Programs for the Gifted and Talented in Singapore
Every parent at one time or another has placed their progeny on a pedestal of greatness. While they may not be Einstein, they are still very special and deserving of our pride. But what if your child is banging out Beethoven’s 5th by age 5? HoneyKids education partner, JSJ Consulting, gives us the low down on programs in Singapore that support gifted and talented students.
With lots of smarties living among us, local schools have been on the case since 1984. The Gifted Education Program initiated by the Ministry of Education back then, is now available in 9 Primary Schools island-wide, offering 23 GEP classes from Primary 4 to Primary 6. The programmes are designed not just for the intellectually advanced but for those displaying an innate talent in Music and Arts. For students already enrolled into the Gifted Education at Primary level and for late bloomers, the IP (Integrated Programmes) allow students to by-pass the GCE ‘O’ Levels, and proceed straight either to the ‘A’ Level examinations or International Baccalaureate.
In the International School sector, Differentiation is the name of the game – a process that allows a teacher to enable and extend a wide range of abilities in the same classroom.
The Australian International School boasts an entire Learning Enrichment Department (LED), supporting students inside and outside the classroom from Prep to Year 12. Through differentiation, teachers are able to provide plenty of opportunities within the classroom to challenge students requiring more extension. Student-learning profiles are also devised for gifted and talented students so that further extension and enrichment opportunities can be offered outside the classroom at a year-level basis.
With Dulwich College Singapore (DCSG) set to open its new purpose-built campus in August, it is looking forward to offering a more holistic approach to Gifted and Talented education – one that focuses less on identification and more on the measurable development of its students in the areas of Wisdom, Intelligence and Creativity, Synthesized (WICS), a framework developed by leading psychologist, Dr. Robert Sternberg. Dulwich believes it is not fixed ability, but learnt ability that is the key to success in Gifted Education. Higher-order thinking skills are in order here!
Stamford American International School differentiates by individual student ability in all subject areas so that each individual child achieves more than they believe they can. Through Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) adaptive standardized testing, Stamford collects quantitative data to identify Gifted and Talented strengths in Math and Language Arts. Stamford also conducts a summer math and reading program with assignments by student ability level so that children continue to be challenged even while on break from school – sorry kids! Not restricting the term Gifted and Talented to the three R’s, their Peripatetic Music Program and broad athletic programmes offer opportunities for keen musicians and athletes also.
So there you have it – future Nobel prize winners are well catered for on our small island. But your child need not be a genius to be a clever clogs!