Learning Ahead: August 3rd-7th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 9 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

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27 Community Highlights: Penguins to Cicadas. Lava Lamps to Pteridology.

When flowers are in bloom, it can be easy to overlook the other plant life around them. Late summer affords us a wonderful window of opportunity (between two seasonal flower blooms) to focus in on ferns! On Sunday, August 2 from 12pm-2pm there will be a 2-hour hike, sponsored by the Hilltown Land Trust,  leading participants past many different types of ferns. Learn how to identify and differentiate common local fern species. Wear long sleeves and pants, sturdy shoes, and insect repellant, and bring water as well as a magnifying glass and fern guide if you have them. Great community-based educational opportunity for self-directed and life-long learners. Rain cancels. Registration required. 508-997-0496. Taproot Commons Farm, 11 Porter Hill Road, Cummington, MA. (FREE)

Penguins to Cicadas. Lava Lamps to Pteridology. Choral Arts to Comics… 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: Creating a map requires that we take a different look at our surroundings, examine spatial relationships, recognize landforms, and consider scale. Families can try their hand at cartography, or mapmaking, at Chesterwood‘s “Walking the Line” workshop on Saturday, August 1 from 11:30am-1pm. Participants will be invited to create maps of both real and imagined places. 413-298-3579. 4 Williamsville Road, Stockbridge, MA. ($)


OrnithologyNative American CultureCartographyCulinary ArtsLocal HistoryGraphic NovelsService-Based LearningBotanyMusic StudiesLibrary AdventuresSTEMEntomology


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Learning Ahead: July 27th-31st, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 12 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

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31 Community Highlights: Silk Worms to Pottery Tour. Museums to Hiking Trails.

Back in the 1700s, were residents of Massachusetts doomed to suffer through hot, humid summers, or did they have ways to escape the heat? What could they do to keep their produce from wilting and rotting in the summer months? Visit Historic Deerfield‘s hourly Hot Weather, Cold Hearth presentations on Saturday, July 25 between 10am-4pm to learn how early New Englanders made the most of their summer months. 413-775-7127. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. ($)

Silk Worms to Pottery Tour. Museums to Hiking Trails. Historical Societies to Bug Safaris… 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: This Saturday, July 25 from 10am-9pm, the South Hadley Falls Fest brings people together to enjoy music, art, and each other, and aims to promote cultural and community diversity through the arts. There will be live music throughout the day, and plenty of activities for families and children including ukelele lessons, make-your-own instruments, lawn games, origami, karaoke, and bracelet making! Food and beverage vendors will be on site, and artisans will be selling their wares as well. Rain or shine. 413-535-8861. South Hadley Falls, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)


Pottery-Based LearningCommunity CelebrationsZymologyLocal HistoryCommunity HikeEntomologyOrnithologyMuseum AdventuresOutdoor PerformancesPuppetryWeekday Highlights


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Learning Ahead: July 20th-24th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 13 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

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43 Community Highlights: Zookeeping to Coding. Orchestra to Lawn Puppets.

A diverse array of native plants surrounds us in Western Massachusetts, yet many of us cannot name, much less identify, most of these species. It’s hard to value something when we don’t even know it exists! On Saturday, July 18 from 9am-12pm, come out to explore the woods at Just Roots‘ Exploring Wild Plants program with naturalist Ted Watt to learn the names, distinctive characteristics, and uses of many of our native plants. Registration required. 413-325-8969. 34 Glenbrook Drive, Greenfield, MA. (< $)

River-Based Learning to Garden-Based Learning. Zookeeping to Coding. Orchestra to Lawn Puppets… 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:

Experience a slice of life from the Civil War era at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead. on Saturday, July 18 from 10am-4pm. This immersive experience will include Civil War reenactors, cooking demos, storytelling, singing, crafts, a quilt show, children’s activities, and more! 413-532-1631 x 10. 207 Bryant Road, Cummington, MA. (< $)

