January thru March 2019            
Playgroups, Support Groups, Parenting Seminars, Special Events

Very Important Donation Thank You's

  Trinitarian Congregational Church of Concord, $4,000
Anonymous Donor $2,000

Concord Family Network $262

Elizabeth Landry for the Amazon Wish List books and toys

Donations received through our Annual Appeal from:

Elizabeth Chang, Brenda Appleby-Williams, Sue Tang, Martina Kenyon, 

Chelsea Malcom, Jen Wielicki


First Connections depends on the generosity of donations like yours to continue our current level of services and our mission. Please support the work we do with families in their role as their child's first and most important teacher.




or call 978-429-8284
We will confirm your registration!
     Thank You! 

Infant and Pregnancy Loss Support Group
This free monthly group is for those who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy at any stage or infant loss shortly after birth and are looking for support from others with shared experiences.  The group is facilitated by an advanced practice nurse with experience supporting families whose pregnancies have ended unexpectedly or whose infants have died.

Held at First Connections
179 Great Road, #104A
Mondays, 6:30-8:00
Jan. 14, Feb. 11, March 11 

Individuals are encouraged to contact the facilitator, Katie Stockman, NP, at 
or 978-287-3422 before attending, though this is not required. Please email Katie for confirmation the group is running in the event of severe weather.  
Childcare Subsidies
Parents who would like to know if they are eligible for a childcare subsidy should call 877-211-6277, or go to www .mass211.org
This free service will help you find childcare that works for your family by providing referrals to licensed child care centers, family child care providers, and out-of-school time programs. This free service is available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

Subsidy Update
There is an approximate one-year wait list for child care subsidies to help pay for the cost of child care.  If you are already on the subsidy wait list and have recently moved, changed your phone number or email address, please be sure to contact the office  below serving your town to update your record so you can be notified of openings:

 978-602-8650 or merolon @sevenhills.org


 800-660-2868 or
register online:
If you would like an updated listing of child care centers and home child care providers in the First Connections catchment area, we can easily send that to you. The list includes programs that accept vouchers, as well as scholarship information for preschool.
Just email lmatthews@jri.org  

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Group in Acton

Come share the rewards and challenges of raising your grandchildren. Learn from other grandparents and experts about legal strategies and practices. Discover ways to relieve the stress. Benefit from the resources available from the Commission on the Status of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and hear about State agencies which can provide assistance. If you are interested in joining, contact Joe O'Leary at 978-760-0360 or j.j.oleary@comcast.net
Held on the 3rd Tuesday of each month, 11-12:00 at
Acton Senior Center
30 Sudbury Road, Rear
Public School Kindergarten Registration News



Kindergarten Info Night

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

7:00 p.m. 

High School Auditorium

General meeting for families with a child beginning kindergarten in September 2019. Students need to be 5 by 9/1/19. Full schedules, sign-up, and important dates at:



Snow date January 9

Info: Registrar - 978-264-3303 



If your child will be 5 by 8/31/19 and you have questions about Bedford kindergarten registration, contact Kiela Lyons



Families who have children who will be 5 by 8/31/19 should receive a registration packet in February. If you do not receive it, email  jdrennen@psharvard.org 





Wednesday, March 6, 2019

1:00-4:00 or 6:00-7:00

Kindergarten students need to be 5 by September 1, 2019.





panel discussion for parents

Learn everything you need to know about getting your child ready for school!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

6:30 pm

Nixon Elementary School 

If your child will be 5 on/before 10/1/19 and you did not receive a kindergarten registration packet, call 978-639-3204 or email michele_horan@ 


Registration begins February 1



To receive the Kindergarten planning postcard, contact Amy Smack, Registrar.

978-369-6550 x4101


Kindergartners must be 5 by September 5, 2019. 


 KINDERGARTEN Registration

Monday, March 4, 6-8 p.m.

Tuesday, March 5, 9-12:00


Pupil Services Office:

 978-692-5560 x2111

Screenings take place in May 2019. Children must be 5 by September 1, 2019. 


