Learning Ahead: July 25-29, 2016


Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

This summer, select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

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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38 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Comedy to Pottery. Sun Prints to Paleontology.

Comedy to Pottery. Sun Prints to Paleontology. Writing to 3D Printing. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

The 10th annual Hilltown Six Pottery Tour offers families the opportunity to visit potters’ studios, see their work, learn about the process of creating pottery, and ask questions. Visit nine studios across Western Massachusetts on Saturday, July 23, 10am-5pm and Sunday, July 23, 10am-5pm. Go to the website for a map and full schedule of events on this self-guided tour. Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire county, MA. (FREE)

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlight this week: Celebrate African American culture at the 43rd annual “Gather-In,” in Durant Park on Saturday, July 23, 12pm-6pm, a free neighborhood festival. Organized by the Berkshire County chapter of the NAACP, this free, fun-filled community event for all ages celebrates the rich cultural traditions and deep roots of the African-American community in Berkshire County and is open to everyone. There will be games, activities, music, food, and a free children’s raffle for bikes. The second annual Jahda Classic Basketball Tournament will be held during the Gather-In. For more information call 413-464-9060. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE admission. MARKET/SALE)


Outdoor Adventures ♦ Pottery ♦ Comedy ♦ Animal Studies ♦ Dance Studies ♦ History ♦ Music Studies ♦ Literacy ♦ Writing ♦ Technology ♦ 3D Printing ♦ Art Studies ♦ Figure Drawing ♦ Culture Studies ♦ Science ♦ Paleontology ♦ Crafts ♦ Sun PrintsBotany


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Learning Ahead: July 18-22, 2016


Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

This summer, select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

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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33 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Ornithology to Upcycling. Storytelling to Circus Arts.

Bioluminescence, emission of light by an organism, is a fascinating chemical process. It has many uses in various organisms including attracting mates, communication, defense against predators, and illumination for the purpose of sight. An upcoming Young Scientists’ Club gathering at the Gaylord Memorial Library will teach kids all about bioluminescence.

Ornithology to Upcycling. Storytelling to Circus Arts. Dance Studies to Service-Based Learning. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlight this week: On Thursday, July 21, from 10am-4pm, people of all ages are invited to “Science in the Streets” at the Springfield Museums. This STEM festival, part of the Summer Spectacular family programming series, will feature exciting demonstrations by researchers and innovators. Educators and parents are encouraging children to develop or sustain an interest in STEM because many exciting career paths require STEM skills. Learn about science, technology, engineering and math at the Springfield Museums! This program is open to all ages and free with museum admission. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. ($. Ages 3-17 <$. Children under two FREE).


Ornithology ♦ Zoology ♦ Bioluminescence ♦  Music Studies ♦ Local History ♦ Dance Studies ♦ Family Theater ♦ Storytelling ♦ STEM ♦ Physics ♦ Upcycling ♦ Art Studies ♦ Drawing ♦ Service-Based Learning ♦ Circus Arts


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Learning Ahead: July 11-15, 2016


Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

This summer, select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

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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33 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Figure drawing to Robotics. Snails to Architecture.

African drumming performances are highly physical and visual, involving not only the movement required to play the drums but also dance and chanting. These high energy performances get people moving and feeling the beat. You catch witness African drumming as part of the 15th Annual Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA in North Adams on Friday, July 15.

Figure drawing to Robotics. Snails to Architecture. World Music to Literacy. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlights this week: The 12th Annual Massachusetts Regional Yo-Yo Contest at the Academy of Music Theatre will feature the best of the best Yo-Yo tricks! More than just a toy, Yo-Yos can teach kids about physics. In order to understand how a yo-yo works in the first place, it’s essential to understand potential and kinetic energy. Even young kids can learn what these terms mean just by holding and dropping a yo-yo, or witnessing someone doing so. Be amazed by physics in action, Friday, July 15, 11am-5pm. Arrive towards the end of the event to witness the very best performers. 413-584-9032. 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)


Art Studies ♦ Collage ♦ Nature Studies ♦ Invasive Species ♦ Animal Studies ♦ Invertebrates ♦ Geology ♦ STEM ♦ Robotics ♦ History ♦ ArchitecturePhysics ♦ YoYosLiteracy ♦ Music Studies ♦ Klezmer


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Learning Ahead: July 4-8, 2016


Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

This summer, select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

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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29 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Contemporary Art to Cemetery Studies. Biology to Theater.

