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My Kid’s Gifted. Now What?

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Camp Yunasa; photo by Nicholas Farrell

In an innocuous building in South Pasadena, the passionate members of the Institute for Educational Advancement welcome newcomers to introduce the organizations services and capabilities.

IEA is for gifted children. Since 1998, they’ve “dedicated themselves to the whole child, developing and nurturing gifted children ages 2-18.”

IEA lists various characteristics to help identify a gifted child: having an extensive and detailed memory; an advanced vocabulary; using logic to arrive at common sense answers; understanding abstract ideas and complex concepts; understanding principles, forming generalizations, and using them in new situations; and wanting to learn and being curious.

Customized programs are developed to match each student’s “unique gifts and talents with the most appropriate mentors, schools and other learning environment to maximize intellectual and personal development.”

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Photo courtesy of IEA

One incredible feature is the Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship that was begun in 2002. Five students from the L.A. and San Francisco Bay areas were selected, then granted full scholarships to high schools determined to be the best fit for the students.”Through a highly selective, porfolio-based application process, up to 15 new scholars are selected each year and are awarded this prestigious merit-based scholarship.” Simply, gifted children, enrolled at a high school appropriate for their intellectual and personal needs, paid in full.

There appears to also be an emphasis on making sure these gifted kids don’t become overly stressed. A letter from the president, Elizabeth D. Jones, explains that “in an effort to build self-esteem in our children, we may inadvertently cause additional stress in our bright students’ lives.” She goes on to delineate the difference between praise that can lead to fear of failure, lack of trust, or cause dependency, and praise that motivates and heightens self-esteem, and she does this with hands-on, practical ideas. She also suggests activities where the child doesn’t need to feel that he must be “good” right away, where he can focus on incremental steps, risk-take, learn “patience with imperfection,” and feel free to ask for assistance without looking “bad.”

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Elizabeth Jones with Zach at Yunasa West

IEA offers enrichment 16 classes this summer including Astrophysics, Neuro-energy, Organic Chemistry, as well as Egyptian Mythology and The Development of the Sonnet Form. They also have apprenticeship programs at the Art Center, Caltech, Children’s Hospital L.A., UCLA, and USC.

Their Yunasa summer camps in Colorado and Michigan, IEA member Lauren Albrecht says, are where gifted kids can go and just be kids; no stress, no advanced studying…no computers or video games!

“My Child Is Gifted. Now What?” by IEA President Elizabeth Jones
Wednesday, May 8th, 6:30-8 p.m.
Institute for Educational Advancement
625 Fair Oaks Ave., Suite 288, South Pasadena 91030
RSVP to reception@educationaladvancement.org or call 626.403.8900

EducationalAdvancement.org
IEA Facebook page can be found here

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