Home < Weekly Suggested Events < Self-Directed Learning Ideas

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Home > Hilltown Family Variety Show > Love Activist Episode

Logo for Hilltown Family Variety Show

What does it mean to be a Love Activist? Charity Kahn from Charity and the JAMband takes listeners on a musical and philosophical journey examining how we all, whether young or old, can use our love, kindness, time, resources and gifts to bring positive change to the world.

HFVS Love Activist Episode with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn
Listen Now
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Home < Weekly Suggested Events < February 13-19, 2021

Are you looking for things to do in western Massachusetts? Seeking curriculum ideas for remote learning or homeschooling? 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 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!

2021 Amherst Winterfest
20% Off K-12 Homeschool Curriculum: Feb 14-28

This February, bring love into your learning! Take 20% off all items in Oak Meadow’s bookstore from February 14-28. Oak Meadow’s K-12 homeschooling curriculum provides a comprehensive educational experience, delivered with imagination and heart. The curriculum includes weekly lesson plans for a full year and can be customized to meet your student’s needs and interests. Purchase complete curriculum packages for K-8 or individuals courses for high school, purchase craft supplies, homeschooling resources, books, and more. Shop February 14-28 at oakmeadowbookstore.com

Hartsbrook Farm Camp: Outdoor Program

Hartsbrook Farm Camp in Hadley, MA. Spend the summer safely and joyfully outside! For almost two decades, children have loved 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. After this year of uncertainty, children need nature more than ever. 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. This year, spend some time on the farm! (For everyone’s safety, clear COVID protocols will be in place.) Dates: June 28 – July 30, 2021; Age Range of Participants: 4-11yo. Contact: 413-586-1908 ♦ farmcamp@hartsbrook.orgwww.hartsbrook.org

2021 Amherst Winterfest
Programming on Demand and Summer Camp Classes at the Springfield Museums!

Programming on Demand at the Springfield Museums is a new way to experience the Springfield Museums. Programming on Demand, or PODs, are field trips for families, friends, and small groups. Customize a field trip to the Museums for your group of five to 30 people (divided into smaller groups of 10). Children & adults will participate in up to three hour-long curriculum-based school programs. Mix and match science, art, history, and Seuss! Summer camp classes at the Museums will include art, nature, and space explorations for children 5 -12yo. Teens will enjoy drawing, painting, and printmaking. July 12-16; July 19-23; July 26-30. All experiences require a mask & social distancing. Classes will be kept small. For more info, call 413-314-6477.

Sponsorship image for Bement School
Virtual Tours on February 11, 16 & 23

FEATURED SCHOOL
The Bement School

Join The Bement School admission office for a LIVE virtual campus tour this month! While they wish they could invite visitors to tour in person, they hope these LIVE virtual tours will allow visitors to learn a bit more about Bement and see their students and faculty engaged in-person this year. Throughout February, they are offering one hour campus tours and Q&A sessions. Registration is required. Visitors will receive a Zoom invitation. They are accepting applications for fall 2021. Contact the admission office at admit@bement.org with questions or to register for one of their virtual tours.

Photograph of teacher with three teenage students smiling for the camera.
Daycare & Preschool for ages 3mo-12yrs

FEATURED SCHOOL
Amherst Montessori School

Amherst Montessori School in Amherst, MA, 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. AMS offers Spanish language learning in the Children’s House level for ages 3 through 6 (preschool-K). 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. Daycare & Preschool ♦ Ages 3mo-12yrs. For more information: sthompson@amherstmontessori.org; 413-253-3101; amherstmontessori.org.

Natural History: The Ultimate Visual Guide to Everything on Earth
Naturally Curious : A Photographic Field Guide and Month-By-Month Journey Through the Fields, Woods, and Marshes of New England
Partner with HIlltown Families!

SEE YOUR AD HERE

Partner with Hilltown Families in your online advertising! Delivering your message each week to over 25,000 subscribers, web visitors, and social media followers, Hilltown Families can bring your message to thousands of readers in Western MA who are committed to their community and willing to support one another in times of need. In-person and virtual event organizers, local and online businesses, virtual and local service providers, non-profit organizations, and individuals are encouraged to reach out to find out about our affordable advertising options and marketing packages. To find out how we can partner together in your online marketing and outreach, contact Sienna at swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org.

Class Directory

Class Directory

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

Preschool & Daycare Directory

Preschool Directory

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

Read More

Hilltown Families > Nature-Based Education > Native Species > Birds > Great Backyard Bird Count

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Native species are nature-based resources accessible to everyone, especially birds! Because they are so accessible, of all native animal species active during the winter, they are perhaps the most easily spotted in the snowy landscape of New England. Our fine feathered friends flock to feeders, leave tracks in fresh snow, and flit around in trees and bushes of backyards everywhere. And they are super delightful for supporting nature-based learning!

Let your interests in ornithology, local habitat, conservation, and citizen science take flight this year by participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count!

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Home > Weekly Suggested Events > Self-Directed Learning Ideas

Follow Your Interests!

Hilltown Families > Hilltown Families Presents > Tom Knight Show > Library Boogie

Hilltown Families and western Massachusetts musician/artist, Tom Knight, have partnered up to offer a series of singing puppet shows for families at home, featuring puppets, songs, and dancing for all ages. In this episode of Hilltown Families Presents…, “The Tom Knight Show: The Library Boogie!,” Tom goes to the library at night, and all the books come out to dance!

