Unlocking Potential: The Benefits of Single-Gender Programs for Gifted Children

Brian Lux

Director of Camp Sequoia


At Camp Sequoia, we are often asked about why we have chosen a single-gender approach to our summer community. The landscape of education is continually evolving, with educators and parents seeking innovative ways to nurture the unique talents and capabilities of gifted children. One approach gaining traction is the implementation of single-gender programs tailored specifically for gifted students. This article explores the myriad benefits of single-gender programs in fostering the intellectual, social, and emotional development of gifted children.

I. Tailored Academic Environments


A. Customized Curriculum

  • Single-gender programs allow for more personalized and targeted curriculum development, catering to the specific learning styles and needs of gifted children (Gallagher, 2002).
  • Research by VanTassel-Baska and Little underscores the importance of content-based curriculum approaches, emphasizing depth and complexity for high-ability learners (VanTassel-Baska & Little, 2011). Our MESH, STEM, ART and ADVENTURE curricula at Camp Sequoia work best because they address the needs of our gifted kids at their level. Unlike many heterogeneous classroom grouping in school or at traditional camps, our team intentionally designed curriculum for high levels of engagement based upon the specific needs of gifted learners. 



  • Gallagher, J. J. (2002). Teaching the Gifted Child. Allyn & Bacon.
  • VanTassel-Baska, J., & Little, C. A. (2011). Content-based curriculum for high-ability learners. Prufrock Press.

B. Flexibility in Teaching Methods

  • Single-gender settings provide teachers with the flexibility to employ varied and innovative teaching methods, accommodating the diverse learning preferences often found among gifted students (Gallagher, 1991).
  • The comprehensive curriculum framework proposed by VanTassel-Baska and Stambaugh promotes a holistic approach to gifted education, allowing for adaptability in instructional strategies (VanTassel-Baska & Stambaugh, 2005).



  • Gallagher, D. J. (1991). Educational approaches in the education of the gifted. In N. Colangelo & G. A. Davis (Eds.), Handbook of gifted education (pp. 125–142). Allyn & Bacon.
  • VanTassel-Baska, J., & Stambaugh, T. (2005). Comprehensive curriculum for gifted learners. Prufrock Press.


II. Fostering Positive Peer Relationships


A. Reduced Gender Stereotypes

  • Single-gender programs can help mitigate gender stereotypes, allowing gifted students to explore their interests and abilities without the constraints of traditional expectations (Halpern et al., 2011).
  • Sax’s exploration of gender differences underscores the importance of recognizing and addressing individual strengths and preferences without succumbing to societal stereotypes (Sax, 2005).



  • Halpern, D. F., Eliot, L., Bigler, R. S., Fabes, R. A., Hanish, L. D., Hyde, J. S., … & Martin, C. L. (2011). The pseudoscience of single-sex schooling. Science, 333(6050), 1706–1707.
  • Sax, L. (2005). Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences. Broadway Books.

B. Enhanced Collaboration and Communication

  • Single-gender environments can foster enhanced collaboration and communication, allowing students to develop social skills and build supportive peer relationships (Gurian & Stevens, 2005).
  • Research by Van den Bergh et al. highlights the impact of implicit prejudiced attitudes on teacher expectations, underscoring the potential for reduced biases in single-gender classrooms (Van den Bergh et al., 2010).



  • Gurian, M., & Stevens, K. (2005). With Boys and Girls in Mind. Jossey-Bass.
  • Van den Bergh, L., Denessen, E., Hornstra, L., Voeten, M., & Holland, R. W. (2010). The implicit prejudiced attitudes of teachers: Relations to teacher expectations and the ethnic achievement gap. American Educational Research Journal, 47(2), 497–527.


III. Addressing Social-Emotional Needs


A. Tailored Social-Emotional Support

  • Single-gender programs enable tailored social-emotional support, addressing the unique needs and sensitivities of gifted children (Kerr & Colangelo, 2017).
  • The comprehensive insights presented in “A Nation Empowered” emphasize the importance of evidence-based practices in gifted education, including social-emotional support (Assouline et al., 2015).



  • Kerr, B. A., & Colangelo, N. (2017). A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America’s Brightest Students. Gifted Child Quarterly, 61(4), 354–371.
  • Assouline, S. G., Colangelo, N., VanTassel-Baska, J., & Lupkowski-Shoplik, A. (2015). A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America’s Brightest Students (Vol. 2). Gifted Education Press.

B. Emotional Well-being and Identity Development

  • Single-gender environments contribute to the emotional well-being and identity development of gifted children, providing a space where they can explore their passions and interests (Cross et al., 2008).
  • Robinson’s examination of the social world of gifted children delves into the nuanced aspects of identity development within the gifted child community (Robinson, 2005).



  • Cross, T. L., Cassady, J. C., & Miller, T. (2008). Handbook of Gifted Education. Springer Science & Business Media.
  • Robinson, N. M. (2005). The Social World of Gifted Children and Youth: What’s New in the Gifted Child World. Information Age Publishing.


IV. Challenging Stereotypes and Biases


A. Breaking Stereotypes in Educational and Career Aspirations

  • Single-gender programs challenge stereotypes by providing an environment where gifted students can pursue educational and career aspirations without gender-based biases (U.S. Department of Education, 2009).
  • The research by Hyde et al. highlights gender similarities in math performance, emphasizing the need to encourage and support all gifted students in STEM fields (Hyde et al., 2008).



  • U.S. Department of Education. (2009). The State of State Science Standards.
  • Hyde, J. S., Lindberg, S. M., Linn, M. C., Ellis, A. B., & Williams, C. C. (2008). Gender Similarities Characterize Math Performance. Science, 321(5888), 494–495.


V. Conclusion

In conclusion, single-gender programs for gifted children offer a wealth of benefits that extend beyond traditional educational approaches. From tailored learning environments and positive peer relationships to addressing social-emotional needs and challenging stereotypes, Camp Sequoia provides a research-based community for gifted students to thrive. By acknowledging and leveraging the unique strengths and potential of each individual, educators and parents can contribute to the holistic development of gifted children, paving the way for a future generation of leaders, innovators, and contributors to society.

Interested in more resources or information on our camper population? Check out the links below!