Gifted Awareness Week – 2015

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How will your school, business or organisation get involved in Gifted Awareness Week? Hold a seminar, a children’s event…there are many wonderful ideas to promote an understanding of Giftedness in Australia. Share your events with us and we will include them on our website. For further enquires or share an event, please email us.

Gifted Awareness Week Australia

Official Launch: March, 2015

On the hearts of many for decades and on the planning front for months, it was with great anticipation that the AAEGT President, Wilma Vialle, announced:

‘AAEGT, with the full support of its affiliated associations, is happy to announce that we have established a Gifted Awareness Week in Australia. We are indebted to our colleagues across the globe who have created similar events in their own countries, and encouraged us to follow suit. The aim, of course, is to raise community awareness of giftedness and to promote activities that celebrate giftedness in all its forms’.

Now set to occur during the third week of March each year, the inaugural launch of Gifted Awareness Week was met with much support from around our nation as individuals reflected on what this week would mean to them:

‘Gifted Awareness week is a chance for parents and teachers to come together to celebrate the gifted children in their lives and to raise awareness about the need to support gifted individuals academically, emotionally, and creatively in our society’ .Katherine

‘To me it’s about breaking down the negative stigma associated with the word gifted and all that comes with it. It’s about owning it myself so I can be positive role model for my kids. It’s about awareness in all forms to pave a way for increased support and understanding for not only my kids but future generations’. Jodi

The AAEGT launched a National Poster Competition, giving children under the age of 18 the opportunity to contribute their thoughts on the concept of a National Gifted Awareness Week through the medium of an artistic poster. The winner, Marion Scott from Tasmania, was flown to the AAEGT National Conference hosted by QAGTC to present her poster at the official opening of Gifted Awareness Week. Her interview and poster presentation was thoroughly enjoyed by all in attendance as far as to say that Marion indeed ‘stole the show’. The issues she highlighted, which stemmed from her own experiences throughout her young life, provided much insight as to where our focus should lie at educators and academia.

As part of the launch of the inaugural Gifted Awareness Week- Australia, AAEGT generously donated $1,000 to each affiliated State and Territory for use with events and activities during the week.

In Queensland, the QAGTC hosted Illuminating the Spectrum of Giftedness and Talent Development International Conference, which was held in Brisbane on Thursday 19 – 21 March 2015 at the Brisbane Convention Centre. The conference aimed to illuminate the spectrum of giftedness and talent development and bridge the boundaries of research and practice.  The conference had a special focus on the spectrum of different types of giftedness (eg intellectual, creative, artistic, social and emotional, and physical and perceptual giftedness) and the range of different approaches to gifted education and talent development.  The international delegation visited a variety of schools during a day trip as part of QAGTC’s focus on Gifted Awareness Week- Australia.

In the Northern Territory, the NTAEGT held many activities which were able to promote the education of gifted students in the NT. The response from the community was overwhelmingly positive. Activities such as Interactive Showcase, Crossing the Communication Bridge in Partnership Talk, Poster Competition, ABC Radio’s Interview and Movie Night, were all very well attended.  Incorporated into this special week was the NTAEGTs’ first annual Professional Appreciation Awards, which was aimed at acknowledging the work and effort that teachers and other professionals put in for Gifted and Talented students. The awards were presented by the NT Administrator, the Honourable John Hardy OAM, at the Government house on Wednesday 18th March, 2015.

In New South Wales, GFSG Inc. hosted a series of events for students, families and educators. The younger children enjoyed a visit from marine biology business ‘Splash Into…’, whilst school-aged children explored the art of catapult making during their games night. Many families attended the excursion and picnic to the Royal Botanical Gardens, enjoying a scavenger hunt, creative photography challenge and sustainable food workshops. There were a large number in attendance at the parent and teacher seminar, in which Jae Jung presented on ‘Forced-choice dilemma in gifted children’. The first GFSG Inc. ‘Professional Appreciation Awards’ acknowledged the hard work of various professionals in meeting the needs of gifted children. GFSG Inc. awarded 40 book prizes to educational facilities across the state as part of their Gifted Awareness Week- Australia focus.

In South Australia, GTCASA organised a Family Fun Day with Professor Flint (for a brief report and some photos on the website here: http://gtcasa.asn.au/gallery/gallery-family-days/). The Saturday Club philosophy session for 6-8 year olds held one of the 4 sessions during Gifted Awareness Week. GTCASA also hosted a parent session on Enrichment Activities for Gifted Children, with presenters Rona Sakko (Bright Sparks Science Club at the University of Adelaide), and Dr Philip Roetman from the University of South Australia talking about Citizen Science Projects.  The evening was very enthusiastically received, and they have since invited Dr Roetman back to present a session for children at the time of our AGM. State President, Lesley Henderson, also ran a Professional Development workshop on Ethical Understanding for teachers.

In Victoria, the VAGTC contributed to Gifted Awareness Week by developing a Gifted Awareness Kit, sent to every member within the Vision magazine. This is a valuable source   of excellent articles and inspiration for state members. The VAGTC also provided a feature article to the Melbourne Child Magazine and set up advertising bill boards promoting awareness and understanding of the needs of gifted children.

The inaugural Gifted Awareness Week was met with great enthusiasm in Tasmania. A ‘gifted get-together’ day was held by Launceston Catholic primary schools and saw approximately 200 students come together to participate in a range of activities. These workshops were hosted by a range of experts from the community and an incredible standard of work was produced and shared throughout the day. During the week professional development sessions were offered for teachers and parent information evenings were run to inform parents about the unique characteristics and needs of gifted children. Teachers throughout the state received daily one page information sheets suggesting a range of strategies for identifying and catering for gifted children within their classes.  In both the North and the South of the state, two face to face sessions were held for students participating in the online gifted program ‘SOFOS’, allowing these students to meet together for the first time and work with newfound peers to solve a fun range of challenges throughout the day. Allison Cornish, President of TAG, did interviews for newspaper, radio and television, resulting in coverage in all three mediums and a number of follow up inquiries to TAG from parents of potentially gifted children.

The AAEGT was also thrilled to hear of various school and organisations that also hosted and participated in their own events during Gifted Awareness Week- Australia. In 2016, Gifted Awareness Week will be held from the 13th to the 19th of March. Echoing the thoughts of Helen Keller: “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much”, AAEGT would like to challenge and encourage associations, businesses, universities, schools and the like to get involved with Gifted Awareness Week- Australia in 2016.

Want to know more or become involved in Gifted Awareness Week 2016? Contact our National Facilitator Melinda Gindy at president@gfsg.org.au