson@berkshiremusicschool.org 

Make music with the Community Music School of Springfield! CMSS offers high-quality music instruction for students of all ages and levels with flexible scheduling and a choice of online or in-person learning. Whether you’re just starting or are a seasoned musician, CMSS takes the time to match you with a teacher who will connect with you while helping you accomplish your personal musical goals. Offering instruction in over 30 instruments and voice, their registration team can help you decide whether to rent or purchase your instrument. Getting started is easy – your future music lesson is a click or a phone call away! More info: www.communitymusicschool.com

FEATURED COUPLES THERAPY
Couples Therapy, Inc.
Cummington, MA

Couples Therapy
Marriage Retreats: In-person & Online

We are living in historically stressful times. Unfortunately, many families and marriages have struggled to navigate these difficult times. But did you know that science-based couples therapy is 70-92% effective for most motivated couplesDaniel Dashnaw is a Marriage and Family therapist AND one of the founders of www.couplestherapyinc.com, the most extensive science-based couples therapy practice in the United States. Daniel has been a Hilltown resident for over 20 years. Couples from around the world visit his secluded sanctuary in the deep woods of Cummington to roll up their sleeves and turn their marriages around. We live in tough times. Intimacy is hard. Can science-based couples therapy help your marriage? Email Daniel at daniel@couplestherapyinc.com to learn more. 

See Your Ad Here

Partner with HIlltown Families!

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: swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org. Have an event, resource, or opportunity you’re ready to promote? Click HERE to submit your information.

2022 Class Directory

Class Directory

Discover virtual & adapted programming in our Class Directory for Western MA

2022 Preschool & Daycare Directory

Preschool Directory

Find what you’re looking for in our Preschool & Daycare Directory for Western MA

Read More
Home

Follow Your Interests!

Self-directed learning through the seasons! Explore your interests through a seasonal lens in Western Massachusetts!
Read More
Home
Join award-winning children's recording artist Lindsay Munroe as she guest DJ's the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Join award-winning children’s recording artist Lindsay Munroe as she guest DJ’s the Hilltown Family Variety Show. She’ll play her favorite songs from childhood that influenced her songwriting and shaped her love of music. She will also share her favorite kindie performers making music for kids’ families today! It’s sure to be a great show full of kindness, love, and music.

HFVS with Guest DJ, Lindsay Munroe
Listen Now
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Home
Smart community events are featured for the first week of December to support interests, education, and community engagement throughout western MA!

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!

The Connecticut Trolley Museum’s Annual Winterfest & the Tunnel of Lights begins Nov 25 and will be held from 5-9pm on Fri-Sun nights through Dec 23. Additionally, the Museum will be open from Dec 26-30. Halls are decked both inside & outside. Trolley cars transport guests down a tunnel of lights as they sing traditional Christmas Carols with their trolley car operators. For an open-air view of the “Tunnel of Lights,” enjoy a sleigh car lit up with holiday lights. The Visitor Center is decorated as a Winter Wonderland with model train layouts & lights galore. Admission: $15-$20. Ticket sales must be made in advance: www.ct-trolley.orgOther events include Picture with Santa on 11/25 & Storytime Trolley with Santa & his Elf on 12/3 & 12/10.

On ThursdayDecember 8 at 9:30am, the Smith College Museum of Art, partnering with Northampton Public School’s Early Childhood Center, is pleased to offer this second in a series of thematic stroller tours. The December 8 Stroller Tour theme is LIGHT. This event, for caregivers with infants in tow, is designed to connect caregivers and build community through art. Register here: https://bit.ly/3haOmnq. Drop-ins welcomeSmith College Museum of Art. 413-585-2760. 20 Elm Street at Bedford Terrace. Northampton, MA. [Image: James Wells Champney, Boon Companions (detail), 1879. Painting.]

Award-winning touring troupe Piti Theatre Company & Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association bring the 6th annual Great Greenfield DinoFest back to town on December 10 & 11. Blending science, arts, and history, DinoFest 2022 features Piti’s local history-inspired movie “Night at the Deerfield Museum,” fossils with experts, a webinar by a budding 10-year-old paleontologistDino Improv, and a preview of Piti Theatre’s next improv-based show “Once Upon a . . . Dino.” Events kick off at 11am at the Garden Cinema in Greenfield, MA. Admission is free. More at ptco.org/dino. Questions: info@ptco.org 

Smith Vocational High School in Northampton offers a FREE training program in Culinary Arts to prepare students over 18yo to work in the restaurant industry as entry-level prep cooks or line cooks. Students will also complete a 40-hour paid externship. Possible employment opportunities will exist in area restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes, and other environments where food prep is required. To qualify, students must be unemployed/underemployed, complete all required documentation with Smith Voc Career Center, pass a CORI/SORI test, and be a resident of Western MA. Classes begin January 17 & end June 13, 2023. Open house December 14 from 4-5:30pm. Contact Lorena Turner, Adult Ed Director, for more info 413-587-1414 x3530.