Tanglewood‘s Watch and Play program on Sunday, July 19 at 1pm gives children ages 3-10 the opportunity to listen to and interact with a variety of orchestral instruments and musical arrangements. The setting is casual and welcoming, and children are encouraged to converse with musicians to explore their music-related curiosities. Pre-registration required. 413-637-5180. The Shed at Tanglewood, 297 West Street, Lenox, MA. (FREE)


River-Based LearningNaturalistCulture CelebrationsSTEMCulinary ArtsMuseum AdventuresZookeepingGarden-Based LearningFiber ArtsHistoryCircus ArtsShakespeareAstronomyMusic StudiesPuppetryOutdoor ConcertFamily Weekday Performances


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Springfield Museums:


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Learning Ahead: July 13th-17th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 12 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

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19 Community Highlights: Sungazing to Raptors. Messy Science to Historical Swords.

Can you guess the bird of prey? While mice and squirrels have seen these upclose, have you? They belong to the red tailed hawk, and while it is common to catch sight of a red tailed hawk circling overhead, how many raptors has your family seen up close? Visit the Sunderland Public Library on Saturday, July 11 at 1pm to meet 6-7 birds of prey, and if conditions allow, you may get to see them take flight as well! 413-665-2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Sungazing to Raptors. Plant Science to Lawn Concerts. Messy Science to Historical Swords. 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:  Explore the rich river habitat that lines the Housatonic River with a knowledgeable guide from the Housatonic Valley Association on Saturday, July 11 from 10am – 12pm. Look for interesting native plants and animals and enjoy the beauty of a walk through nature! This hike along the Old Mill Trail is not strenuous and is suitable for families with young children. Preregistration required. 413-394-9796. Old Dalton Road (off rt 8), Hinsdale, MA. (FREE)


Astronomy Outdoor Adventures/HikingArt StudiesBirds of PreyTheaterCommunity GatheringGarden-Based LearningLawn ConcertsSTEMHistoryEcology


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Springfield Museums:


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Learning Ahead: July 6th-10th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 10 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

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24 Community Highlights: Orchestra to Buttons. Acrobatics to Glow-in-the-Dark.

Bald Eagles to Beavers. Orchestra to Buttons. Acrobatics to Glow-in-the-Dark… 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-based educational highlight this week: Tanglewood‘s Watch and Play program on Sunday, July 5 at 1pm, gives children ages 3-10 the opportunity to listen to and interact with a variety of orchestral instruments and musical arrangements. The setting is casual and welcoming, and children are encouraged to converse with musicians to explore their music-related curiosities. Pre-registration required. 413-637-5180. The Shed at Tanglewood, 297 West Street, Lenox, MA. (FREE)


Native FaunaNature-Based LearningNative American CultureMusic StudiesLocal HistoryHikingCircus ArtsOutdoor ConcertsAnimalsArt StudiesFire SafetyCartooningSTEMArts & Crafts


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Springfield Museums:


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Learning Ahead: June 29th-July 3rd, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 7 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

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33 Community Highlights: Geocaching to Lavender. Robotics to Victorian Ballroom Dance.

Lavender is known for its wonderful scent, which calms the nerves, and for the delicate flavor it imparts to baked goods like scones and shortbread. Immerse your senses in lavender on Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28 from 10am – 4pm at Johnson Hill Farm‘s Lavender Festival, where you can enjoy a lavender labyrinth, a dove release, art and crafts by local artisans, workshops, and demonstrations. Buckland, MA. (FREE)

