Gifted children thrive and learn best in special classes where they are together with their intellectual peers. This affords them the opportunity to exchange ideas, to experiment with unique, challenging concepts and to value their intellect and excellence without fear of being laughed at or scorned. Key components of a "gifted education" include each of the following:
A combination of accelerated, enriched and individually prescribed experiences is the best approach to programming for the gifted. Since gifted children often develop extensive knowledge and skills in a particular area of the curriculum at an early age, we group students in certain subject areas, according to their competency levels rather than their chronological age. This is particularly evident in mathematics and reading. This allows for flexible, accelerated learning. Conversely, in other subject areas, the child is placed in his or her appropriate grade level and explores additional, challenging content. This provides for enrichment of the learning experiences and affords the students the opportunity to study topics that fit their talents, strengths and interests.
Development of Higher Level Thinking and Communication Skills
Development of process skills in students should be viewed as basic to their curriculum. These "basics for the gifted" must reflect practice in the following skill areas: critical and creative thinking, problem solving, research and decision making. Communication skills are developed in the form of good speech, effective writing, the understanding of verbal and written material, social communication and the ability to interact effectively on general matters with both adults and peers. These skills are linked directly to the curriculum content in each of the various disciplines.
Leadership, good citizenship, respect for others and oral and ethical reasoning are critical qualities that are incorporated into the curriculum, thus allowing each child the opportunity to make significant contributions to his or her personal development and to society. Effective group-building and inter-personal skills are highlighted as attributes to success.
Integration of the Arts into the Curriculum
Integration of the Arts is particularly critical in developing an understanding of self and others, based on the interrelationship of thoughts and feelings. Early introduction and exposure to aesthetic and cultural experiences establishes receptivity to and enthusiasm for them. Extracurricular activities include a cultural component such as plays, art exhibits or museum programs with opportunities for discussion.
"Healthy bodies promote healthy minds." At P.A.C.E., athletic programmes are incorporated into the curriculum from grades 1 through 8. Even though many of our students possess varied levels of natural ability, most of them love athletics. Therefore, we provide opportunities for many sports teams at the intramural and interschool levels.