Kindergarten Age Cut Offs for Additional Towns:     

Concord: 5 by 8/31/18

Hanscom AFB: 5 by 9/30/18

Lincoln: 5 by 10/1/18

Maynard: 5 by 9/1/19

Free Museum Admission Days  
The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston
Free January 21 & February 9
Worcester Art Museum
Free Jan 6, Feb 3, Mar 3
Acton Discovery  
Free from 4:30-8:00
Jan 4, Feb 1, Mar 1
 Non-perishable food donations accepted.
Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge
Free Sundays, 9:00-12:00

Did you know that in 10 of the 11 towns we serve, less than half of eligible children are receiving WIC food benefits? Pregnant women and children under age 5 can receive free healthy food. A family of 3 can earn $38,443 and be eligible (pregnant women count as 2). To check your eligibility and learn where to sign up: 
Do You Have a Child with Special Needs?
If so, we urge you to subscribe to the following free newsletter which contains a wealth of information on programs and activities that your family may be interested in:
  SPED Child Mass.

Sudbury Camp Fair

Sunday, January 27, 2019  

11:00-2:00 p.m.

Lincoln-Sudbury H.S.

390 Lincoln Road Sudbury


It's hard to think about summer camp in January, but you can meet and speak with representatives from 80 summer camps for children entering Kindergarten through Grade 12 in one place by attending this event! Children welcome. Free.

 Sponsored by

Loring ElementarySchool PTO


Child-friendly New Year's Eve Celebrations

Pajama Dance Party at Acton Discovery Museum
10:00 am - 12 Noon
Make party hats, noise makers, and have a dance party with a D.J. Free activity with admission on December 31 which is $14.50 for anyone over age 1 (half price with a library pass) 

Noon Year's Eve Celebration Fowler Library, Concord
11:15 am -12 Noon - FREE
Crafts, music, and a kid-friendly countdown on December 31. 

Family Trees: A Celebration of Children's Literature at Concord Museum
1:00-4:00 pm
Thru January 1 in the new Education Center, 200 Lexington Rd, Concord.
Costume Character Days are December 15 & 16, 1-3:00 including Pete the Cat! $10 adults, $3 ages 5-17, under 5 free. Trees are decorated to illustrate children's books.    www.concordmuseum.org 
Acton Residents

The Acton Health Department is looking for input from families with young children on a town wide survey that asks residents to prioritize a variety of health topics. First Connections is part of a committee that will look at the results and help advise the Health Department on future projects, so make sure your voice is heard. It only takes a few minutes! Here is the link:  
New Location!
Replanting Lives Uprooted by Mental Illness: 
Support for Families
Daytime Group Meets
10:30-12:00 Tuesdays
Jan. 8, Feb. 12, March 12
New England Center for Healthy Minds, 289 Great Road, Acton
Free. No registration required.
This is a "self-care" group which offers effective tools and strategies, humor and relief to family members uprooted by mental illness in their loved ones. Folks of all ages, from all towns welcomed.  Questions?

If you would be interested in receiving information about a possible Boys & Girls Club of Assabet Valley 
After-School Program
coming to Acton next Fall, please send your email address to the director, Rebecca Lynch:

I n addition to those listed here, be sure to check the "Community Events" section below for more topics!  We are extremely grateful to the staff of Emerson's Center for Rehabilitative and Sports Therapies for donating their time and expertise providing these workshops.
Pre-registration required: lmatthews@jri.org  

January 29 - Motor Development in the First 12 Months
Learn about the important motor development milestones that happen during the first year of baby's life, and how to assist your child as he/she explores the environment. Hands-on demonstrations with your baby in addition to handouts to share with other caregivers. Presented by pediatric physical therapist Mary Evans, DPT
Held at Emerson Health Center, Westford, 12-1:00

