In 1997 one of us enrolled our children in the Worlds of Wisdom and Wonder outside Chicago. After watching their passion for learning reignite and their spirits soar while attending convinced us of the need to bring a similar program to the Austin area. With the blessing and support of Joan Franklin Smutny, founder of the Chicago program, we founded Summer Wonders. The program opened its doors in 1999 with two two-week sessions at St. Michael's Academy.

As with any program that is adapted, we have taken the strongest components and peppered them with what we know are best practices in gifted education. Our goal continues to be to inspire enthusiasm and motivation for learning by offering singular opportunities to explore diverse subjects taught by a stellar faculty in a challenging, creative environment.

About Our Model

Founded in 1983, The Center for Gifted at National-Louis University, Evanston, Illinois, has served thousands of students in preschool through 10th grades in their summer and winter programs in the Chicago area.

The Founder/Director, Joan Franklin Smutny, teaches creative writing in her programs and gifted education to graduate students at National-Louis University. She has written extensively in the field of gifted studies, including Teaching Young Gifted Children in the Regular Classroom (co-authored); Gifted Girls; The Young Gifted Child: Potential and Promise, An Anthology; and Designing and Developing Programs for Gifted Students.

She is co-chairman of Membership and of the Special Schools and Programs Division for the National Association for Gifted Children and was the recipient of their 1996 Distinguished Service Award. Joan serves as Editor of the IAGC Journal, and an editor for Understanding Our Gifted and Roeper Review: A Journal on Gifted Education.

Summer Wonders is proud to be a five-time winner of Best Summer Camp in the Austin Chronicle Readers’ Poll

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