Hancock Holiday Nights are back with more nights, lights, and wonder. Stroll outdoors across the farm at Hancock Shaker Village to view artist Joe Wheaton’s stunning video projections on several historic buildings, including the iconic Round Stone Barn and Brick Dwelling in Pittsfield, MA. Enter the kitchen of the Brick Dwelling and the Round Stone Barn to see stabled farm animals reminiscent of the first Nativity. Shop for holiday gifts, make simple crafts, and gather for festive spirits by the fire. See the season, and Hancock Shaker Village, in a whole new light. Takes place on select evenings throughout December from 5-8pm. Member discounts and free for children five and under. For info and to buy tickets, visit their website.

Experience old cherished traditions and create new ones as you celebrate the season during Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village! Explore the beautifully decorated Village, watch a nightly lighting ceremony, stroll through the Christmas Tree Trail and Christmas Wish Bridge, watch demonstrations of classic Christmas projects, visit with Santa, taste samples of sweet treats, enjoy live music and storytelling, and so much more. Visit osv.org to learn more and purchase your tickets in advance.

The Academy at Charlemont is a community-oriented independent day school for grades 6-PG. 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, December 4th, 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?
Preregister for their Open House online:  www.charlemont.org/open-houses-2022

Welcome Yule, an annual Mid Winter Celebration takes place at Shea Theater Arts Center in Turners Falls on Dec 9-10 at 7:30pm & Dec 11 at 2pm. This year, Welcome Yule will weave in English, Scottish and Celtic traditions of Yule, Hogmanay, and Imbolc, with Brigid, who raises the fallen Winter and brings forth new life in Spring. Share in the magic of the ancient, eerie Abbots Bromley horn dance, giant puppetry, and the passing of the Yule log. Tickets on sale at the door, at sheatheater.org, World Eye Bookshop in Greenfield, Broadside Books in Northampton, and Amherst Books in Amherst. Adults (17-64): $15, Seniors (65+) & children (5-16): $12, Children under 5: FREE. Thank you for wearing a mask! Learn more: https://linktr.ee/welcomeyule

Celebrating its 50th year, Pioneer Valley Ballet presents The Nutcracker, an annual favorite at The Academy of Music in Northampton. Each year, PVB’s Nutcracker is reinvented by Artistic Directors Maryanne Kodzis and Thomas Vacanti, celebrating the history of the company and the tradition of Clara’s magical story. In addition to PVB dancers and local community members, this year’s performance will feature guest artists from Carolina Ballet for the first time since 2019. Join them as they celebrate 50 years of Pioneer Valley Ballet! On Friday, December 9, there will be a Sensory Safe performance at 4pm and PVB’s 50th Anniversary Performance at 6:30pm. Weekend Performances December 10 & 11 at 1pm & 4:30pm Purchase tickets at aomtheatre.com

Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School in South Hadley, MA, is committed to supporting the Artist in every student! Students from over 50 towns in Grades 7-12 thrive in an arts-centered, creative, challenging learning environment. No tuition or audition is required. They are now accepting applications for grades 7-11 for the 2023/24 school year at www.pvpa.org/admissions. Application deadline: February 10, 2023. Lottery: February 17, 2023. Limited seats available for the 2nd semester of the 2022/23 school year. Applications will be accepted for Grades 7, 10 & 11 until January 2, 2023. Lottery: January 6, 2023. Students will start by January 31, 2023. Questions? Email admissions@pvpa.org for more info.

Students interested in saving time and money can earn three college credits in just 11 days during the Holyoke Community College Wintersession. Wintersession is the perfect opportunity to complete college prerequisites and lighten spring course loads for students who want to earn college credit during the January break. Registration is due by Dec. 28, 2022, for classes that begin on Dec. 29. Holyoke Community College credits are affordable, and you can take your credits with you. (Many of their classes easily transfer to other institutions. Check-in with your receiving college or university for details.) hcc.edu/wintersession

