Learning Ahead: November 9th-13th, 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

 CULTURAL STUDIES/SOCIOLOGY
Monday, November 9, 3pm-5pm
How are cultural identities formed? As part of the Latino Americans: 500 Years of History Event Series, the Berkshire Community College is screening Empire of Dreams, part of a PBS documentary on Latino history and the Latino experience in the United States. After the screening, Dr. Rouhi of Williams College will lead a presentation and discussion focusing on themes of memory, heritage, and cultural identity.
413-236-2116. 1350 West Street, Room K-111. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

CULINARY ARTS
Wednesday, November 11, 5:30pm-7:00 pm
Get ready for winter by making and eating a butternut squash soup and a vegetarian chili with Lia Douillet at the Ramsdell Library. Bring a knife and a cutting board. Best for self-directed teens with knife skills/cooking experience.
413-274-3738. 1087 Main Street. Housatonic, MA. (FREE)

ART/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Thursday, November 12, 4:30pm
What will you learn with your own personal guide at the Williams College Museum of Art? Walk through the galleries with a Williams student and discuss highlights of the collection during “Student Guides in the Galleries.”
413-597-2429. 15 Lawrence Hall Drive, Suite 2, Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

 THEATER/CULTURAL STUDIES
Thursday, November 12, 7pm; Friday, November 13, 7pm
The Simon’s Rock Theatre Program Presents The Skin of Our Teeth, a Pulitzer Prize-winning satirical play by Thornton Wilder that takes the audience on a wild and raucous tour of humanity through the ages. From wooly mammoths to an Atlantic City beauty contest to the aftermath of global war, extinction and survival race to the finish in a joyous, inspiring, and spectacular celebration of people’s resilience.
413-644-4400. Daniel Arts Center. Bard College at Simon’s Rock. 84 Alford Road, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

Franklin County

 ART/CULTURAL STUDIES/LITERACY
Monday, November 9, 5:30-7:30pm
The Tilton Library presents Henna Art – Connecting Reading, Culture & Art. Henna artist Sara Root Simone will paint a design for you in four sessions in this open house-style event for kids, teens, and adults. We’ll talk about Henna House by Nomi Eve (adults); Secrets of a Henna Girl by Sufiya Ahmed (teens); and Hanna the Henna Helper by Klaire Pearson (kids). Sign up at either circulation desk.
413-665-4683. 75 North Main Street, South Deerfield, MA. (FREE)

 ART/WATERWAYS
Thursday, November 12, 12:30-1:30pm
Do you care about your rivers? See how art and your words will make positive change as the Connecticut River Watershed Council presents “The Power of Water, The Power of Words.” You can influence how 200 miles of the Connecticut River and its tributaries from Montague, MA, to north of Hanover, NH, will be managed, restored, and improved for us and all the critters who call it home. Add your voice to the growing stream of what will be 1,000 stories built into a massive, inspiring, and influential art exhibition – a river of words!
413-863-3214. Carnegie Public Library, 201 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

 REGIONAL HISTORY/ART
Friday, November 13, 9-5pm
Historic Deerfield presents “Yankee Ingenuity and New England Decorative Arts, 1790-1840,” an in-depth examination of the decorative arts of New England’s inventors, merchants, and peddlers during the late-18th and early-19th centuries.
413-775-7179. 16 Memorial Street, Deerfield, MA. ($$$)

 FAMILY CONCERT/NATURAL HISTORY
Friday, November 13, 7pm-9pm
Each month, the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center hosts an evening coffeehouse with local musical talent. This month, Sarah Pirtle and friends present “Outbreak of Peace,” songs and stories for peace. Refreshments available. Museum and museum store open during intermission.
413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. (SUGGESTED DONATION)

Hampshire County

 PARENTING/LITERACY
Monday, November 9, 6pm
The Odyssey Bookshop is thrilled to host two icons of LGBTQ literature for children — Alex Gino and Leslea Newman — in conversation. Alex Gino’s George tells the story of a transgender fourth grader, a groundbreaking book about trans identity for a children’s book audience never before reached — middle grade. Similarly, Leslea Newman’s picture book Heather Has Two Mommies was instrumental in presenting lesbian relationships and non-heteronormative families to young readers. Please join Alex and Leslea for a reading and discussion of these important texts for young readers that help reflect our wonderfully diverse world. Appropriate for caregivers.
413-534-7307. 9 College Street, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

 CONCERT/CULTURAL STUDIES
Monday, November 9, 7:30pm
Enjoy “A Concert of Indian Classical Music” by Pandit Sarathi Chatterjee, one of India’s premier vocalists, with Pandit Ashis Sengupta, tabla, Shri Sumit Mishra, harmonium. Complimentary chai served at 7 pm. Mt. Holyoke College Abbey Interfaith Sanctuary.
413-538-2306. 47 Morgan Street, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

 HEALTH/PLANT STUDIES
Tuesday, November 10, 6:30pm-8pm
As a caregiver, it’s important to manage your health and wellbeing. Autoimmune disorders are known for their variety of symptoms, ranging from joint and body pain to digestive issues. Learn how herbal medicine can provide natural support for you at “Herbal Approaches to Autoimmune Disorders,” presented by River Valley Co-op. Pre-registration is required.
413-584-2665. 330 North King Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