February 6 - Pelvic Floor Health for Moms
Do you leak when you laugh, cough or sneeze? Do you have pain with intercourse? Have you had trouble lifting or getting back into exercise? If so, join the pelvic health physical therapists from Emerson Center for Rehabilitative and Sports Therapies to learn more about pelvic floor dysfunction and pain and how it can be treated. 
Held during New Moms Group at First Connections, Acton, 1-2:30

February 13 - Speech Articulation in the 2 to 4 Year Old
Articulation is how sounds are made, meaning a child must learn how to produce an "r" sound to correctly say "rabbit" rather than "wabbit." Speech & Language Pathologist Jaclynne Benoit will let parents know what the typical age range is for acquiring certain sounds, when unfamiliar listeners should be able to understand your child, and what might signal need for further evaluation. Childcare available with reservations.
Held at First Connections, Acton, 10-11:00

March 14 - Social-Emotional Skills: "Sorry, Not Sorry"
Go to any playground, storytime or playgroup, and you will hear adults saying, "Say you're sorry!" to young children. And you may hear some very savvy children quickly say, "Sorry" and run off. But are they really sorry? What is the right thing to do when your child takes a toy or hits someone? When should you "make" your child say they're sorry? If you have a toddler or preschooler and are wondering about this topic, come hear some of the reasoning behind not always making your child say they're sorry and what to do when your child hurts someone else, adult or child, on purpose or by accident. Presented by Ellie Springer, M.Ed. Early Childhood.  Childcare available with reservations.
Held at Concord Carousel Preschool, Concord, 10:15-11:15

March 28 - The Bilingual Home
There are many benefits to being bilingual, including cognitive-linguistic and literacy skills. However, many parents whose native language is not English receive conflicting information about bilingualism and the best way to support language development in their children. Our guest speaker, Speech & Language Pathologist Marahu George, grew up in a bilingual home in the U.S. with her first words being in Spanish. She will share the facts and fiction about raising a bilingual child and what that process will look like in your child in terms of their language acquisition and development depending on how language is used in your home. Her message assures parents that they can preserve their native culture and language, and  prepare their child for school!
Held at Bright Horizons, Boxborough, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

First Year of Life Support Programs


New Mothers Support Group
Any mother with a pre-crawling baby is welcome to attend this ongoing weekly support group facilitated by Emerson Hospital and First Connections. This open discussion group is a forum for you to share experiences and resources,  connect with other new mothers, and seek guidance about any concerns you might have. Facilitators are certified in lactation support and special topics occur monthly. No registration required. 

Every Wednesday, 1-2:30 p.m.

Meets at 179 Great Rd., Acton, Unit 104A


First-Time Mothers Group

6-week, small-group setting includes a different topic each week such as: adjusting to your new role, changes in relationships, work/family life balance, sleeping, feeding, crying, infant development and community resources.  

Meets January 28, February 4, 11, 25, March 4, 11 in Littleton


Emotional Wellbeing After Baby Group

Emotional challenges are the most common complication of pregnancy and childbirth, yet mothers often feel isolated and ashamed if they are struggling. Mothers experiencing anxiety or depression in the postpartum year can come together in this supportive, nonjudgmental, confidential group to share stories and learn from each other. While this is an ongoing, weekly group, before attending for the first time please contact the facilitator, Heather O'Brien, LICSW at hobrien @jri.org or 978-429-8284, ext. 219. Childcare can be provided for older siblings with advance notice. 
Every Thursday, 10:00-11:30 a.m. at First Connections, 179 Great Road, Acton, Unit 104A  


New Dads Group

This group allows dads to make connections with other fathers, ask questions, and share their experiences of parenthood. Adjusting to the new work/life balance and changes in relationships with friends, family and partners can sometimes be a challenge! Fathers are welcome to attend with/without babies and continue to attend the group for as long as it is helpful. Please email hobrien@jri.org before attending for the first time so we have your contact information in case of any last-minute changes. 
Tuesdays, January 8, February 12, March 12, 7:00-8:30 p.m. Maynard Public Library, 77 Nason Street 