Thanks to the Buckland Public Library for hosting the video shoot and “Mr. Dave” Herrera for help with puppets and camerawork. “The Librarian” and production assistant: FJ Herrera


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Home < Weekly Suggested Events

Are you looking for things to do in western Massachusetts? Seeking curriculum ideas for remote learning or homeschooling? 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 online & in person 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!

2021 Amherst Winterfest
Ice Sculptures on the Common! A Drive-Through Experience: Feb 5 & 6 from 5-7pm

WinterFest Amherst 2021: Amherst Recreation, The Business Improvement District, and The Amherst Area Chamber presents Ice Sculptures on the Common! A Drive-Through Experienceon February 5 & 6 from 5-7pm. Welcome one and all to Winterfest 2021! This fantastical event will feature at least 11 life-sized animal ice sculptures displayed on the Amherst Common. Your favorite Winterfest mascot, Flakey, along with mascots from our local colleges and businesses, will join this event in waving to passers-by. Please DRIVE by and celebrate this amazing event! Ice Sculptures on the Common! A Drive-Through Experience takes place on the Amherst Town Common

2021 Amherst Winterfest
20% Off K-12 Homeschool Curriculum: Feb 14-28

This February, bring love into your learning! Take 20% off all items in Oak Meadow’s bookstore from February 14-28. Oak Meadow’s K-12 homeschooling curriculum provides a comprehensive educational experience, delivered with imagination and heart. The curriculum includes weekly lesson plans for a full year and can be customized to meet your student’s needs and interests. Purchase complete curriculum packages for K-8 or individuals courses for high school, purchase craft supplies, homeschooling resources, books, and more. Shop February 14-28 at oakmeadowbookstore.com

Hartsbrook Farm Camp: Outdoor Program

Hartsbrook Farm Camp in Hadley, MA. Spend the summer safely and joyfully outside! For almost two decades, children have loved 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. After this year of uncertainty, children need nature more than ever. 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. This year, spend some time on the farm! (For everyone’s safety, clear COVID protocols will be in place.) Dates: June 28 – July 30, 2021; Age Range of Participants: 4-11yo. Contact: 413-586-1908 ♦ farmcamp@hartsbrook.orgwww.hartsbrook.org

2021 Amherst Winterfest
Programming on Demand and Summer Camp Classes at the Springfield Museums!

Programming on Demand at the Springfield Museums is a new way to experience the Springfield Museums. Programming on Demand, or PODs, are field trips for families, friends, and small groups. Customize a field trip to the Museums for your group of five to 30 people (divided into smaller groups of 10). Children & adults will participate in up to three hour-long curriculum-based school programs. Mix and match science, art, history, and Seuss! Summer camp classes at the Museums will include art, nature, and space explorations for children 5 -12yo. Teens will enjoy drawing, painting, and printmaking. July 12-16; July 19-23; July 26-30. All experiences require a mask & social distancing. Classes will be kept small. For more info, call 413-314-6477.

Sponsorship image for Bement School
Virtual Tours on February 11, 16 & 23

FEATURED SCHOOL
The Bement School

Join The Bement School admission office for a LIVE virtual campus tour this month! While they wish they could invite visitors to tour in person, they hope these LIVE virtual tours will allow visitors to learn a bit more about Bement and see their students and faculty engaged in-person this year. Throughout February, they are offering one hour campus tours and Q&A sessions. Registration is required. Visitors will receive a Zoom invitation. They are accepting applications for fall 2021. Contact the admission office at admit@bement.org with questions or to register for one of their virtual tours.

Photograph of teacher with three teenage students smiling for the camera.
Virtual Open House on Saturday, Feb 6 @ 10am

FEATURED SCHOOL
Four Rivers Charter Public School

Four Rivers Charter Public School in Greenfield, MA, is accepting applications for Fall 2021. Prospective families can attend a Virtual Open House this Saturday, February 6 at 10am. Four 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 & Zoom link, visit FourRiversCharter.org.

Photograph of teacher with three teenage students smiling for the camera.
Daycare & Preschool for ages 3mo-12yrs

FEATURED SCHOOL
Amherst Montessori School

Amherst Montessori School in Amherst, MA, 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. AMS offers Spanish language learning in the Children’s House level for ages 3 through 6 (preschool-K). 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. Daycare & Preschool ♦ Ages 3mo-12yrs. For more information: sthompson@amherstmontessori.org; 413-253-3101; amherstmontessori.org.

Partner with HIlltown Families!

SEE YOUR AD HERE

Partner with Hilltown Families in your online advertising! Delivering your message each week to over 25,000 subscribers, web visitors, and social media followers, Hilltown Families can bring your message to thousands of readers in Western MA who are committed to their community and willing to support one another in times of need. In-person and virtual event organizers, local and online businesses, virtual and local service providers, non-profit organizations, and individuals are encouraged to reach out to find out about our affordable advertising options and marketing packages. To find out how we can partner together in your online marketing and outreach, contact Sienna at swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org.

Class Directory

Class Directory

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

Preschool & Daycare Directory

Preschool Directory

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

Read More

Hilltown Families > Reading Lists > Literary Guide > Kindness

Using Valentine’s Day as a catalyst, explore themes of kindness our Kindness Literary Book Guide. Kindness comes in many forms and can be rewarding in many ways. Most of all, it has an incredibly positive impact on those around you. Exploring titles with a theme of kindness presents opportunities to learn about and discuss ways to show kindness to people, animals, the earth, and ourselves. Check out the titles we’re featuring and download your free guide.