 THEATER
Tuesday, November 10, 7:30pm
The Smith College Department of Theatre presents the New Play Readings series this fall, which brings audiences new and developing scripts that have been honored by the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, as well as others, and those written by Smith MFA graduate playwrights. On November 10, hear a reading of Photograph 51, by Anna Ziegler and Kitty Lin ’16. Older students interested in theater will enjoy these readings, which are a unique way to experience theater. Takes place in Hallie Flanagan Studio Theatre.
413-585-3222. 122 Green Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

 FILM STUDIES/WORLD HISTORY
Wednesday, November 11, 4:30pm and 7pm
In November 2006, the Amherst Cinema opened its doors with The Queen (PG-13, 2006), starring Helen Mirren in an oscar-winning performance. The Cinema kicks off a year-long celebration of its first 10 years with two complimentary screenings of the film, an historical drama that depicts the British royal family’s reaction to the death of Princess Diana in 1997. Tickets at the box office.
413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

 MUSIC STUDIES/UKULELE
Wednesday, November 11, 7pm-8pm
Do the lilting notes of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s ukulele rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” bring a smile to your face? You, too can strum this lovely song, and many more, with a bit of practice! Teens and adults are invited to participate in a series of beginner ukulele classes at the Goodwin Memorial Library, led by local uke superstar, Julie Calamine (formerly Stepanek!). Remaining classes in the series will be held November 11th and December 2nd. You need not attend all classes to participate, and ukuleles will be provided if you do not have your own. Advance sign-up requested.
413-584-7451. 50 Middle Street, Hadley, MA. (FREE)

 CULTURAL STUDIES
Thursday, November 12, 6:30-8pm
Join Bill Pfeiffer, author of Wild Earth, Wild Soul: A Manual for an Ecstatic Culture, for a lively and informative talk, and learn about Earth-honoring cultures. Through tapping into ancestral memories, taking what’s best from the human potential movement, and collaborating with present-day indigenous peoples, we can find our way home. Practicing the key ingredients of a lasting culture is an ecstatic way to live. Pre-registration required.
413-584-2665. 330 North King Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

 MEDITATION
Thursday, November 12, 7pm
Matthew Raider, MD presents the latest clinical research on how meditation can improve our physical, mental, and spiritual health at the Jones Library. This evening will offer the opportunity to learn and practice this simple technique that can reduce stress, enhance relaxation, and promote inner growth. Suitable for life-long learners and self-directed teens interested in mindfulness & psychology. Woodbury Room.
413-259-3223. 43 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

 WORLD HISTORY/GAMES
Friday, November 13, 7pm-9 pm
What board games did people play during the Renaissance? Come find out, while you enjoy light snacks and maybe win a door prize, at this family-friendly event sponsored by the UMass Renaissance Center Reading Group. Appropriate for all ages.
413-577-3603. 650 East Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Hampden County

 ANIMAL STUDIES
Thursday, November 12, 9am-7:30pm; Friday, November 13, 9am-7:30p
Are you or someone you know a horse-lover? Experience North America’s premiere equine exposition and equestrian gathering at the 52nd Equine Affaire at the Eastern States Exposition. Tour the Breed Pavilion showcasing dozens of horse breeds from North and South America, Europe, and beyond. Take part in clinics, seminars, and hands-on demonstrations on horse management and training.
740-845-0085. 1305 Memorial Avenue, West Springfield, MA. ($$)

 ART STUDIES
Thursday, November 12, 12:15pm
This week’s Museums a la Carte lecture at the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts is “Music, Poetry, Artists and Fun (A Journey from Petula Clark to Beethoven, with a Stop at an Art Museum).” Richard Mühlberger, former director of the Springfield Art Museums and distinguished author and educator, gives a wide-ranging talk on the critical role of art museums in contemporary society.
800-625-7738. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. (<$)

 ENTREPRENEURSHIP/TEEN
Thursday, November 12, 5:30pm-7:30pm
Are you a teen who wants to start a business? Do you have a big idea you want to make reality? Learn how when the Springfield City Library presents “Entrepreneurial Dreams: First Steps.” New entrepreneurs will “pitch” their ideas to members of Valley Venture Mentors and receive noncritical feedback. This is “Shark Tank” — with a heart! Pizza and refreshments will be served. Registration recommended.
413-263-6843. 380 Belmont Avenue, Springfield, MA. (FREE)

 THEATER/HISTORY
Thursday, November 12, 7:30pm; Friday, November 13, 7:30pm
Experience Little Women, the classic tale of 19th-century family life in Civil War America, like never before! Based on the timeless novel by Louisa May Alcott, this glorious musical for all ages follows the adventures of aspiring author Jo March and her sisters on a journey of personal discovery, heartache, hope, and everlasting love. Presented by Bay Path University. Bring non-perishable food items to Rachel’s Table (1160 Dickinson Street, Springfield) at least one hour before the performance and mention Little Women to receive a voucher for one complimentary ticket per household.
413-565-1307. 588 Longmeadow Street, Longmeadow, MA. ($)

 ART/GEOMETRY/HOLIDAYS
Friday, November 13, 10am-3pm
Create dazzling handmade ornaments using origami paper-folding techniques at the Origami Holiday Ornaments workshop. Make at least four unique pieces based on geometric origami models to use as festive ornaments, for gifts, or for just plain fun. Geared for novice folders but suggested for adults and older teens. Expect to work at a steady but relaxed pace. Bring a brown bag lunch. All materials provided.
800-625-7738. George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, Springfield Museums, 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. ($$-$$$)

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