Programs for gifted and talented children

Gifted and talented programs can be a great chance for your child to meet and learn with other gifted children. These programs can also be a way of supporting your child’s learning needs as he grows.

Many different organisations run programs for gifted and talented children – for example, schools, businesses, universities, museums and more.

Some programs run after school, on weekends or in school holidays. The cost depends on the type of program, the staffing and the materials. Some expensive programs might offer places at reduced fees to help you with the cost.

Choosing a gifted and talented program for your child

Good gifted and talented programs have some things in common, regardless of what age and stage the programs cater for.

These things include:

  • learning material that is new for your child, especially in your child’s areas of natural ability
  • complex work that includes abstract ideas
  • fast-paced learning with little repetition
  • end results that show your child has gained new insights or information.

Practical considerations
Some programs have entry requirements. You might need to provide your child’s IQ test and learning needs report or the results of tests from school.

You’ll also need to consider the time and cost involved in the gifted and talented program.

When your child is starting a new activity led by paid or voluntary staff, it’s worthwhile finding out about the child safety policy of the organisation that employs the staff. If it’s not mentioned in the enrolment information and permission forms, it’s OK for you to ask.

Preschool and school gifted and talented programs

Preschools, primary schools and secondary schools meet the learning needs of gifted children in various ways. These include:

  • allowing children early entry to preschool, primary school or secondary school
  • moving children up to a higher grade, either full time or for some subjects
  • grouping children into multi-age classes – for example, a class with children in grades 2, 3 and 4 can give a gifted child in grade 2 the chance to learn at a higher level
  • offering school children placement in special classes, selective schools or accelerated programs.

Teachers use different strategies to meet the needs of gifted children. They might add more complex experiences and information to the usual learning program. Or they might offer learning at the child’s ability level, rather than at the child’s age level. For example, a Year 2 student might stay in Year 2 but learn maths at a Year 5 level.

If your child is gifted and has a disability she’ll need support in both areas. She’ll need opportunities to learn that meet her advanced level of natural ability and support to manage her disability.

State and territory education department gifted and talented programs

Different states and territories offer different programs for gifted and talented children. For more information, you could contact your state or territory education department:

Australian gifted and talented associations

Around Australia there are associations for gifted and talented children and their families. These can provide information and advice as you learn about your gifted child. Associations might also run programs, parent seminars, conferences and social events for families of gifted children.

National associations

State and territory associations

Support groups for parents of gifted and talented children

Sometimes talking with other parents of gifted children can make all the difference. You can share experiences and ideas about supporting your gifted child. Parent support groups are one way to meet and talk with other parents.

Contact the association for gifted and talented children in your state or territory to find out about parent support groups in your area.