(CNN) - Decades ago, Hunter College in New York housed a "genius school" of 3- to 11-year-olds whose IQs averaged around 150. The school taught advanced subjects that most students wouldn't encounter until high school or college - chemistry, anatomy and foreign languages, to name a few.
As LIFE magazine noted in a March 1948 feature on the school:
The school they go to is P.S. 600, part of New York’s public-school system and the only institution in the U.S. devoted entirely to the teaching and study of gifted children. It is held in a wing of the college’s main building, in whose long corridors the bright little kids from 3 to 11 years old like to stop off for between-class chats.
Offhand, young geniuses would seem to present no immediate problems because they are usually bigger, healthier and even happier than average children. However, an educational problem exists simply because they are too bright for their age. If they are promoted rapidly through school on the basis of their studies they will end up as social misfits, unable to enjoy the society of children their own age. On the other hand, if they are held back with their own age group, their quick minds are apt to stagnate.
Hunter children know they are smart, but they are more humble than cocky about their intelligence…. [A]lthough their interest are advanced, their plans for the future have a refreshing normality. There is a 9-year-old who wants to be a fur trapper, an 8-year-old who wants to be a babysitter and a 7-year-old who wants to be president of the Coca-Cola Company.