Adult Education Opportunities in the Lake Area

Old dogs learn new tricks with adult education.

Does the thought of adult education remind you of the movie where Rodney Dangerfield goes back to school and humiliates himself? Put that image out of your mind and check out the following continuing education opportunities in the lake area.

From art and computers to cooking and fitness, old dogs can indeed learn new tricks and have a great time in the process. There is an enormous range of classes—including some things of which you’ve probably never heard—and each program’s offerings is unique. And if you don’t want to leave the house, there are myriad online learning resources as well. Here is a sampling of some of the things you can do in your neighborhood to enrich body, mind and spirit.

BODY: Wayzata Community Education

Sandra Stevens, adult enrichment coordinator:
The concept is to not close the doors after the school day; We have wonderful buildings and facilities that are paid for by the community so the community should use them.

I find instructors everywhere, even in my personal life. There is statewide and nationwide cooperation in community education. We don’t compete; we share information and trends. I am always out talking to people, asking what they’re interested in and what’s new. There is also an international professional organization called Learning Resources Network (LERN) that is great for discovering emerging trends and providing data-driven information.

Our fitness instructors do need to be certified—we don’t want people hurting themselves. The class size varies from 10 to 50 people, depending on the time of year and subject matter.

The benefits of these programs are wide. They are close to people's homes, and great for people who either do or don’t have a friend to work out with. Working out with a buddy holds you accountable, or you can go on your own and meet people. Once you’re registered for a class, the structure provides you with the inspiration to get out of the house and work out. They are reasonably priced and the commitment is only for a certain number of weeks, not for the whole year like at a gym.

There is an important social aspect to community education. We live in a disconnected society. We offer the type of program that can get people together in a subject matter of common interest.

Boot Camp
Combines cardiovascular and strength work in a variety of different workouts. Students receive a before- and after-fitness evaluation so that they can measure their results. Open to all levels. Bring yoga or exercise mat.

Kung Fu
Chinese art of self-defense teaches awareness, bolsters self-esteem and strengthens confidence through coordination, strength, flexibility and endurance. Values of leadership, discipline and concentration are stressed. Non-competitive. Parents may participate in class with their children. Wear loose, comfortable clothing.

Improve balance, strengthen the core and learn necessary modifications with this low-impact, high-flexibility fitness system that emphasizes alignment of the spine and pelvis. All levels welcome.  Bring pilates or yoga mat and a towel.

Fast-paced, Latin-inspired dance fitness class with international music and a party atmosphere. Bring a mat.


MIND: Hopkins Community Education

Betsey Hedding, program coordinator:
The real strength of our program is the arts. We collaborate with the Hopkins Center for the Arts. It is a beautiful building. There is a gallery on the first level, art classes on the second floor and a ceramics studio as well.

We offer many different kinds of art classes: painting, drawing, textile arts and jewelry making.

We have exceptional teachers. At a recent art exhibit opening, people were blown away by the caliber of the work made by people who take community art—they expect it to be all beginners. Community education provides an avenue for lot of people who dabbled in art in college or people with fine art degrees to come back and explore.

Our cooking courses are very popular. There are eight to 10 chefs that work with our program. Classes explore new and different cuisines or perhaps a single topic or recipe.

Artisan Breadmaking
Learn basic bread making theory. Make deli rye and multigrain loaves as well as a batch of raw dough to take home. All ages.

Stained Glass
Build your own small stained glass window panel. Learn the fundamentals of cutting glass and soldering. One-day workshop; materials fee.

Create invitations, place cards, envelopes and more writing in the italic style using a broad-edged dip pen. One-day workshop.

Sumi-E Japanese Brush Painting
Learn the techniques and philosophy of this elegant and ancient water-based brush painting practice. Create black and white images of simple beauty. Bring your own materials or pay materials fee to instructor.

SPIRIT: Minnetonka Community Education

Amanda Cammbrone, adult programs program manager:

We have a dedicated two-story building. All the classrooms are state of the art, equipped with smartboards and ceiling-mounted projectors. There is a full gym, a mirrored dance studio, a rec room and a banquet/lecture hall. Each room is designed for its specific use.

We keep an eye on what’s trending in the community or the state with marketing and social networks. We take surveys in every class and ask what courses people would like to add to the program. The mantra of community of education is to reach out to the people we work with.

There are always new classes such as our upcoming weather and forecasting course that features awareness, safety and preparedness. We’re also adding a Toastmasters and public speaking class as well as one about the real estate market in the Minnetonka area. 

Once someone is registered with us for hypnosis, they can get a lifetime membership. We have good loyalty program and a great following. We are looking into having more nutrition, wellness, and classes about taking care of body mind and spirit.

Weight loss and smoking/tobacco chewing cessation sessions from the experienced Dr. Mary Fischer. Stop cravings, increase willpower and develop confidence.

Choose from three distinctive types: traditional, with an emphasis on breathing; strengthening and postural; or Vinyasa and gentle flow. All three types are meditative. Three different level options. Vinyasa is the most challenging.

Alexander Technique
A kinesthetic and postural practice to reduce stress, aid relaxation and increase freedom of movement. A mind-body integration practice often used by actors, dancers, equestrians and musicians. Attend separate free lecture and demonstration. New. 

Master gardener instruction, spring landscape planning, ecology and lakefront care.  Landscaping for low input shows how to reduce labor and expense through technology.



All community education students must register in advance.


Wayzata Community Education
Course catalog:

Hopkins Community Education
Course catalog:

Minnetonka Community Education
Course catalog:


March 12, Hopkins Art Center

11 a.m.–7 p.m.

The ceramics studio at the Eisenhower Community Center in Hopkins coordinates a community-wide Empty Bowls fundraiser to benefit two local food shelves: Intercongregational Communities Association (ICA) and ResourceWest. Artists, students and teachers make bowls to donate to sell in a silent auction. The gala evening offers refreshments and musical entertainment. Last year’s event raised $90,000.

To sign up to make a bowl, donate a bowl, sponsor the event or volunteer at the event, contact Barb Westmoreland at 952.988.4069 or