Wondrous Learning

Matt Hawkins
July 2, 2015

More than 140 students reveled in fast-paced, tactile activities during the first week of Bradley University’s World of Wonder camp for gifted youth. The program exposed students to math, science, reading and language arts through creative, challenging lessons June 22-26.

Students in grades one through eight honed acting skills and gained knowledge through courses themed around fairy tales, the Disney movie “Frozen,” television series “Law & Order” and other innovative outlets. A second session of courses will run August 3-7.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the students to explore interests in a university environment,” said Michelle Riggio, assistant director for continuing education and professional development. "This is a place they’re encouraged to be creative, use their minds, and enrich their development throughout the summer months." 

While youth focused their energies on projects, a group of Bradley teacher education majors tested their training as classroom assistants. For some future educators, like Michelle Young ’16, the week presented a welcome challenge.

“I’ve worked with a lot of kids from difficult situations, but I’d never worked with gifted kids,” said the Woodbury, Minnesota, native. “It’s a good experience to figure out how to challenge all students to reach their potential.”

Joliet, Illinois, native Taylor Boyne ’16, assisted Molly Damotte ’04 with her “Survivor Math” and “Money Matters” courses. As a third-year WOW assistant, Boyne said the experience gave her new instructional ideas and helped her practice classroom theory.

“I want to do a lot of things I’ve seen teachers do here and in my previous field experiences,” she said. “I’ve been fortunate to apply some of those ideas here as I prepare for the professional world.”

Since 1983, the Bradley University Institute for Gifted and Talented Youth and its predecessor, the Peoria County Foreign Language Immersion Program, have offered summer educational program opportunities for Central Illinois youth.