Working Parents Group

T his group is specifically for full-time working parents with babies/toddlers up to 24 months. The group offers a way to stay connected to or find a peer group - something that is especially hard with short maternity leaves, if you struggled with postpartum anxiety or depression, or if your extended family is not close by. Discover ways to manage stress and cope with the challenge of balancing work and family life. Facilitated by First Connections and NAMMA Families staff. Moms and dads welcome!  8-week sessions begin January 5 (full) and March 2. H eld at First Connections, 179 Great Rd., Unit 104A, Acton
New playgroups begin the week of January 6. Registration is required for all groups: lmatthews@jri.org. No fees. Children may be registered for one group. All groups require participation of a parent or caregiver. Registration begins as soon as you receive your newsletter. Please let us know your child's first name and age, the name of the 
person who will bring him/her to playgroup, and the town you live in.  Families from any town may register for Baby Playgroup since it is partially funded through  supplemental funding. All other groups give preference to the towns our grant serves:  Acton, Bedford, Boxboro, Carlisle, Concord, Harvard, Hanscom AFB, Lincoln, Littleton, Maynard, Sudbury, Westford.

Baby Playgroup: Group includes developmental discussions and handouts, playtime, circle time with finger plays, rhymes and songs. Based on the Ages & Stages Developmental Milestones suggested activities for this age group. Open to parents residing in any town. Appropriate for all babies 3-9 months, and babies 10-11 months who are not actively crawling. Limited to 14 families.
Held at Roudenbush Community Center, Westford
Tuesdays, 1:30-2:30 beginning January 15
Older Baby Playgroup:  This group will have free play time at the beginning, and stories and songs at the end. The facilitator will be available to talk to and answer questions, but we won't have the same structured adult talking time as in the infant group because the children are starting to move around and sitting still for more than a few minutes is too much to ask! Based on the Ages & Stages Developmental Milestones suggested activities for this age group.  
Appropriate for ages 10-17 months if crawling or walking
Held at Bedford Public Library on Mondays, 10:00-11:00
Literacy Playgroup for Confidently Walking One Year Olds: 
T his group offers free play time in a preschool classroom with specific activities to work on different fine motor, communication, self help, and social skills, as well as a circle time with a book and songs. Every family will get a bag of books to take home each week, along with tips on fostering your child's love of reading. Limited to 12. Due to size and locatiion of room, only infants worn in a sling or carrier may attend with the registered child - no strollers or car seats.  
Appropriate for 12-23 Mos. if walking independently
Held at Village Nursery School in Harvard
Fridays, 10:00-11:00 a.m.

Art-Literacy Playgroup for Two Year Olds 
I n this group children will get a chance to play in a preschool classroom and try out some new art and sensory activities. We will get messy, so don't wear your best clothes. The group will also include a circle time with book and songs. Limited to 12. Infants worn in a sling or carrier may attend with the registered child - no strollers or car seats. 
Held at Bright Horizons in Boxborough
Tuesdays, 10:00-11:00 a.m.

Multilingual Families Playgroup
A child's primary language and culture are key contributors to lifelong development. This playgroup is specifically for families who are conversing in a language other than English as part of their family culture and daily life. The group will include a Read &  Rise monthly parent discussion topic, led by a parent educator, centering on how culture, traditions, and everyday fun family experiences can help parents foster their child's literacy and language development. The group includes a circle time and snack time in addition to free play. During registration please let us know if your child has any anaphylactic allergies to foods. Baby siblings in carriers welcome. If you are registering for the first time, please let us know the language other than English that is spoken at home.
Appropriate for Ages 18 Months thru 5 
Held at First Connections in Acton on 
Wednesdays 9:30-11:00  

Social and Emotional Skills Playgroup for 2 & 3 Year Olds
This playgroup will use the Mass. Early Learning Standards and Approaches to Play and Learning for Social and Emotional Development. The group will include free play, a weekly learning activity, snack time, story and circle time. Please bring a snack and inform us during registration if your child has an anaphylactic food allergy. Limited to 12 children.
Held at Concord Carousel Preschool in West Concord
Thursdays, 10:00-11:30 a.m.
Held at The Community School in Maynard Center
Mondays, 12:30-2:00 p.m.

