Follow Us

Chicago Gifted Community Center

Creating connections - Creating community

In Chicago and the suburbs            

Log in


Welcome to our blog.   Please note that this page is open to the public, so any comments made by members will be visible to the general public also.  At this time, only members can make comments to the posts. 

  • March 14, 2015 10:19 AM | Deleted user

    Entering the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, the maxim “Know Thyself” (γνῶθι σεαυτόν) chastened all to attend to the most difficult calling of the human experience: to go within, dismantle facades and defenses, and bring light to one’s Self.  Introspection often begins when presumptions are affronted by experience, with dichotomy between ideal and actual in the world or in the mind.  Individuals of high intelligence are not exempt; their inner landscape may be even more challenging.  Not only do inner processes potentially increase in speed and complexity, but oftentimes the border between our Selves and the world (perhaps the “chiasm”) is more permeable with a greater capacity to penetrate and be penetrated.


    “Superstimulatability” is one of a constellation of traits which we might include under the emerging category of neurodiversity.  Most famously, autism, but also dyslexia, synaesthesia, visual-spatial orientation, and intelligence are coming to be understood as difference in the development of the nervous system as a whole, a difference in wiring.  Connections exist in unexpected places, are more or less numerous, or differ qualitatively. Some brains and bodies contain wiring that bears a greater load, like an electrical circuit with lesser resistance channeling a greater current.  This may result in increased fluid intelligence; this may also result in a nervous system which allows more of the world in thus affecting the type, quality, and number of processes initiated inside.


    “Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching, and counseling in order for them to develop optimally.” – The Columbus Group, 1991

    Definitions of “giftedness” are as diverse and numerous as twentieth century educational philosophies.  The primary division is between those definitions which are achievement-oriented, emphasizing the contribution which the highly intelligent person might make to society, and those which are attribute-oriented.  While educational organizations are now commonly choosing to align themselves with the achievement and talent model which may be more appreciable to potential investors, organizations focused primarily on the affective or social-emotional ramifications of intelligence emphasize experience which diverges from the quantifiable norm.  Mensans are by definition at least two standard deviations above the norm representing the top 2% of IQs with a cutoff score around 130 depending on the assessment; two standard deviations below the norm, persons with IQ 70 and below are considered intellectually disabled and are widely supported by governmental and educational bodies especially in the areas of cognitive, behavioral, and psychosocial functioning.  


    Equally outlying, both groups have divergent intellectual, psychological, and behavioral characteristics.  Those of higher intelligence often exhibit alertness, sensitivity, intensity, and idealism which extend to encompass individuals’ orientation towards themselves and the world.  An environment which fails to accommodate such outliers invites maladaptation: Frustration, anxiety, boredom, or depression bloom under hostile conditions, and adversity arises even under the most ideal.  However, intelligence may offer a key catalyst for transformation.  Kazimierz Dabrowski proposed that “disintegrative” periods may be positive and lead to the development of the personality – requiring both integration and self-knowledge – if the person possesses sufficient responsiveness, especially of intelligence, emotion, and imagination, alongside strong developmental potential and additional dynamisms.


    Recognizing the extent of the impact of such differences is foundational for self-knowledge and pivotal when raising a highly intelligent child.  Intensity characterizes every action and interaction, often leaving the parents of gifted children exhausted, bewildered, and isolated.  Organizations like Mensa, Serving the Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) Model Parent Groups, online networks, and other means of sharing information with others facing similar challenges create opportunities for both parents and their highly intelligent children to develop fluency with the theoretical frameworks and mediating practices which allow for development and flourishing.  Willing to venture unfamiliar shores for their children’s sake, parents often discover their own intelligence.  Exploring others, we discover ourselves.  Go forth and hasten inward to ascertain the pervasiveness of intelligence’s effect on your Self. Yet Thales would caution: It is difficult to know thyself; giving advice is easy.


    Recommended reading: Daniels and Piechowski’s Living with Intensity, James Webb’s A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children


    Heather C. Nicholson, M.S. Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Gifted Education, has recently moved to Chicago from the mountains of western Virginia.  She is the City of Chicago Coordinator and a board member of the Chicago Gifted Community Center, alumna of PEG at Mary Baldwin College, and new Mensan.


    This article was originally written for and published in Chicago-area Mensa's publication ChiMe in March 2015. 


