Learning Ahead: August 10th-14th, 2015

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long!

This week we are featuring 8 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens


Berkshire County

Monday, August 10. 6:30pm-8pm — MUSIC STUDIES/DRUMMING WORKSHOP
Hand drums can produce a wide variety of sounds in the hands of a skilled master drummer. Beginning and experienced drummers alike are invited to a hand drum class led by Baba Joe Platz. Nigerian, Congolese, and Cuban drum techniques will be addressed. If you have a conga or ashieko, please bring it. If you need a drum, include this information when you register with Aimee at Tamarack Hollow. Appropriate for mature teens and adults. Scholarships available. The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, 28 Renne Avenue, Pittsfield, MA. ($)

Tuesday, August 11. 10:30am-12pm — NATIVE FAUNA & NATURALIST SKILLS
Basic naturalist skills are fun to develop and will serve a person for a lifetime! Learning to use a hand lens helps develop fine motor skills and increases one’s ability to observe, and subsequently, describe objects. Discovering how a field guide is organized and how it is used helps one establish a stronger understanding of systems of classification and allows for lots of practice with comparing and contrasting. Project Native‘s Bug & Butterfly Safaris invite children to develop and practice these skills as they traverse fields in search of eggs, caterpillars, and butterflies to relocate into the Butterfly House. All ages welcome; all children should be accompanied by an adult. Wear sturdy shoes and bring water, insect repellent, and sunscreen. Rain cancels. 413-274-3433. 342 North Plain Road, Housatonic, MA. (FREE)

Franklin County

Monday, August 10. 12pm-4:30pm — HISTORY/FIBER ARTS
Did you know that silk played an important role in Deerfield’s history? Visit Historic Deerfield‘s Silken Threads and Shimmering Cloth presentations to learn all about the silk industry. Check out the live silkworm exhibit, reel silk from a cocoon, and try painting on silk fabric! Many examples of silken cloths and embroideries will be on display throughout the museum as well. This hands-on learning opportunity will be available daily through August 13, 2015. 413-775-7127. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. ($)

Hampshire County

Monday, August 10. 1pm-4pm — BABYSITTING COURSE
Whether your older child is ready to care for his/her younger siblings or would like to become your neighborhood’s go-to babysitter, a basic course in child care skills is a must. The Forbes Library is hosting a babysitter training course for students ages 11 and older which will address safety, basic first aid, infant care, toddler care, hygiene, and how to run a babysitting business. Participants will receive a workbook and a certificate of completion. Registration required. 413-587-1010. 20 West Street, Northampton, MA. ($$)

Tuesday, August 11. 8am-5pm — ART
The Easthampton Art Guild, meets weekly to create art, share with, and learn from each other. A variety of works by Guild members are now on display at Easthampton’s City Hall Gallery, with the mission of “bringing art to the community and the community to art.” Visitors may stop in Mondays-Thursdays through September 30, 2015. 413-529-1425. 50 Payson Avenue, Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Friday, August 14. 5pm-8:30pm — OUTDOOR THEATRE/SHAKESPEARE
Look Park invites everyone to join them for a rousing performance of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Arrive at 5pm with a blanket to find a seat and mingle with the comedy’s characters. The performance starts at 6pm. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street, Florence, MA. (< $ per car for parking)

Friday, August 14. 7pm — LOCAL HISTORY/FOOD HISTORY
Many of us take our refrigerators for granted until a power outage strikes and our food begins to spoil. Well before the days of modern refrigerators, food preservation was facilitated (for those who could afford it) by chunks of ice. In the 19th century, ice harvesting from ponds and lakes was a booming industry in New England! Check out the unique tools of the trade and hear stories from ice harvests and exporting ventures at the Goshen Historical Society‘s Ice Harvesting program. 413-268-7120. Town Hall, 42 Main Street, Goshen, MA. (FREE)

Hampden County

Tuesday, August 11. 6:30pm — MUSIC STUDIES/UKULELE
Is there someone in your family who has been wanting to learn the ukulele? Know a little but want a refresher? This instrument’s lilting sounds are hard to resist! Teens and adults are invited to the Storrs Library for a learn-to-play-the-ukulele workshop with Julieann Stepanek. Participants may bring their own ukuleles or borrow one at the session. Registration required. 413-565-4181. 693 Longmeadow Street, Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

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