What does this mean for their education?

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as seen in Educate Mag, July 2022.

What is giftedness?

Giftedness means your child has a high intellectual ability or potential. You may have already noticed that your child has displayed gifted characteristics: perhaps they think outside the box, learn faster than other children, are advanced in creativity or identify patterns easily. A child’s giftedness can be confirmed by a psychologist through a formal assessment which may provide evidence of their cognitive abilities.

“Different children express their giftedness in unique ways and may experience giftedness in specific areas at different times. In general, it can mean they have a higher ability level than their same age peers, and we have found this often impacts them in traditional schooling models”, says Dr Lynda McInnes, Principal and founder of Dara School.

“Your child may seek to engage with curriculum at a higher level than they are enrolled in or may disengage from school entirely. You may notice social and emotional differences in your child too, such as a strong sense of justice, struggling with anxiety and perfectionism, and not fitting in with same age peers.”

Dara School

Dara School is Australia’s first gifted school. Dara uses a variety of gifted education practices to encourage self-reflection, self-knowledge, and self-directed learning to attain the deepest level of understanding, while reducing competitiveness and supporting students to grow in curiosity, compassion, creativity, courage, and connection.

Gifted children and their families are thriving in the intentionally specialised environment. Jessica, mum of three gifted children at Dara School, says “we relocated from Perth for our children to attend school at Dara. It has transformed how our children have engaged with their education. They love school and are excited by the complexity offered through their learning. They can explore their interests in depth, engage at their level of ability and grow as informed and knowledgeable members of society.”

With an extensive background leading Gifted Education at some of South Australia’s most prominent schools, founding Principal Dr McInnes saw a need for a research-based education model that supported gifted students holistically. “We opened Dara School in 2017. We are an R-12 Gifted Education specialist school, now based in Morphettville.”

“Our teaching staff are all highly skilled Gifted Education specialists. We personalise each student’s learning to facilitate their progress along the learning continuum at their own pace.”

“This allows each student to explore their full capability without adding pressure to perform academically.”

Ability Grouping

Dara school provides an environment of peers in ability, by enabling students to progress through the Australian Curriculum according to their ability and learning speed, rather than their school age.

Dara staff gain an in-depth understanding of each student’s interests and ability levels in various learning areas. Each student is assigned a Mentor teacher who, in consultation with the parents or caregivers, develops a Personalised Education Plan with the student. This includes placing the student in subjects at their level of ability. For example, a 10-year-old student (traditionally in year 5) might be engaged in Year 6 Global Studies and Year 8 Design and Technology. This allows students to engage with a relevant and meaningful curriculum that supports their development.

Apply Now

Dara School is currently accepting applications for Reception to Year 9 enrolments. Applications for the Reception class for 2023 close on 23rd September 2022 and all other applications will be considered for the following intake, January 2024.

The enrolment application form and a detailed outline of the application review process is available at  daraschool.sa.edu.au/application.

If you have any questions, please call 08 8317 6020 or email enquiry@daraschool.sa.edu.au.