Lavender to Robotics. Geocaching to Static Electricity. Victorian Ballroom Dance to Cedar Wetlands…. 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: Geocaching lets you go on real treasure hunts all across the globe. From “geo,” meaning “Earth,” and “cache,”meaning “hidden goods,” geocaching is an activity in which you can follow clues that lead you to concealed treasures. At the end of a geocache you might find a Tupperware container full of glow-in-the-dark plastic lizards (you get to take one!), or a baggie filled with a mishmash of items left by others who found the cache before you (take one and leave something of yours), and — always– a log book in which to enter information about yourself.  Sunday, June 28 at 2pm & 3pm, a Geocache 101 class and potluck supper, hosted by the Becket Athenaeum, highlights Becket’s geocache scene, with activities led by experienced geocachers and a fun supper afterwards to meet others who are interested in this incredibly fun hobby. 413-623-5483. Becket Center Park, Main Street, Becket, MA. (FREE)


CanoeingSTEMFood & NutritionBirds of PreyHabitatEntomologyGarden-Based LearningLiving HistoryGuided WalkFamily VolunteeringGeocachingLibrary AdventuresAncestryOutdoor Film


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Springfield Museums:


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Learning Ahead: June 22nd-26th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 12 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

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30 Community Highlights: Otters to Pollinators. Wild Food to Aviation.

River otters, muskrats, and beavers live in the habitat along the Connecticut River! On Saturday, June 20 at 10:30am, the Sunderland Public Library invites children up to 8 years old and their caregivers to explore this habitat in depth. Participants will look for evidence of these animals and perhaps see the creatures themselves! 413-665-2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Otters to Pollinators. Strawberries to Wild Food. Solstice to Aviation… 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 can spend Friday, June 19 from 12noon-10pm and Saturday, June 20 from 8am-12noon at Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary (Holmes Road, Pittsfield, MA) participating in the 6th Annual Berkshire BioBlitz. The BioBlitz, which takes place over a full 24-hour period, invites the public, biologists, naturalists, and environmentalists to come together with the goal of identifying and cataloging all living species within Canoe Meadows. There will be experts on hand to assist with identification and teach about the different species found in the sanctuary, and there will be walks, talks, demonstrations, and more to engage participants and teach about local ecology and natural history. This is a unique and exciting free citizen science opportunity for the entire family – all ages can help look for plants, animals, and fungi and learn how to identify them. The BioBlitz will get the whole family interested in and excited about science, nature, and conservation. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)


Nature StudiesNative PollinatorsWild FoodHistoryAviationLibrary AdventuresArt AppreciationSTEMFilm StudiesFlora & FaunaLocal Food Festivals  ♦ Summer SolsticeDancing


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Springfield Museums:


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Learning Ahead: June 15th-19th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 15 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

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31 Community Highlights: Cultural Chaos to Outdoor Sculptures. Edwardian Fashions to Bookbinding.

On Sunday, June 14 at 1pm, the Julia Poppins School of Cooking is offering a free workshop at Red Fire Farm on “Keeping Your Bounty Fresh.” Learn how to plan meals using fresh farm produce and how to store and use your farm produce. Adults and older students interested in local food and cooking can learn from this engaging and educational workshop! 7 Carver Street. Granby, MA. (FREE)

Old Mines to Historic Neighborhoods. Cultural Chaos to Outdoor Sculptures. Edwardian Fashions to Bookbinding… 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: SculptureNow and The Mount’s new outdoor exhibition opens on June 13, and there will be a free guided tour on Saturday, June 13 from 3pm-7pm. 26x28x50 features 26 sculptures by 28 regional and national artists, displayed over 50 acres on The Mount’s beautiful grounds and gardens. The exhibition features many unique sculptures made from a variety of materials, both natural and human-made. The artist-led guided tour is a wonderful opportunity to stroll the grounds of the property and learn about the large-scale sculptures – what materials were used, how they were made, how they were transported, how long it took to make them, and more. Students interested in sculpture can attend the free tour to see the works and ask questions about them. Call The Mount at 413-551-5100 for more information. The Mount. 413-551-5100. 2 Plunkett Street. Lenox, MA. (FREE)


Garden-Based LearningGuided Walks & ToursBook ArtsCommunity CelebrationsFamily MusicContemporary ArtParent WorkshopCulinary Arts  ♦ Fashion HistoryCommunity SingLocal HistoryLibrary AdventuresCitizen ScientistParents’ Night Out


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Springfield Museums:


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Learning Ahead: June 8th-12th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 12 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

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36 Community Highlights: RiverFest to Hackathon. Asparagus Festival to Fishing.

