Learning Ahead: October 19th-23rd, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 23 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.


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Berkshire County

GUIDED HIKE
Wednesday, October 21, 10am-12noon
Join the Berkshire Natural Resources Council for a hike at Hollow Fields. Enjoy the beautiful fields and views of Yokun Ridge on this moderate three-mile hike. 413-499-0596. Perry’s Peak Road. Richmond, MA. (FREE)

LOCAL LORE/PARANORMAL
Wednesday, October 21, 7pm
Jeff Belanger, host of the PBS series New England Legends, presents a “Supernatural Evening” at the Berkshire Athenaeum on October 21. Hear strange New England tales at this fascinating talk. 413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

ART HISTORY
Friday, October 23, 10am-5pm
Williams College Museum of Art’s new exhibition, The Anxiety of Influence: European and American Art, 1689-1913, opens on October 23rd. The exhibit features work from WCMA’s collection that highlights the political, cultural, and economic tensions of the times, and features works from Britain, France, Holland, Italy, and Spain, juxtaposed with ones from the Americas. Viewing this exhibition would be an excellent opportunity for those interested in history and art. 413-597-2429. 15 Lawrence Hall Drive. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

SHAKER HISTORY/HOMESCHOOL
Friday, October 23. 10am-5pm
Hancock Shaker Village will be open only to homeschoolers and their families for this special day of demonstrations, songs, hands-on activities, and more. Visitors will learn about the Shakers’ use of water and solar power, visit the farm’s animals, and view woodworkers and blacksmiths crafting their wares, all while being able to enjoy the grounds at a leisurely pace. 413-443-0188 x 100. Routes 20 & 41, Pittsfield, MA. ($)

ANIMAL STUDIES/BATS
Friday, October 23, 4pm
Learn all about bats at a special program at the Bushnell-Sage Library! Jerry Schneider will teach us about the importance of bats to the environment with a slideshow, and then attendees can decorate t-shirts (bring one from home or buy one at program for <$). This is a fun chance for all ages to learn about these amazing creatures! 413-229-7004. 48 Main Street. Sheffield, MA. (FREE)

MUSIC STUDIES/PIANO
Friday, October 23, 8pm
Celebrated American pianist Simone Dinnerstein will join the Berkshire Symphony Orchestra in concert in Chapin Hall at Williams College. The concert will be the first event in Chapin Hall since extensive renovations began last spring. 413-597-4277. Williams College. Williamstown, MA (FREE)

Franklin County

PARENT SUPPORT/SPECIAL NEEDS
Wednesday, October 21. 6:00pm-7:30pm
Does your child have a diagnosed or undiagnosed special need? The Community Network for Children is offering a “Family Cafe Night for Families of Children with Special Needs. This parent facilitated group is open to all parents/guardians living in the Union #28 School district, (Erving, Leverett, New Salem, Shutesbury and Wendell) who would like support in managing day to day with their young children. The series will run seven Wednesdays throughout the school year at different school-based locations. This event is at Irving Elementary School. Pre-registration is required if childcare is needed. 978-544-5157. Leverett Elementary School. Leverett, MA. (FREE)

HISTORY/CULINARY ARTS
Friday, October 23, 10am-4pm
Experience life in an early New England kitchen at Historic Deerfield‘s Open Hearth Cooking demonstrations! Learn about traditional fall harvest foods like pumpkins, apples, and corn. These cooking demonstrations allow visitors of all ages to see what life was like in the past and the types of chores and activities they would do had they lived several hundred years ago! Free with admission. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street. Deerfield, MA. ($)

 PARANORMAL ACTIVITY
Friday, October 23, 6pm-8pm
Paranormal investigating team S.P.I.R.I.T.S. of New England will be at the Greenfield Public Library on October 23 to share stories of their investigations with video and audio footage and a question-and-answer session. Older students interested in ghosts and paranormal activity will love this presentation, which delves into New England’s rich history and the ghosts that come along with it! 413-772-1544. 402 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Hampshire County

MUSIC STUDIES/VOICE
Monday, October 19, 8pm
The Mt. Holyoke College Music Department presents an exciting performance by Grammy-winning vocal project Roomful of Teeth. The group will perform new music for 8 solo voices and incorporates vocal styles like yodeling, belting, and throat singing. Students with audience skills and an interest in music would enjoy this exciting live performance! Takes place in McCulloch Auditorium. 413-538-2306. Lower Lake Road. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

ART STUDIES/PHILOSOPHY
Tuesday, October 20, 12:20pm-12:50pm
There will be a gallery talk at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum on October 20 – Professor of Philosophy Thomas E. Wartenberg will present, “Investigating Fourth Range: Thoughts on Illustration as Philosophy.” 413-538-2000. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

MUSEUM EDUCATION/EDUCATOR PROGRAM
Tuesday, October 20, 4pm-6pm
The Emily Dickinson Museum’s first Teacher Tuesday program is on October 20th. All educators can attend this free program, where you can explore the museum, do hands-on projects, and get some inspiration for future projects to do with students. 413-542-8161. 280 Main Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

