College for Kids a time for exploration at William Woods

Everything youngsters do at College for Kids is a learning activity.
Everything youngsters do at College for Kids is a learning activity.

For many children in grades three through nine, summer can be a time of sleeping, lounging around and goofing off. Not so for youngsters attending College for Kids, which starts Sunday on the campus of William Woods University.

For 28 years, gifted students have chosen to use their summer to enhance their education and explore the abilities of their mind at College for Kids: A Summer Exploration, Inc. This summer, they will participate in week-long intensive courses ranging from digital photography to psychology, business to painting. They can choose from additional classes in the classics, sciences, mathematics, theatre, history and poetry.

“College for Kids is a haven for gifted learners who find others just like them, who value learning, have passionate interests and enjoy academic challenges,” Marilyn Toalson, director of residential life, said.

She called College for Kids “an action-packed, magical week of learning and fun.”

Three sessions will be offered: June 19-24 for students in third and fourth grade, June 26-July 1 for students in fifth and sixth grade and July 10-16 for students in seventh through ninth grade.  Attendance at each session is expected to range from 100 to 150.

Middle school students enjoy a little theatre during their session.
Middle school students enjoy a little theatre during their session.

“Everything we do from time up in morning to bedtime is a learning activity,” Sue Craghead, director of College for Kids, said, explaining that even the fun activities all serve a purpose.

The staff strives to create a learning environment where each participant studies topics at an accelerated pace, learns at a high level and experiences a college environment.

“William Woods is a great and safe environment for our camp,” Craghead said. “We love that the campus has no outside streets and is well protected from the public.”

CK sessions address current issues and problems using a higher level of thinking. Class curriculum encourages awareness of, and respect for, thought differences among academic peers. The CK experience also allows students to explore different academic content and methodologies.

Young girls work on their project.
Young girls work on their project.

The physical needs of the students also are addressed at College for Kids, with time reserved for physical exercise in various classes and during recreation time.

Volunteerism is another important aspect of College for Kids.

“During our summer sessions we focus on volunteerism; helping the community, family and friends,” Craghead said. We teach them it is important to be a part of the world, make their mark on the world and to stay happy while threating others like you would like to be treated.”

College for Kids provides an opportunity for gifted students to learn and socialize with their intellectual peers—peers who share their interests and abilities. Craghead said the friendships and learning make kids want to return to College for Kids year after year.

“Students make lifelong friends and keep connections for the rest of their lives,” she said.

For more information, go to or contact Craghead at (573) 642-2935 or