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Hilltown Families > Reading Lists > Open Sesame: Kid Lit Musings & Reviews

A Dozen By Demi: Books to Celebrate Chinese New Year

With over 140 children’s books published to her name, the author/illustrator known simply as Demi has given readers dozens of stories to savor over the years. From the many picture book biographies she has created to the retellings of different cultural folktales, Demi provides a visual feast every time. Her authentic and original work shows reverence toward her material and strives to uncover universal truths in both stories and pictures. Her books are not only good reads but also leave you with something to ponder.

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Hilltown Families > Creative-Free Play > Games > Board Games

<a href="https://hilltownfamilies.org/tag/board-games/?v=7516fd43adaa"><img loading=
Photo credit: (cc) Trina Alexander

From classics to original creations, board games have much to offer regarding learning. Almost any game will encourage the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and specific games help players to hone in on particular skills or topics. By exploring local resources for playing games, creating new games, and digging into the history of games, families can maximize the educational potential of a great family pastime!

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Hilltown Families > Nature-Based Education > Native Species > Birds > National Bird Feeding Month

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Photograph of a songbird perched on a stick while snowing.
Photo credit: (cc) Eric Bégin

February is National Bird-Feeding Month, a month dedicated to bird feeding and watching. This national observation month gives us an opportunity to support community- and place-based learning about native species and our local environment. In February, families are encouraged to learn together about winter bird-feeding, how to identify visitors to their feeders, and the importance of habitat conservation.

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Hilltown Families > Winter Activities > Q&As > Indoors

We asked our readers how their families stayed entertained when they are snowed in. Answers ranged from playing games to playing music and included arts & crafts, baking, reading, watching movies, and kitchen science! Let their timeless ideas inspire you on a snowy day!

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Hilltown Families > Winter Activities > > Q&As > Sledding

Photograph of two older children sledding together with text overlay, "Sledding Hills Western MA."
Over the years we’ve been welcoming recommendations for sledding hills across the region from our readers to help connect families with community-based resources. Check out these reader recommendations from our archives!
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Hilltown Families > Nature-Based Education > Ecology

[Photo credit: (ccl) Kevin Osbock]

Are you looking for lessons in biology with your kids? Try making your very one tabletop biosphere!

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Home < Weekly Suggested Events < Self-Directed Learning Ideas

Follow Your Interests!
January 30 – February 4, 2021

<img src="https://i2.wp.com/live.staticflickr.com/65535/50879385127_b1ce000461_o.png?w=640&ssl=1">

Home > Hilltown Family Variety Show > Family Traditions Episode

Logo for Hilltown Family Variety Show

Guest DJ Tunes with Tim shares short stories honoring the family traditions he recalls from his childhood with a variety of eclectic songs to compliment them, ranging in styles from classical piano music to family-friendly hip-hop.

HFVS Family Traditions Episode
with Guest DJ, Tim Bredrup of Tunes with Tim
Listen Now

PLAYLIST

Sister Sledge – “We Are Family” [We Are Family]
Tunes with Tim – “When the Baby’s Sleeping” [We’re All Human]
James Taylor – “Pennies From Heaven” [American Standard]
Julie Andrews, Charmian Carr, Heather Menzies, Nicholas Hammond, Duane Chase, Angela Cartwright, Debbie Turner, Kym Karath, Irwin Kostal – “Do-Re-Mi” [The Sound of Music]
Tunes with Tim – “Ziggy Zaggy Zoo” [We’re All Human]
The Surfaris – “Wipe Out” [Wipe Out]
The Beatles – “Julia” [The Beatles]
Tunes with Tim – “P.B.J.” [We’re All Human]
Mr Dave – “Two Wheels” [Feeling Good]
Enya – “Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)” [Watermark]
François-Joël Thiollier – “Arabesque No. 1” [Debussy: Clair de Lune and Other Piano Favorites]
Tunes with Tim – “Rub-a-Dub, We’re in the Tub” [We’re All Human]
Raffi, Lindsay Munroe – “For All You Do (feat. Yo- Yo Ma)” [For All You Do]
Tunes with Tim – “We’re All Human” [We’re All Human]

Home < Weekly Suggested Events

Are you looking for things to do in western Massachusetts? Seeking curriculum ideas for remote learning or homeschooling? 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 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!

LEARNING RESOURCES
Logo for 13th Annual Valentine Swap
Deadline to sign up: Friday, January 29, 2021
Featured School: The Hartsbrook School in Hadley, MA.

Imagine a school that values and encourages your child’s unique qualities: The Hartsbrook School provides just that, with warmth and attentiveness. Outdoor-based classrooms, storytelling, music, and creative problem-solving all lay the foundations for future learning and deep social connection. Children’s imagination and empathy are awakened through the rich curriculum. Walks in the woods, visits to the school’s farm animals, and tending the gardens develop an awareness of, and care for, the natural world. Discover how meaningful a school experience can be and enjoy a vibrant, active parent community. Applications received by March 1st receive first priority. 193 Bay Road, Hadley, 413-586-1908, www.hartsbrook.org

2021 Amherst Winterfest
Ice Sculptures on the Common! A Drive-Through Experience: Feb 5 & 6 from 5-7pm

WinterFest Amherst 2021: Amherst Recreation, The Business Improvement District, and The Amherst Area Chamber presents Ice Sculptures on the Common! A Drive-Through Experienceon February 5 & 6 from 5-7pm. Welcome one and all to Winterfest 2021! This fantastical event will feature at least 11 life-sized animal ice sculptures displayed on the Amherst Common. Your favorite Winterfest mascot, Flakey, along with mascots from our local colleges and businesses, will join this event in waving to passers-by. Please DRIVE by and celebrate this amazing event! Ice Sculptures on the Common! A Drive-Through Experience takes place on the Amherst Town Common

Photograph of teacher with three teenage students smiling for the camera.
Virtual Open House on Jan 20 & Feb 6

FEATURED SCHOOL
Four Rivers Charter Public School

Four Rivers Charter Public School in Greenfield, MA, is accepting applications for Fall 2021. Prospective families can attend a Virtual Open House on Wed., January 20 at 7pm, or Sat., February 6 at 10am. Four 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 & Zoom link, visit FourRiversCharter.org.

