New program offered to gifted students in grades one through six


Fairfield University to host Summer Institute for the Gifted day program

Academically gifted and talented students who are currently in grades one through six now have a summer day program that will allow them to take advantage of advanced academic and recreational activities that have only been available to older-age children. The three-week program, created and offered by the Summer Institute for the Gifted and University College at Fairfield University, is designed for students who need academically challenging opportunities that stretch their abilities, expand their knowledge and engage them in creative and active learning.

"Next summer marks the first time gifted and talented students who are currently in grades one through six will have the opportunity to study in our program at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut," said Stephen Gessner, president of the Summer Institute for the Gifted, a 20-year-old academic program that has grown to more than 1,600 students from more than 43 states and 20 countries. SIG is a subsidiary of the American Institute For Foreign Study.

Young gifted students need engaging and challenging experiences to ensure their advanced abilities are developed and that learning is exciting, engaging and meaningful. The SIG Day Program exists to meet the needs of these academically advanced students. SIG blends challenging academic experiences and opportunities for cultural exchange and social growth with recreation and traditional summer camp fun.

The SIG Day Program provides instruction in more than 30 academic and creative courses as well as recreational activities every day. The courses cover humanities, sciences and mathematics, and visual and performing arts. Every student selects three courses and each class (of up to 15 students plus a teacher's assistant) meets five times a week for 90 minutes.

Total cost of the SIG Day Program at Fairfield University is $1,475 per student. That fee includes application fee, tuition, all laboratory fees and course materials, recreational program costs, special programs, lunch and snacks. Deadline for applications is May 15, 2003 and should be submitted as soon as possible. Classes start July 21 and end on August 8, 2003.

The course work at SIG is challenging, fast-paced and engaging. Students must have the appropriate ability, motivation and commitment to benefit from these demanding and exciting courses. SIG requires evidence of high academic ability and/or achievement be submitted with the application. Academically talented students currently in grades one through six who have scored in the 95th percentile or above in at least one of the major content areas or ability sections of a nationally normed standardized test administered by their schools, or students who have been identified as gifted and/or who have participated successfully in a local or school gifted program will be admitted on a first-come, first-serve basis. A letter of recommendation from a teacher, school administrator or parent is also acceptable. All participants in gifted and talented competitions are also welcome to apply.

"SIG teachers provide the best possible academic experience for each student. Our staff has extensive experience and receives additional training on strategies for teaching academically gifted students," explained Gessner. In addition to traditional methods, such as direct instruction and question and answer sessions, instructors use hands-on methods of learning that promote active participation, creativity and higher order thinking skills. Such strategies include debate, construction of models, simulations, legal briefs, field trips and demonstrations and projects that involve high levels of participatory learning.

"SIG developed this program in response to parents' requests for non-residential instruction for their younger children," explained Gessner. "Young children may not be ready to be away from home, so we developed the SIG Day Program for these younger gifted students to experience exciting academic programs on a college campus and still be home for dinner every night." The regular day will begin at 8:45 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. Extended day hours will be available before and after the regular day.

Established in 1942, Fairfield University is ranked "highly competitive" by Barron's Profiles of American Colleges. In addition to its extensive academic, cultural and recreational facilities, it has an exceptional library with connections to many other libraries in the area. Special learning facilities include an art gallery, radio station, TV station, media center and concert hall.

The Summer Institute for the Gifted's regular program is tailored for students who are currently in grades four through 11 and want to experience learning and living on a college campus for three weeks during the summer. Students choose from a variety of more than 80 academic, cultural and recreational courses on five college campuses: Amherst College, Bryn Mawr College, Drew University, Oberlin College and Vassar College.

For additional information about the SIG Day Program or other Summer Institute for the Gifted programs, interested parties should call toll free (866) 303-4744 or visit its Web site at www.giftedstudy.com.

The American Institute For Foreign Study (www.aifs.com) is a private U.S. company based in Stamford, Conn. In addition to its programs for elementary through college students, AIFS also organizes U.S. programs for foreign students including Academic Year in America for foreign high school students, and its two J-visa programs, Camp America, under which foreign students work as summer camp counselors, and Au Pair in America which provides child care to U.S. families.

Contact: Jason Kannon
Summer Institute for the Gifted
(203) 399-5003
jkannon@aifs.com

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on December 15, 2002

Vol. 35, No. 139