DANCE STUDIES/CONTEMPORARY
Tuesday, October 20, 7:30pm
Doug Varone and Dancers will perform ReComposed and Lux at the UMass Fine Arts Center Concert Hall on October 20th. Older students interested in dance can learn from this exciting performance, which is followed by a talk with the company. Tickets available in advance. 413-545-2511. 151 Presidents Drive. Amherst, MA. ($$)

LOCAL HISTORY/TRANSPORATION
Wednesday, October 21, 6:30pm
The New Haven and Northampton Canal. Canal historian Carl Walter will present a public lecture on the canal with special emphasis on the terminus of the canal, now the site of the new boathouse for Northampton Community Rowing. This presentation will explain why the canal was built, where it was located, how it was constructed, and its importance to the canal towns with emphasis on the terminus of the canal on the Connecticut River in Northampton. Forbes Library, Calvin Coolidge Room. Northampton, MA (FREE)

FORESTRY/CONSERVATION
Wednesday, October 21, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary is hosting a Woods Forum on October 21st. Conservation organizations including UMass Extension Services, Kestrel Land Trust, Mass Audubon, and others will be present to discuss Chapter 61, conservation restrictions, timber harvesting, and other topics related to the management of local woodlands. There will be a presentation and discussion that would be beneficial to those who own forested land or to lifelong learners and older teens interested in forestry and conservation. Registration is required. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

MUSIC STUDIES/JAZZ
Friday, October 23, 7:30pm
The Mt. Holyoke College Music Department presents an exciting jazz performance – “Ring a Ding Ding.” The Jazz Ensemble will commemorate the 100th birthday of Frank Sinatra and will perform music by Basie, Goodman, Gershwin, and others. Older students with audience skills and interest in jazz music would enjoy the performance. Takes place in Chapin Auditorium. 413-538-2306. 50 College Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Hampden County

LOCAL LORE/PARANORMAL
Monday, October 19, 7pm
Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe will present “Mysterious Massachusetts” at the Agawam Public Library on October 19th. Hear some of our state’s most famous weird stories, including the Dover Demon, the Salem Witch Trials, ghosts on the coast, Berkshire UFO sightings, and more. Older students can have fun learning about the state’s most famous paranormal incidents. 413-789-1550. 750 Cooper Street. Agawam, MA. (FREE)

STEM/TECHNOLOGY
Tuesday, October 20, 5:30pm-7:30pm
Students ages 10 and up who are interested in computers, technology, coding, and programming can attend a Mobile App Development workshop run by Holyoke Codes. Get creative and come up with an app idea, then make it using App Inventor for Android! This visual app development tool from MIT allows users to create their own app and then use it and share it with others. Takes place at Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center. Register in advance. 100 Bigelow Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE/DONATION)

LOCAL LORE/PARANORMAL
Wednesday, October 21, 6:30pm-8pm
Learn about New England’s haunted history at the Westfield Athenaeum. Barry Dietz will present this program about New England’s past. Best for older students interested in history and who enjoy ghost stories. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)

TRADITIONAL SKILLS/CHEESE MAKING
Thursday, October 22, 5pm-8pm
Making Cheese and Yogurt: with Ron and Sandra Hess, a hand’s on workshop on how to make cheese and yogurt. The class will include making Colby and Mozzarella cheeses, and also how to make yogurt. Ron and Sandra are offering this class at their home. Please bring an apron. To Register: Call 413-685-1052. Russell, MA (FREE for Hilltown residents)

TRADITIONAL SKILLS/BREAD BAKING
Friday, October 23, 4pm-6pm
The is holding a bread-baking event for all at the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center. Families and community members can come together to engage in the creative, hands-on process of bread baking. This event focuses on sweet and yeasted breads, but gluten free bread can be made as well! 83 College Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE/DONATIONS ACCEPTED)

MATH SKILLS/PUZZLES
Friday, October 23. 5:30-8:30pm
A2Z is hosting a Rubiks Cube Night for youth to come learn how to solve this popular puzzle, or to compete in speedcubing! One of the most popular games of the 1980’s, Rubik’s Cube in a 3D combination puzzle that requires math skills to solve. Kids interested in puzzles can use their natural interests as motivation to learn about geometry, area, perimeter and volume while practicing reasoning and logic.  A great tool for kinetic and visual learners, these learners can boost their self confidence in problem solving and math skills by learning and engaging in community social events like Rubiks Cube Night at A2Z. Open to everyone. 57 King Street. Northampton, MA (FREE)

 LOCAL HISTORY/CEMETERY TOUR
Friday, October 23, 6:30pm-8pm
The Longmeadow Historical Society is hosting “Ghosts in the Graveyard,” a cemetery tour with a focus on Longmeadow’s history. Bring a flashlight and the kids and learn about local history as you tour the Longmeadow Cemetery while members of the LHS share stories of historical figures who have lived in the area and have been laid to rest. 413-567-3600. Williams Street. Longmeadow, MA.

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