Photograph of two young people with stringed instruments with text overlay: Pioneer Valley Symphony Youth Orchestra. Virtual Music Program. A weekly enrichment and education program for orchestral instrumentalists ages 8-18. Thurs 6-8pm. Starts January 28, 2021.
Virtual program begins Feb 11. Ages 8-18.

FEATURED MUSIC PROGRAM
Pioneer Valley Symphony
Youth Orchestra Virtual Program

The Pioneer Valley Symphony is accepting new students to its Youth Orchestra virtual program. Thursdays 6-8pm, February 11 – June 3 (16 sessions). Students play, learn, and grow during these fun and interactive sessions led by Chris Moehringer of the Community Music School of Springfield. Activities include music rehearsals, virtual recording projects, music history, theory, improvisation, and masterclasses. Open to all orchestral instrumentalists ages 8-18. Tuition is $225 for the semester; fees are prorated for rolling admission. Discounts are available for families with multiple participants and limited scholarship funding available. For more information: admin@pvso.org; 413-773-3664; www.pvsoc.org/yo.

Stay in the Hilltowns!

FEATURED LODGING

Built in 1832 as a hotel, Deer Hill House is the perfect place to stay overnight while visiting family and friends in western Massachusetts! Deer Hill House is now four separate apartments under one roof, located on a quiet country road along the Westfield River, with Deer Hill behind the house, and a large open yard. Private, sunlit, one-bedroom apartments on the first and second floor, complete with full kitchens, and baths, are ideal for a writing retreat or a comfortable home base for your adventures. Located in Cummington, MA, Deer Hill House is less than 10 minutes from Notchview, and 30 minutes from Northampton, Pittsfield, and MassMoCa. Check out the first-floor apartment or search Deer Hill House on Airbnb.

Partner with HIlltown Families!

SEE YOUR AD HERE

Partner with Hilltown Families in your online advertising! Delivering your message each week to over 25,000 subscribers, web visitors, and social media followers, Hilltown Families can bring your message to thousands of readers in Western MA who are committed to their community and willing to support one another in times of need. In-person and virtual event organizers, local and online businesses, virtual and local service providers, non-profit organizations, and individuals are encouraged to reach out to find out about our affordable advertising options and marketing packages. To find out how we can partner together in your online marketing and outreach, contact Sienna at swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org.

Class Directory

Class Directory

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

Preschool & Daycare Directory

Preschool Directory

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

Read More

For Valentine’s Day, many folks are spreading and receiving tokens of friendship and kindness by participating in the Hilltown Families’ annual Handmade Valentine Swap! Participating or not, here four STE(A)M-based ideas many of our participants have tried over the year to inspire your family to get creative by making and giving these tokens of community connection to your friends and neighbors.

Read on…
Photo credit: (cc) Brandon Warren

To promote social and emotional growth in children of all ages, families can explore the practice of empathy as a means of honoring Valentine’s Day. Read more in our post, Using Valentine’s Day to Promote Social and Emotional Growth.

Home < Weekly Suggested Events < Self-Directed Learning Ideas

Follow Your Interests!
January 23-29, 2021

Image of self-directed learning opportunities for January 23-29, 2021

Home > Hilltown Family Variety Show > HFVS Music History Episode

Logo for Hilltown Family Variety Show

Michael Napolitano from Michael & the Rockness Monsters brings you and exploration of 100 years of music. Listen to songs from 1920-2020 while Michael and his daughters take you for a little ride through musical history. Michael also takes the opportunity to play songs for his daughters that his mother played for him in the 70’s and 80’s.

HFVS 100 Years of Music Episode
with Guest DJ, Michael Napolitano
Listen Now

PLAYLIST

  • The Hofgarten Ballroom Orchestra – “Donkey Serenade” [Wiener Bonbons, Folge 1]
  • Michael & the Rockness Monsters – “You Are My Sunshine” [Seeing Life In 2020]
  • The Merry Macs – “Mairzy Doats” [Classic Years of the Merry Macs
  • Little Walter – “Mellow Down Easy” [The Essential Little Walter]
  • Michael & the Rockness Monsters – “All Together Now” [Seeing Life In 2020]
  • Harry Nilson – “The Puppy Song” [Harry]
  • The Pointer Sisters – “Yes We Can, Can” [The Pointer Sisters]
  • Michael & the Rockness Monsters – “Seeing Life In 2020” [Seeing Life In 2020]
  • The Zombies – “This Will Be Our Year” [The Original Studio Recordings, Vol 1]
  • Paul Simon – “Loves Me Like A Rock” [The Essential Paul Simon]
  • Three Dog Night – “Joy to the World” [20th Century Masters]
  • Michael & the Rockness Monsters – “A Life That’s Good” [Seeing Life In 2020]
  • Phish – “Waste” [Billy Breathes]
  • Manu Chao – “Bongo Bong” [Clandestino]
  • Monsters of Folk – “The Sandman, The Brakeman and Me” [Monsters of Folk]
  • Built To Spill – “You Were Right” [Keep It Like A Secret]

Home < Weekly Suggested Events

Are you looking for things to do in western Massachusetts? Seeking curriculum ideas for remote learning or homeschooling? 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 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!