Check out the beautiful view around the Oxbow marina while you witness the Oxbow Water Ski Show Team build pyramids 3-4 people high, flip through the air and other more. Come see what they can do at this fast-paced water ski show. In addition to being dazzled and entertained, integrate the excitement into learning about physics by thinking deeply about water skiing and certain concepts of physics, including Newtown’s Third Law of Motion, Reynolds number, and gravity.

Contemporary Art to Cemetery Studies. Nature Science to Theater. Food History to Rube Goldberg Machines. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlight this week: Marches and parades can be a form of celebration, as well as a means of demonstrating for change, or both! The first ever “Interdependence Day” parade on Saturday, July 2 at 1pm will serve as a celebration of the world we all love, as well as a call to action against gas leaks and other environmental threats. The parade will come from four directions and also feature The Expandable Brass Band, puppets, and children’s theater. Everyone is invited to march in the parade and offers an opportunity to engage in creative-free play, placemaking and learning about community environmental concerns. Arrive at noon if interested in participating, and call 413-268-3588 for information on where to meet. Downtown. Northampton, MA. (FREE)


Art Studies ♦ STEM ♦ Rube Goldberg Machines ♦ History ♦ Cemetery Walk ♦ Food ♦ Theater ♦ Sports ♦ Water Skiing ♦ Music Studies ♦ Percussion ♦ Placemaking ♦ Lawn ConcertsLiteracyImmigration StudiesNature ScienceHerpetologyAstronomyCollaborative Consumption


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Learning Ahead: June 27-July 1, 2016


Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

This summer, select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

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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30 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Pollinators to Performance Art. River Studies to Boat Racing.

Lavender is a plant which can teach us about local culture, farming, aromatherapy, and culinary arts. The Lavender Festival at Johnson Hill Farm will provide lots of ways for people of all ages to learn about lavender farming and production.

Pollinators to Performance Art. River Studies to Boat Racing. Yoga to Coding. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlight this week: Families are invited to celebrate the Connecticut River and the ways in which it has impacted settlement patterns, economy, culture, and ecology. The Connecticut River Watershed Council’s River Celebration will involve river activities, food, and a presentation from naturalist speaker Laurie Sanders. On Saturday, June 25, from 9am-3pm you will have chances to tour the river, listen to live music, and celebrate nature with friends. Registration is required through the Watershed Council’s website. Brunelle’s Marina. 1 Alvord Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE).

EntomologyHistoryPerformance ArtPlacemakingLabyrinthFitnessQuidditchLiteracyWomen’s StudiesPlant and Soil ScienceCreative Free PlaySTEMAstronomy


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Learning Ahead: June 20-24, 2016


Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

This summer, select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!


See your banner here! Sponsor Learning Ahead!

38 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Physics to Folk Music. Agriculture to Road Races.

Physics to folk music. Agriculture to road races. Sculpture to strawberry festivals. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

In addition to being great exercise and a fun, social activity, skateboarding can inspire kids to become interested in science! Skateboarders performing tricks are actively engaging with scientific principles such as momentum, gravity, friction, and centripetal force.

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlight this week: Do you and your children enjoy learning about history through demonstrations and artwork? August 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. The Springfield Armory National Historic Site is currently exhibiting an art installation in honor of the National Park Service. You can come see this exhibition and learn about American war history on Armory Day, Saturday, June 18, 10am-5pm. A full day of events will include military drills with living history reenactors, primary source documents such as WWI videos and letters, and much more. Visit the Springfield Armory National Historic Site website for a full schedule of events.413-734-8551. One Armory Square. Springfield, MA. (FREE)


Art Studies ♦ Picture Books ♦ Literacy Biology Entomology ♦ STEM ♦ Physics ♦ Music Studies ♦ History ♦ Placemaking ♦ Sports & Recreation ♦ Skateboarding ♦ Bubble Soccer ♦ Food Culture ♦ Strawberry Fest ♦ Museum Adventures ♦ Agricultural History  ♦Dance Studies


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Learning Ahead: June 13-17, 2016


Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

This summer, select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

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


See your banner here! Sponsor Learning Ahead!

44 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Stamps to Hip Hop. Jam to Bike Safety.

Bicycling is a great sport and hobby, and a wonderful way to explore your neighborhood or other local areas on a bike trail adventure! Make sure the bike riders in your family know how to be safe riders. Participating in a bike rodeo is one great way to gain confidence and important skills.

