Helping gifted children realise their talent

FUTURE LEADERS: Deputy Prime Minister Bill English and East Coast Member of Parliament Anne Tolley meet Aurora Education Foundation student Ella Whibley. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell.

YOUNG leaders had the chance to rub shoulders with the nation’s top politicians at the launch of a new independent provider in accelerated learning.

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English and East Coast Member of Parliament Anne Tolley were at the launch of The Aurora Education Foundation — a Gisborne programme designed to foster the talents of gifted primary school-age students in the region.

“I travel all around the country and meet a lot of people in a lot of great jobs,” said Mr English.

“Those people tend to have a few special qualities. They work well in teams, they understand other people can have different world views to them, they’re usually warm and they’re pragmatic.”

“That’s what Sunny (Karen Bush) is doing with this programme — bringing out those qualities in the children.”

Mr English said that programmes like Aurora were important to ensure children reach their full potential.

“It’s always good when communities take on their own projects. You don’t see much of this around the country,” he said.

Aurora was designed by seven Gisborne principals and education specialist Karen Bush following the closure of a similar programme in 2014.

“A number of principals in the area decided they couldn’t let such a successful programme be lost so we all put our heads together,” said Mrs Bush, the executive director of Aurora.

“Our vision is to advance gifted and talented children in this region,” she said.

“It’s about bringing families on board too. We are sort of a catalyst. Friends and whanau come along and they suddenly realise their child has huge talent.”

More than 600 students across 16 schools took part in a pilot leadership Aurora scheme this year.

“We have been absolutely delighted. It’s been highly successful. We have established a really strong, solid launching pad for the programme,” says Mrs Bush.

The major focus this year has been leadership but art, science and other subjects have also been covered, including a logo design workshop, freshwater stream study and bilingual chess programme.

Participating schools pay an annual membership fee, which allows the programme to be free to all students chosen by teachers to take part.

A Master of Education, Mrs Bush says teachers select students based on their aptitude for a certain subject.

“For example, art. If I say we’re going to do art, the schools choose their students who are really talented in art,” she said.

About 100 people attended the official launch of Aurora at Waikanae Surf Life Saving Club, where distinguished guests were presented with student-made gift boxes.

“We very much hope to expand the programme next year and open these amazing opportunities out to new schools and their highly-talented children,” said Mrs Bush.

The Aurora Education Foundation has received “invaluable” support from the JN Williams Memorial Trust and Eastern & Central Community Trust for 2016.

The foundation is looking for funding for 2017.

YOUNG leaders had the chance to rub shoulders with the nation’s top politicians at the launch of a new independent provider in accelerated learning.

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English and East Coast Member of Parliament Anne Tolley were at the launch of The Aurora Education Foundation — a Gisborne programme designed to foster the talents of gifted primary school-age students in the region.

“I travel all around the country and meet a lot of people in a lot of great jobs,” said Mr English.

“Those people tend to have a few special qualities. They work well in teams, they understand other people can have different world views to them, they’re usually warm and they’re pragmatic.”

“That’s what Sunny (Karen Bush) is doing with this programme — bringing out those qualities in the children.”

Mr English said that programmes like Aurora were important to ensure children reach their full potential.

“It’s always good when communities take on their own projects. You don’t see much of this around the country,” he said.

Aurora was designed by seven Gisborne principals and education specialist Karen Bush following the closure of a similar programme in 2014.

“A number of principals in the area decided they couldn’t let such a successful programme be lost so we all put our heads together,” said Mrs Bush, the executive director of Aurora.

“Our vision is to advance gifted and talented children in this region,” she said.

“It’s about bringing families on board too. We are sort of a catalyst. Friends and whanau come along and they suddenly realise their child has huge talent.”

More than 600 students across 16 schools took part in a pilot leadership Aurora scheme this year.

“We have been absolutely delighted. It’s been highly successful. We have established a really strong, solid launching pad for the programme,” says Mrs Bush.

The major focus this year has been leadership but art, science and other subjects have also been covered, including a logo design workshop, freshwater stream study and bilingual chess programme.

Participating schools pay an annual membership fee, which allows the programme to be free to all students chosen by teachers to take part.

A Master of Education, Mrs Bush says teachers select students based on their aptitude for a certain subject.

“For example, art. If I say we’re going to do art, the schools choose their students who are really talented in art,” she said.

About 100 people attended the official launch of Aurora at Waikanae Surf Life Saving Club, where distinguished guests were presented with student-made gift boxes.

“We very much hope to expand the programme next year and open these amazing opportunities out to new schools and their highly-talented children,” said Mrs Bush.

The Aurora Education Foundation has received “invaluable” support from the JN Williams Memorial Trust and Eastern & Central Community Trust for 2016.

The foundation is looking for funding for 2017.

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