LEARNING RESOURCES

 ART STUDIES. Illustration History: Online Educational Resource & Archive for the Art of Illustration 

STEMChemistry through Fermentation 

MATH. Nature’s Patterns Reveals Mathematical Reasoning 

FAMILY MUSICHilltown Family Variety Show 

LANGUAGE ARTS. Literary Guides 

INDIGENOUS COSMOLOGIESNational Museum of the American Indian Star Stories  

OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Bullitt Reservation (Ashfield & Conway) 

ART STUDIESHirshhorn Kids at Home 

FAMILIESIt Takes A Village 

WORLD STUDIES. Lesson Plans on East Asia

Logo for 13th Annual Valentine Swap
Deadline to sign up: January 29, 2021
The Hartsbrook School
Featured School: The Hartsbrook School in Hadley, MA.

Imagine a school that values and encourages your child’s unique qualities: The Hartsbrook School provides just that, with warmth and attentiveness. Outdoor-based classrooms, storytelling, music, and creative problem-solving all lay the foundations for future learning and deep social connection. Children’s imagination and empathy are awakened through the rich curriculum. Walks in the woods, visits to the school’s farm animals, and tending the gardens develop an awareness of, and care for, the natural world. Discover how meaningful a school experience can be and enjoy a vibrant, active parent community. Applications received by March 1st receive first priority. 193 Bay Road, Hadley, 413-586-1908, www.hartsbrook.org

2021 Amherst Winterfest
Ice Sculptures on the Common! A Drive-Through Experience: Feb 5 & 6 from 5-7pm

WinterFest Amherst 2021: Amherst Recreation, The Business Improvement District, and The Amherst Area Chamber presents Ice Sculptures on the Common! A Drive-Through Experienceon February 5 & 6 from 5-7pm. Welcome one and all to Winterfest 2021! This fantastical event will feature at least 11 life-sized animal ice sculptures displayed on the Amherst Common. Your favorite Winterfest mascot, Flakey, along with mascots from our local colleges and businesses, will join this event in waving to passers-by. Please DRIVE by and celebrate this amazing event! Ice Sculptures on the Common! A Drive-Through Experience takes place on the Amherst Town Common

Photograph of two young people with stringed instruments with text overlay: Pioneer Valley Symphony Youth Orchestra. Virtual Music Program. A weekly enrichment and education program for orchestral instrumentalists ages 8-18. Thurs 6-8pm. Starts January 28, 2021.
Virtual program begins Jan 28. Ages 8-18.

FEATURED MUSIC PROGRAM
Pioneer Valley Symphony
Youth Orchestra Virtual Program

The Pioneer Valley Symphony in Greenfield, MA, is accepting new students to its Youth Orchestra virtual program. Thursdays 6-8pm, January 28 – May 13 (16 sessions). Students play, learn, and grow during these fun and interactive sessions led by Chris Moeringher of the Teaching Artists Community Music School of Springfield. Activities include music rehearsals, virtual recording projects, music history, theory, improvisation, and masterclasses. Open to all orchestral instrumentalists ages 8-18. Tuition is $225 for the semester; fees are prorated for rolling admission. Discounts are available for families with multiple participants and limited scholarship funding available. For more information: admin@pvso.org; 413-773-3664; www.pvsoc.org.

Graphic image for the Northampton Center for the Arts at 33 Hawley. Intergenerational photo of two people  engaging in movement art.
Northampton Center for the Arts at 33 Hawley

FEATURED CLASSES
Northampton Center for the Arts

The Northampton Center for the Arts at 33 Hawley offers classes for all ages in art, dance, music, theatre, writing, and more! Classes are being offered virtually, in-person, and via a hybrid model, with health protocols in place. New classes are added throughout the year, so visit their website regularly! The Center also offers affordable rental space for individuals and small groups of artists, educators, and local organizations, while developing programming dedicated to arts education, multidisciplinary collaborations, and community connections. ArtPlay, the Center’s unique interdisciplinary vacation arts program, returns in February, April, and summer of 2021. They also have daytime availability for remote learning pods to rent their beautiful space. For more information: programs@nohoarts.org; 413-584-7327; www.nohoarts.org.

Photograph of teacher with three teenage students smiling for the camera.
Virtual Open House on Jan 20 & Feb 6

FEATURED SCHOOL
Four Rivers Charter Public School

Four Rivers Charter Public School in Greenfield, MA, is accepting applications for Fall 2021. Prospective families can attend a Virtual Open House on Wed., January 20 at 7pm, or Sat., February 6 at 10am. Four 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 & Zoom link, visit FourRiversCharter.org.

Stay in the Hilltowns!

FEATURED LODGING

Built in 1832 as a hotel, Deer Hill House is the perfect place to stay overnight while visiting family and friends in western Massachusetts! Deer Hill House is now four separate apartments under one roof, located on a quiet country road along the Westfield River, with Deer Hill behind the house, and a large open yard. Private, sunlit, one-bedroom apartments on the first and second floor, complete with full kitchens, and baths, are ideal for a writing retreat or a comfortable home base for your adventures. Located in Cummington, MA, Deer Hill House is less than 10 minutes from Notchview, and 30 minutes from Northampton, Pittsfield, and MassMoCa. Check out the first-floor apartment or search Deer Hill House on Airbnb.

Partner with HIlltown Families!