Teaching Your Preschooler about Money & Math
You may not realize it, but money is a big part of your preschooler's life. Our children watch commercials, observe adults buying groceries and other things, accompany us to the bank and watch as we slide our bank cards multiple times a day. In this group we will read stories about money, sing number songs, play games, count, and make choices while we pretend to shop or save for a desired item. There will be a weekly handout for parents, a book list, a field trip to Digital Credit Union, and suggested activities you can continue with your child as they grow. Younger siblings must be held in a front carrier or sling since we will be using small items such as coins and game pieces which are choking hazards.  
Appropriate for ages 3 1/2 thru 5
Held at First Parish Church in Lincoln on  Fridays, 1:30-2:30 

Come join Concord Family Network and Concord Children's Center for a public book group for babies ages 0-24 months on 3 Saturdays this winter. This book group is for babies and toddlers with their parents or caregivers, and will include tips on fostering a lifelong love of reading. Free play begins at 10:00 with story and circle time following at 10:30. All dates will meet at Concord Children's Center, 1300 Main St., Concord. Please RSVP to Lynda at keanekb@gmail.com. In the event of severe inclement weather we will post updates on our website ( www.concordfamilynetwork.org ), Facebook, and notify RSVP's by email.
Saturdays, January 12, February 9 and March 16, 10-11:30 
Sweetie Valentines Day Party
Saturday, February 9, 10-11:30 a.m.

Blanchard Memorial School Gym, 493 Mass. Avenue, Boxboro

Sensory-friendly pre-party 9:30-10:00.
Adults and ABFN members free. Non-members over age one:
 $3 per child or $10/family. 
We will be collecting new small stuffed animals for the Acton Police Department's use during car accidents involving children.
Questions? Email publicevents@abfamily.org 
Does your child walk on his/her toes?
We posed this question to our friends at Emerson Center for Rehabilitative & Sports Therapies. Toe walking makes it hard for children to easily move about. It is not efficient, it is more work for them. It tightens up the back of the calf, which makes it hard to go down stairs when the time comes, and they tend to not be able to run or jump in a normal way. Occasionally it goes away, but if children are doing it more than 50% of the time they are upright, then it will not go away. The sooner it is addressed with physical therapy, the more easily it will go away. A play-based assessment can be done in your home through Early Intervention, or children can be evaluated in an outpatient setting. Early Intervention does not require a referral.  For more information, Mary Evans, DPT, a Pediatric and Neurologic Specialist,  has a blog post on this topic:

Early Intervention Programs serve children from birth to age 2.9, and have the following catchment areas:

Minute Man Arc E.I., 978-287-7951,
Acton, Boxboro, Bedford, Carlisle, Concord, Littleton, Lincoln, Maynard, Stow

Lipton E.I. Program, 978-840-9354
Harvard, Bolton, Groton, Ayer and towns north & west

Criterion Middlesex E.I. Program, 508-620-1442
Sudbury, Wayland, Framingham and south

Thom Anne Sullivan E. I. Program, 978-453-8331
Westford, Chelmsford, Billerica and north

South Bay E.I. Program, 978-452-1736
Westford, Chelmsford, Billerica and north

Support & Education Topics


"Setting Your Child Up for Success: A Positive Discipline Seminar" presented by The Respected Child
Are you tired of the constant battles and negotiations with your little one? Do you have to repeat the same thing over and over and feel like your child just isn't listening? Are you late everywhere because your child has a hard time getting out the door? As a parent do you spend more time stressed than you do enjoying it all? Come and learn about positive discipline methods along with some special techniques developed by The Respected Child. This 3-hour seminar is meant to help take your parenting questions and turn them into parenting confidence. Appropriate for parents of children ages 1 1/2 to 4. $35 per person. Held at First Connections on Saturday, February 2, 11:30 a.m. To register, email therespectedchild@gmail.com. 

