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Forward Thinking – Lifelong Learning

The Heritage at Brentwood residents participated in The Great Courses’ “How Color Affects You” series this summer. They recently celebrated the course’s conclusion with a Color Art Walk on the senior living community’s campus.

It’s back to school time but who says it’s just for kids.

If you are a lifelong learner, want to learn a new skill (or improve a rusty one) or simply want to get out of the house and back into the real world (if Covid-19 and its variants don’t shut us down again), opportunities specifically designed for adult learning are readily available.

And if you have a computer, an internet connection and the ability to Zoom, you can easily turn your home into a college classroom at the touch of a button.

If you haven’t discovered The Great Courses, let me introduce you. Available online, via a variety of streaming services or even DVDs, The Great Courses offers over 800 courses and expert professors across a broad spectrum of subjects. Students can learn at their own pace. Best of all, the international program teams with recognized partners like the Mayo Clinic, Culinary Institute of America, National Geographic, The History Channel and more to ensure quality programming.

Quote from Amy or Ashlie Many senior living communities host Great Courses for their residents to enjoy together. At The Heritage at Brentwood, a large group of residents just completed The Great Courses’ “How Color Affects Your Brain” series.

For more information and to check out its large catalog of available courses, visit

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

An international program that partners with universities across the nation, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) organizes and presents stimulating intellectual and cultural noncredit courses, programs, and trips for adults over 50 of all educational backgrounds.

Locally, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Vanderbilt’s online registration for fall classes opens Aug. 23. The institute “helps adults over 50 rediscover the joy of learning and build community through diverse social interaction,” according to its website at

The fall schedule won’t be released until next week, but Summer 2021’s offerings included such diverse classes as The Napoleons and their Cultural Impact; All About Comedy, and How to Write a Memoir.

The institute’s classes are primarily led by active or retired Vanderbilt faculty, as well as other community experts.  Best of all, you don’t need to stress about homework, tests and grades. Instead, you can concentrate on learning and interacting with people with similar interests. Topics include history, religion, science, political science, current events and the arts.

Mark your calendar for next Monday when the fall schedule will be revealed.

Closer to home, Williamson County Parks & Recreation offers a variety of continuing education and learning opportunities too. Want to learn piano or guitar? The WCPR offers private lessons for all ages. What about pickleball? Most of the county’s art, recreation and special interest classes have resumed in-person learning, says Traci Hamby, WCPR’s Senior Therapeutic Superintendent.

Discover Williamson, a program modeled after successful Leadership programs, remains on hold due to the pandemic, Hamby says, but when it does return, it’s an excellent opportunity for active adults, 55 and older, who want to learn more about Williamson County and opportunities to make a difference in the local community. As a Leadership Brentwood grad myself, I know how valuable programs like this are. Hopefully a new “class” will be formed by Spring 2022.

Each program day is centered on a specific theme like government, health, economic development and more and lunch and transportation are provided. Keep an eye on the WCPR website to learn when the next Discover Williamson program will launch.

For or more information on WCPR’s senior programming, visit and click on the Seniors tab.

Finally, the Williamson County Public Library System and the John P. Holt Brentwood Library are great resources for personal interest classes, basic computer instruction and wellness classes. Check their online calendars or in person at your local branch to learn more.

I hope you have a busy and educational fall whether it’s spent in a classroom or via Zoom at home. The benefits of lifelong learning are many, take advantage if you can!

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