SEE YOUR AD HERE

Partner with Hilltown Families in your online advertising! Delivering your message each week to over 25,000 subscribers, web visitors, and social media followers, Hilltown Families can bring your message to thousands of readers in Western MA who are committed to their community and willing to support one another in times of need. In-person and virtual event organizers, local and online businesses, virtual and local service providers, non-profit organizations, and individuals are encouraged to reach out to find out about our affordable advertising options and marketing packages. To find out how we can partner together in your online marketing and outreach, contact Sienna at swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org.

Class Directory

Discover virtual & adapted programming in our 2020/2021 Class Directory for Western MA.

Preschool Directory

Find what you’re looking for in our 2020/2021 Preschool & Daycare Directory for Western MA

Read More

Home < Weekly Suggested Events < Self-Directed Learning Ideas

Follow Your Interests!
January 16-22, 2021

Home > Hilltown Family Variety Show > Classic Children’s Books Episode

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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.

HFVS Classic Children’s Books Episode with Guest DJ, Jason Didner
Listen Now

PLAYLIST

  • Two of a Kind – “I Like a Good Story” – So Many Ways to Be Smart
  • Secret Agent 23 Skidoo – “Magic Beans” – Make Believers
  • They Might Be Giants – “Fake Believe” – Here Come the ABC’s
  • Elvis Costello & The Attractions – “Every Day I Write the Book” – Punch the Clock
  • Emily Arrow – “The Dot Song” – Storytime Singalong, Vol. 1
  • Baze and His Silly Friends – “Poor Mother Goose” – Best Day Ever
  • Carole King – “Chicken Soup with Rice” – Really Rosie
  • Book: Justin Roberts – “The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade”
  • Miss Nina – “The Brown Bear Rap” – Sha Doo Be Doop
  • The Original Broadway Cast of Seussical the Musical – “Green Eggs and Ham” – Seussical
  • Monty Harper – “Hangin’ Out with Heroes at the Library” – The Great Green Squishy Mean Concert CD
  • Mister Billy – “A Guy Named Stan” – Super Superhero Songs
  • Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam – “My Superpower” – Lollipop Motel
  • Lunch Money – “I Love My Library” – Dizzy
  • Justin Roberts – “A Wild One” – Lullaby

Home < Weekly Suggested Events

Photograph of child ice skating outdoors with overlay of words, "Suggested Learning Ideas, Resources & Events. www.HilltownFamilies.org"

Are you looking for things to do in western Massachusetts? Seeking curriculum ideas for remote learning or homeschooling? 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 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!

Graphic for Springfield Museums with a collage of photographs and the text, "Travel the World in a Day."
Virtual. Adapted In-Person Outdoors & Indoors

Springfield Museums: Field Trips and Museum School. Springfield, MA. For homeschoolers and schoolers with five museums to mine for information and activities, the Springfield Museums does what few others can—combine art, history, science, and Dr. Seuss into fun-filled, engaging experiences that reinforce critical thinking and observation skills through inquiry-based learning. The Springfield Museums offer a broad range of educational programs for all ages and interest levels, and they are happy to custom-build an experience for your small group. For more information: fieldtrips@springfieldmuseums.org; 413-263-6800 x322; springfieldmuseums.org/groups/school.

Photograph of two young people with stringed instruments with text overlay: Pioneer Valley Symphony Youth Orchestra. Virtual Music Program. A weekly enrichment and education program for orchestral instrumentalists ages 8-18. Thurs 6-8pm. Starts January 28, 2021.
Virtual program begins Jan 28. Ages 8-18.

FEATURED MUSIC PROGRAM
Pioneer Valley Symphony
Youth Orchestra Virtual Program

The Pioneer Valley Symphony in Greenfield, MA, is accepting new students to its Youth Orchestra virtual program. Thursdays 6-8pm, January 28 – May 13 (16 sessions). Students play, learn, and grow during these fun and interactive sessions led by Chris Moeringher of the Teaching Artists Community Music School of Springfield. Activities include music rehearsals, virtual recording projects, music history, theory, improvisation, and masterclasses. Open to all orchestral instrumentalists ages 8-18. Tuition is $225 for the semester; fees are prorated for rolling admission. Discounts are available for families with multiple participants and limited scholarship funding available. For more information: admin@pvso.org; 413-773-3664; www.pvsoc.org.

Graphic image for the Northampton Center for the Arts at 33 Hawley. Intergenerational photo of two people  engaging in movement art.
Northampton Center for the Arts at 33 Hawley

FEATURED CLASSES
Northampton Center for the Arts

The Northampton Center for the Arts at 33 Hawley offers classes for all ages in art, dance, music, theatre, writing, and more! Classes are being offered virtually, in-person, and via a hybrid model, with health protocols in place. New classes are added throughout the year, so visit their website regularly! The Center also offers affordable rental space for individuals and small groups of artists, educators, and local organizations, while developing programming dedicated to arts education, multidisciplinary collaborations, and community connections. ArtPlay, the Center’s unique interdisciplinary vacation arts program, returns in February, April, and summer of 2021. They also have daytime availability for remote learning pods to rent their beautiful space. For more information: programs@nohoarts.org; 413-584-7327; www.nohoarts.org.

