Learn about the types of enrichment and why online courses are a great enrichment option for your gifted student.
What is enrichment?
Enrichment can be broadly defined but often refers to a learning experience that occurs outside of the typical classroom curriculum. The focus of an enrichment experience is often to provide depth of understanding to a specific topic or to introduce a student to a new topic of interest. While most people tend to think of enrichment activities in terms of academic opportunities, it can also take the form of creative or cultural activities.
What types of enrichment options are there?
Enrichment options are not meant to replace the core classroom curriculum, so generally speaking, enrichment will be a course, program, or activity engaged with in addition to a student’s basic learning. However, some educators refer to enrichment as the additional worksheets, projects, or activities given to a student within the classroom setting as well. Some common types of enrichment that occur outside of the school include:
- Online courses – Online enrichment courses, both self-paced and instructor-led, can be taken afterschool, during the weekend, or over summer to bolster a student’s learning. For example, a student might take a coding course online because their local school does not offer coding classes.
- Afterschool activities – Afterschool enrichment options like clubs, competitions, and volunteer work can offer a unique perspective on a topic of interest for students. For example, a robotics club could deepen a student’s understanding of engineering.
- Weekend programs – Weekend enrichment programs may take the form of a one-off event or a continuous exploration of a topic. For example, a student may participate in a one-day writing workshop or take three months of creative writing with a local organization.
- Summer programs – Summer programs offer enrichment by delivering unique courses at an accelerated pace or by providing hands-on work experience with a topic. For example, a student might participate in a summer program that teaches pharmacology and provides a shadowing experience with a pharmacist.
How does enrichment help gifted students?
Gifted students benefit from enrichment to support their unique intellectual needs. Gifted students often comprehend material several grade levels above their age-peers, have a driving curiosity, and/or are interested in unique topics beyond the typical core subjects. Many schools, both public and private, may not be in a position to fully meet the demand for gifted programming given limited funds, staff, or otherwise. Many families with gifted children turn to enrichment options outside of the school to add a dimension of challenge to their child’s educational journey.
Online enrichment options tend to be the most popular among gifted students because of their accessibility and diversity. Online courses for gifted children can be empowering as they are able to work more independently and take ownership over their education. As summarized in the article “The Benefits of Online Learning for Gifted Students” online courses can:
- Offer a learning experience at the appropriate level for their advanced abilities,
- Provide access to instructors with specialized knowledge, and
- Create a space to interact and learn with their intellectual, same-age peers.
What online gifted enrichment options are available?
In addition to the full-time program, Davidson Academy Online offers English and math courses for single-course enrollments. Students working at a 9th grade-level or above who may not be in high school yet may find these English and math courses appealing as a way to provide depth to these common core topics with the support of instructors and peers who get their unique needs.