Learning Ahead: Dec 1-5, 2014

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

This week we are featuring 10 events 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.

Berkshire County

Monday, December 1, 7pm – FILM STUDIES/CULTURAL STUDIES: Williams College presents the South Asian Film Series: Highlights of Indian Cinema 1955-2013. Film fans can come see key films from the past six decades at this series. On December 1, see Deewar (1975), which is considered a landmark Hindi film. Older students will enjoy this film series, and can learn about both the history of film and Indian culture through the screenings. Takes place in Paresky Center Auditorium. 413-597-3131. 39 Chapin Hall Drive. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Franklin County

Wednesday, December 3, 6pm-8pm – ART WORKSHOP: As part of their First Wednesdays Speaker Series, the Greenfield Public Library presents a workshop by Gail Callahan, the Kangaroo Dyer. Come learn about and play with color at this fun and engaging workshop. Best for older students and adults. 413-772-1544. 402 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 3, 6:30pm – SELF-RELIANCE: The Sunderland Public Library presents a presentation by Kathy Harrison about Disaster Preparedness and Community. Harrison was recently on the National Geographic television show Doomsday Preppers and wrote a book titled, Just In Case: How to Be Self-Sufficient When the Unexpected Happens. She will discuss the role of self-sufficiency and community in preparing for unexpected disasters. Best for older students and adults. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Friday, December 5, 7pm-9pm – LOCAL HISTORY/TRANSPORTATION: Learn about the history of I-91 at the Pioneer Valley Institute’s “When the Highway Came Through” program. Freelance writer and poet Barry Dietz will present this talk, which covers everything from the interstate’s initial conception to its completion in 1970. Discover why this highway was built and who it affected most, both negatively and positively. He will also discuss its impacts on businesses and the local economy. Older students interested in the history of the Connecticut River Valley will enjoy this fascinating and informative talk on one of our region’s most notable highways. Takes place in the Sloan Theater on the Greenfield Community College campus. 413-775-1671. 1 College Drive. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Hampshire County

Tuesday, December 2, 5:30-7:30pm – KWANZAA/CULTURAL STUDIES: The Malcolm X Cultural Center will host the Annual Kwanzaa Celebration.  This event is one of several signature cultural celebratory events for the campus community and the general public. At the UMass Amherst, Kwanzaa is co-supported by local African Diaspora Alum, faculty, staff and student organizations who lend their talents, scholarship and creative voices as a means of acknowledging current contributions by Africans, African Americans, Afro-Caribbean, and Afro Latinos to the global community. Takes place at the Student Union Ballroom and dinner is provided. 413-886-2375. 280 Hicks Way. Amherst, MA (FREE)

Wednesday, December 3, 10am-11:30am – NATURAL HISTORY: Join the Hilltown Land Trust for an early winter hike at Bradley Sanctuary. All ages can explore the trails and beautiful forests on this short, 2-mile hike along Nichols Brook. Email hltlandsteward@ttor.org or call to RSVP. 413-628-4485 x4. Old Goshen Road. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, December 4, 7pm – AMERICAN HISTORY/RACE: Professor Jason Sokol will read from and discuss his new book, All Eyes Are Upon Us: Race and Politics from Boston to Brooklyn, at the Odyssey Bookshop on December 4. Professor Sokol will talk about the history of race and racism in the northeast, where there was a celebrated history of racial equality that obscured the region’s segregation in the past. Older students interested in history, politics, and in learning more about race and racism in the northeast can learn from this informative author talk. Email RSVP@odysseybks.com to reserve a spot. 413-534-7307. 9 College Street. South Hadley, MA.

Hampden County

Wednesday, December 3, 7pm – PERFORMING ARTS: Give thanks and celebrate the joys of the season at Bay Path University Performing Arts Department’s Winterfest! This annual tradition celebrates peace and features music, dance, poetry, song, and inspirational messages from spiritual leaders in the community. Best for older students and adults interested the performing arts. Takes place in Mills Theatre, Carr Hall on the Bay Path campus. 413-565-1307. 588 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, December 4, 6pm-8pm – VISUAL ARTS: Teens who are interested in drawing can attend a drawing class at Gateway City Arts. This figure drawing class is geared towards beginner and intermediate teen artists. Learn how to draw the human figure from instruction and observation of a posed model. This class is a great chance for young artists to improve on their skills and learn new techniques. The class runs every Thursday, and you can enroll at any time. 413-650-2670. 92-114 Race Street. Holyoke, MA. ($$)

Friday, December 5, 7:30pm – PERFORMING ARTS: The Drama Studio presents a production of Alice in Wonderland this December at the Blake Theatre at CityStage. All ages will enjoy this production of the classic story, starring talented young local actors. Tickets available in advance. 413-788-7033. 150 Bridge Street. Springfield, MA. ($$)

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