Free Webinar:  "Raising Young Children in the 21st Century" presented by The Respected Child available January 20-27, 2019
Thank goodness for modern conveniences like houses, indoor plumbing, smart phones, winter coats and, well, everything! Join us for this thought-provoking webinar to explore how our modern day lifestyle is at odds with our children's -- and at times our own -- instincts. For parents with children ages 0-5. Sign up:

"The Impact of Anxiety & Depression on Learning" presented by Dr. Erica Kalkut of Child & Family Psychological Services
Cognitive dysfunction is believed to have a strong correlation with mental health diagnoses like depression and anxiety. These conditions can significantly alter cognitive functioning, particularly memory retention and the absorption of knowledge. For more info: lssepac.chair@gmail.com. Held Tuesday, January 29, 7-8:00 p.m., at Goodnow Library, Sudbury. Free.

"What Parents Need to Know About Depression & Anxiety" presented by Sue Hanly, RN, and Dianne Walsh, LICSW
The presenters will offer information to share, both from a professional standpoint and from their own personal lives. Program organizers characterize the presenters as knowledgeable and compassionate, and completely unflappable in terms of talking about mental illness.Held Thursday, February 7 at Stony Brook Middle School in Westford. Info: mary.anne.seraphin@gmail.com 

"Toilet Training with Tender Loving Care" presented by Jennifer Gillette, M.A.  With the overview that each child has his/her own unique temperament style and deserves a clear, simple and stress-free toilet training approach, this program will include topics such as when to introduce potty training, which chair to use, the choice between pull-ups and underwear, and rewards. Plenty of time for questions. Appropriate for parents of 1 year olds and older. $30.90 for 1 or $51.80 for 2.  January 9,  7-9 pm. Held at The Loved Child, Belmont.
"OCD and the Family" presented by Laura Stamboni, LICSW. Held at McLean Hospital, Belmont. 7:00-8:00 p.m., 115 Mill Street, DeMarnefe Cafeteria Room 132. A Family Support Group runs 6-7:00 in Room 118 prior to the presentation on January 8.

"I Think It's Sensory" presented by Tammy Kucharski, MS, OTR/L
Tuesday, January 15, 6:30-8:30 at Mt. Calvary Preschool, Acton. This program will be geared toward preschool teachers, but parents may register. $28. Includes a basic understanding of Sensory Integration, arousal levels for self-regulation. https://www.eventbrite.com/o/abhl-early-childhood-council-15743787429 

"Treating OCD During the Perinatal Years: Pregnancy, Postpartum and Beyond" presented by Lauren Brown, Psy.D. Held at McLean Hospital, Belmont on February 5,  7:00-8:00 p.m., 115 Mill Street, DeMarnefe Cafeteria Room 132. A Family Support Group runs 6-7:00 in Room 118 prior to the presentation. a Peer Group takes place at 8:00. 

"Supporting Sibling Relationships" presented by Jennifer Gillette, M.A. 
Sibling Rivalry is unavoidable and inevitable, but the good news is there are proven and evidence-based solutions parents can implement to make an enormous difference in sibling relationships. Parents will learn concrete strategies for minimizing conflicts and how to intervene during challenging moments, in addition to an overview of temperament, birth order, spacing and gender differences. Appropriate for families with siblings 0-7 years. February 27, 7-9 pm. Register: https://thelovedchild.net. Held in Belmont. $30.90/$51.80.

