Gifted Child Institute Agenda

A gathering of experts to design a new program

Original Publication Date: May 30, 1956

The school’s transition to a school for the gifted was an extensive process.  In May 1956 George and Annemarie transferred ownership of the school to a non-profit educational trust so they could solicit grants and donations for the project.  On June 1, 1956, they held a gala dinner to launch the project.  George gave a speech explaining why it was important to take an interest in gifted children, because it was a somewhat controversial choice.  Some in the community were sad about losing this educational opportunity for any child to choose.  For more, see here and here.

This document is the agenda Harry Passow sent out to participants before the meeting, which was called The Gifted Child Institute.  It’s a sign of the more-relaxed pace of the times that the Institute ran for five days.

institute agenda 1


Summary of the Proceedings of the Gifted Child Institute

The gifted child program developed by invited experts

Original Publication Date: June 1956

The Gifted Child Institute, held at Roeper June 18-22, 1956, led to a plan that encompassed the identification of gifted children, a discussion of the meaning of learning, and the organizing principles of the curriculum. The participants were interesting in developing motivation (how to nurture a love of learning) and self-awareness (how to have a healthy emotional balance). The curriculum was summarized overall as a study of “people and their problems.” It was a broad approach, studying cultures around the world through their myths, technology, and aesthetics using writing, experimentation, critical thinking, and hands-on projects. The explicit goal was to understand the complexity of the world and to find a means of contributing to its betterment.  Attention was paid to heightening awareness of gifted girls and expanding their social and professional options, as well as ensuring that students of all races and ethnicities would be identified and admitted to the school.

After the Institute, the Proceedings were collected and printed, thanks to the generous assistance of the Birmingham (MI) Public School district, and made available to anyone who was interested.

1956 summary of proceedings of gifted child institute

Implementation of the Gifted Child Project

The first report on the new program for gifted child education

Original Publication Date: March 1957

In March 1957, George published an update on the changes that had been made at the school to begin to incorporate the recommendations of the Gifted Child Institute.

.1957 implementation