Children with Advanced Abilities

George Street Normal School has a long and proud history of catering for children who display high aptitude, known at our school as “advanced abilities”. Our definition of advanced abilities takes into account Gagne’s (1985) definition of gifted and talented students:

“Giftedness is conceptualized as outstanding ability in one or more aptitude domains and talent as exceptional performance in one or more domain-related fields. That is talent emerges from giftedness as a consequence of the student’s learning experiences. “Giftedness” refers to a student’s outstanding ability in one or more domains (e.g. Intellectual, creative, socio-emotional or sensorimotor) and “Talent” refers to exceptional performance in one or more fields within these domains (e.g. writing, mathematics, science and technology, sculpture, athletics, languages).”

Children with advanced abilities at George Street Normal School are those children who are highly able in, and/or passionate about one or more area of human endeavour. These children have the potential or ability to produce work or perform at a level significantly above that expected of their age peers. These children:

  • may learn quickly

  • can be divergent thinkers

  • may be highly creative

  • may readily understand complex concepts

They may enjoy:

  • challenge

  • solving problems

  • higher order thinking skills

  • work that involve an element of choice

We are aware that children with advanced abilities sometimes exhibit unique characteristics and behaviour and learn in an asynchronous manner. They may come from a range of socio-economic backgrounds, gender, and age levels, from all cultures and may have a disability.

In providing programmes to extend and enrich our advanced abilities children we offer a range of opportunities and seek to embrace opportunities as they arise. The following list identifies some examples of variety of strategies that we may consider when catering for a child with advanced abilities:

  • Early identification of children with Advanced Abilities in term one of each school year and as and when required when children move into our school.

  • Class programmes which acknowledge individual learning styles and interests.

  • Recognition that children may be twice exceptional – having an ability in one or more areas while having a disability or disabilities in other areas.

  • Being given the opportunity to shine – in strength-based goals, on stage in assembly and in the school newsletter.

  • Class group situations where children with advanced abilities may be grouped together.

  • Being in a class where some advanced ability children have been clustered (Senior and Middle teams).

  • Being involved in clubs such as Writer’s club, Construction club, Science club, Artists Alive and Robotics club.

  • Being involved in sports teams such as Futsal, Netball, Rippa Rugby and Athletics.

  • Being involved in cultural groups such as Kapa Haka and Pasifika performance groups.

  • Being involved in musical endeavours such as the choir and learning an instrument.

  • Taking speech and drama lessons and/or sitting exams.

  • Learning another language such as French, and/or participating in a Japanese exchange trip.

  • Inclusion in a ‘Models class’ where children have the advantage of being able to easily work with older children at their level of their understanding. The child could work within their own model (Years 1 – 3) or the neighbouring model (Years 4-5)

  • Being selected to participate in a withdrawal class for an afternoon per week over the duration of a term, focusing on a particular area of ability.

  • Use of computer based programmes that allow independence and encourage mastery of concepts over a wide range of levels eg. Mathletics, Lexia, Reading Eggs, and Study ladder.

  • Use of mentors and Correspondence school resources.

  • Participating in competitions, including ICAS (International competitions and assessments in English (reading), Mathematics, Science, Digital literacies, Spelling and Writing), ODT (Otago Daily Times) competitions which include spelling and current events competitions, and George Street Normal School Oral Language Competitions.

We encourage the involvement of parents and whānau, and if required a range of outside supports, to help ensure that the needs of our children with advanced abilities are met.