Why Dara?

What is Gifted Education?

Gifted students may express particular characteristics, such as:

  • Learning at a faster pace,
  • Acquiring language skills earlier,
  • Possessing an advanced vocabulary,
  • Gaining early mastery of symbol systems (e.g. reading, mathematics, music),
  • Having an ability to absorb and retain large amounts of factual knowledge,
  • Demonstrating a greater depth of comprehension,
  • Possessing higher levels of intellectual curiosity,
  • Possessing an intensity of focus that enables them to concentrate for long periods on subjects or ideas that fascinate them,
  • Having an advanced and unusual sense of humour,
  • Expressing early idealistic standards and sense of justice,
  • Experiencing heightened sensitivity to the expectations and feelings of others,
  • Developing early abstract thinking and ability to manipulate ideas.

Gifted education is designed to engage with these traits and support these students to engage with education in a way that meets their developmental differences. We are dedicated to providing high-quality Gifted Education and continue to educate ourselves in best practices as they are developed through the research.

Ability Grouping

Many Gifted students may require acceleration in a particular area, without being ready for acceleration in other areas. We practice ability grouping which allows students to engage in the levels they are ready for. We achieve this by running classes simultaneously – for example, all our mathematics classes happen at the same time, regardless of level, allowing students to go to whichever class they are ready for, regardless of what grade they would be enrolled in based on their age. These levels of engagement are recorded in the student’s Personalised Education Plan which is developed by the mentor teacher and discussed with the student and their parents or caregivers.

Australian Curriculum

We use the Australian Curriculum as it is the most flexible for tailoring programs to individual students while ensuring the delivery of a comprehensive education.

Personalised Education Plans

We develop Personalised Education Plans for each of our students, in consultation with the student and parents or caregivers and in consideration of the student’s intellectual potential in various areas, level of ability in each subject area, health information, any external services, and also the student’s interests, strengths and motivations. Personalised Education Plans are at the heart of how we deliver curriculum at Dara, allowing us to provide specific and tailored education.

Additional Services

We are able to facilitate third-party provision of services on site, such as music lessons, secondary language tutoring, or therapies. These can be discussed with the student’s mentor teacher at any time as part of our ongoing Personalised Education Plan development process.

Independent Learning

Many Gifted students prefer independent learning, finding it more rigorous and challenging, connecting their interests and readiness level to essential critical thinking skills, leading to the acquisition of deeper learning. We offer regular blocks of independent learning time and support students to develop independent learning projects.

Problem-Based Learning

Using open, authentic problems allows students to work at their pace and at their level of depth and complexity, enhancing their experience, motivation and connections.

Enrichment Activities

Within the curriculum delivery, our students are engaged in higher-order creative and critical thinking skills, ethical reasoning, and authentic problem-solving. Our students are encouraged to explore each subject in-depth, which supports Gifted students to thrive.

Extracurricular Activities

We offer chess, robotics, choir and debate during school hours.

Student-Led Learning

Student-led learning is inquiry-based and focused on learning, which may be demonstrated in a variety of ways. This being the case, you may not have marked work sent home frequently. So how do you know what your child is learning at school? Ask your child! In a student-led environment, your child is the driver of their own learning. Their progress through the curriculum will also be reflected in their Personalised Education Plan and Academic Reports. If at any point you are concerned about your child’s progress in any area, please contact their mentor teacher.

Homework

We don’t assign homework, as our students are exhausted from being engaged in learning all day and need to rest. Students are supported to develop workload management skills within the school environment.

Social and Emotional Wellbeing

Gifted children may struggle socially or emotionally because they develop differently than their age peers. We support our students in this area by focusing on learning, rather than performance, to address perfectionism and competitiveness and by encouraging cross-year socialisation to provide opportunities to connect with peers in interest, rather than age, and develop the skills to connect with people from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.

How can I support my child?

Be their parent; connect with them and allow them to rest. If you have any concerns about their progress in a particular subject, or any other concerns, please contact the mentor teacher at any point and make a time to discuss how your child can be supported at school.

Communication

Parent-Teacher Conferences

In a student-led educational environment, the student is the driver of their learning and should be included in, if not leading, all communication about their learning. Therefore, instead of traditional parent-teacher conferences, our students are supported to share their learning with their families at various points throughout the year in the form of student-led conferences or round table conversations.

Students have frequent access to their mentor and other teachers and are supported to develop the skills to self-advocate about their learning and other aspects of school life. Mentor teachers are also available to answer emails, speak with you on the phone or meet with families as needed throughout the year.

Key Documents

Personalised Education Plan developments will continue throughout the student’s time at Dara and meetings to discuss these developments will be held as needed.

Academic Reports are sent home at the end of each Semester.

General Communications

Parents/Caregivers are informed of general goings-on through notices distributed through our app.

High School

We are an R-12 school, providing Gifted Education all the way through. Because we facilitate ability grouping, some students may be engaging with subjects at high school level while engaging at primary school level in others. For example, a student may be engaged in Year 10 Mathematics but Year 7 Health and P.E. This enables us to facilitate a very smooth and natural, student-led progression through all levels of each subject, primary, middle and secondary, and even support them into tertiary, while supporting them socially and emotionally.

Gifted Teenagers

Gifted teenagers may express developmental stages in different ways or in a different order or pace than their age peers. We support our students socially and emotionally, as well as academically, through the transition from childhood to adulthood.

When are tours?

We don’t provide tours, as they are highly disruptive. If there is anything else you want to know, please contact us at enquiry@daraschool.sa.edu.au or on 08 8317 6020. Answers to frequently asked questions will be developed and added to this website.