Local adult-oriented institutions are ensuring that residents have access to classes well into their golden years.
Established in 1938, Main Line School Night offers about 1,000 programs each year, split over the course of two semesters, drawing around 4,500 students annually. “These are lifelong learners—people who are constantly looking to enrich their lives, to broaden their horizons,” says MLSN executive director Wendy Greenfield.
Subjects range from wellness and languages to cooking and card games to more traditional subjects like history and literature. There’s also yoga, creative arts, gardening, money management and much more in MLSN’s extensive course catalog.
Greenfield says current events courses, including a politics class, are among the hottest offerings. “[The discourse] tends to be very, very dynamic,” she says.
At Chester County Night School, languages—Italian, German and Spanish, in particular—are among the top class picks, as are the creative arts, computer technology, health and sports. The school, which celebrates its 65th anniversary this year, offers over 400 classes each semester. “We give the opportunity to interact with other people, especially those who can challenge you, challenge your ideas, affirm you, build your self-confidence,” says Leslie Heisman, Chester County Night School’s co-director.
At both schools, there’s an underlying social aspect. Many students form relationships that extend beyond the classroom. It’s also a great way for newcomers to the community to connect with others. That social aspect has been difficult to replicate during the COVID-19 pandemic, where classes at both schools have temporarily gone online when possible. For many, though, the virtual offerings are an important connection to the outside world.
Adapting to the community’s changing needs and the recession, schools are offering courses to help area residents navigate the crisis. CCNS has launched Career Connection. “We’re really focusing on developing professional skills,” says Jill Johnson, co-director at CCNS. “We’re going to offer more certification classes; we’re going to do more resume-writing work, more communications and marketing skills.”
Cheltenham Township Adult School
500 Rices Mill Road, Wyncote, (215) 887-1720.
Chester County Night School
222 N. Walnut St., West Chester, (610) 692-1964.
Hatboro-Horsham Adult Evening School
227 Meetinghouse Road, Horsham, (215) 646-1768.
Haverford Township Adult School
50 E. Eagle Road, Havertown, (610) 853-5919.
Main Line School Night
260 Gulph Creek Road, Radnor, (610) 687-0460.
YWCA Tri-County Area
315 King St., Pottstown, (610) 323-1888.