Stamps to hip hop. Jam to bike safety. Tinkering to fencing. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlight this week: Do you love to express yourself through motion, or to watch others tell a story without saying a word? Perhaps there is a dance style you’ve always wanted to try but have never had the chance? Dance is a physical and mental workout involving spatial relationship skills, coordination, and memory. Plus, it is an interesting way to communicate and a fun way to exercise! At Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, which begins on Saturday, June 11, at noon, you can try modern dance, Zumba, and hip hop. You can also watch performances by EarthDance, Berkshire Pulse, Olga Dunn Dance Company and Albany Berkshire Ballet. This all-ages community festival will also involve historic tours, storytimes, scavenger hunts and more. Visit the Jacob’s Pillow website for more information and a schedule of events. 413-243-9919. 358 George Carter Road. Becket, MA. (FREE)


Architecture ♦ Ancient History ♦ Numismatics ♦ Civil Rights ♦ Sustainability ♦ Makerspace ♦ Agriculture ♦ Father’s Day ♦ Horticulture ♦ Music Studies ♦ Dance Studies ♦ Cultural Studies ♦ Placemaking ♦ Artisan Skills ♦ Sports ♦ Strategy ♦ Art Studies ♦ Reading ♦ Parenting


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Learning Ahead: June 6th-10th, 2016


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

This week we are featuring 22 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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38 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Asparagus to Anthropology. Fishing to Fairy Tales.

The art of tying flies for fly fishing combines scientific knowledge, fine motor skills, and creativity. While many flies are created for use as bait, some are created for artistic displays. Learn more about fly-tying, as well as various fishing techniques, at this week’s fishing events!

Asparagus to anthropology. Fishing to fairy tales. Engineering to rowing. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlight this week:If you live in Hadley, you probably know that your town is considered the asparagus capital of the world, with this plant popping up so frequently that people call it “Hadley grass.” Come to the 2016 WGBY Asparagus Festival to buy fresh asparagus and other produce at the farmers’ market, shop locally sourced items at the makers’ market, and enjoy live music. And stop by the Hilltown Families’ Pop-Up Open House! Besides asparagus in its natural form, you can also taste test unique uses of the food, like asparagus ice cream! There will be plenty for kids to do, including a cooking workshop. Hadley town commons. Route 9/Russell Street. Hadley, MA. (MARKET/SALE)


Engineering ♦ GeologyPlacemakingConservation BiologyFly FishingBoatingPoetryChildren’s LiteraturePuppetry ♦ Local HistoryCultural StudiesGardeningNutritionParenting


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Learning Ahead: May 30th-June 3rd, 2016


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

This week we are featuring 21 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. This week, don’t miss our special listing of Memorial Day events, Memorial Day as a Catalyst for Placemaking, Historical Learning, and Acts of Kindness!


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37 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Rhubarb to Woolcraft. Bubbles to Adventure Playgrounds.

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If you love wool, weaving, textiles, fiber arts, or animal husbandry, you won’t want to miss the annual Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair! Western MA is full of talented, crafty people, and opportunities to learn or practice your fiber arts skills with them abound throughout the year.

Rhubarb to woolcraft. Bubbles to adventure playgrounds. World music to Shakespeare. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlight this week: Adventure playgrounds invite children to engage with a variety of open-ended, simple materials (think giant cardboard boxes, tubes, fabric, string, bales of hay) to create the play spaces and experiences they desire. Participating an adventure playground not only stimulates the imagination, it encourages collaboration and builds self-esteem. Visit The Play Workshop‘s pop up playground on Saturday, May 28, from noon until 4pm, to try out this fun, different, joyful type of creative free play! 413-588-2208. Community Field Road. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)


AgricultureCulinary ArtsFiber ArtsAnimal HusbandryPhysicsEarth SciencePuppetryCareer StudiesNative American StudiesIntergenerationalChildren’s LiteratureLanguage StudiesOrnithologyCitizen ScienceTinkeringTheater ArtsDanceMemorial DayMusic StudiesService-based Learning


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Learning Ahead: May 23rd-27th, 2016


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

This week we are featuring 22 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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52 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Railroads to Running. Cultural Studies to Coding

Art created by native peoples of the Pacific Northwest offers a vibrant and engaging look into Native cultures, folklore, history, and values. Visit this new exhibit, Finding Raven, at the Berkshire Museum on its opening day, and enjoy special interactive stations to enrich your understanding and appreciation of the techniques, stories, and identities behind the works of art!

