A gift for Wakatipu’s gifted
Gifted children in the Wakatipu area will soon have access to a highly successful one-day-a-week programme, thanks to the generous support of local benefactors and the parent community.
MindPlus, operated by the New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education, will be hosted by KingsView School in Frankton. All primary schools in the Wakatipu Basin have been invited to participate, and, at this stage, five have accepted this opportunity. “We are delighted to welcome MindPlus into our environment and feel the programme is a positive alignment with the ethos of our own school “, says Doniella Tweddell, acting principal KingsView School.
MindPlus (or its parent programmes) has been operating in other parts of New Zealand for many years, with over 950 students currently attending. The key value of this programme is found in the bringing together of like-minded students with specialist teachers and a specialised, strength-based curriculum for gifted learners. The MindPlus programme has changed the lives of many gifted young people. “It is not overstating it to say MindPlus has been life-changing for our daughter, and also for our whole family,” says a current MindPlus parent. Other parents describe MindPlus as “invaluable education” and “the key in opening a portal in our son’s mind.”
The Wakatipu MindPlus Unit will be staffed by Sue Luus, a local specialist educator who has many years of experience in gifted education, both in New Zealand and Australia, and a double MEd, majoring in gifted education. She has also designed and delivered professional development for teachers and presented at conferences. “We are thrilled to be establishing MindPlus in Queenstown and are extremely fortunate to have such a specialised and experienced educator to lead this initiative,” says Deb Walker, CEO of the New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education. “Sue has already contributed hugely to the gifted education scene here. Her expertise coupled with the MindPlus programme are a winning combination that will greatly benefit gifted students and their parents and teachers.”
Sue states that “MindPlus is a highly successful gifted education programme, but it is not funded by the Ministry of Education so comes at a cost to local communities”. The MindPlus Wakatipu set up has been funded by a very generous local funder who was eager to see local children receiving access to the nationwide programme and by the involvement of a supportive community.
The MindPlus Wakatipu classroom will operate three days per week and begin on March 14th, with the programme taking limited referrals for additional students to begin in Term 2.