Learning Ahead: Feb 16th-20th, 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:

Learning Ahead Ad: Four Sundays in Feb

Berkshire County

Monday, February 16, 7pm – FILM STUDIES/WORLD HISTORY/FRENCH: The Williams College French Film Festival kicks off tonight at Images Cinema with a screening of Diplomacy (Diplomatie) (2014; not rated). The film is a drama about World War II. Older teens interested in film studies can attend this series to learn about conflict and violence in new French film. 413-458-5612. 50 Spring Street. Williamstown, MA.

Monday, February 16, 7pm – FILM STUDIES: The Berkshire Museum is screening this year’s Academy Award nominees for Best Live Action Short Film. Older students interested in film can come see these short films and make predictions for the Oscar ceremony! 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)

Friday, February 20, 6:30pm-8:30pm – ASTRONOMY: Explore the night sky with astronomer Rick Costello at the Berkshire South Regional Community Center. This program consists of a slideshow and telescope viewing to teach participants about stars, planets, nebulae, galaxies, and more. For ages 10 and up. If cloudy, program will take place 2/27. Please pre-register. 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road. Great Barrington, MA. (>$)

Franklin County

Thursday, February 19, 7pm-9pm – ENTOMOLOGY/BEEKEEPING: Beekeepers and students who are interested in learning about beekeeping can attend a meeting of the Franklin County Beekeepers at Frontier Senior Center on February 19. This is a great chance to learn about beekeeping from some local experts! Call for more info. 413-529-0257. 67 North Main Street. Deerfield, MA. (FREE)

Hampshire County

Tuesday, February 17, 6pm-9pm – ARTS & CRAFTS: Adults and teens can learn the art of book folding at the Edwards Public Library’s Book Folding Workshop. Upcycle a hardcover book into a cool design. Bring a book and a ruler to this workshop. Call or stop by to sign up. 413-527-9480. 30 East Street. Southampton, MA.

Tuesday, February 17, 7pm – GOVERNMENT/ECONOMICS: Older students who are interested in local government and economics can attend “Our Town, Our Money,” at Amherst Town Hall. The meeting focuses on the town’s budget, how it is created, and how/when residents can most effectively make budget requests. Understanding the town’s budget is an important part of understanding the town’s government and how it works. This is a great opportunity to learn about the budget process, and there will be time to ask questions. 4 Boltwood Avenue. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, February 18, 1:30pm – FILM STUDIES/SOCIAL STUDIES: KidsBestFest is the Northampton Arts Council’s annual youth film festival at the Academy of Music. On February 18, come see On the Way to School (2008; rated G), a film about four students from four different parts of the world – Kenya, Morocco, India, and Argentina – on their daily journeys to school. See and learn about the obstacles and challenges they must overcome just to get to school each day. 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE/DONATIONS ENCOURAGED)

Wednesday, February 18, 7pm – FILM STUDIES/SOCIAL STUDIES: As part of the Translation film series, which explores cultures in transition, Amherst Cinema will screen Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002; rated PG) on February 18. The film is about three aboriginal girls who, after being stolen from their families, escape a state-run facility thousands of miles away and head home on foot. Amherst College Professor Lisa T. Brooks will introduce the film and facilitate a discussion about the film and the issues it addresses. Older students interested in film and social justice would enjoy this screening and discussion. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. ($)

Thursday, February 19 & Friday, February 20, 8pm – THEATER/DANCE STUDIES: Older students interested in theater and dance can attend Amherst College student Valerie Rodriguez’s senior thesis performance, “Grow Up, Already!” February 19-21 at Holden Experimental Theater in Webster Hall on the Amherst College campus. The play is about five college students trying to adjust to adulthood. Reservations are recommended. 413-542-2277. 200 South Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA.

Thursday, February 19 & Friday, February 20, 8pm-10pm – THEATER/DANCE STUDIES: The Five College Faculty Dance Concert is this weekend at Smith College’s Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, Theatre 14. Come see the distinctive individual works by Five College dance faculty and see different types of dance at the performance. 413-585-2787. Green Street. Northampton, MA. ($)

Hampden County

Tuesday, February 17, 1pm-3pm – LOCAL HISTORY: Learn about the Skinner family at the Wistariahurst Museum this school vacation week. Travel the world as the Skinners did at this fun program – see historic travel albums and look for clues about their travels in Egypt. Make a pyramid and decorate it using ancient symbols. Best for ages 8 and up. Register by February 14. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot Street. Holyoke, MA. ($$)

Tuesday, February 17, 4:30pm-6pm. – STEM/CODING: Scratch is an easy-to-use coding program that can be used to create interactive stories, games, and animations. Scratch was developed by MIT to help students learn coding and improve their computer literacy, and it is fun and educational for students of all ages and experience levels. Holyoke Codes is holding a Scratch Workshop for ages 7 and up at the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center. This workshop is ideal for students who have never used Scratch before and are hoping to learn the basics of the program. In addition to being a ton of fun, Scratch helps young people think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. Please register in advance. 100 Bigelow Street. Holyoke, MA.

Thursday, February 19, 6pm – MUSIC STUDIES: Learn about the history and evolution of American music at the Holyoke Public Library. Musicians Doug Schmolze and Eric Martin will present, “Boom and Bust Sing-a-Long: A Program of Vintage American Songs,” on guitar, viola/violin, and vocals. They will perform songs by some of the great composers of the 1920s to the 1940s, bringing American music from the 20th Century alive for audience members of all ages. Best of all, the lyrics will be displayed on the screen so audience members can sing along! Students who are interested in music can have fun singing along to these classic songs, and can learn about American music and how it has changed over time at this free performance. Call the library at 413-420-8101 for more information. The Holyoke Public Library is located at 250 Chestnut Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)


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