"An Overview of Positive Discipline" presented by Jennifer Gillette, M.A.
Are you struggling to manage your child's behavior? Is this taking a toll on your relationships? With so many parenting approaches, how do you choose the best option for you and your child? Join us to learn the key components to developing or restoring a positive relationship with your child(ren) and feeling like an effective parent. Appropriate for parents of children age 1-6. Held in Belmont from 7-9:00 pm on March 28. $30.90 for 1, $51.80 for 2. Register: https://thelovedchild.net 


Parent Support Group at Millennium School
, 25 Depot St, Westford 7-8:30 
This free drop-in group is available to any parent who is concerned that their child might be struggling with a mental health issue - including worries, sadness or something more defined. Facilitated by Dianne Walsh, LICSW and Sue Hanly, RN. Residents of any town are welcome. Presentations:
January 8: Understanding ADD/ADHD
February 12: Therapy options - how to get children to participate, mindfulness
For more information or be be included on group email: dwalsh@perkinschool, smhanly1@gmail.com or 978-501-0837

Adoptive Families Together Free Support Group in Concord
This group includes parents who have adopted children of all ages and races, domestically and internationally. Guardians and adults at any stage of the adoption process are welcome. Info: adoptivefamiliestogether@eliotchs.org  or  http://www.mspcc.org/aftMeets the 3rd Tuesday of each month, 7:30-9:00 p.m. at First Parish Church

Community Happenings - Parent & Child

Chinese Storytime at Bedford Public Library - all welcome! 
Friday, December 21, 10:30-11:00, in English and Chinese. Stories, songs, and poems. Practice a new language, rediscover childhood poems or just come for fun! Free.  www.bedfordlibrary.net 

Storytime and Animal Show at Animal Adventures in Bolton, 10:30 a.m.
Read a story about an animal and then see and learn about that animal. Friday, December 21. One 2 or 3 year old free with each adult paying $10. Under 2 are always free. www.animaladventures.net    

Winter Solstice Celebration at The Old Manse, 269 Monument St, Concord 
Friday, December 21, 6:00 p.m. Colorful solstice fire on the longest night of the year. Drumming and a candlelight sing-along. Hot apple cider and s'mores provided. Free.  https://theumbrellaarts.org/arts-environment/solstice-celebrations 

Winter Solstice Celebration at The Maker Farm in Westford, 6-9:00 p.m.
Visit the horses and other animals while helping to light 1,000 luminaries and do a Christmas craft, tree scavenger hunt, and make a woodland animal feeder. Saturday, December 22, $10/family. www.themakerfarm.com 

Wild About Turtles with Mary "The Turtle Lady" Doane at Maynard Library.
Thursday, December 27, 2:30, for ages 3-10. See real turtles, hear turtle stories, sing turtle songs and learn great turtle facts. Sign up at MPL children's desk or call 978-897-1010 x106. 77 Nason Street, parking behind library. 

Seasonal Storytime in Wayside Gallery at Fruitlands Museum in Harvard
Saturday, December 29, 2:00-2:45 pm. Storytime is free with admission ($5), under age 5 free. Stories focus on nature and history.  fruitlands. thetrustees.org      
Ben Rudnick & Friends at Acton Recreation Center, 1:30-3:30, $10/family
Sunday, January 13, Tickets are $10/family. www.acton-ma.gov/events .

Author Visit & Book Launch for Bear Needs Help at Silver Unicorn Books,
12 Spruce Street, Acton. Laura Brannen will share her book about asking for help and receiving it told in a simple but clever way. January 20, 2:00 pm.    www.silverunicornbooks.com. Look for Saturday morning storytimes to resume in February.    

Hansel & Gretel Tanglewood Marionette Show at Acton Recreation Center
Sunday, January 27, 1:00 p.m.. Tickets are $6 each purchased online or $8 at the door.  www.acton-ma.gov/events 

Karen K & the Jitterbugs at Acton Recreation Center, 1:30-3:30 
Sunday, February 10, $10 suggested donation per family. 50 Audubon Drive. www.acton-ma.gov/events 

6-Week BabyGarten Program for Caregivers & Babies 0-18 Months
This program uses nursery rhymes, songs, books, and projects that demonstrate babies' developmental milestones to illustrate the importance of reading to babies in the most effective way possible. Free play time included. No fee. Register for each individual date at www.littletonlibrary.org
February 26, March 5, 12, 19, 26, April 2, 11:00-12:00