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 in gifted education is often to provide a depth of understanding of a specific topic or to introduce a gifted student to a new topic of interest. While most people think of gifted enrichment activities in terms of academic opportunities, it can also take the form of creative or cultural activities.
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.
Benefits of Online Enrichment
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 types of enrichment options are there for gifted students?
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 Enrichment 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.
Davidson Academy Online
In addition to Davidson Academy Online’s extensive gifted curriculum and course catalog, we also offer single-course enrollment for gifted students looking to expand their existing curriculum with online enrichment courses.
Davidson Institute: Explore
Explore offers gifted students ages 9-13 an opportunity to enrich their education by taking advanced online middle school courses adapted from the Davidson Academy’s rigorous curriculum. For those looking for à la carte courses, Davidson Explore may be the best option.
After–school Enrichment Activities
After–school 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.
If there isn’t an after-school activity that catches your gifted students interests, it can be very rewarding for them to start their own club. Davidson Academy Online has 13 student-led clubs, all started by passionate students looking to connect with people who share in their specialized interests.
Weekend Enrichment 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 Enrichment 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.
Davidson Institute: Summer Programs
- THINK Summer Institute: A three-week residential experience with the chance to earn college credit for highly gifted students ages 13-16.
- REACH Summer Seminar: An academically challenging residential experience amongst intellectual peers for our Young Scholars ages 11-13.
- STARS Summer Camp: A five-day residential gifted summer program focused on supporting the academic and social needs of Young Scholars ages 8-11.
The Davidson Institute’s Young Scholars program is an initiative designed to nurture the intellectual and academic development of profoundly gifted students. The program aims to provide these young scholars, typically between the ages of 5 and 18, with support, resources, and a community of like-minded peers. Selected participants receive a range of benefits, including access to enrichment opportunities such as the Ambassador Program and Annual Summit, and the opportunity to connect with other Young Scholars through online forums and annual gatherings.