  • March 12, 2015 10:10 AM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    The Saturday Morning Physics program is given at Fermilab three times a year in what are called sessions. See the Fermilab Website for complete details.  Advance registration required.

    The schedule for the 2014-15 Sessions follow:

     Session 1
    October 4 - December 6, 2014

      (No class Thanksgiving weekend, November 29)
     Session 2January 10 - March 7, 2015
     Session 3 
    March 14 - May 16, 2015

      (No class Easter weekend, April 4)

    Each session of the Saturday Morning Physics program consist of nine Saturday mornings. The Saturday starts at 9 am with a lecture followed by a tour at 11 am visiting some of Fermilab's interesting sites. The tours last about 40 minutes. Each Saturday one of the SMP coordinators will be present to introduce the lecturer to the students. After the lecture the coordinator will introduce the tour guides to the students and help coordinate the tour visits. To learn more about the lectures and tours click on the Program and Tours links at the left of the screen. Transportation for the tours are not provided. Those students who do not have a car are paired up with ones who do or with the tour guide.

    Class is held in Wilson Hall, room One West located on the first floor, Atrium level.

    Class is from 9 am to 11 am.  Attendance will be taken each week so please arrive early to check-in.  Check-in is outside of the One West room.

    Tours are from 11 am to 12 pm.  Please note, tours may end early.
    Closed toe shoes to be worn on tours.  Flip flops, sandles or slippers are not allowed.

    Students should be dropped-off at the Wilson Hall front horseshoe and can be picked-up there after tours.

  • March 05, 2015 10:12 AM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    Here's a fun and unique family activity!

    Sleep with the Monsters at the National Hellenic Museum on April 3 and have an evening full of mythological fun.

    Activities Include:

    - Monsters tour and craft
    - Make your own pizza or pasta
    - Learn how to Greek dance
    - Create your own movie while exploring the museum by flashlight
    - Watch Greek mythology-themed movies on our large projector
    - Watch a cookie demonstration (Koulourakia)
    - Morning light breakfast

    Sleepover is for children and parents ages 4 – 14. All children must be accompanied by an adult over the age of 21.

    Arrive on April 3 between 5:00 and 6:00 PM and go home on April 4 at 10:00 AM.

    Overnight rate: $35 per person / $30 for members

    Overnight family rate: 3 people $75 / $65 for members

    Don't want to sleepover? Stay until 10:00 PM: $20 per person / $15 for members

    Click here for complete details.

  • January 16, 2015 4:56 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    For just $10, students can experience the world-renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra and other brilliant guest artists. Symphony Center offers students this unbeatable deal to see many extraordinary concerts, including Muti Conducts Prokofiev and Scriabin (Jan 22 - 24) and MusicNOW: There Will Be Blood, featuring music by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead (Jan 19). Take advantage of special pricing today!

    To buy tickets, visit website is frequently updated with the latest concerts available at a student price and instructions on how to purchase and pick up tickets. Bookmark it and stay on top of future deals.  Please note, a valid Student ID is required to purchase these tickets.

  • January 09, 2015 12:41 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    Reflecting on the Dream—Programming for the entire family

    $10 admission for all, programs 10:30 am - 2:30 pm

    Example programs:

    The King Day Read On – Powerful Civil Rights passages read by invited Chicago Community Leaders, media personalities, and concerned citizens.

    A Legacy for America’s Children, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – Musical Narrative Play performed by Joan Collaso.

    Reflecting on the Dream: Black Lives Matter – Students from several Chicago based Colleges and Universities discuss poignant questions affecting the Black Community.

    Arts and Crafts and much more.  

    Click here for complete details.

  • January 09, 2015 12:26 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    Registration is open for the spring Science Adventure classes at Fermilab.  Classes are offered for students in grades K - 8. Most are one day classes on Saturday mornings.  A variety of topics are offered including: Chemistry at Your Fingertips, Friction Unleashed, Flutter Like a Butterfly, Nanotech Investigations and many more.  These classes usually fill up quickly, so register soon. Complete information here

  • December 10, 2014 11:48 AM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)
    As part of its commitment to special populations of gifted students, NAGC has arranged with Gifted Child Quarterly's publisher to again "open" the fall 2013 issue on twice-exceptional students to the public. Please share the link.