Celebrate a crop that is a big part of the Valley’s identity: asparagus! WGBY‘s annual Asparagus Festival invites everyone to the Hadley town common on Saturday, June 6 from 10am-5pm for live music, food and drink, a market of local produce and crafts, and an assortment of learning activities including games and cooking contests. There will also be a ticketed farm-to-table luncheon featuring unique asparagus dishes. Stop by the Hilltown Families tent to say hi! 800-781-9429. Route 9/Russell Street, Hadley, MA. (FREE)

RiverFest to Asparagus Festival. Fishing to Pickling. Hackathon to Heifers… 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:  Shelburne Falls RiverFest is an annual celebration of the Deerfield River that takes place June 5-7, with many different activities for all ages. Kick off the weekend with tours of Deerfield No. 4 Station on June 5 (1pm-5pm) and a screening of The Fantastic Mr. Fox at Pothole Pictures (7pm). On June 6, the streets of Shelburne Falls will be filled with live music and the Frog and Flower Parade. There will also be a birds of prey demonstration by Tom Ricardi, displays by the Deerfield River Watershed Association, rides on Trolley #10, fly-casting, a chance to visit the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum, shopping, a performance by Medicine Mammals, dancers, and more. On June 7, there will be hikes led by the Deerfield River Watershed Association. Learn about and celebrate the Deerfield River and all the wonderful things Shelburne Falls has to offer at this annual, free event!


Community FestivalsLocal HistoryGeologyBird StudiesNature StudiesFishingCulinary ArtsSTEMBook ArtsCultural StudiesCollaborative ConsumptionFashion HistoryLiteracyPreschool HighlightsCommunity MealParents’ Night Out


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Springfield Museums:


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Learning Ahead: June 1st-5th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 10 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

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31 Community Highlights: Bird Festival to Strawberry Supper. Paddle Trip to Yo-Yos.

Physics! The Massachusetts State Yo-Yo Contest happens on Saturday May 30, 10am-5:30pm, at the Academy of Music! Come to compete, watch, or learn and enjoy all the talented yo-yoers in the state! The competition is split up into divisions, and beginners are welcome to compete. The contest is not only fun to watch, but is a great place to see how cool yo-yoing is – discover the physics behind it and all the amazing tricks that are possible! 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA. 

Bird Festival to Farm Festival. Strawberry Supper to Architecture. History of Medicine to Paddle Trip… 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:  Discover some of Massachusetts’ most beautiful and notable historic homes at The Trustees of Reservations’ Home Sweet Home Days at locations all around Massachusetts on Sunday, May 31, 10am-5pm. Visiting these historic homes can teach visitors about local history, architecture, genealogy, gardening, and so much more. Home Sweet Home Days gives families the opportunity to visit western MA historic homes like Naumkeag, the William Cullen Bryant Homestead, the Mission House, the Folly at Field Farm, and others in western Massachusetts for free. Feel like going for a drive? Trustees properties in Eastern and Central Massachusetts are also open for Home Sweet Home Days – this could be a great chance to take the family on a day trip to towns like New Bedford, Concord, Ipswich, and others. Berkshires & Hilltowns (FREE)


OrnithologyLanguage ArtsArchitecturePlant StudiesOutdoor AdventuresHistory of MedicineMusic StudiesSTEMCultural StudiesCulinary ArtsSportsTextile HistoryFarm-Based LearningAutismCommunity MealsPreschool HighlightsLawn Concerts


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Springfield Museums:


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Learning Ahead: May 26th-29th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 6 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

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23 Community Highlights: Baked Potatoes to Kielbasas. Wild Flowers to Rhubarb.

