St Mary’s unearth gifted quartet


St Mary’s Primary School principal Kim Wilson has declared her school’s new gifted learning program as a success.

The online learning class was aimed for students in Stage 3 who excelled in areas of the curriculum.

“This year we have introduced new measures to identify and cater for Gifted learners in our school,” Ms Wilson said.

“The commitment of the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese to provide quality education to all of our students resulted in the employment of a curriculum education officer dedicated to Gifted Education.

“Sally Brock has worked tirelessly in this role in the last few years and made sure that all staff are updated on ways to incorporate learning opportunities for the gifted students within our school.”

The Scone based school was represented by four students in Monty Ward-Thomas (Year 6), Lydia Cooper, Jackson Wells and Albert Yuille (Year 5).

Lydia Cooper –

So far in the Virtual Academy we have completed the first semester. It was called ‘Discovery’. The first module was about giftedness and the different forms it comes in. This semester we are working on a unit called ‘Patterns’. So far, we have had to do the Patterns Entry where we had to play a game and answer three questions. The questions were to write down two obvious patterns and two less obvious patterns, explain how one of the patterns relates to your own life and (we got to choose one of these) how is my world constructed OR why are different systems essential to the construction of my world. 

Jackson Wells –

So far in the Virtual Academy, I have completed the first semester. It was called Discovery. Option 1 was about learning your gifts and talents as a learner. Option 2 was about finding minds like your own. Right now, I am working on the patterns unit. It is about finding patterns in different games and in your own life. I find learning in the Virtual Academy exciting because you get to learn new names and make friends. It also gives you something to look forward to throughout the week. It also means that you can work with other Virtual Academy students online. 

Albert Yuille –

This year I am in Virtual academy (VA) which is a program for academically gifted and talented children. I am really enjoying VA because I am always learning and experimenting new things. Even though I have been in VA for a relatively short time it has really expanded my knowledge. I do 3 hours a week which is the standard time and I do it during class time. Each week I do 3 hours and I can choose when I do it. I do my VA in 3 1hour blocks. The things I like about it is there is always challenges, I get to meet new people, you can present your work in any form e.g. poem, song, drawing. I am also loving the tasks and the main subject which is helping me learn many new things that I did not even know was real. In all VA is a great experience that I am really trying to make the most of. 

Monty Ward-Thomas

Things that I love about working in the VA 

  • That the VA teacher is always there for you when you need help on a question or when you want to ask a question. 
  • That the questions differ from the normal maths and English that you would do in class and that the focus of the tasks is to see what you can find and what your capabilities are and that you are always supported in what your answer is even if it is completely different from what the others have done. 

I have also enjoyed some of the tasks being based on what others have achieved in life and what their motives are. This helps us to understand how to be successful in the future. 

I have loved my experience in the Virtual Academy and I am looking forward to what is in the future.