We are moving to the Wellington area at the end of next year and are trying to find out what primary schools cater to gifted children. Our son is 5yr and we are new to understanding the schooling avaiable for gifted children.
We have heard a little bit about Pinehaven Primary School in Upper Hutt which is near where we would like to live, does anyone know much about this school or other schools in the area?
I've been waiting for someone to reply to this for ages as I would love answers too - does anyone have any ideas of which schools cater well to gifted children in the Wellington/Porirua/Kapiti area? Thanks
Unfortunately I have not heard about any public schools in Wellington that are renowned in this respect. My daughter's school is at least very accepting of her going out of the school to do extra-curricular things like ODS and horse-riding (for her dyspraxia). The principal is quite big on encouraging children to do extra activities like "eco-nuts" and young leaders etc - he/they see this as catering for gifted kids. I think this is quite a prevalent philosophy around Wellington. I've decided there's no use disputing this and try and use it to our advantage as per above. At least they don't try and argue with me that she's gifted although there's never been any particular acknowledgement either. Good luck with finding something that works for you and your son.
I am in the same boat, looking at moving to Wellington, so have been researching schools that would be a good fit for gifted kids as well (my son is 4 1/2). Montessori seems to be a good option as it allows children to lear at their own level - there's Wa Ora Montessori School in Lower Hutt (private) as well as Montessori units at Behampore, Otari and Tawa Schools. Entrance is at 6 years and they prefer kids to have gone to a Montessori preschool prior to that.
Options in Main stream schools ... There seems to be One Day School and the Gifted kids Programme, both of which take kids out of their main school one day a week and do extension activities with them (from year 2), so arguably any school that feeds into those programmes should be ok. Personally, I think that if the school is a HOST of the One Day School, this speaks volumes for their attitude on gifted kids. http://www.giftededucation.org.nz/odslocations.html
I have no first hand experience of any of these schools but hope that this info helps to get you started. There are some older posts on this site with useful information. I would also appreciate any suggestions from people with children currently attending schools in Wellington.
Our son is 6 and he goes to Crofton Downs primary school. They have been absolutely fantastic. They were recommended to us when our son went to Small Poppies classes by other parents whose gifted kids went there. It is a small public school. There are not zoned so it is not required that you live in the area. For our son they initiated extension in maths and Japanese (they do foreign language classes from Year 1) and also Correspondence school for his maths. They are very understanding of our son's needs and work well together with parents on any challenges. They are also very supportive of a child attending One Day School which lots of other schools we talked to are not so keen on if it means they will miss one day of school.
We have tried Wa Ora Montessori preschool but it did not suit our son because he loves talking and arguing with others (teachers in particular). However, we have friends whose gifted kids went to Wa Ora school and really liked it.
I would suggest to go and visit schools that you think might be a good fit for your son and have a chat with the principal. This helps a lot with forming your own impressions about the place and the culture there.
I wish I could be more help, but my son won't start school for another 6 months. My research in South Wellington has made me keen on Clifton Terrace Model School, Lyall Bay and Island Bay, but that's just research not experience.
I would, however, keep well away from Newtown Primary (which hosts the GKP), as the principal's response to my question about what they did with gifted kids was "we had a gifted child a while ago and he was great as he took responsibility for himself and brought in lego from home to do when he was bored."
We looked at our three local schools - Newtown, Berhamphore and Lyall Bay. The ERO reports on the first two haven't been that great and a friend who works at the Ministry of Education was very down on them. She had though pulled her son out of private school to attend Lyall Bay.
My daughter started at Lyall Bay a couple of weeks ago. I had a meeting with the acting Principal and Head of the Junior School (who seems to have an interest in Gifted kids). I had a whole list of things that I wanted to discuss with them - and to my delight they bought up all of them, as well as a few extras.
They were very happy to have accleration as an option and the school has a philosophy of composite classes for most of the school to allow for a range of learning abilities in each room. They offer onsite extension in French and Music. They were very supportive of ODS and dual enrolment.
The plan for my daughter was to match her up with a senior student for some reading and to create a higher level maths group taken from across the new entrant classes.
On her second day her teacher provided me with a copy of the NZ Association for Gifted Kids magazine. I thought it was quite a nice way to acknowledge her learning needs.
In practice though none of this is really happening, but I'm comfortable with the reasons why at the moment. She is in the top reading group, but reading 'the cat sat on the mat' kind of stuff. However, the teacher has explained that she wants to get her used to working in groups, and that the writing work that they do springboards from the reading - and she does need to practice her writing. The teacher is happy so long as my daughter gets books that do challenge her at home. We do persist with reading the little books as practice - even if she has already memorised them or prefers to sing them to add some spice!
We have flagged the extension activities while she settles into school. She is still very tired at the end of each day as even if the material isn't challenging learning all the rules in her new environment are. Her teacher generously gives her time most days to explain to me what is going on, and we have formal teacher interviews in a couple of weeks.
Overall I'm pretty happy that they will work to meet her needs, and that in fact, they find it an interesting professional challenge. I really think having your own psychologist report going in is crucial - it really got their attention.
It is most likely Lyall Bay will become a zoned school from next year.
we moved down to Wellington just for Wa Ora Montessori, as they can learn at their own pace and it goes through to age 18 as of this year. My son tried three very different local schools and he was seen as disruptive (bored) and didn't fit in but after a year is happy and fullfilled, I think it was worth such a big move.
Although you pay a donation of about $2,600 per child a year 33% can be claimed back on your tax, so not too expensive
Author: Bobchannz Now that your daughter has settled in, has the school followed through on the options you discussed?
We are just starting to investigate other schools, as I sent my child to the local school that other people I know had sent their child to and were happy buy they don't really have the interest or resources to help gifted child.
Her teacher this year is very organised and hard working - my daughter was tested quite a few times in the first few weeks around reading in particular and the teacher put together an extension book for her. She does comprehension activities while the other children work through the basics.
Interestingly there are two other gifted kids who started, and so they are all in the same class. But they haven't actually worked well together (this was interesting) so the kids have their own extension work to do. They do go and do advanced maths with another teacher who takes them out of class.
The teacher also set up Studyladder activities (it is a very popular website at the school) and my daughter has really enjoyed those activities. She was home from school today and quite cheerfully polished off a few science units.
She was offered a move to another classroom (composite year one/two) recently but we declined. Her teacher is so good, we can't guarantee that the other would be as adaptable.
The school has just sent out a survey on giftedness. But I am a little worried about the tone - it asks parents to describe what they think giftedness should mean. I'm going to send in some feedback on that. That being said, they have set up a G&T working group this year, and I'm really happy about that.
I'm starting to realise (from my limited experience and from reading this forum) that the teacher makes a huge difference.