The Lenox Rhubarb Festival takes place Saturday, May 23 from 10am-3pm at the library reading park! Come celebrate all things rhubarb at this fun festival. There will be delicious rhubarb foods, activities, and more. 18 Main Street. Lenox, MA.

Baked Potatoes to Kielbasas. Wild Flowers to Rhubarb. Picnics to Museum Adventures… 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: First conceived at a potluck dinner 1974, the Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair has grown into a weekend-long celebration of all things sheep-related. This weekend, join local farmers and crafters at the Cummington Fairgrounds to experience demonstrations (shearing, rug hooking, fiber dyeing, and cooking, to name a few), participate in workshops (including Angora rabbit care, felting, yarn spinning, and intarsia knitting), watch sheep and sheep dog shows, and visit with over 60 vendors of woolcraft-related products. Kids will love learning to spin yarn, dyeing wool with Kool-Aid, and creating felted fairies and treasure bags in workshops designed especially for them! Where else might you be able to watch a speed knitting contest and taste unique lamb-based dishes created by students in the Smith Vocational School’s Culinary Arts program? Come immerse yourself in local sheep farming and woolcraft culture, and discover why this festival has been going strong for forty years. Saturday, May 23 & Sunday, May 24, 9am-4pm. Cummington Fairgrounds. Cummington, MA (>$)


Hikes & WalksAnimal StudiesHistorySheep & WoolLiteracyFood CelebrationsMuseum AdventuresSTEMService-Based LearningPicnicsCommunity Meal


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Learning Ahead: May 18th-22nd, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 14 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

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50 Community Highlights: Handwriting to Storytelling. Electric Bikes to Historic Trains.

Bridge over West Branch of Westfield River near Middlefield Rd, Chester MA

Chester on Track is this weekend, Sat., May 16,  a free, community-wide celebration of railroads and local history around Chester. This year’s event features many activities for the whole family to enjoy with history-focused events and demonstrations, including blacksmithing and woodworking demonstrations, early Irish railroad reenactments, a historic train show, classic cars, gas engine demonstrations, 1920s-era freight cars, and more. Community members of all ages can attend this fun annual event to celebrate life in Chester and learn about historic railroads and other local industries.

Handwriting to Storytelling. Electric Bikes to Seed Swaps. Trains to Planes… 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 River’s Song is a community-wide celebration of the Connecticut River in Turners Falls on Saturday, May 16, 11am-9pm. There will be an opening ceremony and drumming by the Nolumbeka Project, art activities with the Art Garden, a river parade, a chance to learn about fish at the Great Falls Discovery Center, live music, an art reception, a dance performance, and more. The whole community can come together to celebrate the river at this fun all-day event. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

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


Community CelebrationsHistoryBicycleCommunity ResiliencyCommunity MealsPlant SalesSeed SwapsService-Based LearningNature-Based LearningPlanes, Trains & AutomobiliesAncestryArts & CraftsLiteracyMuseum AdventuresMusicParent WorkshopsPreschool HighlightsSTEM


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Learning Ahead: May 11th-15th, 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.


Join our stellar team of supporters!
Become a sponsor of Learning Ahead and see your banner here:

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36 Community Highlights: Mother’s Day to Bird Watching. Architecture to Film Studies.

Tending to a family garden not only provides food for your family and adds beauty to your surroundings, but the process of growing and caring for plants brings with it ample opportunity to learn about everything from edible plants to soil science! Here in western Massachusetts, gardening season is just kicking into full swing – meaning it’s time to start planning and planting your family garden!

