Saturday, 16 December 2017

Looking for the perfect Summer holiday activity for your child?

Looking for the perfect Summer holiday activity for your child? Click here to find out more about the JAM Online Invention Course.

Let their creativity blossom with JAM's Online Inventions Course, taught by mechanical engineer Paul Long, who will develop your child's engineering skills, creativity, and confidence.  

★★★★★ “JAM has been a fantastic summer break activity for my kids. It keeps them in 'learning mode' and feels like quality screen time instead of iPad games and Nintendo." - Chloe, JAM Mom

Monday, 11 December 2017

Thought Space - Information from the Gifted Families Support Group

The latest edition of Thought Space, a publication by the Gifted Families Support Group, has information that may be of interest.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Looking for some Christmas present ideas, or just some good books for the kids to read over the holidays?

The Ted-Ed blog has a list of 31 great books for students, chosen by students

Feel free to add any other recommendations in the comments below.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Did you know that the movie Gifted can now be streamed at home?

Watching this movie is definitely on my holiday 'to do' list. That is so much easier now that it can be streamed through services such as Playstation, Google play and Apple TV.

GERRIC Holiday Programs

Are you a student in Years 3 – 10 at an Australian primary, middle or secondary school? Are you bright, intellectually inquisitive and looking for something more challenging, more intellectually demanding, and more fun than you may sometimes experience in school? Would you like to take part in school vacation program that will really stretch your mind?
GERRIC offers a range of programs for gifted and talented students (generally students who are capable of performing in the top 10% of their age-peers). GERRIC holiday programs will open your mind to abilities you may have not suspected you possess, and opportunities to use these abilities to the fullest. You’ll meet other kids who share your interests and you’ll also meet inspiring teachers who love working with gifted students.
Our next GERRIC Student program will run 16-18 January 2018. Click here for more information.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Maths Investigations - How many times can you fold a piece of paper in half?

Most of us discovered we could fold the paper 7 times. A few people worked out creative ways to get 8 folds. 

We then turned to Mythbusters to discover how many times they can fold a giant piece of paper.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Please join us for our annual Learning Celebration and Newman Symposium. It will be a fantastic celebration of the wonderful learning at St Mary's. We hope you can make it.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

CaSPA Student Ensemble auditions are coming soon!

Do you have a passion for the performing arts?

Are you a talented singer, dancer or actor?
Have you thought about auditioning for the CaSPA Student Ensemble program for 2018?

CaSPA Student Ensemble auditions are coming soon!

Auditions are in Term 4 at SCCVC Burwood. Primary auditions are on 16 Oct  5-7pm and Secondary auditions are on 17 Oct.

Being a part of the CaSPA Ensemble program is a great opportunity to extend your performance skills as you get to work with a range of industry professionals as well as expert tutors and teachers from our schools in the various art forms.

The program is tailored for students from Years 5 and up so current Year 4's are able to audition for the 2018 program. Current Year 6 students attending a Sydney systemic high school may audition for the High School program.

If you would like to audition go to the CaSPA website  to Register online. You must first read the Rehearsal and performance schedule and the Audition requirements for either VOICE or  DANCE or DRAMA. Please also email Mrs Bassett ( so that she knows who is auditioning.

Monday, 28 August 2017


What are the typical signs of sensitivity? What are the benefits and the challenges of being sensitive?

Click here for this interesting article that will answer these questions.

"Highly sensitive people have a number of very sought-after traits, including soaring creativity, intense focus, careful conscientiousness, empathetic kindness, and the ability to understand the world around them very deeply."

The University Technology Sydney (UTS) is again running a series of exciting as well as educational workshops targeting primary and early secondary school aged students in the October school holidays.

The program is called Bright Futures and offers a unique combination of eye-opening experiences based around subjects studied at UTS including Entrepreneurship, Engineering, Music and Communication/ Public Speaking.

2017 workshops

3 – 6 October

Click her for the Bright Futures October holiday program

Monday, 14 August 2017

Please come and explore our responses to this beautiful story

Click on this link to explore the responses to this story and to learn more about the Transmedia project that the Stage 3 Newman Group have been a part of.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Collaborative Transmedia project with other Newman classes

The Treasure Box 
by Margaret Wild and Freya Blackwood.
The Stage 3 Newman English group have been working on a collaborative project with two other Newman classes at other schools where we have read and responded to the wonderful Australian picture book, The Treasure Box by Margaret Wild and Freya Blackwood.

Stay tuned for the link to our final Blog in the near future. In the mean time, here's a sneak peak of some of the products that we have created.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Developing solutions and raising awareness in Geography

The Stage 3 Newman Group have been investigating how people and the environment affect each other in our recent Geography unit. They were challenged to identify an issue where humans are negatively impacting the environment and propose a solution to this problem.

Alexandre taught us about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and designed a unit that could battle this problem.


Elza and Rhea are calling us to action as Recycling Ninjas. Click here to view their website.

Stay tuned for more great learning as our presentations continue

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Would you like to know more about the Newman Selective Gifted Education Program?


