Gifted program a treat for kids

The UNSW campus at Kensington is this week overflowing with young gifted students and the people who teach them.

GERRIC kid web

The UNSW campus at Kensington is this week overflowing with young gifted students and the people who teach them.

The University's Gifted Education Research, Resource and Information Centre (GERRIC) is once again conducting its Programs for Gifted Students and Certificate of Gifted Education for teachers.

The student programs range from Poppyseeds, for four and five-year-olds, to the Scientia program for high school students, and aim to challenge and develop the children academically.

According to GERRIC's director, Professor Miraca Gross, the programs also provide a social opportunity for the children, many of whom are very lonely at school.

"When children come to our programs they feel like they are coming home. As well as challenging them academically our programs are an opportunity for them to talk about the things that they find interesting without other kids rolling their eyes," she said.

Nine-year-old Jack Day has been taking part in the Junior Scientia forensics course, which includes finger printing, foot printing, hair sampling, fibre sampling, and investigating created crime scenes.

Describing his favourite part of the Junior Scientia program Jack said; "It is fun because at school you just write in books but here it is hands on and you get to actually do things and get messy."

Also running at UNSW this week is the Certificate of Gifted Education, which trains teachers in how to identify and develop gifted students. Over 100 teachers are currently taking part in the program, which continues throughout the year.

Professor Françoys Gagné, from the University of Quebec, is a world expert in gifted education and a regular lecturer at the GERRIC course.

"Such a program is rare, very rare," Professor Gagné said. "A program that has so many hours and certificate of completion at the end is, in my experience, almost unique. I also love the motivation of the attending teachers, who are giving up their summer holidays."