Virtual Open House: Jan 16 @ 10am

Featured School
Amherst Montessori School

Families are invited to discover the warm, welcoming community at Amherst Montessori School, with dedicated teachers, administrators, and fellow parents who strive to create a sense of belonging for each child and family. Attend their virtual Open House on January 16 at 10am, or set-up a virtual tour to explore the hands-on, child-centered Montessori curriculum and learn about the engaging community of Amherst Montessori School. Applications for the 2021-22 school year are now being accepted. Schedule options from a partial day to a full day with extended hours. More information at amherstmontessori.org

Photograph of teacher with three teenage students smiling for the camera.
Virtual Open House on Jan 20 & Feb 6

FEATURED SCHOOL
Four Rivers Charter Public School

Four Rivers Charter Public School in Greenfield, MA, is accepting applications for Fall 2021. Prospective families can attend a Virtual Open House on Wed., January 20 at 7pm, or Sat., February 6 at 10am. Four 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 & Zoom link, visit FourRiversCharter.org.

Birds-eye view of two children playing outdoors.
Ages 15mo-3.5+yrs

FEATURED DAYCARE/EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION PROGRAM
The Maple Hill Play Garden

The Maple Hill Play Garden in Amherst, MA, offers an inclusive early childhood program – with abundant time outdoors – that nurtures the joy and wonder of a simple childhood. Amanda Lugo, M.A.Ed., provides a warm, nourishing environment in which play is the heart of the child’s morning. Backing the Larch Hill Conservation lands, The Maple Hill Play Garden’s outdoor space provides children with ample opportunities to explore the magical nooks and crannies of the natural world as they play. The program cultivates a gentle and consistent daily rhythm that helps ground children in a sense of place. Hot, nourishing, organic meals and snacks are provided. Ages 15mo-3.5+yrs. For more information: NourishingChildhood@gmail.com; 978-500-3070; www.maplehillplaygarden.com.

Partner with HIlltown Families!

SEE YOUR AD HERE

Partner with Hilltown Families in your online advertising! Delivering your message each week to over 25,000 subscribers, web visitors, and social media followers, Hilltown Families can bring your message to thousands of readers in Western MA who are committed to their community and willing to support one another in times of need. In-person and virtual event organizers, local and online businesses, virtual and local service providers, non-profit organizations, and individuals are encouraged to reach out to find out about our affordable advertising options and marketing packages. To find out how we can partner together in your online marketing and outreach, contact Sienna at swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org.

Class Directory

Discover virtual & adapted programming in our 2020/2021 Class Directory for Western MA.

Preschool Directory

Find what you’re looking for in our 2020/2021 Preschool & Daycare Directory for Western MA

Read More

Home < Weekly Suggested Events < Self-Directed Learning Ideas

Follow Your Interests!
January 9-15, 2021

Graphic with word list of self-directed learning ideas for January 9-15, 2021. Includes a photo of a young child ice skating outdoors and an invitation to subscribe to weekly eNewsletter.

Home > Hilltown Family Variety Show > Starting Anew Episode

Logo for Hilltown Family Variety Show

Charity Kahn of Charity and the JAMband has always been a favorite HFVS Guest DJ. In this episode, Charity shares her words of wisdom and a great playlist celebrating the discovering of a sense of self through mindfulness and kindness.

HFVS Starting Anew Episode with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn
Listen Now

PLAYLIST

  • Charity and the JAMband – “We Love Everyone” [EARTH]
  • The New Seekers – “Free to Be…You and Me” [Free to Be…You and Me (Marlo Thomas and Friends)]
  • Melita – “Animals” [Melita, for Kids]
  • Joe Reilly – “My Community” [Let’s Go Outside]
  • Earth, Wind & Fire – “Got to Get You Into My Life” [The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “Shine” [EARTH]
  • Peter, Paul and Mary – “If I Had a Hammer” [Peter, Paul and Mary]
  • Mavis Staples – “Down By the Riverside” [Spirituals & Gospel: Dedicated to Mahalia Jackson]
  • Kermit the Frog – “Rainbow Connection” [The Muppet Movie (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)]
  • Pete Seeger – “Well May the World Go” [If I Had a Hammer: Songs of Hope & Struggle]
  • Charity and the JAMBand – “Ball of Light Meditation” [Sit Breathe Love: Guided Meditation for Children and their Grown-ups]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “Share Your Love” [EARTH]
  • Captain & Tennille – “Love Will Keep Us Together” [Love Will Keep Us Together]
  • Grateful Dead – “Not Fade Away” [Grateful Dead (Skull and Roses)]

Home < Weekly Suggested Events

Photograph of child ice skating outdoors with overlay of words, "Suggested Learning Ideas, Resources & Events. www.HilltownFamilies.org"

Are you looking for things to do in western Massachusetts? Seeking curriculum ideas for remote learning or homeschooling? 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 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!

Greenfield Community College Virtual Enrollment & Registration: Sat., Jan. 9 from 10am-3pm.

Join Greenfield Community College for Virtual Enrollment & Registration on Saturday, January 9, from 10am-3pm. Admissions, testing, advising, and financial aid will be available to help prospective students complete the steps they need to register for Spring classes. Visit their website for more information and to follow the Zoom link. For more information, email admission@gcc.mass.edu or call 413-775-1801.

Collage of photographs from inside of the Springfield Museums with a the words, "Travel the World in the Day."
Virtual. Adapted In-Person Outdoors & Indoors

Springfield Museums: Field Trips and Museum School. Springfield, MA. For homeschoolers and schoolers with five museums to mine for information and activities, the Springfield Museums does what few others can—combine art, history, science, and Dr. Seuss into fun-filled, engaging experiences that reinforce critical thinking and observation skills through inquiry-based learning. The Springfield Museums offer a broad range of educational programs for all ages and interest levels, and they are happy to custom-build an experience for your small group. For more information: fieldtrips@springfieldmuseums.org; 413-263-6800 x322; springfieldmuseums.org/groups/school.

