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, namely Leonardo 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 archery, fencing, field hockey, figure skating, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, boys or girls lacrosse, riding (English), rowing, sailing, squash, and water polo.
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.