Railroads to running. Cultural studies to coding. Gorges to gardening. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlight this week: Storytelling is a highly empathetic process. When you combine the creative empathy involved in storytelling with the therapeutic effects of expressing yourself through pictures, the activity has a profound impact. Comic books and graphic novels do just this; they force artists and writers to think about people’s emotions, and the social impact of characters’ actions on each other. On Saturday, May 21st, 10:30am-1:30pm, The Lee Library is hosting a Comic Jam, a collaborative storytelling adventure for cartoonists of all ages and abilities. This fun-filled event will encourage participants to think critically, empathetically, and creatively. Each artist will contribute to other artists’ comics, resulting in a highly original work which could not be created by a single individual. No prior experience or ability is required. Participants can drop in any time. 413- 243-0385. 100 Main Street, Lee, MA. (FREE)


PlacemakingGamesFitnessEmotional HealthCollaborative ConsumptionNative American StudiesHorticultureFolk DancingIntergenerationalBeekeepingDinosaursPhysicsInventionsCarpentryScrapbookingMusic StudiesGeologyStorytellingImprovPsychologyParenting


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Learning Ahead: May 16th-20th, 2016


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

This week we are featuring 30 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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57 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Engineering to Bicycling. Food Security to Fire-building.

Yo-yos have been around for a long time, and their use is documented in many cultures, perhaps as far back as ancient Greece! These toys, along with jump ropes, hula hoops, and others, make up a subset of toys called “skill toys.” Experts, novices, and anyone else interested in this type of toy can participate in a fun skillsharing event this week!

Engineering to bicycling. Food security to fire-building. Canines to quilts. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlight this week: The recent transit of Mercury may have piqued your and your family’s interest about astronomical events! How do astronomers predict events like the transit of Mercury with such accuracy? In short, they use mathematics. Astronomers draw from concepts of physics, and use algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus to make measurements of distances between objects in the sky, the speeds at which they are traveling, and other factors, and then develop predictions of various arrangements of celestial bodies with respect to Earth. You don’t need to know anything about mathematics to appreciate the beauty of the sky, however. Come to the Springfield Museums on Astronomy Day, Saturday, May 14th, from 12pm-4pm, to engage in safe sunspot viewing, and see a collection of meteorites. There will be hands-on activities for all ages, information about how craters are formed on the moon, and a space sensory bin for kids. 413-263-6800, ext. 318. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. ($. Ages 3-17 <$. Under 3 and museum members FREE)


OrnithologyCitizen ScienceCommunity MealService-based LearningBotanyCollaborative ConsumptionLocal HistorySTEAMMakerspaceArchitectureSkillsharingWoodworkingShakespeareLanguage ArtsQuiltingVisual ArtsYouth TheaterMusic StudiesFilm StudiesCultural Studies ♦ Parenting


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Learning Ahead: May 9th-13th, 2016


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

This week we are featuring 26 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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52 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Mercury’s Transit to Mother’s Day. Fiber Arts to Food Trucks.

Chocolate lovers! Don't miss a chance to learn about this tasty treat, as well as other culinary delights, this week!

Chocolate lovers! Don’t miss a chance to learn about this tasty treat, as well as other culinary delights, this week!

Mercury’s transit to Mother’s Day. Fiber arts to food trucks. Pride to perennials. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlight this week: Ornithology, the study of birds, encompasses many subtopics. People interested in studying birds may want to learn to identify them by sight or sound, analyze their communication through bird songs and behavior, protect endangered species, or become falconers.You can celebrate the spectrum of bird-related topics at the Valley Bird Festival! The festival begins on Saturday, May 7, with a bird walk at 6:30am, followed by family-friendly activities including a falconry demonstration at 8am. The first half of the festival will take place at Fort River Refuge. For more ornithological activities, head over to Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary where the fun continues from 10:30am until 2pm. Play games, visit information tables, and witness live owl demonstrations at 11am and 1pm. For more information, visit the Hitchcock Center for the Environment website. 69 Moody Bridge Road, Hadley, MA, and Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, 127 Combs Road, Easthampton, MA. (FREE)


GardeningService-based LearningSkillsharingOrnithology ♦ Computer ScienceAstronomyChemistryEcologyCitizen SciencePerforming ArtsSewingFiber ArtsZoologyCultural StudiesSustainabilityCollaborative ConsumptionVisual ArtsLocal HistoryFolkloreLGBTQCommunity EngagementParenting


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Learning Ahead: May 2nd-6th, 2016


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

This week we are featuring 26 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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51 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Poetry to Potluck. Homesteading to Oceanography.

The self-guided Asparagus Pottery Trail will weave you through the Hilltowns and surrounding areas and allow you to visit with some of Western MA's most talented ceramic artists. Love pottery? Learn more at our post, Discovering History Through Pottery-Based Learning!

The self-guided Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail will weave you through the beautiful springtime landscapes of the Hilltowns and surrounding areas and allow you to visit with some of Western MA’s most talented ceramic artists. Love pottery? Learn more at our post, Discovering History Through Pottery-Based Learning!

Pottery to potluck. Homesteading to oceanography. Civil engineering to a cappella. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlight this week: Living history museums and events provide interesting insight into the ways in which we engage with historical information. Renaissance fairs first emerged in the United States in the 1950s, as part of a larger interest in medieval culture and music. Living history challenges actors and attendees to think about history beyond events, learning about customs, dress, accents and behaviors. On Sunday, May 1st, from 11am-4pm,  The Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies hosts its 14th Annual Community Renaissance Festival! Attendees of all ages can learn about jewelry making, pottery, weaving, and woodworking. There will be sword demonstrations, juggling, Tarot reading, dancing, and music. As part of this festival, The Theater Truck will be performing Commedia Grab Bag! in the Big Tent at 11:30. This interactive theatrical performance will allow audience members to determine what scenes and characters are played in a choose-your-own-adventure style performance. The book sale will allow for continued historical learning after the event. The full event schedule can be found on the The Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies website. 413-577-3600. 650 E Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)


PlacemakingCollaborative ConsumptionCommunity MealHomesteadingGardeningNutritionArts & CraftsOrnithologyAnimal HusbandrySTEAMNature StudiesCitizen ScienceOceanographyService-based LearningCivil EngineeringRenaissanceMusic StudiesAnimationPerforming ArtsStorytellingPotteryCultural StudiesParenting


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Learning Ahead: April 25th-29th, 2016


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

This week we are featuring 24 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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42 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Bikes to Botany. Farming to Financial Literacy.

Love to paddle a canoe, go fishing, or watch wildlife? Learn more about how to enjoy your local riverways!

Love to paddle a canoe, go fishing, or watch wildlife? Learn more about how to enjoy your local riverways!

Bikes to botany. Farming to financial literacy. Earth Day to entomology. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlight this week: Children’s book author and illustrator Grace Lin has said: “Books erase bias, they make the uncommon everyday, and the mundane exotic. A book makes all cultures universal.” Lin grew up in upstate New York and hers was the only Asian American family in her neighborhood. As a Taiwanese author drawing upon her personal experiences, Lin has enriched the world of children’s literature with greater diversity. Asian American children reading her books have the pleasure of feeling represented, and children of other cultures and backgrounds get to learn about experiences beyond their own. On Saturday, April 23, at 2pm, Lin will be giving a talk, discussing these issues as they relate to her picture books, early readers and middle grade novels, at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. 413-559-6315. 125 West Bay Road, Amherst, MA. (FREE with museum admission <$)


 Biking ♦ Earth DaySkillsharingCitizen ScienceWildflowersSoil ScienceCommunity GardensVolunteeringAnimal StudiesEvolutionTradesArchaeologyAbolitionBooksClassic StoriesCircus ArtsDiversityStepdancingParenting


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Learning Ahead: April 18th-22nd, 2016


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

This week we are featuring 29 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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61 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Foraging to Forensics. Recycling to Raptors.

Trilliums are one of many spring ephemerals you can encounter on a springtime hike! Walk slowly and watch where you put your feet to protect these beautiful species.

Trilliums are one of many spring ephemerals you can encounter on a springtime hike! Walk slowly and watch where you put your feet to protect these beautiful species.

Foraging to forensics. Recycling to raptors. Poetry to postcards. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlights this week: Learn sustainable living skills like beekeeping, gardening, and composting, while enjoying live entertainment at the Seventh Annual Amherst Sustainability Festival on Saturday, April 16, 10am-4pm! Visitors can watch demonstrations on how to build a solar oven, how to make natural body-care products, or talk to local climate advocates about green energy and climate change. Hilltown Families will be represented at the festival, at a pop-up open house. Come to our table to find out about our resources for connecting community members of all ages to educational events, workshops, and volunteer opportunities. There will be live animals, face painting, jugglers and stilt walking on the common to keep you entertained as well as informed. Bring items for the Recycling Drive. For more information, visit the event website. 413-259-3149. Town Common, Amherst, MA. (FREE)


Service-based LearningAnimal StudiesOrnithologyPaleontologyJewelry-makingForensicsEngineeringHorticultureSustainabilityU.S. HistoryNative American CultureSouth American StudiesCulinary ArtsPoetryFishingYogaImprovStorytellingPuppetryMagicWorld MusicIntergenerationalParenting


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