Colorado College’s renowned summer program for gifted and talented children celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Developed in 1981 when very few such programs existed, the three-week summer session offers a variety of hands-on classes for gifted elementary-school students. 

The program was developed to provide gifted children constructive summertime learning and engagement. It was a pioneer at the time and remains one of very few such programs, particularly for children younger than 10, said Director Charlotte Mendoza, chair of the education department at Colorado College. 

Such programs are important, Mendoza says, because research shows that the single most advantageous thing one can do for gifted students is to cluster them together. 

There are no grades and no report cards in the program. “It’s learning for learning’s sake. The philosophy of the summer program is complementary to CC’s: It concentrates on academic challenge and promotes divergent thinking,” Mendoza said. The courses, which stress interdisciplinary learning, are designed to challenge students’ intellectual and creative abilities, and emphasize hands-on, minds-on learning.

The program draws students from all over the United States, as well as from a variety of countries.