Make music with the Community Music School of Springfield! CMSS offers high-quality music instruction for students of all ages and levels with flexible scheduling and a choice of online or in-person learning. Whether you’re just starting or are a seasoned musician, CMSS takes the time to match you with a teacher who will connect with you while helping you accomplish your personal musical goals. Offering instruction in over 30 instruments and voice, their registration team can help you decide whether to rent or purchase your instrument. Getting started is easy – your future music lesson is a click or a phone call away! More info: www.communitymusicschool.com

Give the gift of music this holiday season with a private lesson package from the Berkshire Music School! The Holiday Private Lesson Package includes four 30-minute lessons, free instrument rental, waived membership fee, and a BMS tote bag, all for $154! Your loved ones can enjoy private lessons in-person at Berkshire Music School’s historic campus in Pittsfield or online from the comfort of their home. Berkshire Music School lessons are offered in all band and orchestra instruments, including voice and theory, for students of all levels and ages. For more information on how to register, visit the Berkshire Music School website: www.berkshiremusicschool.org. 
Questions? Call 413-442-1411 or email cpearson@berkshiremusicschool.org 

FEATURED COUPLES THERAPY
Couples Therapy, Inc.
Cummington, MA

Couples Therapy
Marriage Retreats: In-person & Online

We are living in historically stressful times. Unfortunately, many families and marriages have struggled to navigate these difficult times. But did you know that science-based couples therapy is 70-92% effective for most motivated couplesDaniel Dashnaw is a Marriage and Family therapist AND one of the founders of www.couplestherapyinc.com, the most extensive science-based couples therapy practice in the United States. Daniel has been a Hilltown resident for over 20 years. Couples from around the world visit his secluded sanctuary in the deep woods of Cummington to roll up their sleeves and turn their marriages around. We live in tough times. Intimacy is hard. Can science-based couples therapy help your marriage? Email Daniel at daniel@couplestherapyinc.com to learn more. 

See Your Ad Here

Partner with HIlltown Families!

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: swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org. Have an event, resource, or opportunity you’re ready to promote? Click HERE to submit your information.

2022 Class Directory

Class Directory

Discover virtual & adapted programming in our Class Directory for Western MA

2022 Preschool & Daycare Directory

Preschool Directory

Find what you’re looking for in our Preschool & Daycare Directory for Western MA

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Follow Your Interests!

Self-directed learning through the seasons! Explore your interests through a seasonal lens in Western Massachusetts!
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Award-winning musician and long-time friend of HFVS, Steve Weeks, is our Guest DJ this week! Join him in his woodshop as he works on his bike and shares a few family-friendly tunes.

Award-winning musician and long-time friend of HFVS, Steve Weeks, is our Guest DJ this week! Join him in his woodshop as he works on his bike and shares a few family-friendly tunes.

HFVS Fall Bike Tune Up Episode
w/Guest DJ, Steve Weeks
Listen Now
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The last weekend of November is full of community-based learning opportunities and family events for holiday fun + memories.

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!

The Connecticut Trolley Museum’s Annual Winterfest & the Tunnel of Lights begins Nov 25 and will be held from 5-9pm on Fri-Sun nights through Dec 23. Additionally, the Museum will be open from Dec 26-30. Halls are decked both inside & outside. Trolley cars transport guests down a tunnel of lights as they sing traditional Christmas Carols with their trolley car operators. For an open-air view of the “Tunnel of Lights,” enjoy a sleigh car lit up with holiday lights. The Visitor Center is decorated as a Winter Wonderland with model train layouts & lights galore. Admission: $15-$20. Ticket sales must be made in advance: www.ct-trolley.orgOther events include Picture with Santa on 11/25 & Storytime Trolley with Santa & his Elf on 12/3 & 12/10.

It’s that time of year again! Join Hilltown Land Trust for the 18th annual Gorge après Gorge 5k Trail Run and Free Family Fun Walk on Sunday, November 27, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, at the Chesterfield Gorge in West Chesterfield. Runners & walkers use a well-marked course with a beautiful view of the Westfield River. Hot beverages round off this event, which awards handmade hats to the winners & a locally baked cookie medal to all race participants. Family Fun Walk begins at 9:30am (Suggested donation: $15). 5k Trail Run begins at 10:30am [$25 ($30 day of)]. Discounts are available for Hilltown Land Trust members, Trustees members, and families! Free for runners under 10. Learn more & register:  www.hilltownlandtrust.org/gorge-apres-gorge

On ThursdayDecember 8 at 9:30am, the Smith College Museum of Art, partnering with Northampton Public School’s Early Childhood Center, is pleased to offer this second in a series of thematic stroller tours. The December 8 Stroller Tour theme is LIGHT. This event, for caregivers with infants in tow, is designed to connect caregivers and build community through art. Register here: https://bit.ly/3haOmnq. Drop-ins welcomeSmith College Museum of Art. 413-585-2760. 20 Elm Street at Bedford Terrace. Northampton, MA. [Image: James Wells Champney, Boon Companions (detail), 1879. Painting.]

