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Being gifted: the first six years

Tiny Kids, Mighty Minds

From the George Parkyn National Centre for Gifted Education

What do you do with a six month old baby that can talk in sentences, a three year old who knows the multiplication tables or a four year old who has already read (and understood) The Hobbit?

Over seventy educators and parents had the opportunity to discuss and investigate this and other issues relating to very young gifted children at a highly successful conference this weekend on Being Gifted: the First Six Years held at the George Parkyn National Centre for Gifted Education.

Visiting international expert, Dr Louise Porter, one of the very few people in the world to specialise in this field, was the keynote speaker at the conference and emphasised the critical importance of early childhood for gifted children to lay down their foundations of self-worth and social confidence.

“Gifted children are aware as early as two years old that they are different and they need an explanation for this so that they do not assume something is wrong with them,” she said.

She also said that high-quality early childhood programmes have crucial benfits for children’s development and for their attitudes to learning and to themselves as learners.

Some participants expressed stunned disbelief at the high level of work they saw when observing a group of gifted six year olds working with the George Parkyn Centre’s Senior Teacher Marilyn Stafford : “It is absolutely unbelievable!” said one teacher.

The George Parkyn Centre says it is extremely pleased with the success of the conference and is already planning further such events for the future.

- The George Parkyn National Centre for Gifted Education is Auckland based and has a Dunedin administration centre, providing advice and professional support for parents and teachers of gifted children.

- The George Parkyn Centre also runs the One Day School, New Zealand’s most successful programme for gifted children from age six to year 8 (Form 2) at twelve venues around the country.

- Dr Porter is an ex-pat New Zealander living in Australia who has written a number of books regarded as classics on this subject and lectures at Flinders University in South Australia.

Contact person: Rosemary Cathcart, director George Parkyn Centre, on 09 376 3235 or 025 276 0523.

-- The George Parkyn Centre Charitable Trust for Gifted Education PO Box 10-010, Dominion Rd, Auckland. Ph: 09 376 3235. Fax: 09 376 3250.

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