Education and lifelong learning for seniors in Williamsburg VA

Why do older adults want to continue learning as they age? According to an AARP study they want to keep up with what’s going on in the World, continue their personal growth, and have fun learning something new.

Incorporating education in your activities means that your mind will be more stimulated, your points of view will be sharper, and the social interaction will enrich your life. A healthy mind is critical to getting the most out of life at any age.

Imagine the experience of learning about Scottish Poetry, Digital Photography, Conversational Italian, and England’s Tudor Monarchs. There is little doubt that such experience could spice up your life. The good news is that this is available to you thanks to a large array of educational opportunities in Williamsburg.

The Christopher Wren Association for Lifelong Learning consists of people from a variety of backgrounds who wish to continue to study and learn after retirement.  A common interest is shared in continuing learning experiences and intellectual stimulation.  There are no tests or grades.  Members participate purely for the joy of learning.  The organization is sponsored by The College of William and Mary but is self-supporting.

Courses and activities are planned and operated by the members and occur at various locations throughout the area.  Members design the curriculum and arrange for volunteer instructors from The College of William and Mary faculty (current and retired), from the membership and from the community at large.

Membership in the Christopher Wren Association (CWA) also provides an opportunity for a variety of social interactions. Class breaks offer members a chance to greet old friends and make new ones over coffee, tea and cookies.

Find more details on membership and its benefits here

Other area educational and lifelong long learning offerings available in the Williamsburg VA area include :

Auditing College Courses: In Virginia Senior citizens age 60 and older are  encouraged to take advantage of tuition-free* courses at Virginia Colleges including William and Mary and Thomas Nelson Community College.  Seniors over 60 may enroll in credit courses for credit if their Virginia taxable income did not exceed $15,000 for the preceding year, and may enroll in credit courses for AUDIT (no credit) regardless of income. Senior citizens eligible for free tuition will register the day a session begins on a space-available basis at the Admissions and Records Office.  Admission is to a course is on a space-available basis after all tuition-paying students have been accommodated. In general, this means that this form will be processed on or after the first day of classes. W&M  info here, TNCC info here

•Along with the Christopher Wren Society, the Williamsburg Area Learning Tree (WALT) offers a number of  unique classes hosted by your instructors who want to share their enthusiasm and interests with you. WALT is a non-profit educational program that brings people together to share their excitement and love of learning. These classes have you saying “I want to try that!” and now is the time.

How to sign up: Classes are open to everyone of all ages. Look over the complete course descriptions including class locations that vary. Register on-line through PayPal or mail in the registration form  with your check.

Classes fill up quickly so register early. Registrations are accepted until the class begins, refunds are available until one week before the class begins. Materials fees are paid with the registration fees.

New instructors are welcome to submit course proposals. If you are interested in teaching a future WALT course, contact WALT directly.

WALT Courses for  Spring 2013 include:

Vermiculture – Fun with Worms, Picture Perfect Memories are Yours, Coffee House Drawing & Watercolor Sketching, Chinese for Beginners, The Arts of China, Gentle Yoga, Mah Jongg Strategy, Best Year Yet Plan Workshop, Introduction to Yoga, Basics of Interior Design, Dr. Mom’s Essential Oils First Aid, Saving Jesus, Household Document Organization, Windows 8 Explained and Demonstrated, Everyday Spirituality, Speak Spanish, Health through Environmental Consciousnes, Graphology: Handwriting Deciphered, Savvy Social Security Planning, Making Your Money Last, iPad, iPad Mini & iPhone Advanced Essentials, Yoga Flow for Every Body, Social Security: Your Questions Answered , Basics of Training for Running, 65 Years Young, What Medicare Means to You, Books vs Nooks, Jewelry Creations with Beads, Boost your Health – Fun with Energy, Treating and Preventing the 4 main causes of Plantar Fasciitis, Mac & iMac Essentials for first time Mac users, Household Budgeting, Loving Your Way Through Divorce, Media Relations for Office Managers, How to Run Your Best Race, Fused Glass Pendants, Amazing Origami, Aging Safely At Home, Excel Intro for Windows PCs, Voice Coaches, Marketing for Artists, Auto Upkeep – Learn About Your Car, How to Make your Own Exotic Hot Sauces, Aromatherapy 101, Chickens in Your Backyard, Create a Birthday Box Card, Medicare Basics, Strategic Attraction Plan for Idea Job, Creating your Ideal Life, Standard English, Develop the Gratitude Habit, Natural History of DOG Street , Basic Bicycle Maintenance, Mah Jongg Magic, Adventures in Sailing, Stand Up Paddle Boarding, How to Reduce Low Back Pain, Cinco de Mayo Cooking Party, Beer Appreciation, Mozzarella 101, Great Homemade Strawberry Jam

Register for courses here

Learning Odysseys, offered by the College of William and Mary, is a college level education in liberal arts, science, business and law.

Learning Odysseys  provide outstanding educational instruction from College faculty and local experts and historians. Many of the Road Scholar programs focus on historical themes and take place in Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown– the “Historic Triangle” of Virginia; in Charlottesville, with the nearby homes of  Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe; in Farmville and along  the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail; and at Virginia Beach with its rich colonial, maritime, and military history. Also offered are service programs partnering with local non-profits, Tidewater biking adventures, and birding programs on the Eastern Shore and in the Great Dismal Swamp.

Discover all of the W&M enriching programs, including descriptions of  upcoming offerings below:

Want to do something special with the grandchildren? Find out more about the summer Intergenerational programs in Williamsburg and at the Lee family’s Stratford Hall. If you love the holiday season, join us for one of our ever-popular Christmas programs!


Find answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions, or if you need further assistance, don’t hesitate  contact the office.