Gifted kids are normal. They just aren’t typical.
‘Gifted’ learners and definitions of ‘giftedness’ are diverse, and can be found in any family, culture, ethnicity, or socioeconomic group, and in almost any classroom. So it isn’t a surprise that, after many decades of trying, experts have yet to come to a consensus about defining the term.
However, 'gifted' is used to describe a wide range of learners with many different abilities and qualities that may present from any age. In New Zealand, the breadth of these is reflected in six broad areas of giftedness developed by Riley et al. (2004):
- Intellectual/Academic - learners with exceptional abilities in one or more of the New Zealand Curriculum learning areas (i.e. English, learning languages, mathematics, science, social sciences, and technology).
- Creativity - learners with general creative abilities to problem-find and problem-solve, and their innovative thinking and productivity.
- Expression through the visual and performing arts - learners who demonstrate exceptional performance through music, dance, drama, and visual arts.
- Social/Leadership - learners with interpersonal and intrapersonal abilities and qualities which enable them to act in leadership roles.
- Culture-specific abilities and qualities - refers to those valued by the learner’s cultural or ethnic group, including traditional arts and crafts, pride in cultural identity, language ability, and service to the culture.
- Expression through physical/sport - learners with excellent physical abilities and skills, as seen in sport and/or health and physical education programmes.
Remember...even though gifted children may comprise around 5% of the population, they:
- may be gifted in more than one area
- may show extraordinary focus in their particular area
- may be twice-exceptional.
And of course, giftedness is involuntary - it’s a natural occurrence. It gives no cause for elitism.
“Gifted children have no greater obligation than any other children to be future leaders or world class geniuses. They should just be given a chance to be themselves, children who might like to classify their collections of baseball cards by the middle initials of the players, or who might like to spend endless afternoon hours in dreamy reading of novels, and to have an education that appreciates and serves these behaviours.” Jane Piirto
"We were desperate to help our son’s self-esteem and confidence. Enrolling him at Summit Point restored his belief in himself."
"Being encouraged to demonstrate his knowledge using educational technology has helped remove barriers to my child’s learning and made him less anxious about tests and assessment."
"The teachers at Summit Point go above and beyond to nurture the different learning styles of students."
"Rebecca supported us to understand our child’s strengths and challenges and find a way to foster his love of learning."
"We have been working with Summit for almost a term and my word, our daughter has come a long way since she started at the school."
"It’s a hard decision sending your child to a ‘special’ school, but now we’re out the other side, we realise how much our daughter needed the attention and environment that Summit Point offers."
"Her time at Summit gave our daughter the space and time to learn at her own pace, be recognised for her talents and participate in the running of the school."
"Graduating from Summit, our child is a confident learner and has a range of strategies which have helped her transition to high school."