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Community-Based Education Highlights for Western Massachusetts

Ballet ♦ Broadway ♦ Drama ♦ Literature in Translation ♦ Snow White ♦ Beauty and the Beast ♦ Women’s History ♦ Local History ♦ Sleddogs ♦ American Woodcock ♦ Vernal Pools ♦ Amphibians ♦ April Vacation Week ♦ Summer Camps ♦ Movie Theater Birthday Party ♦ Family Camp ♦ Parents’ Night Out ♦ Date Night ♦ Baby Shower ♦ Education ♦ Early Childhood Education ♦ Week of the Young Child ♦ Nature-Based Learning ♦ Creative-Free Play ♦ Sound Art ♦ Museum Adventures ♦ Slow Art Day ♦ Easter Bunny ♦ Passover ♦ Ramadan ♦ Immigration ♦ Race ♦ Islamic Studies ♦ TEDx Talk ♦ Hero’s Journey ♦ Anatomy & Physiology ♦ Ornithology ♦ STEM ♦ Astronomy ♦ Aeronautics ♦ Kinetics ♦ Parenting Workshop ♦ Teen Health ♦ Homeopathy ♦ 5K ♦ Recycling ♦ Upcycling ♦ Sustainability ♦ Seed Exchange ♦ Landscape Design ♦ Gardening ♦ Farm to School ♦ Pancakes ♦ Matza ♦ String Quartet ♦ Orchestra ♦ Contradance ♦ Flamenco ♦ Fiber Arts ♦ Airplanes ♦ Trolley Cars ♦ Mini Golf ♦ Basketball ♦ Kites

These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week, April 6-12, 2019… Click through, peruse our list, and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Community-Based Education Highlights for Western Massachusetts

Family Festival ♦ Edible Books ♦ Swing Music ♦ Yo-Yos ♦ Hiking ♦ Forest Bathing ♦ Vernal Pools ♦ Ecology ♦ Botany ♦ Geography ♦ Migration ♦ Reconciliation Ecology ♦ Gardening ♦ Barn Swallows ♦ Beavers ♦ Ornithology ♦ Baby Farm Animals ♦ Farm-Based Learning ♦ Creative-Free Play ♦ Parents’ Night Out ♦ Teen Crafts ♦ Mindful Parenting ♦ 3D Printing ♦ Astronomy ♦ Physics ♦ Financial Literacy ♦ Investing ♦ Budgeting ♦ Aromatherapy ♦ Music Studies ♦ Orchestra ♦ Art on Screen ♦ Michelangelo ♦ Leonardo da Vinci ♦ Theater ♦ Broadway ♦ Film Studies ♦ Animation ♦ Printmaking ♦ Firefighting ♦ Current Affairs ♦ Social IssuesThese are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week, March 30-April 5, 2019…

Community-Based Education Highlights for Western Massachusetts

Ducks • Woodcocks • Insects • Trees • Wildflowers • Herbalism • Jazz Studies • Farsi Funk • Maple History • Manufacturing History • 3D Printing • Computer Coding • Drones • Whips • Board Games • Women’s History • Native American History • Leonardo da Vinci • Hedy Lamarr • Humanities • Mythology • Skillsharing • Creativity • Drumming • Literature in Translation • Current Affairs • Purim • Folkdancing • Textile Arts • Printmaking • Dimensionism • Theater • Film • Opera • Hiking • Workforce • Picturebook Arts • Puppetry • Cartography • Opthalmology • Social Justice • Creative Free-Play • Experiential Learning • Community Breakfast • Babies • Toddlers • Preschoolers • Teens • Intergenerational • Lifelong Learning • Fatherhood • Parents’ Night Out • Summer Camps

These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week, March 23-29, 2019.

