Do you have any experience with an Eastern suburb school? Which would be good for a gifted but compliant and non-demanding child? My almost 5 year old would make sure he doesn't stick out and will certainly not demand extension or enrichment or acceleration!!
My 4children all seem to be gifted, and the eldest 3 attend Kohimarama school. I can't comment on any other Eastern suburbs schools as this is the only one we have attended. My experience with all of them at school has been pretty good. There are structures in place to support children like ours, and extension is available where needed. The kids love it there, they fit in and are "normal"
Every school has both excellent and not so great teachers and the teacher plays a huge role in the daily life of these kids. I would also say, you need to be involved in and aware of what is happening in the classroom so you can help your child. I stay in the background these days and I certainly don't say to each teacher- my child is gifted, how will you manage them. I find the teachers work it out for themselves and if they don't, I talk them through about how these guys are at home and discuss whether they see the same things at school.
Best advice is to go and talk to the schools yourself. See where you feel most welcome, most comfortable etc. gut instinct is usually pretty accurate!
I am curious as to why your son would make sure he doesn't stick out or demand extension, enrichment, or acceleration?
Having experienced Kohimarama school, we decided the integrated Montessori unit at Glendowie Primary would allow more extension for our gifted boy, but that extension was really important for us and we had the Montessori preschool experience to get in.
I echo Ruth's recommend about visiting the schools and especially the classrooms (to see exactly what happens on the front lines) before making a decision.
Thanks Ruth for your feedback. What would you say are they more 'excellent' teachers than 'no-so-much'? I will most certainly be personally visiting schools as well but it's good to hear first-hand experiences rather than the 'spiel' one may expect.
Jessica, my son is non-demanding and a people-pleaser and senses when he's putting someone out. He would rather hold back than 'make a scene'. I'm hoping with time he will develop the confidence to express himself more. Have you spoken with or experienced Glendowie primary school? I understand the Montessori unit is completely independent?
My boys are all pretty much people pleasers as well and pretty low maintenance. They don't want to be different so its been a matter of finding the happy medium between them getting the enrichment they need within the classroom environment. Happily we are pretty successful at it. I am sure they have greater potential but the trade off for pushing that may be their happiness and confidence. I always aim to look at the situation holistically and find the solution that helps them be self confident , happy well rounded beings, not just great academics.
Most teachers at Kohi are indeed very good. We have never had a really bad one and have had a number of excellent ones across the three boys.
I do also have the advantage of having 4 kids who think in similar ways so they get natural extension just by being with each other, and competing with one another.
At the end of the day,I think it's primary school, not University.
Best of luck!
Sorry if I didn't make this clear - Alex is already in Y3 (2nd year of one of the two junior classes) of the Montessori unit and enjoying it very much.
Glendowie itself is a very good school (as is Kohimarama). I know some of the parents with children in the main school but haven't talked with them in particular about the classroom experience. The school has a wider cultural representation than some in the area. The Montessori unit is independent for academic work and they also enjoy integration into the larger school for sports, etc.
Apart from undoubted academic advantages and Montessori designed learning tools, this unit offers smaller class sizes (starting at age 6, age range about 3 1/2 years within the classes) and individual learning plans.
This makes it much easier for a gifted child to progress at their own pace without putting anybody out or feeling out of place - no pushing required. Not surprisingly, there is a high percentage of children in these classes who are performing years ahead of standard - some of them I have encouraged to check out Explorers because we love new members!
It's aimed at child-led development, cooperation, and support, to keep the joy of learning alive in the early years of school (which can commonly be stifled in gifted children in the classroom). Children stay with the same teacher for 3 years, building a strong relationship, as well as potentially sharing a class with their similarly aged peers all the way through intermediate.
You're right - definitely better to hear first hand experiences than a spiel or what other people might think a school is like from the outside! :-)
My son went to St Thomas's but a long time ago he is 19 now.
We found the principal excellent and with a good understanding of gifted children and it was generally a well run school with good programs and teachers.
Certainly in those days it was a great improvement in understanding gifted that Kohi, but as said that has different managment now.
I just wanted to report that the Deputy Head from our school moved to Howick Primary about 6 months ago to be principal. She was AMAZING with my gifted / dyspraxic son. She got him and his issues from Day 1 and knew he was smart when the other more junior teachers thought he was lazy and badly behaved. End of last year my sons Year 3 teacher went to Howick Primary also. She also had been amazing, the best teacher we had ever had. My son went from being considered an issue by his year 2 teacher to getting a prize at prizegiving at the end of year 3 ( which I never dreamed would happen). We now hear that another teacher from our school is off to join the principal at Howick Primary. Its best I don't name our school, its a high decile central school which we love and it has a great reputation and still good teacher left. The point is I think Howick Primary will be amazing with these 3 super teachers, so if any of you live out that way you should definately consider it. We all know that supportive principals and teachers make all the difference.