Gifted kids at Parliament

This week is Gifted Awareness Week and a range of organisations who support children to fulfill their potential are promoting their work. As part of this an organisation called Gifted Kids held a conference for about 100 children who are 12 years old and under at Parliament. They were leading sessions on everything from maths to biology, from poetry to a critique of marketing icons and a visual essay on the diverse turtles of the Galápagos Islands.

These young people are kids who have needed more than the classroom to keep them engaged. They have fast minds and highly developed ideas but they struggle as much as any group of students with what we call ‘special needs’. They need to be extended to thrive, they need big picture conceptual learning and they need the resources to get access to their own gifts.

Instead of wasting money on assessment mechanics we would do well to invest in the programmes that are designed to help children grow in their particular strengths and become aware of their capacities and their weaknesses. It was great to see the Beehive buzzing with engaged children who feel respected and encouraged but it would be even better if some actual funding was allocated to expand these valuable programmes. This is especially important for families who cannot afford to pay for anything extra but know their child needs more challenges in their education.

Our kids need an equity based education system where classes are small and teachers have time to be flexible. We need to get serious about the many types of gifts our children would love to develop. They will tell us if they are getting what they need from education, we just have to brave enough to listen and act in their interests.


The New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week Blog Tour

3 Comments Posted

  1. I agree intelligent kids should be given more freedom – so long as it is more freedom. But the feeling I get behind a lot of this “gifted enrichment” stuff is a society that wants to put these kids into an even deeper development headlock.

    In my view, there are two levels of intelligence. The ability to think (general information processing) and the ability to recognise what you should even be thinking about, in the first place. Schooling is 100% about creating mental technicians – always has been. It’s not about creating “minds”.

    Please don’t hot-house your kids. We already have plenty of Brave New World style alpha’s. I want us to do better than that.

  2. As a parent who has seen some superb G and T programmes at school – and some years of absolute dearth – I agree we need more equity for special needs education, at both ends of the spectrum. You can tell the days that have seen real extension – our daughter comes home excited and buzzing with ideas and motivation. On other days, when education is trammeled by the boredom of mainstream, we see disengagement bordering on depression. These kids could achieve so much for themselves, their communities and the country if given the fuel their wings need to fly. Education is the booster – but it has to be fit to their needs. The education system seems reasonably well resourced at the lower end of special needs – why ignore the top? Ironically, you would have thought the National government would have “got” this, in terms of wanting economic and educational progress.

  3. As a volunteer at this Conference yesterday at Parliament I was blown away by the intelligence of these young children and how wonderful that Members of Parliament such as Catherine gave their time to find out what some of these amazing organisations such as “Gifted Kids” offer our future New Zealanders. In my opinion we give a huge amount of resources to the children at the other end of the spectrum but to see how passionate and supportive the teachers/CEO/board members and staff of Gifted Kids give to these children is amazing.

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