I've been reading the discussions off and on for the last wee while and I've noticed that Kohi School seems to come up short for providing support for gifted children in the classrooms. I'm currently looking at the schools in the Eastern Suburbs particularly Kohi, St. Heliers, Churchill and Glendowie for our 4 year old son.
Does anyone have any experiences (good or bad) with the above schools with gifted children?
We've not had our son tested so we won't have any specific information to give to schools however given our son's exceptional memory, ability to read fairly well ( I suspect more than he lets on!), obsession with numbers and sensitivity we believe he is more able than other children his age and I would like to ensure that we find a school that will encourage him appropriately.
I'm just starting to talk with the schools but it would be good to hear how these schools are with G and T kids. Our son is a shy boy and does not let many people know his talents (ie he could easily count to over 100 and no matter how many times we asked his old preschool to keep up with numbers larger than 10 they nearly fell over when he stood one day and counted to 90 - I think they assumed pushy parenting as our reqests for futhering what he could do always went unanswered).
You'll already have seen my recent posts about Alex and Kohi school, I assume. To add to the saga, the following were flag issues in early discussions and they did not change.
This is particularly for the new entrants or Y1, and seemed to be firmly held beliefs.
1. Priority on settling in at the expense of academic progress
2. Priority on behaviour conformity at the expense of academic progress
3. Hesitation to challenge (overwhelm, break their spirit) children
4. Insistence on broad basic knowledge before any advancement
5. Labelling out-of-box thinking as wrong
6. No support available for gifted new entrants - they seem to have a holding pattern for them until they're old enough to qualify for their existing programme.
7. Lots of busywork that will appear to be more suited to a preschool
I would be pleased to be corrected, but it seems like this could be true of any standard school. Kohi is a good school. It does do some streaming at beginners level for reading and at some stage for math too. It does have G+T programme but runs (not all terms) only Y2 to Y4, and after that it is a high-achievers programme. This is more than many schools have - but it isn't ideal for me or you, Nicky.
In contrast, I briefly mentioned to Alex's preschool that he was finding the homework pretty breezy. They're going to try the next level up and see how it goes. Simple as that. I only got fights at Kohi school when I suggested Alex needed more.
Yes, the principal is changing. However, the DP who is responsible for Special needs is the same. And the teachers are not changing. The attitude of the teacher "on the ground" is crucial. And it's unlikely that there will be MORE funds for G+T in the future, and probably less.
I have just tonight spoken to a friend with a boy in St Thomas's. Last year things were very good, this year, different teacher, not so great...
Of course everyone has their own opinion and mine will probably differ to the ones above. I have three G & T boys at Kohi school now so I have lots of experience with the school over the last 4 years and can comment on how it has been for us.
As with any school, the teacher is what makes the difference. But you also need to be involved in the kids education and have a good connection with the classroom and the school. My 3rd son started just 2 weeks ago and he is more than happy with things so far, as am I.
I won't say its been a perfect ride over the 4 years, but we are dealing with a small percentage of the school population so my expectations are pretty real. It could have been a whole lot worse!
My boys are all sensitive and largely shy. One is a pretty strong introvert. He has gotten better over the 4 years he has been there, and his social skills are far better that they were in Y1. He is a maths whiz and has a wonderful teacher who gives him extra maths problems to solve for fun!
At the end of the day, you have to make your own mind up what is best for you. Go and meet with the school, see what you think and make a call from there. Best of luck!
The DP at Kohi directly encouraged me that they would do very well for Alex there. Without that encouragement, we would possibly not have tried it. I have been as honest and detailed as possible about my experiences, plus and minus, hopefully for everyone's benefit.
Everyone has their own expectations, obviously! If we had not had the Montessori option, I expect I would be hard at work making things work. And I still do not have a guaranteed place, so I am not resting on any laurels yet.
I don't know these schools so can't offer anecdotes about them but the comments about Kohi interest, and sadden, me. It seems that there are different families with quite different experiences. I would *love* to know why this happens, why a school that can be great for some gifted kids is not great for others. I know that individual teachers make a difference but it doesn't seem uncommon for some families to find a school in general (G&T coordinator, principal) to be helpful, while others find the same staff at the same school quite obstructive.
Jess, I think I can sympathise with your frustration. My child has an absolutely terrible time, and the management staff are the opposite of helpful, at a school that is good for many children, including my other child.
It's almost as if they know they have limited resources and decide which children will get the help, which wont.
Good luck Jess. I know it can leave you very angry and frustrated when it is *your* child whose needs aren't being met.
They do have a gifted programme at St Thomas's which runs most terms. It's called the Enrichment seminars and the kids are pulled out of class on Mondays to attend. The school seems to be supportive of this and my son has absolutely loved the special learning of those seminars.
Hi there as a family with 3 GT kids (2 boys/1 girl) who are looking to relocate from Chch to auck, can anyone give me any advice please on which independent schools cater well for these kids in Auckland? Thanks
By Independent school I assume you may mean a private not a state school.
However if you are interested in a fantastic state school we have the one you are looking for! Read our ERO report online.
We are Decile 9/10 located in Howick.
We have an open roll.
We specialise in catering for the needs of all children but in particular gifted children are well looked after here. We have what are called "extension' classes at each level for children who are Gifted and Talented- this caters for their academic and social needs( ie mixing with children of like mind), but we also have groups throughout the year to cater for gifted in other areas for example art, drama, sport. Children are placed in these classes using a wide range of criteria as not all gifted children do well in formal tests.
We do not have any parents who are unhappy with the education their children are receiving as they know they can approach us, be heard , and that the interest of each individual child is taken into account.
We have an extremely settled school with good values and behaviour management. We have parents who travel long distances to bring their children here each day.
If you are interested in having a look at our school or finding out more details we are more than happy to give you a guided tour and discuss any possibilities, and if we don't suit we are also happy to give you advice on other schools.
I was reading about your shy 9 year old who solves extra maths problems for fun. I too have a shy 9 year old son who has been focused on the "Murderous Maths" books and is fascinated with maths jokes, recurring numbers and algebra at the moment. He has recently been taken with the periodic table, time travel etc..
I'm wondering if you would be interested in making an attempt to get them together to explore maths together. After the holidays after school or weekends. Or the 2nd week of the holidays. If that doesn't work, I'd still be keen to make contact with you to keep myself on the ball with finding resources and ideas.
Anyway, good luck for the rainy 2 weeks of holiday!
Re: Independent schools for GT children in Auckland
Date: 02-07-10 14:38
Christine is from Owairoa School in Howick. Be interesting to hear from parents whose GT children are at the school and see whether their experiences support the (understandably) very positive view that Christine puts across.
I am DP and Senco at Owairoa.
Every child has a different need, and every parent has a different agenda for their child, I would be happy to speak with you in person at anytime and show you around the school.