Wildflower Walks to Plant Sales. Mother’s Day to Bird Watching. Architecture to Film Studies… 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: Is your child interested in learning about birds? The Hampshire Bird Club and the Broad Brook Coalition are holding a children’s birding event at Fitzgerald Lake Conservation Area. In honor of International Migratory Bird Day, kids can come learn about birding and bird identification. Kids can learn how to use binoculars and can view photographs of common birds and those seen on the walk to help with identification and understanding. This bird walk is an excellent way to get kids of all ages interested in studying birds and spending time outdoors. Call group leader Bruce Hart at 413-584-4176 for more information. Cooke Avenue. Northampton, MA.

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


OrnithologyFilmsMother’s Day HighlightsCollaborative ConsumptionService-Based LearningPlant SalesPreschool HighlightsAstronomyPlant & Nature StudiesHistorySTEMParent WorkshopsArt Walk


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Learning Ahead: May 4th-8th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 10 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.


Join our stellar team supporters!
Become a sponsor of Learning Ahead and see your banner here:

Read the rest of this entry »

36 Community Highlights: May Day to Art Walks. Historical Hikes to Museum Adventures.

Celebrate spring and May Day at the Meekins Library‘s May Faire on Saturday, May 2, 10am-3pm! Come in costume and enjoy magic tricks by Ed the Wizard, build a fairy house, make a May basket, and more. A fun way to celebrate May Day with community members of all ages! 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Hikes to Museums. May Day to Art Walks. Textiles to Renaissance… 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:  Explore the Clark Art Institute’s exhibit Machine Age Modernism: Prints from the Daniel Cowin Collection at their free Machine Age Family Day on Sunday, May 3, 1pm-4pm. There will be fun activities for all ages, including performances by the Williams College Jazz Ensemble (1:15pm) and Kris Allen Quartet (2:30pm), a Machine Age Modernism gallery talk (1:30pm & 2:30pm), a printmaking workshop, a 3D printing demonstration, fingerprinting, flipbooks, a robotics demonstration, art making activities, and more. This is a wonderful opportunity for families to explore this local museum for free! Call the Clark at 413-458-2303 for more information. The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

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


Local History  ♦ Museum AdventuresWalking TourCollege SamplerService-Based LearningMay DayHiking  ♦ WorkshopsPreschool HighlightsCulinary ArtsSheep & WoolRenaissance StudiesSTEMZoologyParents’ Night OutArt Walks


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Learning Ahead: April 27th-May 1st, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 14 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 Marlboro College:


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45 Community Highlights: Swordsmanship to Sheep Shearing. Sunspots to Dinosaur Valley.

See sheep shearing demonstrations at Hancock Shaker Village on April 25 and 26. Visitors can see the Village’s Merino sheep get rid of their winter coats, and there will be hands-on textile demonstrations. 413-443-0188. 1843 West Housatonic Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

Historical Swordsmanship to Sheep Shearing. Gospel Choir to Leonardo da Vinci. Sunspots to Dinosaur Valley… 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: Looking for a great way to celebrate Earth month with the whole family? Head to the 6th Annual Amherst Sustainability Festival on Saturday, April 25, 10am-4pm! You can learn more about home energy savings, renewable energy options, Arbor Day, permaculture, and waste footprint reduction. There will also be “How To” workshops on tree care, composting, bee keeping, growing mushrooms, and fermenting vegetables. While you’re learning, enjoy live entertainment throughout the day from local musicians. Or, take a break to pet the animals! The Goat Girls booth will have live goats and there will be draft horses from the Bluestar Equiculture booth. Kids can also have their faces painted, watch live juggling, and participate in tree identification activities. Feel free to bring pellet bags, large Styrofoam, and unwanted linens, rags, and clothes for recycling when you come! Amherst Town Common. Amherst, MA. (Free to attend).

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


GeologyService-Based LearningVernal PoolsOrnithologyHistoryHilltown HighlightsEco-CelebrationsSheep ShearingPlant StudiesCulinary ArtsPreschool HighlightsMusic StudiesAstronomyLocal HistoryArt HistoryEntomologyParent Workshops


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation:

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