Raising Renaissance Kids in Princeton

Raising well-rounded children.


I grew up with an inquisitive mind. Besides the three R’s I had to learn as a kid, I enjoyed studying various subjects, and had MANY favorites. My fascination with the arts, sciences and niche sports (think Olympics) grew in elementary school. I also loved Greek mythology, which gave way to my interest in Greek philosophy in high school.

This led to Aristotle, a polymath who preceded the Renaissance period, having a great influence on me. The Renaissance period became renown for its polymaths, namelyLeonardo da Vinci, who I also admired. The polymath who had the most influence on me was my maternal grandfather. He was a linguist who spoke seven languages, gourmet cook, a top golfer and entrepreneur amongst other things. They all lead me to explore many extra-curricular disciplines.

I think you can be a jack-of-all-trades and a mistress-of-all-trades. If you study it, and you put reasonable intelligence and reasonable energy, reasonable electricity to it, you can do that. You may not become Max Roach on the drums. But you can learn the drums. ~ Maya Angelou (polymath)

It’s important to me to continually encourage my children to have as many experiences as possible to discover the activities they’re passionate about. Summer camps are a perfect way of my kids getting a sampling of sports, hobbies, and the like, and they can continue to do what they enjoy during the school year. It made me think of all of the wonderful opportunities there are around Princeton to raise Renaissance kids.

The Greater Princeton Area offers an abundance of opportunities of America’s favorite pastimes, but here are some niche disciplines for those who think outside the box. In this region, they’re practically the norm.

ART – The Arts Council of Princeton gives lessons such as sculpture, alternative media and digital painting, and Bollywood costume and design for kids.

COOKING – Students in grades 5 – 12 can learn how to cook at Aubergines, etc.

DANCE - The Barclay Classes of Princeton includes group instruction in ballroom for children in grades four through eight (as well as etiquette lessons). Ballet can be mastered at Princeton Ballet School.

LANGUAGE – Regional School students who’d like to learn Latin before high school can hire a tutor.

MUSIC – Westminster Conservatory of Music offers lessons for all of the popular instruments, as well as the organ, bassoon, oboe, and harp.

SPORTS – There are a plethora of niche sports here, including archeryfencingfield hockeyfigure skatinggolfgymnasticsice hockeyboys or girls lacrosse,riding (English), rowingsailingsquash, and water polo.

STRATEGY - Regional School students can learn chess by a protégé of the International Arbiter Nonna Karakashyan.

TECHNOLOGY - Kids 13 and under can discover the tech worlds of computer programing, video editing and more at iD Tech Summer Camps.

THEATER – One of the best theater programs can be found at McCarter Theatre Center.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Barbara Fox June 14, 2012 at 03:52 PM
thanks for all the links -- it's easy to find out the info!
Marilyn Ham June 15, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Another wonderful dance school in the area is Funktion Dance Complex in Monmouth Junction. It is a non-competition dance school that caters to both the industry dancer and recreation dancer. http://www.funktiondancecomplex.com/ Their students are constantly winning awards and getting jobs in the dance world and having FUN!!! They also have a terrific ballet summer intensive called Central New Jersey Ballet Summer Intensive. It starts in August and you can sign up for as long as the full program or a week. Here's a link... http://www.balletcnj.org/ I can't say enough good things about it!
Robin Birkel June 15, 2012 at 03:28 AM
My pleasure Barbara. It takes more effort, but I think it's worth it. I like the convenience of having links in articles and other blog posts I read.
Robin Birkel June 15, 2012 at 03:29 AM
Thanks Marilyn! Your family certainly knows about dance!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »