Learning Ahead: Dec 29, 2014-Jan 2, 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 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 29, 7pm-8:30pm – WORLD HISTORY/FILM: Berkshire Museum‘s Little Cinema is screening Diplomacy (2014; not rated) a French and German historical drama film about World War II. Specifically, it is about Hitler’s order to destroy Paris, and Swedish diplomat Raoul Nordling, who tries to persuade the Germans not to destroy the city. The film would appeal to older students with an interest in world history or historical fiction. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)

Tuesday, December 30, Wednesday, December 31, & Friday, January 2, 11am – YOGA: The Clark Art Institute is offering an intergenerational beginning-level yoga class open to ages 10 and up. This is a great opportunity for tweens, teens and adults to learn some basic yoga and discover its benefits. Please bring your own mat or towel. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, January 1, 1pm – NATURAL HISTORY: Celebrate the first day of 2015 with a hike at Mt. Greylock with the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Explore abandoned farmland, forest succession, and look for winter wildlife. After the hike, come to the fireplace and enjoy hot chocolate while discussing the local natural history you’ve just explored with other hikers. The hike is easy, 1.8 miles and would be appropriate for ages 7 and up. Leashed dogs are welcome. 413-499-4262. 30 Rockwell Road. Lanesborough, MA. (FREE)

Friday, January 2, 10:15am – ART: The Clark Art Institute is holding a New Parents Gallery Talk. New parents with a love of art and their infants are welcome to visit the museum for an informal guided talk. Expose your newborn to art while taking in all The Clark has to offer. Connectwith other parents who have a love for art too and make plans to museum-hop across western MA together! 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Franklin County

Thursday, January 1, 1pm – NATURAL HISTORY: Celebrate the first day of 2015 with a hike at the Great Falls Discovery Center with the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Families can enjoy this leisurely two-mile stroll along the canal and can explore the natural, cultural, and historical sights around Turners Falls. Start off the new year with healthy habits, like exercising and spending time outdoors, while strengthening your sense of place. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Hampshire County

Monday, December 29, 6pm-8pm – PARENT WORKSHOP/BUSINESS: Terra Missildine, founder of Level Up Your Life Coaching and Beloved Earth Company, is doing a workshop for parents at the Forbes Library. The workshop focuses on parents who are business owners (“parent-preneurs”) and how they can maintain the most important aspects of their business and personal lives. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

hursday, January 1, 10am – NATURAL HISTORY: Celebrate the start of the New Year with Williamsburg Woodland Trails on a hike along the Petticoat Hill Reservation/Locke’s Loop Trail. The hike goes through 100-year-old forest and shows signs of past land use – there are stone walls, cellar holes, and old foundations of early farmsteads. This is a great way to get outdoors and learn about the natural history in this western MA Hilltown. All are welcome. 413-268-7523. Petticoat Hill Road. Williamsburg, MA.

Hampden County

Monday, December 29, 3:30pm-5:30pm & Tuesday, December 30, 11am-12:30pm – PHOTOGRAPHY: Tweens and teens can make their own light art at the Springfield Central Library. Make cool designs in the dark with flashlights and light-up objects, then photograph them using a special app with long exposure times! Inspire a love for photography while learning about the tech aspect of this ever evolving art form. Please pre-register. 413-263-6828. 220 State Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Friday, January 2, 9am-4pm – BABYSITTER WORKSHOP: Baystate Medical Center and Baystate Mary Lane Hospital are holding a Babysitters Academy for teens and tweens ages 11 ½ to 16. This class will help prepare future babysitters, and focuses on topics such as baby care, first aid, fire safety, home security, accident prevention, child behavior, and CPR. Those who attend will receive a certificate, handbook, and safety booklet. Call to register. 413-794-2229. 361 Whitney Avenue. Holyoke, MA. ($$)

Friday, January 2, 7:30pm – ASTRONOMY: Join the Springfield Museums for “Stars Over Springfield,” an introductory astronomy talk and star viewing at the Science Museum’s observatory. If it is cloudy or rainy, a planetarium show will be presented in place of the live star viewing. 800-625-7738. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. (>$)

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