FARMINGTON — Interested in starting the year and decade by learning something new?

Mt. Blue Regional School District’s Adult and Community Education courses offer everything from acupuncture for stress to past-life regression during this winter-spring semester.

Those are just two of the newest offerings receiving a good response in sign-ups from the community Monday, said Lisa Donald from Adult Basic Education. There’s still time to sign up even though some classes begin this week.

Along with courses in English, math, computers and General Education Diploma degrees, several new offerings center on health and personal well being.

One of those, ” The Biggest Loser,” is a rendition of the television program designed to help motivate weight loss, said Alice Cavanaugh, health and wellness educator for the Mt. Blue district.

Starting Wednesday, Jan.6, participants will meet for an hour from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. for a private weekly weigh-in. They’ll also be measured before and after the 13-week course and the top three losers will share the pot, she said. Prizes are also awarded for most inches lost.

From the $39 cost, $25 is put into the winning pot and $5 will be used for wellness projects for children in the schools, she said.

As part of her position, she’s always looking for ways to help the school staff improve their health and wellness. Classes have been offered in dancing, Pilates and yoga, she said.

During this weight loss challenge, teachers and community members will get a free wellness evaluation, learn how to shop, control portions, get tips on dining out, exercise and more.

The program is geared toward helping with an individual’s motivation through prizes and group support, Cavanaugh said.

“Twenty teachers have already signed up but it’s open to the community — the more the merrier and the larger the pot,” she said.

This is just one of a variety of classes including one that will help a participant learn how they learn.

Instructor Jeanne Simpson plans to share information about learning styles/strengths to help develop individual learning strategies.

Four hour-long sessions of acupuncture are offered for $35. While small needles are inserted in the ear, participants will go through a period of relaxation to help ward off the effects of stress on personal health.

Some of the new classes delve into crocheting, owning woodlands, Tibetan Buddhism, how to make pie crusts, guitar-picking and yoga.

Nearly 700 adults participated in the 60-classes offered last fall, Donald said. Teachers approach her or Paul Brown with ideas they have for classes that they think will appeal leading to the variety offered.

Many of these are offered in two or four sessions, which is popular, Donald said. Many are also offered online at the convenience of the student.

A group is also being formed for a 10-day trip to Ireland in November. Donald and about 40 others are heading for a similar trip to Germany at the end of this month. The group will visit historic sites, she said.

For more information about the classes, call 778-3460.

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