  • October 30, 2014 9:06 AM | Newenka DuMont (Administrator)

    Gifted Experts speaking on different aspects of raising gifted children.  Topics include an update on the state of gifted education in our state, parenting children at home and at school, executive function in asynchronous children, parents twice exceptional children, motivating gifted children, perfectionism, living with intensities, working with your schools. CGCC board member, Newenka DuMont will be presenting on getting to calm in a gifted child's home.

    More information and registration: 

  • October 08, 2014 9:23 AM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    Facets Children and Youth presents the 31st Annual Chicago International Film Festival from October 24 through November 2.  The Chicago International Children's Film Festival is the largest festival of films for children in North America, welcoming 25,000 Chicago-area children, adults, and educators each year, and featuring over 250 films from 40 countries. The Festival screens a wide range of projects, from live-action and animated feature films to shorts, TV series, documentaries, and child-produced works. One of the most unique festivals in the country, the Chicago International Children's Film Festival showcases the best in culturally diverse, non-violent, value-affirming new cinema for children, and is one of the only Academy Award qualifying children's film festivals in the world.

    See the festival web site for the complete schedule.  

  • September 29, 2014 3:58 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)


    What is it?

    Splash! brings high school students from all over Chicago to the University of Chicago campus for one Saturday in the fall. The high school students take short classes taught by college students in areas that teachers are really passionate about.

    The program brings together college and high school students and exposes high school students to topics they may not be able to access in a traditional high school curriculum. The classes at Splash! 2012 covered topics ranging from genetic engineering and dystopian fiction to dance and introductory Mongolian. The focus is on teaching fun and engaging classes that never make learning seem like work.

    Splash is 100% FREE to attend and free lunch is also provided.

    When? Who? Where?

    One Saturday each fall. (The next Splash! will be on October 4, 2014.) Open to all high school students, grades 9-12. Check-in and registration are in Ida Noyes on the University of Chicago Campus at 1212 East 59th Street (to accommodate the volume). Classes are held in Harper Hall (1116 East 59th Street) and some of the surrounding buildings.

    How do I sign up?

    Student registration opens on our website near the beginning of September. Our most popular classes fill up pretty quickly, so it’s always a good idea to register early.

    If you aren’t able to sign up online, we have an on-site registration option where you can sign up for the program and choose your classes on the day of Splash. Please note that if you decide to pursue this option, class choice will be limited.


    What is it?

    Cascade! is a five-week program for high school students that exposes them to interesting topics they may never have seen before in high school. Like Splash!, Cascade! allows students to meet college students and other high school students in a fun context. Unlike Splash!, Cascade! allows students to explore topics in a bit more depth than a one-day program can allow and to become closer to their teachers.

    Students take classes in one or two time slots, with about six options in each slot. Each class will meet five times: one hour every Tuesday afternoon/evening for five consecutive weeks. There will be no testing or grades, but there may be small amounts of homework assigned from week to week in some classes. Attendance at all sessions is required, but if you really must miss a class please be sure to tell your teacher in advance.

    When is it?

    Twice a year, in fall and in winter, for five weeks each time. The next Cascade begins on Tuesday, October 21st and will end on November 18th. Always Tuesday late afternoons, with the first session running from 5:00 to 6:00 and the second from 6:30 to 7:30. (In between, there will be food available for purchase at a reasonable price.) Keep in mind that you can attend either one time slot or both.

    Where is it?

    Cascade! is held in Harper Hall on the University of Chicago campus, 1116 East 59th Street in the Hyde Park neighborhood. Specific maps and directions will be provided when you sign up for the program.

    How do I sign up?

    Registration for Cascade happens on this website, and begins roughly one month in advance of the program’s start date.

    Registration for Winter Cascade 2014 is now open! Check out our course catalog!

    How much does Cascade cost?

    Cascade is completely free to attend. We offer dinner between classes for a reasonable price. Students with dietary restrictions are encouraged to bring their own dinner.

About cgcc

The Chicago Gifted Community Center (CGCC) is a member-driven 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created by parents to support the intellectual and emotional growth of gifted children and their families. 

Become a member

We  are an all volunteer-based organization that relies on annual memberships from parents, professionals, and supporters to provide organizers with web site operations, a registration system, event insurance, background checks, etc. 

Contact us

© Chicago Gifted Community Center

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software