Sydney Catholic Schools (SCS) initiated the Newman Selective Gifted Education Program in 2011 as a response to ensuring educational equity was achieved for gifted learners in both Catholic Primary and Secondary schools.
Newman Selective schools provide high quality professional learning for staff and an authentically rigorous program for gifted learners within a nurturing Catholic environment, thus enhancing the whole-person. They offer a wide range of opportunities that cater for a variety of gifted learners and supports students’ social and emotional wellbeing.
Key Program Elements;
  • There are 39 Newman Selective schools across the Sydney Archdiocese supporting students from Kindergarten to Year 12
  • The program is facilitated by staff who have dedicated training in the field of gifted education
  • Academics and psychologists specialising in gifted education contribute to the development and delivery of the program
  • Students are assessed across a range of gifted domains in order to access the program and their progress comprehensively evaluated
    Students can participate in various programs such as creative arts, coding and computational skills, rich literature experiences, STEM initiatives and robotics
  • Newman Selective Symposiums are held annually to celebrate student achievement
  • To sustain a high quality educational program, all Newman Selective schools undergo a comprehensive accreditation process every three years
For more information visit -

Thursday, 20 July 2017

What Are Dabrowski's Five Overexcitabilities in Gifted Children?

Why gifted kids may seem to be highly sensitive.

Polish psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski identified five areas in which children exhibit intense behaviors, also known as "overexcitabilities" or "supersensitivities." They are psychomotor, sensual, emotional, intellectual, and imaginational. Gifted children tend to have multiple intensities, although one is usually dominant.
Does your child complain about the seams in his socks? Put her hands over her ears when the movie starts in the movie theater?
Have trouble sitting still? Get moved almost to tears by a piece of music or work of art? These are signs of overexcitabilities.
This article provides a very helpful summary to these excitabilities.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Is it a cheetah? An excellent article explaining the reasons why gifted students must have their needs met in school settings.

If a cheetah is confined to a 10 X 12 foot cage, though it may pace or fling itself against the bars in restless frustration, it won't run 70 mph.
If a cheetah has only 20 mph rabbits to chase for food, it won't run 70 mph while hunting. If it did, it would flash past its prey and go hungry! Though it might well run on its own for exercise, recreation, fulfillment of its internal drive, when given only rabbits to eat the hunting cheetah will run only fast enough to catch a rabbit.
If a cheetah is fed Zoo Chow it may not run at all.....

A school system that defines giftedness (or talent) as behavior, achievement and performance is as compromised in its ability to recognize its highly gifted students and to give them what they need as a zoo would be to recognize and provide for its cheetahs if it looked only for speed.

This article, written by Stephanie S. Tolan, is one of my favourites and a must read for anyone who wants to understand more about why gifted students must have their needs met in schools. Click here for the whole article.

What to say to calm an anxious child

It’s time for school. The bus will arrive any minute. Maybe today will be the day! But then you hear it: “Mom, I don’t want to go to school.” Your heart sinks. Here we go again. Every day it’s the same conversation. The same conversation that usually ends up in tears, missing the bus and late for school again. “You’ll be fine, honey!” you say cheerfully. “There’s nothing to worry about!” But your words fall on deaf ears. Your child is fully convinced that everything will NOT be ok and that there are PLENTY of things to worry about. Sighing, read Here.

Friday, 23 June 2017

The GERRIC September program for Gifted students is now open. Details can be found here.

For Gifted Students

Are you a student in Years 3 – 10 at an Australian primary, middle or secondary school? Are you bright, intellectually inquisitive and looking for something more challenging, more intellectually demanding, and more fun than you may sometimes experience in school? Would you like to take part in school vacation program that will really stretch your mind?
GERRIC offers a range of programs for gifted and talented students (generally students who are capable of performing in the top 10% of their age-peers). GERRIC holiday programs will open your mind to abilities you may have not suspected you possess, and opportunities to use these abilities to the fullest. You’ll meet other kids who share your interests and you’ll also meet inspiring teachers who love working with gifted students.
Our next GERRIC Student program will run 26-28 September 2017.

For program information and registration click here.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

10 Facts You May Not Know About Gifted Children But Should

"The following is a list of facts, traits and issues many would not recognize as a part of giftedness in children. Why such a list? It’s time to banish the many widely-held inaccurate perceptions of the gifted child. The pervasive but misguided idea of the gifted child—the child who excels in school, is well-behaved, is a natural leader and is emotionally mature—is the elephant in the room and that elephant needs to leave.

We need the facts to prevail so that gifted children can have, as all children should, the education and support they need to grow up to be happy and thriving adults."

Click here for the full article.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Gifted Underachievement - A look at some of the causes

Click on the image to see the YouTube clip.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Gifted Education Parent Information Sessions

What do the terms gifted and talent mean? What does the research say about the educational and emotional needs of gifted students? What does it mean that St Mary’s is a Newman Selective school? What is a Newman Group?

If you would like to find out the answers to these questions and learn more about Gifted Education at St Mary’s please join us for an information evening on Tuesday 30th May at 7pm. This session will be presented by Amanda Tinson - Sydney Catholic Schools Leader of Learning in Gifted Education and Meghan Bassett - The Newman Facilitator at St Mary’s.
A repeat session will be offered on Thursday the 8th of June at 9am.