Virtual Open House on Jan 9, 20, or Feb 6

FEATURED SCHOOL
Four Rivers Charter Public School

Four Rivers Charter Public School in Greenfield, MA, is accepting applications for Fall 2021. Prospective families can attend a Virtual Open House on Sat., January 9 at 10am, Wed., January 20 at 7pm, or Sat., February 6 at 10am. Four 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 & Zoom link, visit FourRiversCharter.org.

Photograph of young student practicing writing with text overlay: "Amherst Montessori School. Nurturing your child's innate curiosity. Infant through grade 6 in south Amherst. amherstmontessori.org."
Virtual Open House: Jan 16 @ 10am

Featured School
Amherst Montessori School

Families are invited to discover the warm, welcoming community at Amherst Montessori School, with dedicated teachers, administrators, and fellow parents who strive to create a sense of belonging for each child and family. Attend their virtual Open House on January 16 at 10am, or set-up a virtual tour to explore the hands-on, child-centered Montessori curriculum and learn about the engaging community of Amherst Montessori School. Applications for the 2021-22 school year are now being accepted. Schedule options from a partial day to a full day with extended hours. More information at amherstmontessori.org

Photograph of barefoot children involved in creative-free play outdoors with "The Maple Hill Play Garden" logo overlay.
Ages 15mo-3.5+yrs

FEATURED DAYCARE/EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION PROGRAM
The Maple Hill Play Garden

The Maple Hill Play Garden in Amherst, MA, offers an inclusive early childhood program – with abundant time outdoors – that nurtures the joy and wonder of a simple childhood. Amanda Lugo, M.A.Ed., provides a warm, nourishing environment in which play is the heart of the child’s morning. Backing the Larch Hill Conservation lands, The Maple Hill Play Garden’s outdoor space provides children with ample opportunities to explore the magical nooks and crannies of the natural world as they play. The program cultivates a gentle and consistent daily rhythm that helps ground children in a sense of place. Hot, nourishing, organic meals and snacks are provided. Ages 15mo-3.5+yrs. For more information: NourishingChildhood@gmail.com; 978-500-3070; www.maplehillplaygarden.com.

Partner with HIlltown Families!

SEE YOUR AD HERE

Partner with Hilltown Families in your online advertising! Delivering your message each week to over 25,000 subscribers, web visitors, and social media followers, Hilltown Families can bring your message to thousands of readers in Western MA who are committed to their community and willing to support one another in times of need. In-person and virtual event organizers, local and online businesses, virtual and local service providers, non-profit organizations, and individuals are encouraged to reach out to find out about our affordable advertising options and marketing packages. To find out how we can partner together in your online marketing and outreach, contact Sienna at swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org.

Class Directory

NEW LISTINGS!

Discover virtual & adapted programming in our 2020/2021 Class Directory for Western MA.

Preschool Directory

NEW LISTINGS!

Find what you’re looking for in our 2020/2021 Preschool & Daycare Directory for Western MA

Read More

Home < Weekly Suggested Events < Self-Directed Learning Ideas

Follow Your Interests!
January 2-8, 2021

Photograph of yellow chilAdirondack chair in the snow with a list of self-directed learning ideas, resources, and events, including nature-based learning, food-based learning, and interest-based learning.

Home > Hilltown Family Variety Show > New Beginnings Episode

Logo for Hilltown Family Vareity Show

Kindie music artist Alison Faith Levy shares some of her favorite songs with the theme of New Beginning in this week’s hour-long, commercial-free, family-friendly podcast. This theme includes songs about starting something new, dawning, awakening, renewal. In addition to these topics, Alison shares fun facts about which came first, the chicken or the egg! In this episode, she plays some of her own retro pop tunes for kids, classic rock from the Kinks, the Byrds and The Beatles, some of her favorite modern psychedelia, and plenty of wonderful songs by her many musicians’ friends.

HFVS New Beginnings Episode with Guest DJ, Alison Faith Levy
Listen Now

PLAYLIST

  • The Kinks – Here Comes Yet Another Day  [Everybody’s In Show-Biz]
  • Alexandre Desplat – Third Class Carriage  [Grand Budapest Hotel]
  • Alison Faith Levy – The Start of Things  [The Start of Things]
  • Teenage Fanclub – Start Again  [Songs from Northern Britain]
  • The Byrds – Turn! Turn! Turn!  [Turn! Turn! Turn!]
  • The Radars – Finger Licking Chicken [The Get-It]
  • Kelley Stoltz – Everything Begins [Circular Sounds]
  • The Orange Peels – [Begin the Begone]
  • The Corner Laughers – Queen of the Meadow [Matilda Effect]
  • The Sippy Cups – One Day Soon [The Time Machine]
  • Thomas Newman – Horizon 12.2 [Wall-E OST]
  • Max Richter – Horizon Variations [The Blue Notebook]
  • Richard Hawley – As The Dawn Breaks [Truelove’s Gutter]
  • Alison Faith Levy – Three Tulips [World of Wonder]
  • Cat Stevens – Morning Has Broken [Teaser and the Firecat]
  • Fruit Bats – Beautiful Morning Light [The Ruminant Band]
  • Africa Show – Inspiracao De Nito [Angola Soundtracks]
  • Charity and the JAMbandEarth Day  [single]
  • The Orange Peels – New Moon [Begin the Begone]
  • The Beatles – Tomorrow Never Knows [Revolver]

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