Valley Playwright Mentoring

Valley Playwright Mentoring is an afterschool theatre program for teens ages 13 & up. Starting with improv games and moving on to story prompts and devised theatre techniques, teens develop a repertoire of scenes based on stories from their lives and then decide which ones to make into their own show! Remote and in-person options. No previous theatre experience is required. Participants create a performance or podcasts based on stories from their lives and share them with the community. Listen to actors talk about their experiences and hear their podcasts at ptco.org/vpmTeens who complete the program receive a $200 stipend. Space is limited to 12 participants per group. Questions? Email Jonathan at jonathan@ptco.org or call 508-439-2069.

Experience old cherished traditions and create new ones as you celebrate the season during Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village! Explore the beautifully decorated Village, watch a nightly lighting ceremony, stroll through the Christmas Tree Trail and Christmas Wish Bridge, watch demonstrations of classic Christmas projects, visit with Santa, taste samples of sweet treats, enjoy live music and storytelling, and so much more. Visit osv.org to learn more and purchase your tickets in advance.

Hancock Holiday Nights are back with more nights, lights, and wonder. Stroll outdoors across the farm at Hancock Shaker Village to view artist Joe Wheaton’s stunning video projections on several historic buildings, including the iconic Round Stone Barn and Brick Dwelling in Pittsfield, MA. Enter the kitchen of the Brick Dwelling and the Round Stone Barn to see stabled farm animals reminiscent of the first Nativity. Shop for holiday gifts, make simple crafts, and gather for festive spirits by the fire. See the season, and Hancock Shaker Village, in a whole new light. Takes place on select evenings throughout December from 5-8pm. Member discounts and free for children five and under. For info and to buy tickets, visit their website.

The Academy at Charlemont is a community-oriented independent day school for grades 6-PG. 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, December 4th, 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?
Preregister for their Open House online:  www.charlemont.org/open-houses-2022

Celebrating its 50th year, Pioneer Valley Ballet presents The Nutcracker, an annual favorite at The Academy of Music in Northampton. Each year, PVB’s Nutcracker is reinvented by Artistic Directors Maryanne Kodzis and Thomas Vacanti, celebrating the history of the company and the tradition of Clara’s magical story. In addition to PVB dancers and local community members, this year’s performance will feature guest artists from Carolina Ballet for the first time since 2019. Join them as they celebrate 50 years of Pioneer Valley Ballet! On Friday, December 9, there will be a Sensory Safe performance at 4pm and PVB’s 50th Anniversary Performance at 6:30pm. Weekend Performances December 10 & 11 at 1pm & 4:30pm Purchase tickets at aomtheatre.com

Students interested in saving time and money can earn three college credits in just 11 days during the Holyoke Community College Wintersession. Wintersession is the perfect opportunity to complete college prerequisites and lighten spring course loads for students who want to earn college credit during the January break. Registration is due by Dec. 28, 2022, for classes that begin on Dec. 29. Holyoke Community College credits are affordable, and you can take your credits with you. (Many of their classes easily transfer to other institutions. Check-in with your receiving college or university for details.) hcc.edu/wintersession

FEATURED COUPLES THERAPY
Couples Therapy, Inc.
Cummington, MA

Couples Therapy
Marriage Retreats: In-person & Online

We are living in historically stressful times. Unfortunately, many families and marriages have struggled to navigate these difficult times. But did you know that science-based couples therapy is 70-92% effective for most motivated couplesDaniel Dashnaw is a Marriage and Family therapist AND one of the founders of www.couplestherapyinc.com, the most extensive science-based couples therapy practice in the United States. Daniel has been a Hilltown resident for over 20 years. Couples from around the world visit his secluded sanctuary in the deep woods of Cummington to roll up their sleeves and turn their marriages around. We live in tough times. Intimacy is hard. Can science-based couples therapy help your marriage? Email Daniel at daniel@couplestherapyinc.com to learn more. 

See Your Ad Here

Partner with HIlltown Families!

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: swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org. Have an event, resource, or opportunity you’re ready to promote? Click HERE to submit your information.

2022 Class Directory

Class Directory

Discover virtual & adapted programming in our Class Directory for Western MA

2022 Preschool & Daycare Directory

Preschool Directory

Find what you’re looking for in our Preschool & Daycare Directory for Western MA

Read More
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