Gifted children have unique learning needs, and by nurturing their intellect and exposing them to the right environment, they could go on to change the world.
That’s the view of USQ Lecturer Mark Oliver from the School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education, who says more needs to be done to identify gifted children early to help them reach their full potential.
“Kids, particularly very bright kids, have a thirst for knowledge and want to be pushed and challenged, but are often overlooked,” Mr Oliver said.
“Gifted students who remain in regular classes and are not offered enrichment opportunities become disengaged in class, lose interest in school and underachieve because their specific needs are not recognised.”
Last week, about 400 bright minds, aged five to 14, visited USQ Springfield for Academicus, a two-day holiday program for gifted and talented students.
Organised by USQ and BRAINways, the enrichment program provided students advanced learning experiences in topics such as maths, science and humanities that go beyond the school curriculum.
“These are the children who will be solving the complex problems of the future, but it’s crucial we provide them an effective learning experience that is engaging, relevant and encourages them to pursue their passions and interests,” Mr Oliver said.
“We had children learning advanced scientific concepts like string theory and calculus, which aren’t taught in primary school.
“By exposing them to challenging activities and allowing them to interact with other children of similar abilities or interests, they are developing skills like problem-solving and resilience while stimulating their creative, critical and logical thinking.”
Mr Oliver said USQ’s involvement in the program was an example of the University’s commitment to raising the career and education aspirations among the community’s youth.
“By inviting these children onto the university campus and providing them with opportunities to expand their interests, we’re opening their minds to a world of possibilities,” he said.
“We’re also assisting parents, teachers and educators by giving them the tools and resources they need to motivate gifted children and build their desire to want to learn more.”
USQ offers a Graduate Certificate of Education, specialising in Gifted and Talented student development. For more information, visit Gifted Talented.
The Springfield Anglican College student Pippa Ellis explores art at the Academicus holiday program.