Please follow this link to register which session you will be attending and to indicate any particular issues or questions you would like to have addressed at these sessions.

Some great reading lists to read through

Excellence in Reading: To encourage the joy of reading, the Foundation has developed the Mensa for Kids Excellence in Reading Program. Includes Reading lists K-12.

Monday, 27 March 2017

The truth about Gifted versus High Achieving Students

This is an interesting article examining the differences between gifted learners and high achieving students. It highlights some of the joys and the challenges in parenting and teaching gifted thinkers.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Our Declaration of the Rights of Gifted Children

In recognition of Gifted Awareness Week, the Stage 3 Newman English class have developed their own Declaration of the Rights of Gifted Children.

Think Club holiday workshops

Think Club will now run twice a year, in the April and September school holidays.

The next Think Club will be held: ​19th and 20th April 2017
Experiential workshops for the inquisitive, problem-solving,
​creative and capable primary school child.
Our one day, hands-on, workshops are enjoyable, fun and interesting.

For more information about the Think Club holiday workshops -

MindQuest 2017 workshops

For more information about the MindQuest workshops for 2017 contact Shelagh on 
02) 4232 2494

Friday, 17 March 2017

The trouble with Gifted is that no one understands what it is.

"It never, ever occurred to me that my quirkiness was a part of my intelligence."

A great blog post that explores the many facets of giftedness.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Our own Declarations of the Rights of the Gifted Child

As one way of acknowledging Gifted Awareness Week (March 12 - March 18), The Stage 3 Newman English group have been writing their own Declarations of the Rights of the Gifted Child.



Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Exploring the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

In the Stage 3 Newman English group we are investigating how Freedom and Identity are connected. As part of this unit we have been learning about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Here are some ways we have responded to this topic.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Gagne's Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent

The Sydney Catholic School Gifted Education Policy adopts Gagné's definitions of giftedness and talent as identified in his Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent. This video provides a good introduction to this model.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

8 Reasons You Should Label Children as Gifted

This article is an interesing read. How do you feel about this issue?

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Characteristics of Gifted Children

Characteristics of Gifted Children

Every gifted/highly able child is different but some of the common characteristics are:
    •   Humour: Keen sense of the absurd; understands subtleties of humour beyond age level
    •   Great intellectual curiosity: Intense desire to know, do, feel, create or understand; sometimes described as a ‘sponge’ who absorbs knowledge easily and enthusiastically
    •   Knowledge: wide general knowledge of topics beyond peer group level
    •  Interests: passionate interests, sometimes fleeting but sometimes long-lived
    •   Communication / Expressiveness: Extraordinary ability to convey meaning or emotion through words, actions, symbols, sounds or media;
    •   Vocabulary: extraordinarily well developed oral language skills and vocabulary
    •   Inquiry: Probing exploration, observation or experimentation with events, objects, ideas, feelings, sounds, symbols or media
    •   Problem-solving: Outstanding ability to bring order to chaos through the invention and monitoring of paths to a goal; enjoyment of challenge
    •   Sensitivity: Unusually open, perceptive or responsive to experiences, feelings and to others; has a strong sense of social justice
    •   Intensity: Often feels very deeply and will be concerned about issues beyond what is usual for their years
    •   Perfectionism: can set very high standards for him/herself –this can be positive but often becomes
    • debilitating
    •   Intuition: Sudden recognition of connections or deeper meanings without conscious awareness of reasoning or thought
    •   Reasoning: Possess superior powers of reasoning, of dealing with abstractions, of generalising from specific facts, of understanding meanings, and of seeing relationships.
    •   Imagination/Creativity: Extraordinary capacity for ingenious, flexible use of ideas, processes or materials
    •   Memory/Understanding: Unusual capacity to acquire, integrate, retain and retrieve information or skills
    •   Learning: Ability to acquire sophisticated understandings with amazing speed and apparent ease. Requires very little repetition or re-enforcement of new learnings
    •   Concentration and alertness: Shows alertness and quick response to new ideas; Has a long attention spanwhich allows him/her to concentrate on and persevere in solving problems and pursuing interests (not
    • necessarily school related).
    •   Interaction with others: Can tend to dominate others or direct their activities. Can sometimes appear poorlysocialised with chronological age peers (a child’s social peers correspond more closely to mental, rather than age peers )
    •   Sometimes has a fantasy friend 

    • Please note:
    •   not all children will have all these characteristics
    •   these characteristics may not be reflected in school performance
    •   underachievement is quite common in gifted children which can make identification difficult
    •   it is possible for a child to be gifted whilst having a specific learning disability 

    • Reference:

                                            Why You Still Don’t Believe That You’re Gifted

                                            An interesting read, especially for some of the parents of our gifted students. Are you also gifted?
                                            "People tell you that you’re super smart. They’re baffled by how much you know and how you know it. You can ace a test without studying. You can talk with just about anyone about just about anything. You’re always thinking, analyzing, imagining and empathizing.
                                            But you’re sure that you’re not gifted.
                                            How is that possible?" Click here for some ideas.