We have all had the experience of feeling bored when we know how something works and others are catching up. Sometimes we try to find alternative activities while we wait. Gifted kids tend to experience this feeling more often, and in the schools of the past, teachers may have given them extra roles as messengers or tutors to help fill their time.
This may have once seemed like a good solution, but it’s never really acceptable to leave gifted children unchallenged during the school year. Nor should it be acceptable over the summer. Schools now are working harder than ever to challenge everyone to achieve personal growth, regardless of their entry point. These classrooms, as well as multiple outside enrichment programs, offer exciting learning and growing opportunities for gifted students. But exceptional learning opportunities need not end with the school year. Some of the richest opportunities for gifted students are found in summer camp programs, where academic enrichment occurs in an engaging, dynamic environment punctuated with friendship, sunshine and fun.
Summer Camps Offer Growth Opportunities for the Whole Child
The best summer camps provide unique opportunities for academic enrichment, while also supporting physical and social-emotional growth. As an enrichment program for gifted students, an innovation camp like Galileo can enhance not only the academic development of elementary and middle school kids, but their social-emotional growth as well. This is important because despite their capacity for learning and engaging with complex content, gifted kids also benefit from the opportunity to just be kids and have fun with others their age.
Unencumbered by the limitations inherent in the typical educational setting, an innovation summer camp can provide several benefits to gifted kids, including in-depth personal interest exploration and the opportunity to create and test new ideas. Project-based learning theory can be put into application with activities that capture their interest and provide motivation, and some of the best programs are rooted in real-world contexts. The opportunity to explore the latest 3-D modeling technology, code their own video game or create a mystery room capitalizes on specific interests while helping kids develop real skills. Allowing students to pursue interests through an immersive investigation can help satisfy personal passions and formulate future goals.
Interest Exploration, Innovative Thinking and More
Providing a venue for kids to explore their interests and try out their ideas is an important growth opportunity. In a stimulating, developmentally appropriate environment staffed with caring adults, many of whom are professional educators, kids find that curiosity and creativity are encouraged. An exciting summer camp program that allows kids to explore their personal interests is the ideal location for in-depth research and guided exploration. Allowing them to exercise choice can be empowering and validating.
While pursuing personal interests, a thematic or project-based camp can give kids the opportunity to develop an innovator’s mindset. By providing kids the support and resources to be a crime scene investigator, YouTube producer or robot programmer, summer camp experiences can have long-lasting effects. Hands-on activities that simulate real-world adventures can help kids see themselves as competent problem solvers and resourceful inventors. Fun and realistic themes will capture the imagination and encourage meaningful play.
Energizing Minds and Bodies
Summer learning does not have to mean foregoing outdoor fun. Though gifted kids have their own unique developmental curve, they, too, benefit from the outdoor adventures, social interactions and varied activities that summer camp affords. In addition to learning opportunities, educational summer camps are all about memorable adventures. The physical activities and games, arts and crafts and cooperative interactions create a relaxed, balanced environment that invites kids to take risks and have fun. Working with other kids to solve problems involves conversation and taking turns. These interactions allow students to form strong connections with peers and camp staff, while polishing their interpersonal skills.
Summer Camp is a Win-Win for Parents and Kids Alike
Parents usually have a good idea of the topics that fascinate their gifted child. Finding a summer camp, like Galileo, that satisfies those interests, while helping the child develop academically, physically, socially and emotionally will ensure a fun and rewarding way to spend a school vacation. The stimulation and opportunities for focused learning are a good investment that helps to counteract “summer slide,” that dip in academic achievement that may occur when students have a sustained break from school. The pace of an enriching camp program offers continuous learning opportunities as kids wonder, discover and create.
Summer learning definitely doesn’t mean giving up fun. Keeping kids engaged in purposeful play while they learn is a win-win, making Galileo summer camps an ideal choice for gifted students. Outdoor adventures ensure that students enjoy the summer sun and warm weather, while the small group activities promote positive social interactions. Boredom is nonexistent and enthusiasm for learning is everywhere, all in an atmosphere of big fun. With the wealth of quality summer programs available from Galileo camps, gifted children can thrive all summer long.
Check out the variety of Galileo innovation camps in the San Francisco, Southern California, and Chicagoland areas. Sign up for our newsletter to keep up-to-date on our camp happenings and innovation resources.