Maple Days ♦ Hamantaschen ♦ Butter ♦ Community Meal ♦ Sheep Shearing ♦ Botany Lessons ♦ Native Species ♦ Beavers ♦ Fish ♦ Owls ♦ Tulips ♦ Forest ♦ Story Hour ♦ Folktales ♦ Folk Dance ♦ Celtic Dance ♦ St. Patrick’s Day ♦ Purim ♦ Astronomy ♦ Spring Equinox ♦ Intergenerational ♦ Teen ♦ Parenting Workshop ♦ Fatherhood ♦ Rescue Dogs ♦ Bird Houses ♦ Fairy Houses ♦ Pottery ♦ Printmaking ♦ History of Books ♦ Sewing ♦ Neon ♦ Wildlife Photography ♦ Theater Studies ♦ High School Musicals ♦ Peace Activism ♦ Democracy

These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week, March 16-22, 2019. Peruse our list and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Hilltown Families and Mass Appeal (a weekday, hour-long lifestyle program on NBC) have teamed up to offer a live monthly segment on WWLP 22News! Each month, community-based education specialist and Hilltown Families’ Founder, Sienna Wildfield, joins Mass Appeal hosts to talk about ways to engage in your community while supporting the interests and education of your children (and yourselves!).

This monthly segment continued on Monday, May 28, 2018, with Sienna and Lauren talking about how the Memorial Day is the perfect time to show appreciation towards those who have served our country through self-initiated activities while learning via community-based resources.

Hilltown Families and Mass Appeal (a weekday, hour-long lifestyle program on NBC) have teamed up to offer a live monthly segment on WWLP 22News! Each month, community-based education specialist and Hilltown Families’ Founder, Sienna Wildfield, joins Mass Appeal hosts to talk about ways to engage in your community while supporting the interests and education of your children (and yourselves!).

This monthly segment continued on Monday, April 30, 2018 with Sienna and Lauren talking about how the spring holidays are the perfect time to show kindness and appreciation towards others through self-initiated activities while learning via community-based resources.
Our next visit to the Mass Appeal studios will be Monday, May 28th, 2018!

Think about this:

What books have you read that were once banned or on a challenged list?
What does the freedom to read mean to you?
What was the literacy rate among women in the United States in the 18th century? What was it later in the 19th century?
How can literacy, the right to read, and the value of reading literature help shape an ethical and compassionate democracy?

Every year, Americans exchange an average of 142 million Valentine’s Day cards – making the holiday near the top of the list of card-exchanging holidays (second only to Christmas). Valentines come in many different shapes and sizes, and can be handmade or store bought, clever and creative, or very traditional. Whatever form they come in, the valentines that we exchange each year have their roots right here in western Massachusetts, and are symbolic of the love, caring, and appreciation that we have for the important people around us.

Think about this:

In 19th century New England, the winter season was a time for gathering and socializing with family, friends, and neighbors. As the fields lay dormant in anticipation off the agricultural season, rural New Englanders used the cold season as a time for meeting friends, having conversations, and visiting with one another. Before the telephone or telegraph, visiting a friend’s home was a way to share news, gossip, and stories. Now with the invention of social media, automobiles, and blended fabrics, how do communities gather in the winter months, celebrating local culture and strengthening their sense of place?

Today in Western Massachusetts winter festivals provide a gathering space for friends, families, and neighbors to get together, visit with each other, tell stories and share news… just as our predecessors in this region did before us. Winter festivals provide the space and occasion for community members to enjoy the winter season through art collaborations, fairs, and winter-themed activities. Additionally, these festivals are a way to explore different art forms, such as ice sculpting, share skills with others, and learn about local history and cultural traditions. Celebrate winter at these annual festivities and start a new family tradition!

Think about this:

What are the tools used in sculpting ice? What are the challenges ice sculptors face that other sculptors of different media don’t?

How would families and neighbors gather in the winter before the invention of automobiles and highways? How did the inability to travel far distances impact communities and relationships?

How do winter festivals gather communities together? What types of activities do they host in order to foster connection and togetherness during the colder months?

