Wise Owls: Lifelong Learning at Noble Horizons - By Dr. Mary O'Neill

Pictured is Dr. Mary O'Neill teaching at Noble Horizons' Life Long Learning Center in 2018.

Lifelong learning has been at the heart of Noble Horizons since its founding almost 50 years ago. In fact, the room in which many of the daily classes, seminars, and programs have taken place for decades is called The Life Long Learning Center (nicknamed the L3)!

Seeking learning opportunities and developing new skills throughout life nurtures the mind and spirit and is crucial to healthy aging. The benefits are myriad; learning keeps you involved, it helps create meaning and purpose, it opens new worlds, it offers for rich social interactions, and it promotes mental and intellectual agility.

A Pew Research Center study reveals some interesting findings on lifelong learning. It highlights the importance of place-based learning with face-to-face interactions and stresses the social component of learning that is important to older adults. The study finds benefits of lifelong learning to include increased feelings of capability and efficacy; opening up to new perspectives; making new friends; connecting to the local community; and becoming involved in volunteer opportunities.

Noble Horizons regularly offers a rich array of lifelong learning opportunities. These classes, workshops, and lectures intentionally emphasize meaningful creative and intellectual interactions between residents and the wider community. For years, instructors have come from the local area and beyond to conduct master classes, lectures, and workshops on topics such as global affairs, the fine arts, health, politics, history, Russian literature, and philosophy. Currently, lifelong learning opportunities are provided remotely due to Covid-19.

Director of Community Relations Caroline Burchfield especially appreciates the ways in which learning encourages participants to interact and grow and is thrilled when programs spur conversation during and after classes and workshops. “Social interaction is crucial at any age. When our programs generate discussion after class or even days later in the aisles of the supermarket, it connects the community in meaningful ways. Both teachers and participants are incredibly willing to share expertise, experiences and to learn from each other.” She continues, “This area has such depth of expertise, and I encourage community members to recommend speakers and program topics.”   

Noble does not charge for its programming and all events are open to Noble residents and the larger community. Says Burchfield, “No one is ever turned away. We always find room for people who want to learn.”

Being a lifelong learner is a way of looking at the world. Take advantage of the learning opportunities at Noble! While you challenge your mind, make friends, discover new areas of interest, and enhance your well-being you will also enrich your life.

Mary B. O’Neill, Ph.D. was an award-winning lecturer in philosophy, humanities, and international business at Western CT State University before becoming an employee engagement consultant and the Career Experience Coordinator at Housatonic Valley Regional High School. She enjoys exploring philosophical topics with lifelong learners who bring their wisdom and experience to every session. She is a senior contributing writer at Main Street Magazine. O’Neill will be teaching a four-week course called Practicing Life During COVID: A Stoic Approach, which meets Thursdays at 10:30 beginning on July 9.

The exciting events scheduled at Noble Horizons in the month of July are listed below along with links to learn more. Registration is both free and easy.

- Hotchkiss School instructor Carita Gardiner teaches Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novel "Less" on Tuesdays and Thursdays, July 7-23, from 10:30 to 11:30 am

- Wednesday Balance Classes: Fun and free, join any time! Wednesdays through July 29 at 10:30 am.

- Practicing Life During Covid: A Stoic Approach with Dr. Mary O'Neill on Thursdays, July 9-30, from 10:30 to 11:30 am.

- Studio Lakeville's Free Senior Workout Class with Leslie Eckstein on Wednesdays, 1-1:30 pm.

- Chair Yoga: It's not just sitting around! Fridays at 10 am

- Four-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, global humanitarian, author, and former long-time Executive Director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute of Quinnipiac University - David Ives. Friday, July 10 at 11am.

- Hamish Lutris Presents.... Monday, July 13 at 11 am.


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