2016 State Conference - In Focus: What really works for Gifted Children

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Saturday 19th March

Venue: Our Lady’s College, Chester Road, Annerley

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View Program for Saturday 19th March

See Schedule and Outline of Presentations and Presenter Bios

Keynote and workshop by Dr Cathie Harrison

 Dr Cathie Harrison Cathie Harrison is a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education at the Australian Catholic University in Strathfield, NSW and an adviser to the children’s television program Play School. Cathie is the author of the books Giftedness in Early Childhood and Young Gifted Children: Their Search for Complexity and Connection. Her research interests include play and learning in the early years and young gifted children. 

KEYNOTE - Young Gifted Children and the First Year of School - The GTK Experience

My research with young gifted children and their families indicates that the first experiences of school can be pivotal for young gifted children as they critique and evaluate the nature and possibilities of this new learning environment. Is school a place for thinking, creativity and curiosity, big questions, grand ideas, theories and possibilities; a place where children can spread their wings? Or is starting school more about conformance and compliance, rules and repetition.

In this presentation I suggest that the latter can lead to gifted children withdrawing and retreating from others and the curriculum in a process that might be described as 'reverse metamorphosis'. In order to address such an outcome I worked with the NSW Department of Communities, experts in the field and early years teachers to develop GTK or Gifted and Talented Kindergarten. GTK is a resource informed by my experiences with young gifted children and their families which is designed to assist teachers to identify and support young gifted children from minority populations in the first year of school. The results of the project suggest that when teachers are more aware of the nature of giftedness and learning they can provide educational experiences which enable gifted children and their peers to stretch their wings and fly. Professional learning in relation to gifted education, relevant resources and permission to be creative with curriculum is fundamental if we are to empower teachers across all levels of schooling to implement meaningful play and learning experiences and involve children in creative investigations and deep thinking. Such experiences provide differentiated curriculum which engages, extends the learning and motivation of gifted children and facilitates positive interactions and attitudes to learning throughout their years at school.

WORKSHOP 19th March - Working together for better outcomes for Gifted Children

Children who are gifted can be characterised by distinctive behaviours and by particular learning and socio-emotional strengths and learning needs. A collaborative response is essential for effective identification of giftedness, comprehensive documentation and for determining responsive curriculum planning in the early years. Appropriate responses to giftedness can best be determined when children, families and educators seek out ways in which they can work together. This has significant implications for playing and learning at home and in learning contexts. In this presentation participants will explore the nature of giftedness, with particular focus on the early years and consider ways children, parents and teachers can work together for better outcomes for all.

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