February is National African American History Month in the United States. It is a time to honor the work, achievements, and contributions of African Americans. Literature, art, and community-based resources share stories and help us to remember the struggle for civil rights and the importance of equality, civic action, social justice and solidarity. Looking through the lens of poetry, Langston Hughes and Audre Lorde are two African American poets who illustrate the power of voice and words.

In addition to literary explorations of African Americans’ creativity and contributions to U.S. literature, explore African American History Month in Western Massachusetts through the different cultural organizations and institutions that educate the public on the history of African Americans in our region. One of the most significant pieces of New England history is the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes, stops, and places throughout 14 northern states that were established to help escaped slaves to freedom.

Norman Rockwell’s “The Problem We All Live With,” painted in 1963, is considered an iconic image of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Asking yourself questions, visit the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA, and look at his paintings closely to discover his perspective as illustrated in his iconic images of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

The David Ruggles Center for Early Florence History & Underground Railroad in Florence, MA, in another community-based resource in Western Massachusetts to supporting learning about African American History. The center offers self-guided walking tours, including the African-American history trail, Sojourner Truth’s house, and other abolitionist sites.

“Follow the water and you’ll never be lost. That maxim has a zen-ish, new-agey ring to it, even a poetry. But it is based on the hard physical fact that all places on the terrestrial earth are composed of watersheds….”

Ice harvesting is an industry of the past, and one whose roots lie only in cold climates – like western Massachusetts! Done both as a necessity in early New England and as a profitable industry more recently, ice harvesting plays an important role in local history, literature and New England culture.

Part of a rich history of economic pursuits driven by available natural resources, ice harvesting plays an important role in the history of communities all over western Massachusetts. Throughout the upcoming month, local historical societies and museums offer families opportunities to learn – in some cases, experientially – about the process of ice harvesting.

Ice harvesting is embedded within the history and cultural traditions of New England. So much so, in fact, that it also influenced the literary reflections of writers such as Henry David Thoreau. As you explore ice harvesting through living history demonstrations and artifacts from the past, read Thoreau’s chapter in Walden on “The Pond in Winter” for historical understanding from a literary perspective.

In the days of western Massachusetts past, when refrigerators weren’t standard kitchen equipment, ice was quite a luxury during the summer. In order to have ice after the spring thaw began, early New Englanders would have to harvest and strategically store ice from local lakes and ponds. Kept in the proper conditions (in the dark, and surrounded by insulation – usually sawdust), the harvested ice would last much longer than the cold weather did.

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech speaks to the value & importance of kindness via civic engagement & community service.

On the 3rd Monday in January, the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day offers families a three-day weekend – a treasure that can be used to engage in meaningful community-based learning opportunities. Families can take advantage of this special day honoring Dr. King’s work and lasting impact on our country by taking part in community celebrations, giving their time to be part of a day of service, or attending educational screenings and performances.

Think about this: How do you define “the power of voice?” How can a speech or words shape or inspire social change? How can rhetoric influence ideas? What are ways in which you can exemplify the value of kindness everyday to help build a more resilient and dynamic community where you live? What causes do you believe in? Where do you want to give your support as a volunteer in Western MA?

There are many ways to remain active and engaged with the outdoors during the winter season. Nordic skiing, alpine skiing, ice skating, and snowshoeing are a few examples of different activities that encourage New Englanders to get outside, stay fit, and maintain a healthy lifestyle while connecting them to local places during the cold winter months.

Accessible to skiers of all ages and abilities, nordic skiing is a favorite winter activity locally. Skiers young, old, inexperienced, and expert can take advantage of local trail systems, equipment rentals, classes, and special community events in order to experience the magic that nordic skiing adds to a Western Massachusetts winter.

Different from nordic skiing in equipment and technique, alpine skiing is about speed. In alpine skiing the entire boot is attached to your ski whereas in nordic skiing only the toe of the boot is attached. Nordic skiers slowly traverse a variety of terrain via trail system or off trail whereas alpine skiers go down a mountain at a higher rate of speed. Interested in trying out alpine skiing? Here are a few in the region…

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