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Big Blue Summer Academics Is Far More than Academics

If immersing yourself in the life of a favorite writer, donning your "design thinking" cap in the STEAM-focused Maker Space on the Short Hills Campus, befriending Pingry's flock of six hens, or concocting culinary delights from the bounty of the Basking Ridge Campus garden sound like fun summertime diversions, read on! These are merely a sampling of all that's in store for campers come June, when Big Blue Summer Academics gets underway, launching new programs and unrolling old favorites alike.   

Big Blue Summer Academics Director,
Mrs. Jessica Weinberger.

Directed by Upper School math teacher Jessica Weinberger, Big Blue Summer Academics (BBSA) is a signature program of Pingry's popular Big Blue Summer, and represents just one of the school's many June-August offerings, including programs run by several partner camps. While "academic" is part of its title, rest assured that BBSA—whose courses are open to Pingry and non-Pingry students alike, and run on both the Short Hills and Basking Ridge Campuses—are far from the typical school-year grind. On the contrary, the lure of BBSA, says Mrs. Weinberger, is its dynamic offerings, which just happen to occur in a more leisurely summer environment.

"It's a manageable and stress-free chunk of time for students to engage in something academic without worrying about tests, homework, and pressure, and simply enjoy the process of learning and the collaboration that comes from small group work," explains Mrs. Weinberger. "It's a chance to hone in on skills they'll use during the academic year, but in a more creative way. And it's a chance to investigate a topic that they wouldn't necessarily have the opportunity to learn during a packed school year. BBSA is really all about the pleasure of learning."


Students visit a local farm during last summer's
"Excursions in a Green World."

Other advantages of the program:

(1) Are you new to Pingry? BBSA is a chance to meet people before the school year begins;

(2) Looking to complete a graduation requirement? Upper Schoolers can complete certain requirements, making room in their fall schedule to focus on other classes;

(3) Want to skip ahead in math next year? Complete a math class and advance to the next level in the fall;

(4) Facing a tough class next year? BBSA can provide the perfect preview.

Offering two different types of programs—credit courses (such as math) and enrichment courses (such as "Excursions in a Green World," pictured above)—BBSA has something for everyone.  So, what's new this year?

Mrs. Weinberger highlights "Investigations from Farm to Table," for rising Grades 3-5 students. Here, children will tend to and harvest the garden on the Basking Ridge Campus, learn about Pingry's chickens, visit a local dairy farm, and create tasty, farm-to-table dishes, even using the campus campfire!  

Rising Grade 4 students explore the woods in "Stepping Stones."

For language students, Intro to Spanish will be offered, as well as a preview of second-level Spanish for student who want additional practice.

New in humanities is "The History of the Olympics," taught by Upper School history teacher Colleen Kent, for rising Grade 5 and 6 students. At the end of the week, kids will design and compete in their very own Games. Rising Grade 8 through 10 students can take a step back in time with Upper School Latin teacher Kathryn Smith's "When Zeus Met Hera: Greek and Roman Mythology," where they will analyze original myths and compare them to modern interpretations, like Harry Potter and Wonder Woman. Upper School English teacher Christine Taylor is also featuring a poetry workshop for Upper Schoolers.

A veteran of summer camp academic programming—serving as Morristown Beard's Assistant Director for 10 years and Director for two before joining Pingry—Mrs. Weinberger, who also has 20 years of experience teaching math, is no stranger to the summer camp world. She easily points to what makes Pingry different.

"It is the opportunity to do more than just academics here. You can create a full day of summer fun with a credit course in the morning or two back-to-back enrichment courses, followed by a sports camp, tech camp, or drama program in the afternoon. There are just so many different programs available on both campuses, and so many different ways to create a personalized summer here that you don't find elsewhere," she says. "And our teachers are passionate about their subject matter and about working with kids to provide something really unique in the summer."

Browse complete information on these and other Big Blue Summer Academics offerings this summer

To explore all Big Blue Summer camps, read here

Contact: Andrea Dawson, Senior Writer,